Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Recipe for Referrals -- Jessica Pettitt and "Good Enough Now"

Each week in 2015 I will be trying to refer someone special.  I want these introductions to matter and to have an impact.  This "Recipe for Referrals" is playing out on my blog (here) and in real life.  Each week I try to make sure that I have talked up the business of a person I admire. 

Today I want to introduce you to my friend and colleague, Jessica Pettitt. Through her business, Good Enough Now, Jessica provides change and crisis management, policy and HR development, motivational keynotes, and team engagement. Her premise is this - what if we are good enough now to do the work and make the change we want to see?

If you are working of corporate issues that involve change (and who isn't?), I suggested Jessica and Good Enough Now  could be a strong fit for your needs. And based on what I know of Jessica's impact with clients, I know that you'll get a lot out of connecting with her. 

Here's a little more on Good Enough Now and the philosophy behind Jessica's services.

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Jessica Pettitt

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Not Everything Is A Competition

Take joy in the success of others, even your competitors.  There are too many naysayers who are full of jealousy and send negative vibes. When others succeed they are not taking away from your success.  The pie is not finite, there are plenty of unique slices of life's pie to go around. Not everything has to be a competition.

As a member of the National Speakers Association I learned about the "Spirit of Cavett". Don't worry about how we divide up the pie, there is enough for everybody. Let's just build a bigger pie!”  This philosophy is present 40 years later in many (not all) of those are active in NSA, and it has allowed me to build some amazing supportive friendships with others in my industry.  Seeing each other expand that pie is a joy for all of us.
 Cavett Robert was the founder of the organization and in bringing the industry together he told his fellow speakers “

It is exiting to me when I witness another person finding their next level of success.  It always reminds me that I, too, can wrestle a new rung on the ladder.  A person I know had a great 2014 that launched his career out ahead of my own, and he is positioned to crush 2015.  That cool.  Yes, I have an ego and wish I was the one who had the rockets firing in this manner, but I am not jealous.  I am enthusiastic about seeing him turn up the dial, and want to learn from him how I can do the same thing.

In our social media crazy world it is easy to feel the need to constantly compare ourselves to the successes shared on Facebook, Twitter, etc...  But if we are always measuring, we can become quickly disappointed.  There is always somebody who will pull out in front, and if that saddens us, we are destined to be gloomy.

Beyond social media, there are also those people in our lives who mascaraed as friends that find ways to bring us down.  While there is no need to "break up" with friends, sometimes you are better off when you are distanced from those who try to undermine the pursuit of goals.  I met with a bright young man who I mentor (age 25) who is realizing this hard fact early in his career.  He has discovered some co-workers and friends mock his ambition and his desire to grow and succeed.  He is realizing that he must seek out people who are supportive and who share his positive outlook.  A good lesson to learn early!

5 Tips For Getting Past the Naysayers

  1. Be aware that some people will try to cut you off from your success.  It is similar to storing live crabs or lobsters in an open top box.... when one tries to crawl out, others will grab them and pull them back into the pile.  Knowing that there are people who want to hold you back makes it harder for their negativity to stifle your ambition.
  2. Surround yourself with positive people.  Look for those who find joy in the success of others, and get to know them better.  But remember, it is not just about them supporting and promoting you... you need to show them the same level of enthusiasm.  Seeking new friends and building long-term and mutually beneficial relationships takes effort, but it is worth having the right people in your world.
  3. Have clear goals and review them often.  It is easy to get blown off course by the high winds of life.  But when you are focused on what success looks like, you can reset your efforts and move back on plan easily.
  4. Do not make everything a competition.  If you are measuring yourself against all your competitors (or a specific competitor), then you could easily be left licking your wounds. Instead of feeling down about another's victory, celebrate it.  The pie is infinite, so help them enjoy their success and then look for new ways to find your own slice of triumph.
  5. Be slow to anger and fast to forgive.  People will piss you off.  It happens.  However, too often we create an impression of another person that is based on our own perspective, not their reality.  When we wrongly jump to a conclusion, it can keep us from finding the good in someone, and limit our chance to establish a friendship.

As we get older it is harder to make new friendships.  We are busy, set in our ways, and people have their routines.  But all opportunities come from the relationships we have with the right people.  The negative people and our own limiting beliefs can be overcome when we have amazing people in our lives who share in the desire to grow the pie.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #123) - Ctri+Alt+Believe: Holly Duckworth Releases New Book!!!

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

Congratulations to my friend Holly Duckworth on the release of her new book "Ctrl+Alt+Believe: Reboot Your Association for Success".  I have known Holly for several years through the National Speakers Association, and she has worked hard to complete this important book for the world of professional associations.

These day associations face many challenges.  With all the changes in learning, technology, networking, communications, etc... this book helps moves leaders of these important organizations through a process of attaining clarity:

  • Evaluate what is controlling and holding back your association
  • Expand your ability to embrace and implement alternative solutions
  • Use the power of individual and collective belief to believe in a new day for you organization
  • Attract and inspire the right staff and volunteers from the heart
  • Envision success - live from that place now
  • Affirm success in your association and allow it to be
Holly has years of experience in the association industry and holds both her CAE and CMP certifications.  She has taken her life experiences and created this great book as a tool to serve others in the industry.

I spend a lot of time working with association executives, and know first hand that these are some of the most creative and hard-working people on earth.  As the business climate changes, the ways professionals gather information and engage socially are morphing in unknown directions.  However, trade and industry associations are still remaining relevant.  The most entrepreneurial and forward thinking groups are thriving. It is fun to work with these clients and see who they are overcoming challenges and preparing for the future.

It is fun to see my friends do cool things like write a book, and I am proud to feature Holly as week #123 in "Cool Things My Friends Do".

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #122) - Kim Trumbo To Write Children's Book

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

My friend Kim Trumbo is writing a children's book about generosity, and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to produce the book.  

***I met Kim through my podcasting adventure (there are so many cool people in the podcast community).  She has a great soul and I am happy to feature her project as week #122 of "Cool Things My Friends Do".

This story is about a generous giraffe named "George" who is very generous and teaches kids about generosity. Kim's passion in the past year has been hosting a podcast called, "Generosity Philosophy." With the podcast she highlight stories of people who are out in our world doing generous acts and deeds. It's very encouraging and inspiring to hear these stories. With the podcast she has been encouraging the adults and teens who listen to give back to others and be a bit more generous in their lives. 


While, encouraging adults and teens is all good and dandy, she wanted to write a children's book to promote generosity to younger kids as well. 

With this book Kim hopes children all over the world will smile, giggle, and be inspired by George and his animal friends. Additionally, she wants to encourage them to begin thinking about generosity and how they can help others in need.

Check out her project and donate a few dollars (I did).

Have A Great Day


Sunday, January 04, 2015

Ten Tips for Having Enthusiasm in Business (and Life)

Enthusiasm is a funny word.  Some roll their eyes at the topic, while others see it as the secret weapon that separates achievers everyone else.

When working with corporate and association conferences some organizers are wary of the topic of "enthusiasm".  If misunderstood it conjures up images of fluffy motivational rah-rah stuff, but that is not always the case.  Audiences get excited at events when there is a feeling of enthusiastic engagement from all participants. Everyone wants to be part of a community that has awesome connectivity (and I don't mean the wifi access).

In the planning stage of a conference it can seem "touchy-feely" to have a presenter covering a concept that cannot be measured on a spreadsheet, however when butts are in seats the people are longing for a spark of motivation that will get them fired up to take real actions. High level content alone cannot reach the soul.

Enthusiasm is hard to pin down, but those who have it are usually more likely to be recruited for new jobs, receive funding for their companies, or create a movement. The word translates from the Greek "enthousiasmos", ‘possessed by a god, inspired’.  

Inspiration and enthusiasm are in short supply, but when present you know it (because things begin to happen).  I enjoy being around those who live with a higher level of excitement.  What they find inspiring has a way of reaching others.

The word has become my mantra, and clients praise me for "bringing enthusiasm and high energy" to the events where I am a speaker or the master of ceremonies.  I am focused on helping others find their own enthusiasm, as it is paramount to success in our highly competitive world.  I never roll my eyes at people who are enthusiastic.... I reach out to know more about them.

The person who is outwardly enthusiastic has an advantage over their competition, as enthusiasm is contagious and decision makers want to work with people who show their excitement for any project. 

10 Tips for Being Enthusiastic

1. Have a clear goal.  

2. Surround yourself with supportive people.

3. Know what you contribute to your company and clients.

4. Include other people in your activities.

5.  Read, listen and learn.

6.  Remind yourself of your enthusiasm.

7.  Share your excitement with others

8.  Find the good in each person and situation. 

9. Take risks. 

10. Trust your feelings.  Do not over-think every situation. 

Those who have genuine enthusiasm increase the level of excitement in the people around them. Sure, some people are annoyed by those with such conviction and commitment, but those people are the ones who always find the negative.  Do not get distracted by they naysayers.  Connect to your passion and share it with the world.

Make 2015 the year you live with more enthusiasm and see where it takes you in the pursuit of your goals.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #121) - Bowie High School Band Marches in London Parade

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

The James Bowie High School Band (from Austin, Texas) spent New Years Day marching in the London New Years Day Parade.  The members of the band have spent this week practicing and seeing the sights of London.

My niece, Summer, is a drummer in the band, and she and her friends have spent more than a year preparing to make this once in a lifetime trip to the UK to appear in the parade.  This is very cool for a high school senior and have the opportunity to take a trip like this with many of her closest friends. Wow.... this is one of those life events you never forget.

In the age of Facebook it has been fun to watch the whole trip as they post photos online. My brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece are having a great time, and while the weather is cold, the pictures of London look amazing.  The smiles on all their faces tell the whole story.  

Congratulations to the Bowie Band, and to my niece, for making Austin proud as they marched on the streets of London.  This is a perfect example of "Cool Things" and I am thrilled to have this as week #121 of "Cool Things My Friends Do".

(Links to local news coverage of the band in London.  If they post a video I will add it here later)

KXAN http://kxan.com/2014/12/31/univ-of-texas-alumni-band-performs-at-london-parade/


Have A Great Day

thom singer

**Pictures from my sister-in-law's Facebook page and from KXAN.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Recipe for Referrals - Grant Baldwin

Each week in 2015 I will be trying to refer someone.  I am struggling to know how to make this "Recipe for Referrals" meaningful, as simply posting here on my blog is not enough.  I want to make a difference, but have not figured out what that looks like.  While I have lots of regular readers on the blog, most are living (as we all are) in "information overload", and thus I am not sure I have enough impact.

But for now I am starting here on my blog.  The first few weeks seem to be referrals to interesting podcasts and the podcasters who host shows that I think people should know about.  I have conversations with daily with people who are discovering the great information provided via this medium of podcasting, and it is fun to share shows I think matter.

Today I am referring Grant Baldwin.  He is one of the most impressive people I have met this year, and he hosts a great show called "How Did You Get Into That?".  On his show he interviews interesting people who have jobs that make you wonder, how did they get into that???

Grant is a professional speaker, coach, and is launching a new online course on clarity.  He is also a father of three kids and an all-around nice guy.  We have a few mutual friends, but met in-person at a conference this summer, and I was instantly his fan.

Unlike many podcasters, Grant is not some self-appointed guru who is trying to separate people from their money.  He is a normal guy trying to build his business and wants to share and serve others along the way.

His slogan is "Giving you confidence to find the work you love"... and that is important stuff.  In talking with Grant when I met him, he clearly loves his career.  Too few people are blessed with that level of excitement (I understand... because I am uber-enthusiastic about my work, too).

Jump over to GrantBaldwin.com to learn more.  He has a blog, info on his speaking and coaching, and links to his podcast. 

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Enthusiasm 2015

In recapping 2014 the word "Fortunate" kept showing up.  I am fortunate, and 2014 was proof of that reality.  

As I prepare for 2015 I was seeking words that could be part of my theme for the new year.  For several years (not 2014) I created a list of three words that encompassed my goals for the year. Having this list of words would keep me tuned into what is important.

This time I only have one word that keeps rising to the top, and it alone captures a key component to all the goals I am setting in my personal and professional life.  It has the feeling that engulfs how I want to behave in 2015.  This word is...


A client recently told me that I "bring enthusiasm" to a conference when I am the keynote speaker.  I enjoyed this compliment, and I think that is what I want to do as a speaker, trainer and Master of Ceremonies each time I deliver a presentation.

I want to be enthusiastic about everything I commit to over the next 12 months.  If I cannot be enthusiastic, then I do not want to make the commitment.  I want my clients and their audiences to feel an electric charge of motivation to "do more" after participating in one of my seminars.  I want my family and friends to feel the passion I have for the activities we share.

Experience has shown me that I can be held back from being 100% committed.  If distracted my enthusiasm can dwindle.  This happens when self-doubt, fear, laziness or the unknown take hold of my consciousness. I am a human, and we are easily detoured from our best efforts by a wandering mind.  In 2015 there is going to be a new focus on letting my enthusiasm run out ahead of me.  I am fortunate (and I know it), so why not celebrate that and be positively engaged in all actions.  It is time to think bigger.

In spending time with successful entrepreneurs I see the pattern that those who are achieving the most success are also the people who are genuinely enthusiastic about their chosen path.  They bury the distractions and plow forward toward success with glee.

Part of this means getting away from those who are negative and suck the energy out of the room.  Too many people are naysayers, and they kill dreams.  The critics are everywhere these days, and they are happy to undermine goals of others, while living lives without goals of their own.  Too many people pretend to be supportive while secretly undermining others or stirring up trouble, doubt, and ill-will.  These people are out in 2015.  I am going to work to surround myself with friends who are "do-ers" and that have ambition to succeed and help others succeed.  Drama is so 2014. 

My thought is that those who are the most influential are the ones that find ways to let their enthusiasm flow out to the world. I happily follow those who have passion and are not afraid to show it. These people are givers and do not think life is a zero sum game.  These are the people who enthusiastically refer other people, and I plan to do this more than ever (and with great enthusiasm) in the new year.  

To accomplish this theme of "Enthusiasm" I need help from others who embrace the idea of living life at a higher speed.  Finding new friends is difficult as you get older.  Responsibility, geography, generation, and the "What's in it for me attitude".. all put up walls that limit the birth of new friendships.  But in our digital world there are also ways to tear down barriers and construct connections with the right people who want to expand the success of everyone they encounter.  

I believe enthusiasm is like a magnet that draw people together.  This is my power-source in 2015, and I hope someone reads this post who feels a kinship to my quest.  Let's do this together.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Live Conference as Art

A live meeting is a work of art.  Like a painting, dance performance, piece of music, etc.... the conference, when done right, is an experience.

The best meeting professionals are artists: planners, caterers, hoteliers, entertainers, transportation experts, speakers, florists, printers, website creators, set designers, etc.... all have their stoke of the brush, their solo, and their notes to hit in order to make a conference a lasting success.  When they all work together they change the world for those who are in audience.

Do attendees arrive at the event knowing they are about to experience art?  I do not think so, but when the event is amazingly unique, they know it when they see it.  A live meeting can move people in incredible ways.  Education, inspiration, motivation, fun, and thought are all meshed together to create action of the mind and soul.

Humans are experiential beings.  While we spend a lot of time focused on content (and content is important), we need more than facts, figures, research and spread sheets to curate a convention.  A meeting room, presentations, and meals are not the whole of the conference, and the best planners know that they must stretch our of the norms to engage today's conference attendees.  

It is delightful working with other meeting professionals who want to try new things and are willing to take some risks.  Over-thinking how 100% of an audience will react is a sure way to create vanilla. While vanilla is delicious, it is rarely the flavor that is remembered as bold and unique.  Because there are so many pieces to a multi-day conference it is important to remember that there are a variety of ways to impact the experience.  

I get excited by thinking of meetings as an art form.  Sharing this concept gets some to roll their eyes while others scream "YES".  Conference planning is more than paint by the numbers. To transform people and give them an experience you need to stick your hands in the paint and squish some stuff around.  Add new pieces and take away what some may have come to expect.

Art is messy, but it is also fun.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections.  http://www.conferencecatalyst.com 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

David Ralph and the "Join Up Dots" Podcast - Recipe for Real Referrals (Referral #2)

Referring people to others has many positive impacts.  

If I connect two people who do business together, someone finds a product or service while the other gets a new client.  Boom.  

If I suggest a book or podcast that inspires someone.  Pow.

If I have knowledge that helps somebody in their own journey.  Bang.

It is good to be that connector. When others win in some way, I win, too (being a person who assists should make you feel good. The world is not a zero sum game).

In 2015 I want to raise my efforts to make real referrals.  I am still trying to figure out what this means.  It has to be more than writing up cool things on my blog or sharing awesome souls with the world  via the podcast.  I want to make referrals where actions happen, and I am not sure that just writing here it is enough.  But I am starting here under the title of "Recipe for Referrals", as with each ingredient I get closer to the final product.  

For now I am blogging things I want the world to know about.  But I am aware this does not go far enough, as few people share out the blog posts they read (and not enough people read my blog).  In 2005 when I launched this blog it was common that others would forward all sorts of information. Shares and trackbacks were very common and important in the Blogosphere. Yet the world has changed and sharing has slowed.  Maybe that is because there is more information (too much information) on the internet.  Or perhaps it is the hyper-focused pursuit of self-promotion.

Either way, each week I want to make sure I am referring someone or something.  If nobody cares, that is okay too.  I want to be one who tries to connect.

Today I am going to refer another podcast that I think you will find amazing.  Last week I highlighted a person I met via my podcasting efforts.  As a podcaster I have begun to listen and learn from those who are blazing podcasting trails.  In a world with millions of podcasts I am quickly identifying the ones that are not "icky".  Too many are "Guru's" with agendas.... yet many are hosted by caring souls who want to share.  Thus this referral is also about a podcast you should be consuming regularly.

Have you ever heard of the"Join Up Dots" podcast?  If not, I suggest you go to iTunes or Stitcher and download several episodes.  Spend your next few workouts listening to host David Ralph (a nice man who clearly has a givers soul) interview a cornucopia of guests from a wide variety of backgrounds.  He lives in England (so he has that cool accent) and possesses a unique way to get guests to open up their hearts and share things they might not usually tell people about how they tackle life and success.

Several of my friends (and myself) have been interviewed on this podcast.  With over 230 episodes you might be overwhelmed as to where to start... so let me refer you to some shows with people I admire (and my own Join Up Dots interview).

Episode 237 - Jessica Pettitt
Episode 231 - Sean Ackerman
Episode 214 - Thom Singer
Episode 199 - Mike Domitrz
Episode 182 - Thomas Umstattd
Episode 175 - Ryan Avery
Episode 169 - Greg Barth
Episode 125 - Honoree Corder
Episode 100 - Michael O'Neal

If you invested the time to listen to just these episodes, I think you would find yourself positively moved for knowing about these people, and for leaning about David Ralph.

Have A Great Day

thom singer