I had such an AMAZING time speaking to Embassy Suites executives today! Embassy Suites service culture is centered on “Making A Difference.” It means they charge themselves with being gracious, engaging and caring… in ways large and small, with their guests, their staff, and their communities. #beautiful
My keynote was all about Heart, and how every single one of us can always open our heart even wider. When we do we the positive impact we make expands. I also illustrated how Heart drives customer loyalty and employee retention. As I said in my keynote, great companies aim for your heart, not your wallet.
The event also marked the first time I was able to share my new book, When You Are Bursting, with an audience. I deeply appreciated Embassy Suites giving out copies to all their execs in attendance.
Always feel so honored and happy to get to add my voice to such purposeful, heart-centered conversations.
Thank you Embassy Suites. You’re an EPIC company leading the way to heart-centered business.
Making this new video was a deeply emotional experience for me. I made it for mothers (because of my own), (I didn’t have a father).
While making it, I discovered old photos from my childhood that I didn’t know existed of me, my brother, our mother and our mobile home. We were definitely poor financially. But because of our mother, we were so very rich. This is one of the most life defining moments of my childhood. How I learned to move mountains.
If you had a great mother leave a comment. Or it you know a great mother that could use some acknowledgement, tag her or share this with her. Or maybe it’s a great father. A great parent is a great parent. I just didn’t have a father.
I hope you like it. And please, stick around till the very end of the video. It’s the most special part to me.
Personal share on the creative process I’m in right now… Right now, it’s very risky and emotionally challenging for me.
I’m in a phase of high creativity right now. I’m creating two new projects that I’m very passionate about. And with the bliss of each comes the challenges related to putting your voice out into the world, your raw truth, your two cents to be judged or ignored, to be loved or to be overlooked.
Anyhow, I’m risking things on two projects right now.
One project I’m launching is a show (8 min per episode) called “Awakening In Cars.” In it I go for a drive with a guest and we discuss waking up spiritually. There’s a lot of firsts in it for me, and therein lies the risk.
First time I’m sharing my spirituality, and the first time I’m editing video. I have a clear vision of the visual treatment I see as so important to its success.
I’m at the creative phase where I have to do all the heavy lifting, I have to make everything up as I go, and I have to do it all on faith that it’s worth the immense amount of time I’m putting into it with zero idea of how it may result in even a dime. So really, the challenge is in dedicating myself to something that might never find the audience I dream of and is not in any way a “way to make money.”
The second project I’ve titled, “STORY MAN”, and it’s me livecasting almost nightly on FB, telling stories from my life. I’ve decided to jump into this pool fully naked!
Telling stories from my life of course plays well into my experience with doing Man 1, Bank 0 – so the creative challenge is mostly familiar ground to me. But the challenge is still the same, telling stories poorly before I can tell them exceptionally! (Sometimes painful my friend. Sucky performances suck). Man 1, Bank 0 was a bad show for a year – for a year! During that year I failed HARD in front of audiences that were right in front of me.
Now, I’m challenging myself again by letting my “learning/developing/workshopping” performances be viewed by anyone of FB who cares to tune in live. So I’m starting over with new stories and risking it again live. My warts and weaknesses will show!
Yes, both projects are emotionally risky but I feel so fully engaged with my ideas and with my muses that the true reward is in the doing.
But then there’s just that part of me that hopes both projects are a rousing success in finding their way to the audiences and reception that I truly want for each. I feel it’s possible but there are no guarantees, especially in the world of artist endeavors, and the real possibility of failure.
I call the phase I’m in, The Second Phase of Creativity: RISKING.
For those of you clicking like on AWAKENING IN CARS, and like on STORY MAN livecasts, I cannot thank you enough for being supportive of me during this phase. Truly, you are doing me a world encouragement with each like and each comment. You are like my artistic patrons in a way that is more valuable to me than any dollars. So thank you from the bottom of my being.
For those of you with your own stories to tell, shows to create, art to hang, or whatever your muses invite and dare you to go forth with, I encourage you to Do It. Risk It. Brave the rejection. Brave the poor performances that come before the great ones. Go for it and stay strong when very few people care or even notice that you’re putting your heart and art on the line. Go for it, because sharing your self and your creative ideas – it makes life worth living.
And there’s a magic in it.
There’s a deep magic to risking. I promise.
The Most Important Journey is only 12 inches, but somedays, damn it’s the hardest journey in the world to make. But… It’s The Most Important Journey you’ll ever make. And you gotta make it every day! This was filmed in front of a live audience in Dallas, TX.
I’m celebrating 23 years of the great privilege of doing talks at Universities, to help students follow their dreams, succeed at their passions and unlock their greatest gifts…. I never imagined when I started doing these talks at 27 years old, that I’d still be invited to do them 23 years later. I love the opportunity more than ever before because more than ever I understand the true value of following your bliss and pursuing your callings…. I say this to you. If you feel you have a message in you of value to share with others, do it! Get started today! The world needs all the hope, inspiration and help it can get and you never know how many millions of lives you may touch!
I STUMBLED ACROSS THIS TODAY… The time I was invited to give a college commencement address. I gave it 13 years ago; I’m surprised that I still agree with all the words.
By Patrick Combs
At William Rainey Harper College
May 30, 2003
“This is the first commencement address I’ll have ever given in my life. It is fitting that it is here because I love Harper students and I’ve spoken at Harper more than any other school in the world. You will find a lot of places in your life where you don’t really fit, and some where you really do. I suggest that you really notice and appreciate the places where you just fit. I think I fit here because I have so much in common with you.
A few years back, I sat at my graduation and I thought exactly what you are now thinking: What’s going to happen to me? Will I find my place in the world? Will McDonalds have me back? Was it smart to highlight all my books with a black felt marker? Should I have at least worn underwear under my gown?
In putting together this little speech – which I promise will be little because that is the mark of a great commencement speech – I decided that I’d like to give you 4 things, that I myself would have appreciated from my commencement speaker, who I cannot remember a thing about:
1. A few words of advice that hopefully help
2. An inspirational story
3. A gift
4. One final quiz
Okay I wouldn’t have wanted a quiz but I’m going to give you one anyway so I’ll move right to the quiz, so we can get it over with. Somebody else made up this quiz – I don’t know who – but as far as pop quizzes go, it’s a goody. You don’t need pen and paper. Just think through your answers:
“1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
How did you do? The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But tremendous achievements are soon forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Here’s the second part of the quiz. See how you do:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through college.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.”
The lesson is obvious. Life isn’t about achievement. Life is about the love you give and the love you get. Life is about the love you share. I really mean it. When I first came to Harper, 10 years ago, I was 26 and single. Now I’m 36 and have a child. I make less money now in my 30’s than I did when I was in my 20’s and I’ll tell you why. Because now I only work 3 days a week. I take Tuesday and Thursdays off just to play with my daughter. You have to make a living, but time with friends and family will always be worth more than a raise.
I’ll tell you a funny story that took place on one of my precious Tuesday’s and Thursdays. My daughter, Alyssa, who was two at the time, came out from her bedroom, carrying two little dresses, one in each hand. Her mom had just suggested she ask me which one I like best because Alyssa couldn’t decide which one she wanted to wear. “Dad, which one you like?” she asked holding up a red dress in one hand and a blue dress in the other. I pointed and said, “The red one.” Without saying a word, Alyssa turned and started walking back to the room where her mother was waiting. “Which one are you going to wear Alyssa?” called out her mother. Alyssa answered, “The blue one!…. Daddy is going to wear the red dress. ” Money will never be worth more than precious moments like these, whether they’re between you and your children or you and your loved ones.
Which brings me to the next thing I thought to mention: money. Everyone seems to want to make a lot of money. Everyone seems to want to be a millionaire. And since most people aren’t millionaires, most people don’t ever feel rich. I want you to feel rich, be rich and experience rich, so I’ll share some hard facts with you. Rich isn’t a million dollars. Actually the average household income in the US is around $33,000. And we’re the richest nation in the world. So if you manage to earn MORE than $35,000 in a year, you are making good money. No one around me ever seems to know that. And should you ever manage to have a household income of more than $60,000, you are officially in the upper class. Some of you will achieve household incomes of $125,000 or more, and when you do you are in the top 5% of the wealthiest country on earth. I know so many people who earn more than that amount who do not think they are rich or have enough money. These people are poor. Leave here today knowing you don’t need anywhere near a million dollars to be financially rich. Knowing the bar is much lower than a million dollars is the SECRET to actually living richer. Then you are free to devote your life energy to people, friends, passion and just being.
Of course, you don’t need a cent to be rich. When multibillionaire Sir John Marks Templeton, was asked about his definition of being rich, he said it could be summed up in just one word: gratitude. I couldn’t agree more. Personally, being grateful is my greatest secret to true success. Every night I say my prayers. Then I list all the things I am grateful for. I always fall asleep before I can finish. Even on bad days. A daily attitude of gratitude transforms your entire life, and I dare say overnight. When I feel unsuccessful, gratitude makes me realize I am great. When I feel behind, gratitude makes me realize I am ahead. When I feel alone, gratitude makes me realize I am always supported. When I feel lack, gratitude makes me realize I am rich beyond measure. And there is no level of achievement necessary for gratitude to work in your life. Someone put it this way:
I am thankful for:
* The spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.
* My huge heating bill because it means I am warm.
* The mess to clean up after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
* The taxes I pay because it means that I am employed.
* The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
* The dishes that need doing because it means I have a home.
* The piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loves ones are nearby.
* The alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I’m alive.
An attitude of gratitude. Live it and be truly rich.
Finally, since I am the author of book titled Major in Success, I’d like to share with you my favorite success story ever. It’s not in my book because it took place after I wrote it.
It took place during the 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney Australia. A 22 year old named Eric Moussambani, from Equatorial Guinea, swam the 100 meter freestyle, won his heat, and electrified the audience. He was a hero who would not soon be forgotten, but Eric wasn’t a hero for winning gold (he didn’t), and he wasn’t a hero for breaking any records (he didn’t). Eric was a hero for a different reason. Five months before, the OIC, has invited a handful of athletes from small countries to compete even though they didn’t meet qualifying standards. It was the Olympic Committee’s way of spreading sport around the world. Eric, who’d never taken an interest in swimming before, answered the call and began swimming laps. The largest pool in his town was 20 meters and had no lane markers. He swam any way, every day. No one took his Olympic dream serious. His mom thought he must have just wanted to see Sydney. Eric trained and trained for a five months. Then he found himself at the Olympics, on the edge of the pool, competing in the preliminary rounds of the 100 meter freestyle heat. The two swimming against him false started and disqualified themselves. That meant that all Eric had to do to win his heat was swim and finish, but it would be no small task considering the fact that he’d never raced more than 50 meters before.
The gun went off and Eric flopped himself into the water. He flailed, struggled, kept his head above water and swam. But he made it to one end of the pool, did an awkward flip turn, and swam back. He said the last 15 meters were very difficult. He looked like he might drown. It didn’t matter. The crowd loved him and cheered loudly for his success. He made it and climbed from the pool. The crowd went wild. His time was 1:52 seconds, a full minute slower than the fastest swimmer, but he’d won the hearts of everyone who watched. He was a hero for following-through on his dream. A person unafraid to live their dream. A brilliant reminder to all that life is about inner-triumphs, not outer-achievements. Still dripping wet, Eric spoke to the audience through an interpreter. He said, “I want to send hugs and kisses to the crowd. It was their cheering that kept me going.” The following day he declared that he hoped to “find a good coach” and swim in the 2004 Olympics.
I don’t care what rank you graduated. I don’t care about your GPA. I don’t care about your resume. I am standing and giving you an ovation because you dared to follow your dream, jump into the pool and you swam all the way to the end. So you are my favorite Olympians. Family and friends, please say NOTHING WHATSOEVER today to diminish these great graduates, or imply that they anything less than heroes. Please don’t rob them of this great moment by questioning their next step or their ability to get a job. Let today be today and tomorrow be left for tomorrow. Today they are champions and nothing less. Put reverence in your heart for them, buy them a drink, take them to dinner, rub their feet, make them a special meal, tell them you are proud of them, that you love them, period.
Finally, I promised you a gift. Point to yourselves. (People point to their heart) Notice that 95% of your are pointing straight to your heart. We point there because we know that is where we truly reside. Now point to where we manage our careers from and from where we do our To Do Lists? (People point to their heads). That’s the problem. Follow your heart, let it guide your life, and you will be most successful. It is your inner elder.
You are all unequivocally great. I love you for it. Thank you and best wishes graduates of Harper College.”
I just unfollowed best-selling author, Gary Vaynerchuck, (Author of Crush It). I’ll share why I did (and it’s purely personal bc he seems like a great guy).
Gary V has been broadcasting a message of “hustle your face off” for a good five years now. He preaches what he himself describes as an “insane work-ethic.”
If hustling your face off is for you – hear me please – good on you. Hustle creates great results. Behind every great endeavor, is a lot of hustle.
But an insane worth-ethic is just not for me anymore. Nor is “hustling my face off.” Honestly, I don’t even think it looks good on Gary V. To me, he looks really tired, stressed and full of tension in his videos lately. Reminds me of what an Native American Chief once said to Carl Jung:
“Chief Mountain Lake: ‘See how cruel the whites look, their lips are thin, their noses sharp, their faces furrowed and distorted by folds. Their eyes have a staring expression; they are always seeking something. What are they seeking? The whites always want something. They are always uneasy and restless. We do not know what they want. We do not understand them. We think that they are all mad.’
To me, Gary V comes across as a guy that has no concept of “enough.” He seems to work for the sake of significance. More. More. More. More.
I have undergone a personal change in my life, and for me now, life is better when I infuse all of my days with as much ease, presence and joyful action as possible. Yes, I take actions on my dreams because I still have dreams and love realizing them. But “hustle” is a word I’ve basically eliminated from my vocabulary. It’s been replaced by “create joyfully.”
I like my new way much much better. I found hustle was an awful boss. Hustle didn’t have as much time for my kids. Hustle didn’t condone a long coffee with a friend. Hustle didn’t have room for a day off to do nothing but relax and get back in touch with the quiet voice inside. Hustle loved every time I’d end a long work day wiped out spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Hustle kept me in my mind and out of my heart. In other words, hustle didn’t give a shit about soulful things.
Today, I have the highest regard for actions that come from inspiration, ease, presence and joy – these are the actions I trust in. Not actions that come from stress, tension, exhaustion, and a mind that can’t get enough.
And I like my face. I don’t want it to fall off. And I like my face much better when I look relaxed, content and at peace.
I gave two keynote speeches this week, one to a large hotel chain and the other to professionals at colleges and universities, and I’m happy to say both talks were on the topic of coming from the heart more often.
Connection, empathy, kindness, love, heart – these are the new essential “brass tacks” in business because they create loyalty, wow, delight and fulfillment.
Tomorrow, I’m speaking for a Hilton brand of hotels. This is their big meeting that happens only once every 2 years, so 1500 in attendance. Last time they had Malcolm Gladwell so they go big on their speaker choice and expect the best.
I’ve been speaking professionally for world class organizations twenty one years now. I’m being well for this 60 minute talk. Here’s a little on how I prep for my keynote:
1. Get the client on the phone and interview them. Learn EVERYTHING they’ll tell me about their internal initiatives, their business, their challenges and their event objectives. Everything I can about their attendees. You’ve got to know your client!
2. Get permission to call some of their attendees in advance and interview them. I call about 4. You’ve got to know your audience!
3. Choose a single talking theme that is a great fit for the client and the audience, that falls under my expertise and passion. You have to have a singular theme you want to drive home!
4. Start noodling on the topic a month in advance. This is a slow cooking creative process. You have to give your subconcious mind plenty of time to get creative!
5. Gather my best personal stories for this particular talk. Personal stories trump platitudes and book-knowledge. You have to have great personal stories for your theme!
6. Decide my 3 major action suggestions. So what strategies am I going to direct them towards? You have to offer value not just inspiration. You have to tell them what they can do better starting today or when they get back to their workplace.
7. Decide how I’m going to illuminate the problem. You have to get them thinking and feeling the problem early on in your talk, or your audience won’t care about your solution, no matter how brilliant.
8. Decide how I’m going to open in a way that quickly creates likability, openness, attention and trust. Your open is everything. You’ve got 60 seconds at most to get your audience to trust you, or you’ll be fighting an uphill battle from there on out.
9. Decide how I’m going to close so that I leave the audience on a high note with a noble challenge. It’s all for naught, the whole talk, if you blow the close.
10. Decide how I’m going to make the talk fun and interactive. Where am I going to insert activities, interactions, props or humor. This is not icing on the cake, this is mastery that ensures rapt attention throughout.
Hopes this helps you rock your next talk!
Hit me up if you have an important talk coming up or if you are seeking to become a much better speaker. I speech coach by application.
This is what success looks like.
I bought this postcard while overseas. Look at it. Just a simple cafe with six people in it. One of them is looking out the window. Three of them are talking. Another sitting alone.
And one of them is writing – with pen and paper. This is the person of interest in the picture.
She is a single mother. She carries a heaviness in her heart. She is broke and lives in poverty. She is insecure. And she is fighting for her dream at a time in her life when she feels like a complete failure.
She is a single mother because her husband divorced her shortly after their child was born.
She carries a heaviness in her heart because her mother died recently, and her mother meant the world to her.
She is broke and living in real poverty because she is jobless – a fallout from her divorce. She has recently been diagnosed with clinical depression. Somedays she thinks about committing suicide.
She is insecure because she’s always been insecure about her dream. She’s always been afraid it’s unrealistic and that she’s not good enough for it.
If you look close at the picture, she has only one cup of coffee. That’s because she comes to this coffee house and only ever spends 50 cents for a cup of black coffee – she can’t afford more.
Look closer and you’ll see she’s writing with pen and paper. That’s because she doesn’t own a computer of any kind. She has to make do with pen and paper.
What’s missing from this photo is her child who is usually with her in a stroller. She has to bring her child and hope she falls asleep because she can only write when her baby is asleep.
All this, but she’s working on her dream the hard way.
Hard on the outside because she’s so broke. And hard on the inside because she’s so full of doubt, torment and sadness.
Her dream is to write a book. It’s been her dream since she was a child.
She’s living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Outside the window of this cafe, The Elephant House, she has a view of the Edinburgh Castle when she writes.
She’s working on a book for children. She got the idea for this book while riding on a train between Manchester and London. The idea is for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry. She has named the boy in the story, Harry Potter.
In this postcard, now you can see it all happening. Joanne Rowling is fighting for her dream… This is what success looks like. Someone believing in themselves.