Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ideas Worth Sharing

Facilitated Mastermind Groups – sounds pretty new age, doesn’t it? Actually, the mastermind group concept was created by Napoleon Hill who wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1937. This book has sold over one million copies and been ranked sixth best-selling paperback business book 70 years after it was published! Hill believed that everyone needs a group of people who will help each other follow through with their goals in a supportive environment that encourages their growth.

I have learned how powerful mastermind groups are and a meeting I attended at the National Speakers Association Convention about forming them was very insightful. The facilitator described the format she uses for her mastermind groups and then had us participate in a mock group to discuss the topic of our choice.

My table chose to explore the subject of book publishing. The question we were attempting to answer involved whether one of the group members should self-publish her book or retain a publisher. Each of us shared information that was relevant to her question.

I had first hand knowledge since I self-published a book some years ago. Earlier this past week I had also met with a major publisher about a new book I am writing. Others in the group also offered their expertise. The pluses and minuses of each method were fairly equal. The deciding factor depends upon how you define the goal for the book.

If making money on book sales is the main goal, then self-publishing is the way to go. If you want notoriety and exposure, then a major publisher is likely the answer. However, it is not easy to get a publisher. Major publishers typically are not interested in a book unless you can guarantee sales of 10,000 books in a year. There are many stories of publishers rejecting well-known authors like J. K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book.

After I offered my expertise to the group, I felt like I had done well enough. But there was a strange gnawing inside of me. I had more information which had been shared with me by a well-respected speaking guru. This valuable concept had been unknown to me and I was fairly certain others didn’t know about it either.

In that moment I had a choice. No one would ever know that I had an extremely helpful insight that I was not sharing. But in the spirit of giving I made a point to tell the group. It was obviously a novel idea because everyone was excited and writing it in their notebook.

My gift for the day was to share an idea that I hadn’t planned on talking about.

Cavett Robert, the person who created the National Speaker’s Association in the 1970’s said, “The pie is big enough.” If he was still here I think he would be proud of seeing that today the ideas worth sharing are being given away freely.

In giving,


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Encouraging an Encourager

Imagine being at a conference with 1500 speakers –many who haven’t seen each other in at least a year – and the amount of conversations going on at once. It is a rare occurrence indeed to be standing alone with time to think. But there I was, by myself in front of the photographer’s table studying his schedule for an open slot for my much-needed glam shot. It seems that the current picture of me on my business cards may have changed (just a little) since it was last done. My friends were saving a seat for me at their lunch table and had just texted me that the noon program is about to start. The photographer’s assistant was searching for an open time when a young woman standing off to my right side said, “Hello, I’m Kathy. I’m getting my picture taken.”

I must admit I was a little annoyed at first. Can’t she see that I’m busy focusing on scheduling before the next program starts? Kathy begins telling me that she is really nervous about having her photo taken. I glanced at her while confirming my photo appointment with the assistant. Now that it’s done, I could spare a brief moment before rushing towards the doors of the ballroom.  I tell her not to worry, everything will be fine because she looks beautiful in her red dress. She seems intent on starting a conversation by asking me where I live and what I speak about. I glance at my watch and anxiously look at the room where I need to go.

She tells me she speaks on networking and thought she might need a prop of some sort for her promotional material photo. I suggested she use a business card and tried to pull away. I thought “That should satisfy her, I’m done.” I had given her my time and an idea to use. Then she went on to tell me why she needed a new photo. She said that her hairstyle is different than her last photo because she has just finished cancer treatments and that finally her hair has grown back.

Then she asked me, “Would you please stay with me and encourage me as I get my photo taken?” Wow, do I feel like a heel, recalling words my Mother would use, thinking that I might as well be the heel of a shoe for my total lack of compassion and support for her. Then the music begins in the ballroom indicating that the luncheon session is starting. Once the lights are turned down, it will be nearly impossible to find my friends’ table in the dark.

I hear another text come in. But now my attitude has changed. Rather than thinking of myself, I felt it was much better to give support to my new friend, Kathy.

I’m so glad that I stayed and supported her. Her photos will be beautiful. My gift for today was the encouragement I offered to a stranger who I thought was an interruption but turned out to be a radiant and beautiful new friend.

In giving,


Monday, July 29, 2013

The Gift Goes to the Giver

The National Speakers Association (NSA) presented the 2013 Philanthropist of the Year award to Randy Gage. Many people may not recognize his name unless you are in NSA, read one of his books or taken one of his seminars. He is well known for teaching people about prosperity and abundance. Although he has made millions of dollars in his business over the past twenty years, he has given away millions of dollars as well.
In his acceptance speech, he told us something he had never told an audience before—there was a time early in his business career that he was on food stamps. He was embarrassed about it then and still is today. There are other things he reveals that are nothing to be proud of but show how far he has come to receive today’s award.
Now he is in the midst of a major transition in his life. He has sold his mansion, all his sports cars and over $100,000 worth of suits as he refocuses his life. To help himself gain more clarity, he is on a sabbatical; traveling around the world. He built his vast wealth from nothing and knows that if need be, he can do it again.
For several years, he has given generously to the NSA Foundation. When he received his award today he said the reason he is philanthropic is because “. . . the gift goes to the giver. We change lives when we give.” He even stated that he considers giving selfish because he gets such joy from giving.
That made me wonder if the joy I’m feeling is actually selfish. I had always thought that giving is joyful for the people who are receiving. Maybe giving creates so much joy for both the giver and receiver because it is one, of many, expressions of love. And if giving and receiving are selfish let’s all be selfish.
Randy inspired me. I love that my hotel room here at this convention is cleaned and straightened each day. I love that my bed is made and fresh towels are in the bathroom.
I left a small amount of money for a gift for the housekeeper in the hotel with a note that thanked her for her loving and good work.
And if giving and receiving love are selfish let’s all be selfish.
In giving,

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Comfort in Chaos

You may have watched the television show, America’s Dirtiest Jobs. The host participates in gross, dirty jobs in a reality show format. Working for an airline may not be physically dirty, but it would classify as mentally dirty. A lot of angry people are stuck in airports because of delayed flights, missing their connecting flights and cancelled flights. And I was one of those displaced travellers.
Orrin, a United Airlines ticket agent in SFO is my new hero. Orrin, went above and beyond the call of duty. He helped turn a bad situation for me into a much better one.
I landed in San Francisco 20 minutes after my flight was to take off for Philadelphia, but was holding out hope that it was delayed and I would miraculously make the flight. As I ran into the terminal the reader board said that a US Air flight was leaving in 30 minutes. United and UA Air have an agreement that sometimes will let a traveller fly on the other airline.
I ran across the airport to the US Air gate and the ticket agent said there was a seat available, but United needed to pay for the ticket before she assigned me the seat. She told me to run as fast as I could to United’s customer service because they would begin boarding in five minutes. I ran through the airport to United.
Orrin, the ticket agent said it was already closed and he couldn’t get me on it. As his fingers tapped on the keyboard, he just kept shaking his head no. Finally, he handed me a receipt and said he didn’t know if it would work, but to tell US Air that he just put it in the computer. He said if it didn’t, to come back and he would assign me a seat for the next flight.
I ran back to US Air and they told me the ticket hadn’t been reimbursed. Finally she agreed to give me a boarding pass. I made my meeting with 10 minutes to spare.
When I reached my hotel there was an email from United Airlines apologizing for the delay. They sent a link for me to complete a form with my feedback. I usually don’t take the time to do that, but today I wanted to be sure Orrin was rewarded for his effort. I completed the form. At the end of the form it thanked me for taking the time to give them feedback and offered me a $75 credit on my next flight. I didn’t expect to be thanked for thanking them, but it was a nice surprise.
In giving and to Orrin for making the skies a little friendlier,