Monday, December 31, 2012

Speak & Deliver's Reckoning Day: Part III of III

Allrighty then.

I've reviewed last year's goals.
I've shared my own take on goals. 

Now its time to set some for 2013, in such a way as to create a foundation for greater success than I found in 2012.

To Begin - My All-Encompassing Goal, that all other goals must honor, the ultimate destination of my 'To Become' list:

Strengthen my family's position
emotionally, physically, medically, and financially.

Regardless of all else, this is my number one priority, and success is based on it, not the number of Sub-Goals attained. That said, each Sub-Goal is geared toward achieving the All Encompassing Goal.

Speaking Sub-Goals
Reach as many people with my Win Anyway message as possible
Write MY book - the catalyst to my keynote
Speak outside Toastmasters 25 times

Coaching Sub-Goals
Coach and teach as many people as I'm able, both personally and by product proxy
Build Speak & Deliver's presence
Write my speaking book

Physical Sub-Goals (these are person, but do affect my speaking business, in terms of mobility and personal esteem on stage)
Get to 190 lbs.
Play Basketball again

There are other Sub-Goals, but they are more personal in nature. The goals stated here are a bit more general than last year, but much of what I wanted to do last year, and other years, are wrapped into these.

A lot of amazing things are about to happen. For various reasons, I've been holding back for several years. 2013 is a year where all of those reasons now require me to let go, step forward, and make amazing things happen. Watch this space - my professional life is about to go on a wild ride, and you can watch it right here, in Speak & Deliver.

Happy New Year, Everyone - and please, share your giant and sub-goals here - together, we can get turn our 'To Do' lists into a tool for our 'To Become' goal!

Speak & Deliver's Reckoning Day: Part II

Goal-setting is perhaps the single biggest topic of discussion for speakers all over the world. What goals to make. Why we should make them. How we should make them. How we can attain them. Why we don't attain them.

For good reason, really. Life is nothing but a second by second collection of goal achievement, or lack thereof. Goals often result in giant To Do lists - resolutions, in particular, this time of year. If you aren't making goals, some speakers tell you, you probably aren't achieving anything.

My own take is that we're always achieving something, just not necessarily what we wish we were achieving.  Ultimately, we usually do achieve what we REALLY want to achieve, we just won't admit to ourselves we'd rather watch the complete Lost series on Netflix than actually build a website, and we'd rather eat another pint of Ben & Jerry's Half Baked than head to the gym.

It's also easy to lose hope when you don't realistically see yourself achieving your goals, particularly when you overwhelm yourself with long lists. Most goal-setting gurus will tell you to make smaller, more achievable goals, and that can help.

In other scenarios, our goals face obstacles out of our control, in both the short and long run, physically, medically, or financially.

But lets go back to the concept of 'achieving what we really want to achieve' - because I think much of the truth lay here. If you really wanted to make more money, wouldn't you have? Wouldn't you have traded off whatever you had to to make it happen. Or did you really value security in your job, or not having to face rejection, or not working too hard, or whatever it is you DID do more than you supposed goal of making more money?

This isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes, the way to make more money is to leave your family in the dust and start over. Well, if money is what's MOST important, you'll probably do it. But most of us probably value our families more, and so we'll stop short of doing ANYTHING necessary.

That doesn't mean your family is to blame, or that they are stopping you. It means you don't want what you think you want as much as you think you want it. Which means you need to stop beating yourself up about not getting it year after year.

Whether it's money or weight-loss or relationships or whatever - it applies. You either want what you have or you want to change it, which means giving up what you have now. Doesn't mean you can't have more than one thing in your life - I'm not trying to break up families here. More likely, it's not your family you'll have to sacrifice - it's your time in front of the TV, your time pursuing non-productive goals, even your time with your vaunted 'To Do' list.

For me this year, I still want goals. But I want each goal to lead to a destination - a giant goal. If I can create goals that I can have complete faith in - knowing that achieving each one brings me closer to the one place I want to reach in my life, to ensure that I hang onto what is most important and improve upon it as well, I believe I'll be better off, that I'll be able to more effectively set and do each one.

Essentially, instead of a 'To Do' list, I want a 'To Become' list - a series of activities I need to do to become who I want to be to a greater degree than I am now.

This isn't a new concept - it's fairly close to a 'Mission Statement' - though I prefer to think of it more as I've referred to it above - a Destination, which each goal being a course correction or paddle stroke that brings me closer. Covey-esque, perhaps, but he didn't invent it anymore than I am.

This post may be the closest I've come in a long time to just 'ranting' here in Speak & Deliver, or simply talking to myself. In my last post, I shared that I had not reached many of my goals, but still kept together what was most important to me: My Family. This year, I'm going to make sure my goals are more closely aligned with my family success, so I never associate negative results with any of them, but identify them simply as another goal closer to my destination, even as I bring my family along for the trip.

Have any thoughts on what I'm thinking, or how it might affect your journey upcoming? Let me know in the comments below.....

Speak & Deliver's Reckoning Day - Part I

I put out some public goals last year for 2012. Today, it's time to look back:

1. Write my definitive keynote - Yes & No. I certainly gave the keynote as a cohesive presentation to strong reviews, but its not quite where I want it to be, in large part to the fact that so many parts of my life are in constant flux. The concept of 'Win Anyway' is still the message of my heart. What 'Winning Anyway' looks like continues to evolve as the health of my oldest daughter continues to be attacked, not just by NF and her two tumors, but this year by a diagnosis of Degenerative Disk Disease (meaning she has the spine of a 75 year old) and, in just the last two weeks, severe Sleep Apnea. As my life changes, so does the keynote.

2.  Build S&D from a blog to a full website experience - No. I spent a great deal of time working to adapt this to a Word8Press blog, but was unwilling to risk the following I have to the blog in its current form. I'm still hopeful of accomplishing this in 2013, whether WP is a part of the puzzle or not.

3. Coach & Mentor MORE - Yes. I was able to coach clients from around the world this year, as well as help several people here locally - both for the International Speech Contest and 'Real World' speaking.

4. Use Video - Yes - but not as much as I'd of liked. I harvested plenty of video testimonials from the district conferences I keynoted this year, and used video from my own speeches for personal review. I created a couple of video blogs, and also filmed a promo for the District 10 conference in November. I could do more, of course - a lot more. At least I did something, though.

5. Attend Toastmasters, Join an Advanced Club, give speeches that lend themselves to my Professional Goals - Yes, Yes, and Mostly. This is a pretty easy goal to keep. I did give a few 'throwaway' speeches when I was asked to speak at the last minute (say, the day of the meeting), in part because I didn't want to subject my club to a repeat of material. Still, I was able to try some new approaches, and flesh out several new Keynote-worthy segments throughout the year.

6. Create Audio Products - No, at least not for me. I did, however, help my wife record and put her book Thriving with Neurofibromatosis on

7. Market & Network - No & Yes. My overt marketing efforts were non-existent, beyond a few pushes for my book sales. My networking was fairly strong, and the relationships I've built this year, as well as the expanded Facebook & Twitter followings, should hold me in good stead going into 2013.

These were all 'repeat goals' from previous years, and all of them will repeat again in 2013. I also listed three NEW goals for 2012:

1. Speak 50 time outside TM - No. In fact, I spoke less than 10 times outside TM. Hard to believe, looking back. I have just spent so much time dealing with home life that marketing has not occurred, therefore outside speaking has not occurred. This is the most disappointing non-result of 2012.

2. Write My Signature Book - No. This just never became a real enough priority for me this year.

3. Promote My Wife - Somewhat. The work with her book has been strong, but she even moreso than I, is so focused on medical appointments and home life that marketing her beyond her blog and book became a counter-productive situation.

Dang - that recap is depressing. But it's reality.

Still, 2012 has had some high points, speaking-wise. Keynoting Toastmaster Conferences in South Dakota, Iowa, and Ohio. Keynoting a Toastmasters Training in Northern Colorado. Speaking at a few local service organizations, and a local association. Keeping this blog alive, if only on life support the last few months. Coaching some amazing clients to reach a higher level of both competition and confidence. I organized, with the help of so many new friends here in District 26, a strong and entertaining Area Contest, in my role as Area Governor, in an Area that isn't always known for enthusiasm or participation.

On a personal level - I lost over 10 percent of my body weight - that's a great accomplishment for me - a failed goal from many a previous year. My relationships with my wife and kids have grown even stronger this year, if that's possible. Collectively, we shifted to a new church, in what was an emotional decision and a tough break, but ultimately a correct and beneficial one. We have survived another year of medical diagnosis and treatments. While some medical situations have worsened, that's on the universe, not us.

As a family, we're Winning Anyway. And regardless of whether or not I've gotten to go out and Speak & Deliver as much as I'd like, in the end, that is the bigger victory, isn't it? It is for me. My family has strengthened. Our faith has endured. Our love continues. No goal, attained or not, is bigger than that ultimate goal. If I achieve all my goals, and lose the big picture in the process, I've really achieved nothing.

Later today, I'll post some 2013 goals that are all aligned with that over-arching goal of putting my family in a better place next year than they are today. For now, I have a question for YOU:

How was your year? What goals did you achieve, and where did you fall short? What goals are you bringing into next year? Comment on Facebook, or below.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Losing Credibility in the Instant Information Age


Did this picture of Morgan Freeman make you want to read this post? Or was it because you know ME, and want to read what I'm about to write?

By now, many of you may have read the following statements regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT. If not, check out the Inquisitr article here.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with the statements is inconsequential. The fact that they were attributed to Morgan Freeman, however, is not, particular for those of us who speak.

First point of business for any of us on Social Media, of course, needs to be vetting our material. It's easy to share something with a click - but the few extra seconds it takes to google or Snopes something is worth it.

But let's shift gears a bit. As speakers, our credibility is a HUGE issue. We work to be experts in our topics. To build success within our messages. And often, perhaps too often, rely on borrowed credibility within our presentations by quoting famous people to support our claims. Some speakers borrow stories that are just 'handed down' from generation to generation - all in the name of lending credence to our points.

It can be effective, but it can also be lazy. It can be perfect, but it can also be too good to be true. We may be doing what we've always done, and always seen done, but we may now be doing it wrong.

Sourcing our non-original material and quotes has always been ethical and important, but in today's lightning fast information age, its essential. Misquoting someone, using incorrect attribution, or using stories that are just plain false will ruin our reputations before we're even off the stage as people tweet and facebook about our ineptitude.

Protect your credibility, and the credibility of our industry. Start by using more original material. Find examples within the company or group you're speaking to, by doing your pre-speech research. And, when you do quote Einstein, make sure it was he who said it, and not, say, Morgan Freeman.

What do YOU think? Do speakers borrow too much? Have you ever seen a speaker misquote or outright steal their material? Please, comment below, or on Facebook/Twitter/etc.

(another story on the origin of the quote:


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