Sunday, December 31, 2006

Praise Others Project - (December 31st)

Today wraps up "The Praise Others Project". I spent all day trying to decide where to end this month long blog series. Each day in December I selected an author and blogger who I have come to know from their writing....and who has inspired me. I could not select on final person, nor do I want it to end. So I will continue from time to time and add to this series. It has no end.

It was a big project. Having to create a meaningful post everyday about someone I admire....but it was also a soul warming event.

Please look back at the blog achieves of The Some Assembly Required Blog for the month of December 2007 (or click below on the "praise others project" label). You will be amazed at the body of work that has been created by these amazing folks and hopefully discover for yourself what makes them all so amazing.

Thank you to all who appeared in this project, many of whom emailed me directly to talk about their own reasons of why they find it so important to praise others:

Steve Harper, Stephen Covey, Barbara Wallace, Charles Garfield, Darren Rowse, A.J. Jacobs, Scott Ingram, Hugh Macleod, Jill Konrath, Chris - Lisa and Anne, Jason Alba, David Bach, Jen Blackert, Harvey Mackay, Tom Kane, Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters, Jack Canfield, Larry Bodine, Joe Calloway, Tim Sanders, Michael Port, Seth Godin, Monica Bay, God, Rick Warren, Donny Deutsch, David Lorenzo and Jim Collins.

Have A Great Day


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Podcast on Business Networking

I was interviewed recently by Jen Blackert for her Insights Into Marketing Podcast Series.

CLICK HERE to listen.


Praise Others Project (December 30th) - Jim Collins

One of the most highly praised books of the last few years in Jim Collin's Good to Great. Jim calls himself "a student and teacher of enduring companies -- how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies".

This book is an extensive study of companies and what characteristics are common in those that achieve and remain at the top of their industries. He compares and contrasts these companies with their competition and shows exactly what makes greatness.

Collins is a former faculty member of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. I usually do not love books written by professors, as too often they are stale and too academic for my taste. Yet even with years of research and enough stats to sink a ship, Good to Great is hard to put down. I wanted to include him in "The Praise Others Project" because he is a wonderful writer who caused me to think - "Good is the enemy of Great!". That alone gets me out of bed in the morning.

Regardless of your industry, your company can benefit from Collins' research and observations. When I first read this book I saw the company I was working for as just "good". Sadly they had no ambition of being great, so the lessons were lost on there. Fortunately my current employer is one of Collin's "great" examples. The difference in working for a "good" company and a "great" company are very easy to spot once you know the difference.

This book should be a MUST READ for anyone who is in business. If you have not read this book, put it on the top of your stack for 2007!

Collins is an avid rock climber who makes his home in Colorado. He runs his research laboratory and consults with Fortune 500 CEOs. He seems cool.

Have A Great Day.


Praise Others Pictorial

As we wrap up "The Praise Others Project" I would like to reflect on how great it was to look for those whom I admire and then highlight them each day.

The photos of these amazing authors and bloggers are as unique as the individuals. Below are are a look at some of those who we praised:

Friday, December 29, 2006

Top Ten Things I LIKE About Networking

Steve Harper has a hilarious post on his blog this week about "The NEXT Top Ten Things I HATE About Networking", which is a follow up to another great post in November. Sometimes Steve does not realize what a good writer he is...his post is naturally funny and will make you cringe when you read it because we have all had these experiences while at networking events.

But like it or not, networking is still important. Even if you hate to network, you cannot deny that "people do business with people they know and like".... and thus, creating and cultivating connections with others should still be a key part of your career strategy.

A networking event is just a tool to meet others. It is not the only way to network, and it is not a guarantee to business success. But like any tool, when used correctly, it can make your life easier (you would not use a hammer to remove a splinter from your thumb, but a good pair of tweezers can do the trick).

Too often people think that meeting someone makes them part of their network. It does not, it just makes them someone they met. Real networking comes in discovering common interests and creating a mutually beneficial relationship. Accomplishing this takes time and an honest interest in other people and their success.

So here are The Top Ten Things I like About Networking:

1. Meeting amazing people who have have life experiences that are different from my own. Discovering what it is that drives these people to pursue success and finding ways to be of assistance when there is a true connection. It is about developing a real friendship.

2. Meeting amazing people who have life experiences that are different from my own. Discovering what it is that drives these people to pursue success and finding ways to be of assistance when there is a true connection. It is about developing a real friendship.

3. Meeting amazing people who have life experiences that are different from my own. Discovering what it is that drives these people to pursue success and finding ways to be of assistance when there is a true connection. It is about developing a real friendship.

4. Meeting amazing people who have life experiences that are different from my own. Discovering what it is that drives these people to pursue success and finding ways to be of assistance when there is a true connection. It is about developing a real friendship.

5. Meeting amazing people who have life experiences that are different from my own. Discovering what it is that drives these people to pursue success and finding ways to be of assistance when there is a true connection. It is about developing a real friendship.

6. Meeting amazing people who have life experiences that are different from my own. Discovering what it is that drives these people to pursue success and finding ways to be of assistance when there is a true connection. It is about developing a real friendship.

7. Meeting amazing people who have life experiences that are different from my own. Discovering what it is that drives these people to pursue success and finding ways to be of assistance when there is a true connection. It is about developing a real friendship.

8. Meeting amazing people who have life experiences that are different from my own. Discovering what it is that drives these people to pursue success and finding ways to be of assistance when there is a true connection. It is about developing a real friendship.

9. Meeting amazing people who have life experiences that are different from my own. Discovering what it is that drives these people to pursue success and finding ways to be of assistance when there is a true connection. It is about developing a real friendship.

10. Meeting amazing people who have life experiences that are different from my own. Discovering what it is that drives these people to pursue success and finding ways to be of assistance when there is a true connection. It is about developing a real friendship.

Steve is correct, there are many more things one can find to hate about networking events. But the good part of connecting with "fascinating" people will over power the negatives. The answer is in finding the diamonds in the mud. The cliche "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" is the best advice I can give you.

Here are three things you can do to improve your networking event experiences:

*Discover new events with a better crowd (Steve's 8 Minute Ripple Events are a great place to start! If you don't live in Austin, you can hire Steve to bring the ripple to you).

*Volunteer in the organizations. (Successful events are a result of good planning. If you don't like what you see around you, bet on the board and help make your world a better place!).

*Create your own networking events. (There is no reason you cannot start a networking event and invite other key people you want to meet).

Have A Great Day.


Praise Others Project (December 29th) - David Lorenzo

David Lorenzo is the author of the book, Career Intensity, and a great blog by the same name. He has impressed me with his philosophy that the hallmark of successful entrepreneurs and top executives is the drive for continuous individual improvement known as "Career Intensity". This is not a genetic trait, but rather a focused strategy.

His book and his blog provide readers the framework to develop the habits that will lead to a lifetime of career success.

Lorenzo is a business consultant and professional speaker who had a very successful career with Marriott and The Gallup Organization. He now mentors successful business executives and helps them achieve higher levels of success within their companies. Using his extensive experience he assists entrepreneurs and executives in discovering their unique path toward better results.

I have been impressed with David Lorenzo over the past year and read his blog regularly. He is living his dream and helping others. I am happy to include him in "The Praise Others Project".

Discover David Lorezno today!

Have A Great Day.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Praise Others Project (December 28th) - John Moore

John Moore is the writer of The Brand Autopsy Blog and a great book, Tribal Knowledge. This guy knows marketing strategy like nobody's business! He made his mark in the marketing world by creating, championing, and implementing marketing ideas and branding ideals for Whole Foods Market and Starbucks Coffee. Today, through speaking engagements and through his Brand Autopsy Marketing Practice, John shares business and marketing advice with companies aspiring to become the next Whole Foods or Starbucks.

I have never met John (although he does live in my town of Austin, TX), but I admire him for both his knowledge and the way he writes. His blog is internationally read and widely quoted. He calls himself the "marketing medic"....which is exactly what most companies are in need of....emergency medical attention for their braning and marketing!!!

His book is an insider's view of what how Starbucks embraced marketing as they grew up to be the behemoth they are today. Readers will learn many of the endearing and enduring principles Starbucks follows, including:

  • Building the Business Creates the Brand.

  • Actions Speak Louder Than Advertising.

  • Be Nice. Be Clean.

  • The Employee Experience Matters

  • Practice Passionate Followership.

I am including John Moore in "The Praise Others Project" because he not only has written some inspiring stuff, but also because he lives the dream!

Have A Great Day


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Praise Others Project (December 28th) - Donny Deutsch

My favorite book I read in 2006 (I read 32 books) was a surprise. It was Donny Deutsch's Often Wrong, Never In Doubt. I did not expect this guy's book to be amazing, yet his story is a real inspiration.

Before reading his book I only knew of Deutsch by reputation. I had not yet seen his CNBC TV Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch (which is now one of my favorite shows on cable). Let's just say his reputation is not always positive, but it turns out this guy is pretty cool.

Deutsch made his name in the advertising business as CEO of Deutsh, Inc. He took over a small agency from his father and transformed it into an industry powerhouse, winning agency of the year from AdWeek and Advertising Age in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

What I loved most about his book was his philosophy of "Why Not Me?", which is Deutsch's motto. Regardless of the situation or opportunity, he built a multi-million dollar media business by asking him self, "Why Not Me?". If someone will achieve victory, "Why Not Me?".

Often Wrong, Never In Doubt is a great book that will make you think bigger about your possibilities. I also learned to look beyond the media reputations of celebrities and learn more about them before you develop your own opinions!

Have A Great Day.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Praise Others Project (December 26th) - Rick Warren

Do you live a purpose driven life or do you just live life? Hmmmm, I think most of us would prefer to have a purpose.

Dr. Rick Warren, pastor of Southern California's Saddleback Church, is the author of the international best-selling book, A Purpose Driven Life, is passionate about attacking what he calls the five “Global Goliaths” – spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease, and illiteracy/poor education.

His book is the best selling hard-cover of all time in the United States. I have heard that one in four Americans have read the book. WOW, think about that for a minute....the BEST SELLING BOOK...EVER!!!. Double WOW!.

I have read it, and I will tell you that it is a powerful read. Yes, it is a book about God...but even those who do not believe can find meaning in Dr. Warren's words.

Regardless of religion, I hope everyone would share in wanting to defeat his five "Global Goliaths". Who wouldn't want to eliminate spiritual emptiness (even an atheist wouldn't want people feeling empty inside), egocentric leadership (nobody likes our politicians to be jerks), extreme poverty (not good), pandemic disease (germs do not discriminate by your faith) and illiteracy/poor education (if we could educate more people, the world would be a better place).

After the success of his book became HUGE, he stopped taking a salary from Saddleback Church, although he continues to work harder than ever. Additionally he paid back all the money that was his salary for twenty-five years. He and his wife are reverse tithers, giving 90% of their income to charity, while living off 10%. He clearly practices what he preaches.

Rick Warren is a pastor, a global strategist, a theologian, a philanthropist, and an inspiration to millions of people around the world. If you have not read his book, I recommend it highly. I am very pleased to be able to include him in "The Praise Others Project".

As December is coming to a close...I hope you have enjoyed "The Praise Others Project", (Be sure to look back at the post each day this month. You will discover some wonderful authors and bloggers) and you are finding ways to tell those around you that you appreciate and admire them for all they do to make your world a better place.

Have A Great Day.


If you are Rick Warren, CLICK HERE!

Starbucks Nation

One of the best things that has come along for casual networking meetings is the proliferation of Starbucks. They are everywhere. They are casual. They are inexpensive (compared to the price of a full meal...I realize the coffee is WAY overpriced for coffee). And most important they are comfortably familiar.

Find a coffee house (does not need to be a Starbucks) en route to your office. Make it a habit to leave your house forty five minutes earlier each day four days a week. On two of those days schedule a coffee meeting with someone in your network. On the other two days just go there to read the paper or the latest business book.

(Even if you do not drink coffee, they have lots of other beverages).

Over time you will be amazed how many familiar faces from your business community you will see on a regular basis. This give you a great and unassuming chance to say hello and keep in touch. Part of building a network is remaining visible and having regular chances to keep in touch. Keeping in touch can take as little effort as a polite "hello" while standing in line for your java.

When you are having meetings there some days, and sitting alone other days.... you will become approachable. If you always have meetings or are always alone, people might not want to disturb you, but since you mix it up, you will not be seen as stuck in a routine or too busy in a meeting.

Additionally you will begin to recognize strangers over time, and eventually see them all over town. At some point you can say hello and introduce yourself to them. You never know who you might meet.

Networking Guru and author of "The Ripple Effect", Steve Harper, often writes on his blog about the connections he makes at his local coffee house. He is there everyday working on his laptop and is friendly to everyone. Friends and strangers alike who patronize the establishment have gotten to know Steve. He has met new friends and discovered new business opportunities through his being a regular customer. Like "Norm" on the television show "Cheers"! (without all the beer).

The other side effect is that if you take forty-five minutes to read something inspiring two or more days a week, you will learn more than you can imagine!

Have a great day...and enjoy your morning coffee.


Monday, December 25, 2006

Praise Others Project (December 25th) - Merry Christmas

Today is Christmas. While not everyone celebrates the birth of Jesus, I wanted to depart from praising authors and bloggers today and instead I would like to praise The Higher Power....the great Author of everything....the big Blogger in the sky.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, today I wanted use "The Praise Others Project" to highlight whatever it is that is bigger than the individual. That force that is grander than man. Some would call this God, others might not. In any case, today is a great time to praise and respect all religious beliefs, which includes those who do not believe in religion.

What I have never understood was why people from different faiths learn to hate each other for their differences, rather than respect one another for the similarities. It appears to be human nature to grasp a hold of beliefs and arrogantly decide that others are wrong. This causes wars and makes people wildly work to do things like ban any type of religious symbols from public places. They get offended by it rather than discovering that it is really just about joy.

I once heard a comedian say say that he was an atheist...but that he was always very respectful of all persons of faith. He had friends from every religion on the planet because if he was wrong in his opinions, he wanted people on the other side who could be character witnesses at the door to heaven. I like that.

I am Catholic. My closest friend is Jewish. For over two decades we have always respected the traditions of each other's families. It is easy to do. I was raised to cherish my beliefs, but to understand that not everyone in the world shares these beliefs. As long as someone is not out to harm my faith, I want to celebrate theirs.

So on this special day for Christians, I wish you peace, joy and tranquility in your life.....regardless of your faith. Take time today to "praise others"....regardless of their religion.

Merry Christmas.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Praise Others Project (December 24th) - Monica Bay

Welcome back to "The Praise Others Project". Everyday this month I am highlighting an author or blogger who has inspired me. Today I would like to introduce you to Monica Bay and The Common Scold Blog.

Monica is the editor-in-chief of Law Technology News, editorial director of Law Firm Inc. and Small Firm Business, and a rabid New York Yankees fan. Her blog is a great resource for what is happening in the legal profession, but it is also a great way to learn more about the Yankees! She travels the country to see the team play, and always has delightful stories and photos from the ball parks.

I love the story of how she named her blog:

"The Common Scold is named after a cause of action that originated in Pilgrim days, when meddlesome, argumentative, opinionated women who displeased the Puritan elders were punished by a brisk dunk in the local pond. Believe it or not, the tort lasted until 1972, when State v. Palendrano, 120 N.J. Super. 336, 293 A.2d 747 (N.J.Super.L., Jul 13, 1972) pretty much put it to rest. But the thought of those feisty women, not afraid of a little cold water, has always cheered me up and inspired me."

As the father of two daughters, I want them to grow up to be feisty women! Fortunately nowadays that wont get them dunked in the water.

Monica does a great job of regularly posting to her blog and keeps it new and fresh. On the far right side, down near the bottom she has "The Penalty Box". Here she posts press releases she gets from companies who overuse the word "solutions". It makes me chuckle, but as former marketing director, I cringe to think that one of my releases could have ended up on such a list!

Check out Monica's blog....and enjoy!

Have A Great Day.


If you are Monica Bay, CLICK HERE!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Praise Others Project (December 23rd) - Seth Godin

Nobody could have a month long "Praise Others Project" highlighting business authors and bloggers without including Seth Godin. Seth is one of the most read and highly quoted bloggers. His books are best sellers. And he is considered one of the world's premier marketing thought leaders and change agents. And he inspires millions.

I have not yet read his newest book, Small Is The New Big, but I have read Permission Marketing, All Marketers are Liars, and Purple Cow (by far my favorite!). His writing style is both informative and entertaining. You do not read a Seth Godin book without learning something.

His blog is wildly successful because he looks for things that are out of the ordinary. I often discover some wonderful obscure online and offline products because of Seth. His opinions are clear, but he is rarely offensive to anyone who might disagree.

What I admire about Seth Godin, and why he is included in "The Praise Others Project" is his approachability. While I have never interacted with him, he seems to be open to having smart discussions with anyone in the world who can add his discussions. Many people who reach his level of "guruness" are no longer open to talking with random folks. From what I can tell Mr. Godin has not let his fame go to his ego.

Seth is also one of the most praised professional speakers in the business world, and was named one of 21 Speakers for The Next Century by Successful Meetings Magazine. That is cool!

He is at a level of success most authors/speakers will only dream about. He continues to find fresh, new, incredible ideas and makes them available to his audience. He is has not yet peaked (there is still more to come), and he seems like a really good person.

Have A Great Day.


If you are Seth Godin, CLICK HERE!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Friday Parade of Random Stuff - MyChoice Gift Cards

Last minute holiday gifts? Yikes, we are all plagued by that one person from work, church, or family for whom we forgot to buy a present.

One of my favorite gifts (to give or get) has become the gift card. I have three godchildren who live over 2000 miles away. All three are my nephews and each has different interests. When they were very young it was easy to get them a toy, but now it is harder to figure out the perfect gift. A gift card is easy to mail and allows them to get something they will enjoy.

I also have found that getting a gift card is nicer than some random sweater or CD. Often people will buy something they like without regards for the tastes of the person getting the gift.

At holiday parties this year with a "white elephant gift exchange" the Starbucks, Target, and Barnes & Noble cards were the most popular (and were stolen to the maximum three steals).

An easy way to get a gift card is the MyChoice Gift Cards available from What I like best about quick gifts is that online you can purchase gift card and have it shipped, or you can get a virtual card and have it emailed. Additionally you can either select the retailer ...OR.... you can allow the recipient to choose the retailer from QuickGift's Gift Mall. They have dozens (maybe over 100) brand name stores where the gift card can be redeemed. These stores include: Borders, Old Navy, Eddie Bauer, The Olive Garden, Williams-Sonoma, and many many more.

Why make life more difficult with only two shopping days until Christmas. Give them something they will enjoy. Check out MyChoice Gift Cards.

Have A Great Day.


**I was NOT paid for this recommendation, I am a customer of QuickGifts! The company is based in Austin, Texas and I do know the owner, but that is not why I wrote this! I like simply like gift cards and would welcome you to send me one!

Praise Others Project (December 22nd) - Michael Port

How would you like to Book Yourself Solid? Michael Port's book by the same name is "the fastest, easiest, and most reliable system for getting more clients than you can handle even if you hate sales and marketing". Michael bills himself as "the guy you call when you are tired of thinking small". He is an author, blogger, speaker, professional actor (yes, with real TV and movie credits!), and the founder of the "Think Big Revolution".

I ran across Book Yourself Solid and read it in two days. The book is based on Michael's strategies for getting more clients, something that should be important to everyone. It is not just random theory, but rather is a practical guide of how to advice based on Michael's own experiences.

Michael is a very giving person who helps many other aspiring authors and speakers by sharing his ideas. He hosts a free weekly teleconference ("The Think Big Revolution") on Mondays at noon (eastern time). On these calls he discusses important topics that cause the participants to think bigger and often brings in industry experts whom normally charge enormous consulting fees. For no charge they share amazing insights with Michael and his callers. Click Here to sign up for these free calls.

I admire Michael for all he has done with his career, and hope our paths cross one day. I am happy to include him in "The Praise Others Project".

Have A Great Day.


If you are Michael Post, CLICK HERE!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"2007 Will Be Heaven" or "Why The New Year Holds Such Promise"

Darren Rowse at has his annual Reviews and Predictions segment up and running. He has already received over 209 links to brand new posts reviewing the past or looking ahead to the future. Very cools stuff.

I am not one to dwell on the mistakes of the past (and God knows I have made some), but rather to look ahead to what wonders await in the new year. I love the fresh start that January brings. It is a chance to set goals, to reassess your direction in life and reinvent yourself.

So here is my look forward.

2007 Will Be Heaven....or....Why The New Year Holds Such Promise

As the last ten days of December tick away on the cosmic clock, the new year awaits. The image of Father Time handing off the reigns to Baby New Year has always inspired me. A fresh start awaits each of us inside of a fortnight.

It does not matter what 2006 held for you, is over. Some people had fantastic years where they reached unimaginable levels of success. Others fell on hard times this year. Still others were just floating along in an endless limbo. All of it is yesterday's news.

2007 holds within its grasp the chance to reset your compass and head in new directions.

For me, I see 2007 as a break out year. I have spent much time reviewing how I have lived my life and where I desire to go in the future. I have had much good in my life over my forty years. While some bad events (even tragic events) have dotted the landscape, for the most part I have been fortunate.

I am a big believer in the importance of setting goals, and part of my December ritual involves mapping out what I want to accomplish in a variety of areas of my life. Family, career, my book and professional speaking, and personal life. Some years I have achieved my goals, other times I have fallen short. Either way I know I have done more because of the attention to these desires.

2007 will prove to be HUGE. I have struggled to find more focus in all areas of my life. I believe in the Law of Attraction, and know that good things can happen for anyone who pursues their goals. I am not going to share these goals with you in this post, but know that they will cause me to stretch myself as a husband, father, sales professional, writer, blogger, speaker, friend and as a person.

I predict that 2007 can be amazing for you as well. Do you believe this? If you are a pessimist, then all bets are are on your own. You will be one of those who just float along. But if you are optimistic and can see in your mind that great things await you in the new year...then you are headed the right direction.

You get to choose your attitude about the future. What you think about will be your direction. Thus you need to stop only seeing the bad in the world, and start looking for the good. There are wonderful things happening to people everyday. So many people who want to assist you to do more with your just have to find them.

So why does 2007 have so much promise? Because it just does. Make your 2007 awesome. Take control and just make it happen.

Have A Great Day.


Praise Others Project (December 21) - Tim Sanders

We are into the last third of "The Praise Others Project". Today I want to highlight author/speaker Tim Sanders.

I first met Tim in 2000 when he was the Master of Ceremonies for the KPMG High Tech Awards in Austin, Texas. He later came back to Texas and spoke for my firm at two different client appreciation events while on tour for his first book, Love Is The Killer App.

Tim is a former executive with Yahoo! and is an in-demand, dynamic speaker. All three times I saw him talk he captivated the audience. His second book, The Likeability Factor is the perfect follow up to his first...echoing his message of being a "love-cat" to excel in business.

Tim is the guru on the topic of people doing business with those they know and like. And he lives his "love-cat" ways in the way he treats everyone he encounters. He is just an all around cool guy.

He also writes a very good blog.

Have A Great Day.


If you are Tim Sanders, CLICK HERE!

Tag....I am it! - 5 Things About Me

Jason Alba at the JibberJobber Blog had a post about "Five Things You Don't Know About Jason Alba". He got "tagged" to create this post by blogger Alex C. Rudloff who was "tagged" by Chris Finke, and so on and so on and so on (Rudloff and Finke actually have the whole history of tags going back ten people). And thus, here I am continuing this game:

Five Things You Don't Know About Thom Singer:

1. In first grade I was on the TV game show "Truth or Consequences" (with Bob Barker). I won a bunch of toys, but biffed the chance to win my mom a whole kitchen full of new appliances.

2. I was a frat boy in college at San Diego State,... and am proud of it! I am fortunate to still be in touch with many of my fraternity brothers two decades later, and am honored by what fine people they have become. I even served as the alumni advisor and district advisor for the Beta Theta Pi chapters at the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Houston and Baylor.

3. When I was in junior high and high school my mother would occasionally call the school and fake an appointment to get me out at lunchtime....and she and I would then go to lunch together. Twenty-two years after her death I fondly recall these special lunches.

4. In 1985 I spent seven weeks touring Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand with my 70 year-old father. On the way home we took a vacation from our vacation and spent four days in Hawaii. Dad is now 92, and I love to remember that trip.

5. In college I was a five day returning champion in the TV game show "The $25,000 Pyramid" (with Dick Clark). My second game show had a much better pay-off than the first one, including cash, a trip for two to Brazil, a stereo and a sail boat.

There you have secrets are no longer secret.

Now it is my turn to "tag" five other bloggers (it is the rule of the game). In the spirit of Time Magazine.... I tag "You". Heck, if "You" get to be "Time's Person of the Year".....then "You" should have to take a few minutes on your blog and play this game (that is fair..."You" are the "Time Person of the Year"!!!, which is a huge honor that you get to share with many famous and infamous people throughout history.)

Have A Great Day.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Praise Others Project (December 20th) - Joe Calloway

Joe Calloway is a branding consultant, business author, and restaurant owner whose client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in business. From Saks Fifth Avenue and BMW to American Express and IBM, a wide range of companies depend on Joe for insight into today’s marketplace.

When I read his first book, Becoming A Category Of One, I was an instant fan. This book spells out how extraordinary companies transcend the ordinary and shine in an over-crowded field. Calloway says:
"Deciding to go is the first step on the journey to greatness and becoming a Category of One. Unfortunately, it’s also the step usually not taken. Most companies never decide to go. They never make the decision to become extraordinary. What they do is make the decision to talk about becoming extraordinary or to have meetings about becoming extraordinary or write mission statements about becoming extraordinary. But they never truly make a commitment that takes hold, becomes real, and creates a new level of
Calloway is a celebrated professional speaker, although I have not yet had the privilege to hear him on the platform, his reputation is that he delivers some of the most energetic talks in today's business world. His new book, Indispensable, is now available and is on the top of my holiday wish list (hint, hint to my wife!).

I admire Joe Calloway and wanted to include him in "The Praise Others Project". I look at him as a role model for my own career. Becoming A Category Of One is among the best books I have ever read.

If you are looking for an amazing book to read over the holiday to your local bookstore!

Have A Great Day.


If you are Joe Calloway, CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fresh, New, Incredible Ideas!

I was recently challenged by a friend to "think of fresh, new, and incredible ideas" in regards to my career. Wow. That is overwhelming. It is hard enough to execute on the same, old, stale ideas....much less having to simultaneously blaze new and uncharted trails.

But the challenge keeps ringing in my ears: "Think of fresh, new, and incredible ideas!". I want to do this. I desire to knock down all the barriers that surround me. I am inspired to find a new way to better accomplish my goals.

In the last few days I have been very focused on how many of the stale, old ideas engulf our lives. Regardless of what industry you work in, there are the dinosaur systems of how to get things done. These appear everywhere and people seem to take comfort in the tried and true.

Few people are actively seeking the fresh, new, and incredible. It appears many are just going along for the ride. It is no longer my desire to just be a passenger on the bus...I want to drive.

This is hard to do. To emerge from the cocoon and soar on wings does not happen overnight. It also does not happen by accident. An artist who creates a masterpiece does not do so without a vision. It also takes the first step to take action.

Are new ideas scary? Yes. Throughout history people have ridiculed the unknown. Columbus was laughed at by those who knew the world was flat. But he sailed west anyway. We need to do the same things with our lives. We need to find the "west" and then set out for the new world.

How about you? Does the above sing to your soul? Do you want to discover your own path to success? Do you have ideas that can help others (me?) to find the holy grail? I welcome your comments on the thoughts about FRESH, NEW and INCREDIBLE IDEAS....and how to go for it.

Do not just be a passive observer. Take a moment to add to the discussion. Leave a post. Link to another blog. Tell me a story about the uncharted. Make a difference in the world. Share.

Have A Great Day.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Praise Others Project (December 19th) - Larry Bodine

Everyone in the legal marketing game knows Larry Bodine. Larry was one of the first people with a major online presence with his Law Marketing Portal in the early days of the internet. Larry is today's focus in "The Praise Others Project" because he has done so much for so many in the world of law firm marketing, business development, and PR.

I first discovered Larry's listserve emails when I was the marketing manager for the Texas offices of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP (back in the days when there was a Brobeck!, but that is a whole different story!!!). Being new to working in law firms I found Larry's informative weekly emails to be very educational.

I met Larry a few years later at a Legal Marketing Association conference. By this time he had published several of my articles and we had become friends via email. After that I wrote a monthly column in his Professional Marketing Magazine (which was a great magazine for anyone in professional services marketing, but is no longer in publication). Larry's belief in my writing was one of the things that gave me the confidence to complete my first book.

Larry's blog is a must read for anyone in the legal profession. It is always full of useful tips, tricks and trends to help grow a law practice,... large or small. He is a popular leader of seminars, teleseminars, webinars and he is a great public speaker (I saw him once at a LMA lunch in his hometown of Chicago).

If you do not know Larry Bodine, you should.

Have A Great Day.


If you are Larry Bodine, CLICK HERE!

Time To Set Your 2007 Goals

The end of the year brings with it the hope for the new: New Year's resolutions, fresh starts, new beginnings, and dreams for a more abundant life.

I am a big believer in having written annual goals for what you want to accomplish in your life. Having these goals can help you make the hard decisions when facing a fork in the road. Reviewing these goals regularly will remind you of your priorities and can cause you to take the necessary action.

If you have never created written annual goals in the past, I challenge you to do this in 2007. It is not hard, but will require you to dedicate some time to prioritizing what is important to your future. The process of drawing your attention to your dreams can be very eye opening.

Begin small (but think BIG!). Set realistic goals that require you to strive to accomplish them, while at the same time being attainable. Do not try to prove goal setting as false by setting GIANT goals (yes, I know people who do this).

Focus on what it is you want in your life in three areas: family, career, and personal. In each area identify one to three goals that you would like to achieve in 2007. Be specific. Do not just write "My goal is to have a better marriage", but instead write, "My marriage will be more dynamic and I will take an action every month to surprise my spouse with something that will make them (not me) happy". Then identify those twelve actions.

Too many people use words like "better" without quantifying what this success looks like. Know in your mind what is your desired outcome, and know what physical actions you need to take to get there.

Focus on what it is you desire in your life. What you think about is what you get. To have not positive goals means that your mind will focus on all the bullshit that can creep into our daily lives. It is too easy to get our attention caught on the negative. Your written goals can help you concentrate on your possibilities.

For me 2007 is going to be a BIG year. I have some grand and specific goals for my family, my job, my book and speaking....and for myself (do not forget your personal is so easy to spend your days working for everyone around you!). I may not attain every goal, but by stretching myself toward the prize, I am confident I will go farther than I would if I just allowed myself to drift along.

I hope your new year is amazing!

Have A Great Day.


Praise Others Project (December 18th) - Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield is more than the co-author of Chicken Soup For The Soul, he is an accomplished author, speaker, trainer, friend and mentor to thousands.

I first discovered Mr. Canfield when I read the original Chicken Soup book (there are now dozens of books in the series, and I am fairly confident most people know of the books). While he and Mark Victor Hansen did not write these stories, they compiled and marketed these "soul warming tales" so that they could reach millions. These books have inspired millions and continue to tug on the hearts of people around the world.

Jack's most recent book, The Success Principles, is a manual for anyone who is seeking more in their life. He is a real-life success story, and has the credibility to guide others along their journey to have more fulfillment in their personal and business lives.

I have never met Jack Canfield, but it is my desire to one day have the chance to eat lunch with him and would welcome his advice on ways I can attract more success into my writing and speaking career. I consider him a mentor (a virtual mentor, since we have never met) and am happy to have him in the "Praise Others Project".

Have A Great Day.


If you are Jack Canfield, CLICK HERE!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Praise Others Project (December 17th) - Tom Peters

"The Praise Others Project" today brings us to one of the original rock-star business authors and professional speakers, Tom Peters. Tom's first book, In Search of Excellence (1982) has been called "the greatest business book of all time", and he has gone on to write a string of other successful books.

I first discovered Mr. Peters' writing in an August 1997 Fast Company Magazine article called "The Brand Called You". In this classic article (it is one of the most read articles in the Fast Company on-line archives) Peters weaves some of the most compelling business advice I have ever read. You are a brand, inside and outside your company. Others ARE watching you, and what you do speaks much louder than the words you say. There is no simple path to creating this brand, but each individual must take control of their own image. Regardless of you age or the position you hold, you need to understand the importance of your personal brand.

If you have never clicked from a blog to read a nine year old magazine article before...take the time and make this article your first. His message is as important today as it was in 1997.

Tom Peters has been a major influence on my own career, both in his writing and by his example. I do not know him personally (although I did meet him when he delivered a great talk in Austin a few months ago), but his writing, speaking and consulting career is an inspiration to anyone who wants to follow in those footsteps.

He also writes an widely read blog, which he allows comments (most of the big bloggers have removed comments) and encourages his community to participate in the wide variety of topics that he and his staff post.

It is my pleasure to add Tom Peters to "The Praise Others Project:.

Have A Great Day.


If you are Tom Peters, CLICK HERE!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Praise Others Project (December 16th) - Malcolm Gladwell

After reading The Tipping Point, I never again looked at marketing and trends the same way. Author Malcolm Gladwell is the poster boy for the term "thought leadership", and his books cause all readers to have to examine long standing assumptions. He has two best-selling books, The Tipping Point and Blink. Most seem to like Blink best, but I am old-school and see The Tipping Point as his true masterpiece.

The premise of the book is that there is a magic moment when an idea, trend, product or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just like one person can start an epidemic (think bird flu), so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product or a drop in the crime rate. Gladwell illuminates the tipping point phenomenon and is one of the fathers of the huge "word-of-mouth marketing" trend that is sweeping the globe.

His writing style engages the reader like few authors can. It would have been hard to live in the business world the last five years and have not heard people talk about The Tipping Point. If you have not read the book, I suggest you put it on the top of your stack. This is one of those "must reads" for everyone who has an interest in business trends.

Gladwell also writes a blog that will make you think about many issues in the world. His insightful posts are a bit on the long side, but he does post regularly.

Today we praise Malcolm Gladwell, a great writer who makes me think.

Have A Great Day.


If you are Malcolm Gladwell, CLICK HERE!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Praise Others Project (December 15th) - Tom Kane

I spent years working in the marketing departments of law firms and really enjoyed the "legal marketing industry". One of the reasons I liked working for attorneys is that most of them really needed my help. These brilliant AM LAW 100 lawyers whom I assisted were the best in their fields, and yet they had very little understanding of sales, marketing, PR, business development and public relations. They needed the skills that I brought to the table. (Although they thought they knew it all!!!)

Tom Kane is a blogger, an author and a consultant who is dedicated to helping lawyers become better at this mysterious area of marketing. Tom is a former practicing attorney and is the principal of Kane Consulting, Inc., a legal marketing consulting firm.

I enjoy reading Tom's blog because he always brings up issues that are right on point for attorneys (or any service professional) who want to grow their practice. He does not sugar coat the mistakes that law firms make in their view and execution of marketing, sales, business development plans (oh, and there are soooo many!!!).

I do much of my professional speaking to law firms and lawyer groups, and so it is important for me to stay in touch with what is currently going on in the industry. Tom's blog is one of my "must reads". I also forward many of his blog posts to attorneys that I coach to marketing excellence. I always appreciate his views.

I praise Tom Kane in "The Praise Others Project" for a great blog that all lawyers should read. And everyone else can benefit from it as well.

Have A Great Day.


If you are Tom Kane, CLICK HERE!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Six Degrees of Separation

ABC's PrimeTime did a show last night on "The Six Degrees of Separation". They sent two random people in search of a Brooklyn boxer named Petey, and then sent Petey on his own networking scavenger hunt to find someone else. They could not just call up and say "hello", they had to use real contacts in their networks to make the connection.

I missed the show, but about a dozen people emailed or called me about it. There is some video about it on, but not the whole thing. Apparently the experiment worked and these unconnected people were able to use their networks to track down their target connections.

Am I surprised? NOPE! Everyone knows somebody who has the connections that can open up a door. All of us have the power to meet the people we want to meet. It just takes effort, planning, and figuring out the right path to reach the desired person.

ABC is going to do more shows on "The Six Degrees of Separation" with more random people people using their network of contacts to track down a target person. You can contact ABC to suggest your friends as their next contestant! I have already sent them the names of some colorful personalities who are good networkers. Maybe you will be the next contestant!

Have a great day


Praise Others Project (December 14th) - Harvey Mackay

We are almost halfway through December and the "Praise Others Project" and today is a big one! My favorite business author, Harvey Mackay. His website proclaims him "Mr. Make Things Happen" and he is considered one of the world's greatest networkers. He has built an amazing career through always treating people well and getting to know the other person, and then giving them what they want.

I have read all of his books, and it was his motivational writing that turned me into an avid reader of business books. I was 22 years old, in my first job, when I read Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive and I was inspired. I developed an apetite for learning more about success that has never been quenched.

It was his third book, Sharkproof, that changed my life. I was 25 years old in in a really bad place in my career. I felt trapped in a horrible job and felt that nobody understood my situation. I was in a bookstore as they were unpacking his new book and putting it on the shelves. I purchased the book and read it in two days. It was as if Mr. Mackay was speaking directly to me though his writing. I engulfed the advice and made important changes in my life, taking responsibility for my future.

I wrote Harvey after I finished the book, and he wrote back...providing me with some personal advice. Years later I got to meet him when he spoke in Austin at a Chamber of Commerce lunch. But the highlight of my friendship with him came two years ago when a local business organization, TEXCHANGE, hired him to speak following the release of his latest book, We Got Fired and Its The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Us.

I got to spend the day with him while he was in Austin, and that evening when he spoke, I had the honor of delivering his introduction to the audience of over 200 people.

He was very gracious and gave me some good pointers when I was writing my book. I cannot think of any author whom I want to praise more in this project for really impacting my life. But it is not just me....Harvey Mackay has impacted the lives of millions of people through his many books, syndicated column and his speaking engagements. His books have sold over 10 million copies and are translated into 37 languages!

He does not have a blog, but you can sign up to get his weekly column. It is one of the best things you can get in your inbox.

Thank, Harvey!

Have a great day.


If you are Harvey Mackay, CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Praise Others Project (December 13th) - Jen Blackert

Jen Blackert is an wonderful person who has ultra enthusiasm and energy for her business and her life. She is "The Law Of Attraction Marketing Coach" -- helping busy professionals, entrepreneurs, and lawyers learn how to focus on their marketing strategies online and offline so they can book their business solid and achieve the 6 or 7-figure income they desire. She is also the author of dozens of articles, an e-book, and a blog.

I met with Jen at a local coffee house (in Austin, Texas...there sure are a lot of cool folks living right here in my town!) recently for a short meeting - that lasted two hours! I could not leave because her ideas for the future of her business (and mine) seemed to be unending. It was a delightful conversation and I was very impressed with how she visualizes success. When I got to the car I knew she had to be part of the "Praise Others Project".

Jen's website tells more about her coaching/consulting business than I could do here, but I want to encourage you to read the articles she has available. Her insight can help any business professional find more creative ways to make an impact. And who doesn't want that?

Jen is a dynamic businesswoman who has a heart. Get to know her through her writing.

Have A Great Day.


If you are Jen Blackert, CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Networking Is About The Follow Up

You find yourself at a very well attended Holiday Party for a major law firm in your business community. In attendance are many of the top venture capitalists, accountants, bankers, and C-Level executives in town. You meet some great people and exchange business cards.

Luckily the food and drinks are free, because most people will only take with them memories of the shrimp and a bit of a hang over.

Why with so many important business professionals in attendance and all the "power networking" did nobody make any real connections with those who could make an influential impact?

Why? Because that was not networking. Meeting someone at a cocktail party does NOT make them part of your network. The real networking begins after the first meeting. True business friendships take time to develop and only happen if you make the effort to follow up with the other person.

Take a look at the stack of business cards you have collected the last few weeks while attending the many business holiday events (you did take advantage of the holiday networking, right?) and identify two people whom you would like to know better.

Plan on the best way to follow up with these folks. A note, an email, a phone decide which is the next step and then do it. Do not wait for them to call you or you could be waiting for a long, long time.

If once a month you followed up with just one person and worked to construct a friendship, in a year you would have 12 new contacts.

Have a great day.


Praise Others Project (December 12th) - David Bach

I admire David Bach as a writer and professional speaker. He has built a speaking and publishing empire on his desire to help people achieve financial independence. His first book, Smart Women Finish Rich has become an international best-seller and he has followed that up with seven other best-selling books on financial success.

I heard David speak on an audio CD sharing advice to young authors. His enthusiasm is contagious and he genuinely wanted to assist
others to learn from his writing and speaking journey.

A mutual friend told David about my book and my professional speaking, and he wrote me some words
of encouragement. We traded emails and he answered my querues about how he found success. He offered advice to help me along my own path, and reminded me that many who are "an overnight success" invested years of hard work to get there!

Not everyone as successful as David Bach in the publishing and professional speaking worlds would make the time assist others. He did.

He has
a blog, but does not update it often (still some good stuff!!). But if you visit his website you will have access to a plethora of free resources that he makes available.

Have A Great Day.


If you are David Bach, CLICK HERE!