Saturday, June 16, 2012

Preparing for the Interview!

Yesterday, I delivered a 40 minute presentation on preparing for a job interview to a group of 20-25 pharmacy graduate students.
Some of these students had just driven down from Atlanta Georgia and North Carolina.  It was a delight to share some helpful tips to a bright group of young individuals.

After my presentation each of the students had the opportunity to be test interviewed by one of 6 professionals who volunteered for the event.

For anyone who may be pursuing a new job or career and would like some tips, here are a few nuggets of wisdom in helping you prepare for the interview:

1) Research the company and the specific position for which you are applying.

2) Expound on what is on your resume

3) Dress to impress but don't lose yourself.

4) Tell stories to answer questions when appropriate (stories are memorable).

5) Leave them with your value proposition.  What will be gained by their hiring you?  Make sure both you and they know before you leave the interview.

We all want our ideal job, we just don't want to have to interview to get it.  Of course, sometimes circumstances will line up and you won't have to interview; however, if you prepare for successful interviewing you'll be ready to snag your best next move regardless of the circumstances.

I would love to deliver on this topic or one of my many other captivating and interactive presentations at your next event.  Just send an email to

If you like this blog please follow.  Thank you.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Winnies Wisdom

Have you ever had that dreaded feeling of racing out of the house when suddenly you're grabbed by the thought that your keys aren't on you?

You go back in panic and start frantically opening and closing drawers throwing socks and jewelry everywhere only to accomplish losing five more things you'll look for that evening.

What do you do when you can't find what you're looking for?

I am more of the frantic type of searcher, but some of you may be the meticulous searcher who lifts one paper or book at a time and marks each off until you eliminate all other options. Others of you may be the thinking type who will stand still and play the entire day through your head to pin point whatever it is you're seeking.

Whatever your method, one thing we all share is that when we are looking for something we want to find it as soon as possible. Another phenomenon we may have all experienced is the irony of finding all the other precious items we looked for in the past while conducting our current search. Not that you mind finding all the other stuff, but this time you're looking the keys you need NOW!

Before I go on with this thought, if you watched the special "A House on Pooh's Corner,"  you might remember the scene in which Pooh, Piglet and Rabbit are lost in the Hundred Acres Woods looking for home and keep circling back to pit? After three rounds Pooh tries to convince Rabbit that since they keep finding the pit when searching for home, they should search for the pit and they might find home.

That was the scene I was watching when I finally figured out the key to finding something you're looking for: LOOK FOR SOMETHING ELSE!

When I was selling insurance I was looking for ways to make me successful and add to my bottom line. I had no luck- I kept circling to a pit of financial turmoil. Through the encouragement of friends around me, whom I saw looking to benefit the needs of others, I was able to make a change. I sought to give to people, seeking nothing back. I went from wanting to sell a life insurance policy to making people improvement my policy. Some six months later I had a multiple thousand dollar in sales month. I couldn't believe it, I was able to pay my employer half of the debt that I owed.

I didn't make it in the insurance business, but the relationships I found in seeking to help people- aided in my finding better relationships that bridged a gap to a better career.

I learned an important lesson: the vanity of continually looking to meet your own need can lead to a lot of frustration. However, seeking to help other people can take your mind of your own self fish pursuits long enough to find it right under nose.

Best wishes in finding what you're looking for.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Speaking or Leaking

Have you ever experienced water damage on good furniture, or walked into a flood in your own bathroom or kitchen only to find that one of the pipes was leaking?

I experienced that within the last couple days, only it was in my van. My wife had noticed that the carpet on the front passenger's side was soaked in water, but the windows weren't down and it hadn't even been raining. This puzzled us.

I eventually had to start disassembling the interior of the van, pulling up the carpet to find out from where the water was coming. Turns out an interior hose related to the AC system running along the floorboard had a leak. What a MESS!!! The underlayment was drenched. I wrung out nearly a half a gallon of water.

I can tend to love water at one moment and hate it at the next. When it's downloading from the shower head to run dirt off my back and hands I love it. When it's flowing from a fountain to extinguish my thirst, I adore it. When it's being used to wash dishes I'm so cool with it (as long as I'm not the one who washing). However, when water is leaking, I can't stand it. It's damaging. It stains rather than cleans, it annoys rather than refreshes, it creates work rather than aids the work. Can you relate?

That’s the vast difference between a stream of water turned on for a purpose and channeled to specific location to serve a task, and water being dumped just because an opening was found in its path.

I can't help but draw the comparison between water and our words. When spoken intentionally and directed at the right audience at the right time, words can refresh, heal, and edify. However, when we carelessly let thoughtless words fall out of our mouth just because there is a hole underneath our nose we can create a lot of damage.

I’ve been known for sticking my foot in my mouth and sometimes I wish that it would just stay there to clog up the leak. I've learned the hard way that many times it's better to say nothing than to speak just for the sake of it. I want to be speaking not leaking. I wish the same for you.

Use your words to channel a positive energy into the lives of people. Let it not cause floods and damage that only needs to be cleaned up later.
I would love to hear your comments.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

No Price Too High.

What is that one thing that you would give anything for?
10 days ago I received an email advertising a seminar that would be delivered by the 2005 Toastmaster's World Champion of Public Speaking, Lance Miller. The event was scheduled for 7pm on Friday, February 24th in Deland, FL, 240 miles from my home in Tallahassee FL.

Going to this event would mean taking time off from work, leaving immediately after running a speech contest that day, traveling 8 hours and arriving back at 1 am, and waking up at 8 am to go and teach at a church gathering the next morning.

So how much thought did I have to put into this before deciding whether I would commit to going to the seminar? None, at all!!! I had put the thought into it a long time ago. If I ever had the opportunity to go and meet a World Champion Speaker live, I would take it in a heartbeat.

What type of sacrifice would you not even flinch at making? What is it that you would stay up all night to complete? What have you already set your mind to do since a long time ago? We each have something that we will suffer for.

It was a pleasure to hear Lance Miller share about his success and failures at speaking; however, it was quite apropos that he spoke about passion as suffering.

Whenever Lance is not making a connection with his audience, he is making a flight connection for his next engagement. He'll speak in three different major cities in one day on many occasions. However, Lance calls this suffering his passion, and quite frankly his pleasure.

"Life is lived awake." Lance commanded to the captive audience of 80 people. "I've never remembered a good night's sleep."

He emphasized that we don't remember times of convenience. What we do remember are the moments where we pushed ourselves beyond our assumed limits and accomplish great feats.

I want to speak to improve the lives of individuals. I don't want to deliver speeches, I want to deliver people. That is the passion that burns deeps inside- I've already made the commitment of a Passionate Pursuit of this mission.

The question I pose you is what is yours? What is that one thing that you would give anything for?

Lance embodies what is means to be a public speaker.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

House of Mirrors

Two young highly attractive college women enter an italian restaurant to meet over lunch (One a brunette and the other a red head).  After sitting down and facing one another, both simultaneously breathe a sigh to release the frustrations of the day.  The brunette, who is highly self conscious, brushes her nose just in case she might have had anything in her nostrils.
Her friend, thinking this was a sign to rub something off her own nose, quickly rubs her nose to wipe it away. The brunette interpreted the red head's action as a sign that she indeed had something in her nose which was still there; so she takes another rub at her nose.  Well, the red head made the same assumption that the brunette's gesture was indicating that she needed to take another stab at rubbing her nose. 

You can imagine that this went on for a little while until both decided to go in the bathroom and take a look in the mirror.

This may sound funny, but boy is it ever a reality of life.  I call it the house of mirror effect.  If you've ever been in a house of mirrors you would know that it's hard to deciper the real source from its reflections.

In the story above each of the women thought they were reading a genuine prompt from the other.  What they did not realize was that these 'prompts' were nothing more than a reflection from the signals that each was giving off.

Have you ever thought someone did not like you, based on some presuppisition, be it true or not?  Did that cause you to treat that person with indifference?  Perhaps this person responded to your indifference with their own indifference towards you.  And then, you conclude, "Aha!  I knew it!  That person does not like me."

We are like mirrors, we merely reflect images from signals we receive.  The source of these signals vary, but primarily we experience them from other peoples body language & energy, our own thoughts, what we see on T.V., spiritual beliefs, preconceived ideas and feelings, a vision, etc.,

Notice how hard it is to not smile when someone smiles at you or contrary not to look offended if someone scoffs at you.  We work like mirrors merely reflecting images that we see.

Knowing people operate like this can help us in our Passionate Pursuit to creating a better life.  Smile more around the people who seem grumpy; if you want people to show you favor, show them favor; if you'd like respect, show respect.  Others will gladly reflect back to you the image that you potray.

You might be asking "well, if one is grumpy and the other is joyous who will reflect the other?"  The fact is each will inevitably make an impact on the other.  However, in examples like these, you can assume that each person is reflecting an image other than their immediate physical surroundings.  Perhaps the grumpy one is still meditating on a fight with their spouse earier that day.  The joyous one is probably meditating on the elated look of someone they just surprised.

I say whoever's mental image is clearer will be less impacted than the other, for they will continue to reflect that mental image they see; however they both will end up reverting back to the mental image they initially carried.  That is how powerful mental images are.  They last much longer than the temporary changes in our external environment.

Knowing this, if you want to have greater control on the image you give you off, and be able impact people with them you need to:

1) spend lots of time focusing on changing your thoughts to give off the image you desire to be reflected back.

2)  hang around more people who will give off the image and energy you desire to have and emit.

Lastly, when people consistently treat you in a certain way (be it good or bad), check to see what signals you may be giving off in your beahvior.  If it is not what you would like to get back, find ways to change the image you are emitting.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

No Offers On Signing Day?

Signing Day is a thrill! It's the wedding day, where the pursued (college athletes) get to put their stamp of approval on one of the schools which was courting their talents for the last year (or 4 years, and for some top blue chips, since they were in middle school) .

Though the days taken off from school for a college visit, countless personal cards from recruiting offices, and nationwide media press can be both flattering and exhausting; there is nothing like the feeling of being wanted. Anywhere from 3 to 5 offers are extended to a typical athlete on signing day.

However, there are many prep athletes who spend signing day with no offers to contemplate. Such was my experience back in 1996 as a high school senior (except an offer to walk-on the USF football team on their inaugural year of having a football team). No one was scouting me, so I made a decision to pioneer a path to the school where I always wanted to play football; I chose to walk-on the FSU football team.

There is a vast difference between the experiences of receiving promises from recruiters soliciting your commitment to their program and having to make cold calls begging for a no-guarantee opportunity to walk on with a university; you might not even get repetition at practice.

Deep within us all is that desire to be pursued as top prep athletes are during this season of their life. However, that is not what life presents to most of us. We have to go looking for job ads, we go searching on, and we beg friends to like us on Facebook or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

The reality of life is that if we want to wear that dream jersey, our journey will involve more of a walk-on path than that of a recruited scholarship athlete.

If you want to start your own business you're going to need to seek out the prospective investors, you'll have to offer free written articles to the local newspaper to earn your spot on a column, you'll have to swallow your pride and call that girl (and be a gentleman about it) if you feel you're meant to be together.

The gripping tension within us all is that we know exactly what we want but we're waiting for someone to make us an offer. We may even have our three to five options but none is exactly the true desire of our hearts.

What do we do in this situation? Do we limit ourselves to what is presented, or can we remain committed to what we really want and create a path to get there when that is warranted?

I saw many recruited athletes during my college years meander through four years at FSU and hardly played a down. Some even left to go somewhere else. But for me, is was a PASSIONATE PURSUIT to make my dream happen that helped me to become a team captain of the '2000 defending national championship FSU football team.

Offer or none, Pursue your Passion!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Far Reach: A must read for Toastmasters

On April 16 2011, 8 North Florida speech contest octo-finalists vied for the right to move on to the quarterfinals round of Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking.  The top three speeches that night were as follow:

·         Winning Speech:  “America”

A patriotic and motivating speech about taking advantage of our opportunities, by Walter Marriah Jr.

·         Runner-up: “The Month of August”

 A sentimental speech about the impact of a loving father, by Louis Sloan

·         2nd runner-up: “Fight or Flight”

An illuminating speech on the courageous nature of a rescue dog and how we could emulate it, by Pat Simmons

All three speeches were impactful and memorable speeches delivered by dynamic and seasoned speakers.  However, you’d really be surprised by the result of the speech that most likely placed last that night.

This speech was delivered by Leah Gilbert Henderson.  You must know that Leah placed last at the 1st round (club level).  She only advanced because all the others who placed higher had scheduling conflicts and couldn’t compete at the next round.  Leah then competed at the 2nd round (Area level) and once again placed last.  Luck would have it, that once again, scheduling conflicts for others opened the door for Leah to compete at the octo-finals (Division Level).

On the night of the Division contest, April 16, 2011, Leah gave a speech to encourage us to better our health by eating vibrant colored fruits and vegetables, yet she struggled to keep her delivery from being as bland as white flour.  Needless to say Leah did not leave with a trophy that night, nor was she going to strike luck a third time to somehow move to the quarterfinals.  However, her speech did not die in that meeting room.  

Three days later, after arriving home from work, I opened the fridge to see all kinds of greens and fruits.  My wife, Teressa, said that Leah’s speech motivated and challenged her to make better diet decisions.

10 months later our fridge is still regularly supplied with colored veggies and fruits.  Leah’s speech did not make it to the top round but her message made it to another home.

That is what the contest, and speaking in general is about: Not how far you can make it, but rather how far your message can reach.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

O.W.N. your Pursuit.

Would you want to be a part of 34,999 losers? That's what I belonged to when I fell short as a quarterfinal's runner-up in Toastmaster's International World Championship of Public Speaking in 2010; a contest where usually 35,000 Toastmaster members, compete but only one will be crowned the World Champion.

I was devastated knowing I was that close to moving on to the next level; however, when I found out that there were 34,998 others who fell short of winning the crown it made me feel just a bit....worse. Urghh, I'm so competitive.

Nonetheless, time allowed me to discover that the whole experience was a win because I truly came out a better speaker, leader, and person. 'How did that happen,' you ask? Well, while every experience grows us, I believe I got the most out of mine by 'O.W.N.' ing mine- and you can too.

Own-(verb) to acknowledge as one's own, to fully engage with.

By O.W.N., I mean that we don't just go through the motion, but we engage and:

Observe and learn
Write notes and ideas
Network with people

My experience was going through a speech contest, but for you it may be trying to start your own business, pursue a new career, or write your own book. You can carry this desire and leave it to luck whether you will achieve it or not, or you can engage and O.W.N. your journey.

Observe and Learn- means you have to show up. If you want to be a writer- start reading books that are selling off the shelf- follow popular bloggers and authors. If you want to be a speaker, attend seminars where great speakers are presenting.

Observe what these icons do best. Participate actively by analyzing their techniques. Don't just accept that they are good; identify and specify what makes them sizzle. Ask yourself, 'what can I learn and incorporate into my own art to make me better?'

Write notes and ideas- We all have great ideas- in fact ideas are constantly oozing in and out of our minds; however, we can never hold on to them long enough to act. Why? Because we don't write them down. Writing is the first step of taking action. When you write down ideas and take notes, you make a greater commitment to follow up on those ideas and note. Is there really power in writing? Yes, that's why less than 5% of people reach their goals, and these people have one thing in common- they wrote down their goals. Start writing!!

Network with people- If talent can take you one mile, people will take you ten. People may be hard to deal with at times and sometimes you may not know who you can trust; however, every decision that has been made on earth has been made by a human. A person decided who got hired, what book to buy, and which speaker to book. Because people are subjects they make subjective decisions. If people know you and feel comfortable with you they will make favorable decisions towards you.

You are not going to make it without people- you will need them to market your book, to give a you a favorable recommendation, or to make you a loan. Start networking and building mutually edifying relationships. It's been said that “your network is your net worth.” There is a lot to be said about that.

I continue to pursue a career in bettering the lives of people through speaking. You too have your own longing desires. The fear of falling into the group of the 34,999 losers keeps us on the sideline and reluctant to try; however, I believe that anyone who engages in the process will come out a winner. The true prize is not a trophy, a big salary, or fame. The true prize is a better polished YOU. You will achieve that by 'O.W.N.'ing the experience.

Continue on your PASSIONATE PURSUIT.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

To work or not to work.

As I'm scanning the local ad, the followings beams right at me, "Managers and Sales Representatives".  

Without transcribing the entire ad for you, here was the key hook: 
" As part of our EXPANSION PROGRAM, company is lookingfor PART TIME employees to WORK FROM HOME, the pay is $3000 a month PLUS BENEFITS." 
This type of ad will elicit only two polarizing responses- 1) "Really???!!!"(With enthusiasm) or 2) "Whatever!!!!" (With scoffing). For me it got the #2 response. But nonetheless it got me thinking.

This ad took up a lot of costly real estate on the newspaper so the author knew what s/he was doing. There are key promises in this ad that many people are looking for.

1) Expansion Program- (this job is growing so there is security in its success)

2) Part Time - (this work will not be exhausting and the hours will be flexible)

2) Work from home - (this job will be convenient)

3) $3000 a month - (this job will provide consistent income)

4) Plus Benefits - (Benefits without full time commitment)

Who wouldn't want a secure $36000 a year, with free HMO coverage, while leisurely working 4 - 5 hours a day from their sofa???? But if you think anyone really is going to transact that type of quid pro quo with you, you may be too gullible.

Since the fall in the garden, God told Adam one important thing, "Through hard toil, the earth will yield you it's fruit." Gen 3:17

I don't think this job offer is a hoax- but it is surely hiding what it's really going to take to be successful in it.... W.O.R.K., with a capital "OH MY LORD!!!"

If you do go for this job, please expect the following

1) Things that expand tend to contract as well (i.e. pregnant bellies after labor) that is the level of security you can expect.

2) Part time means you'll probably work half days (you can choose which 12 hours you prefer)

3) Mowing the Lawn, washing the dishes, and cleaning bathrooms are all work from home. (But to me that has never been convenient).

4) $3000 a month will seem like it got cut in half as soon as you accept the job. (Money alone will never continue to fuel you in a job)

5) Hopefully 'Benefits' means free HMO coverage - (you'll probably need it with the stress you'll encounter from the job).

Please don't think I'm hating on this job. I'm not, but I do want to decode the ad. I feel it's important that everyone knows that there is not a road to enjoying the good fruits of life that is not paved with work; though we all would love to find one.

We all have good fruits in this life that we want to enjoy: financial freedom, edifying relationships, accomplishments, respect, prestige, etc., Deep down we understand it will take work to obtain these seemingly evasive goals; yet many keep falling for empty promises that we can get a shortcut to them or walk a path that doesn't require extensive labor.

It doesn't exist. We must be comfortable with the fact that it will take work to get there.

Consider this there are two long roads to your desired goals- one is paved with work and the other with quick sand. Which would you like to take?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just Start!

The title of my first blog post is apropos not only for me in finally getting my blog started but for everyone out there who has been carrying an impregnated vision way past term.


Steven Tyler, in his interview with Oprah, remarked on how many of the IDOL contestant's who are sent home are twice as good as Janis Joplin or even he was when they sang their first note.  The point is that neither Janis, nor Steven, nor any great singer we know of came out singing melodic masterpieces.  None could emotionally move their audience as skillfully as our remembrance of their peak performances.  Yet, that did not stop them.  They JUST STARTED from where they were on a PASSIONATE PURSUIT of their dream; and each reached their own great heights.

That seems to be different than how most of us think now.  We usually measure our beginning point with others mid to end points and give up because we don't measure up.  Or we keep saying that we will perfect our skill before we start- Of course that never happens.

If we would JUST START where we are and believe that there is no perfection other than what has been perfected- and if it had to be perfected that means it wasn't perfect to began with.  Furthermore, like the stars we idolize in our minds- we will not ultimately be remembered by how we started (regardless of how terrible it was) but how we matured, persevered, and finished- and of course we can't experience any of those unless we JUST START.

    Maya Angelou said, "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."  We all have a vision we value and a passion we prize yet many of us suppress it because we aren't sure how others will receive it.  We never start because we try to prejudge whether or not we will finish the race, or if we'll place among 'the greats'.  The truth is, if we have a song, a desire, a burning passion-it's worth singing, or pursuing. 

Each individual who has ever lived, regardless of how great their feats and accomplishments, will make only a single note in the orchestra of life.  You make your note by singing your song- that is pursuing your passion and birthing that vision you've been laboring.  When all the notes come together a beautiful sound erupts from the earth and moves the heavens.  No one note was more important than the other- each supported and was supported by another.

So don't let fear, doubt, or whatever is keeping you from a PASSIONATE PURSUIT of your dream stop you any longer.  Make this the day to JUST START.