Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dare To Be Amazing – But How?

Often when I am at a speaking engagement or a networking event, people will look at the name of my business (Dare To Be Amazing) and ask what I am daring people to do. I love that question and enjoy the conversation that ensues. In the end, the person who asks walks away with a smile and some inspiration.

Dare To Be Amazing is not just a suggestion, but is a way of life for me and many others. And I encourage the same for every one of you as you make decisions each hour of each day on how to live your life. Candidly, what other option do you have?

One of the quotes I admire the most is taken from a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt on April 23, 1910. Those who know me appreciate how much it means, so much so that for Christmas this past year my nieces and nephews gifted me a large print with this quote on it. It is way cool!

To solidify in your mind the most impactful way to dare to be amazing, here is an excerpt from that speech over 100 years ago. It has now been titled “In The Arena.”

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

See, here’s the thing. Critics don’t make the world, your job, or your family better. Those who take risks and take action do. Make sense? Just ask the Seattle Seahawks. It was their game to win or lose at the Super Bowl, not ours. Who are we to criticize the play called at the end of the game?

When I dare you to be amazing, I am daring you to have courage. I am daring you to try. To get in motion and stay in motion. To be curious about what is possible if you push just a little harder. To be refined by your experiences and not defined by those things that work against you. And, as Teddy Roosevelt said in 1910, I am daring you to step into the arena and play the game. To dare greatly!

Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens you; to have strength in the face of challenge. For me, courage is the willingness to try something even though it might make me sweat, hurt or even cry a little. Kind of like my Crossfit workout this morning! I wanted to quit at least five times but I kept hearing Teddy in my head. He inspired me to push through the pain … to be brave!

Sitting on the sidelines and wondering what could be is not an ingredient of success. The risks and steps you take do not have to be ginormous. What is one thing you could do today that will progress you two inches in the direction of your goal? Just two inches!! That’s it…no more…stop right there and admire your progress. Celebrate and stay in the arena to do it again and again and again.


Your life (and your business) becomes amazing when you do. And your life is happening right here, right now. Make it amazing – I dare ya!

Monday, March 2, 2015

How Your Behaviors Influence Others

Did you ever notice that in your workplace, family or circle of friends, members will take on the habits of those in a leadership role? It manifests itself in the members’ actions, in how they talk, what they say, and maybe even in their physical mannerisms. It is an interesting social study and one you should be keenly aware of as a leader.

 “Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels or believes.”
 ~ Emily Dickinson

See, here’s the thing. People might just start changing their behavior because you changed yours. Your employees and team members look to you to gauge the pulse and mood of the organization. They watch and analyze your actions in order to determine the attitude and behaviors that feel most appropriate and aligned with you. Most of the time their goal is to reflect your actions and behaviors within their own to support you and ensure alignment.

Isn’t that amazing? Folks choose their behaviors based on what they observe their leader doing or saying (or not saying). No doubt it’s a lot of pressure. They aren’t the paparazzi, but your employees and team members are watching you.

As a leader, you most certainly want folks aligned with you and reflecting your energy and passion and commitment, don’t you? I think you do. I know I sure did in my days as a corporate leader.

If you each take responsibility in shifting your own behaviors, you can trigger the type of changes in your folks that will enable your team and your organization to achieve amazing results. Everyone will be pulling in the same direction. And you will be building trust within in your team.

Look around you – it is present every day. Children of hard working parents often are hard workers. Employees of leaders who are generally negative take on a negative persona themselves. If you were to yell at someone today … betcha $10 you will get a less than pleasant response. See how this works? Your attitudes and actions are reflected in others.

Attitude invokes behaviors that are in alignment with that attitude. Plain and simple. Be the behavioral compass in your organization that will make a difference. Choose the high road when confronted with an irate person. Show up on Saturday when the employees are working overtime. Arrive to meetings on time and start them on time. Follow through on all of your commitments. And, let people know – from you personally – when they are exhibiting the behaviors that make a difference.

Look in the behavioral mirror today and absorb what you see. What do you notice about your attitudes and/or behaviors that may be affecting your team members in an undesirable way? What should you be changing in yourself so that others can dare to be amazing?

Commit to just one change today and see how it works for you. I look forward to hearing about your outcomes.

Your life (and your business) becomes amazing when you do. And your life is happening right here, right now. Make it amazing – I dare ya!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


What do you want to be when you grow up? As a kid, this question stirred up dreams of being a doctor or an astronaut or a pilot. Maybe even a ballerina or a policeman or firefighter. That kid always had an amazing vision of what their career would look like. So … umm … what happened along the way?

Life happened … that’s what! And when it comes to the careers and motivations that you have you can either just “let it happen” or you can make a choice to take charge of the direction things are taking. Yep, I said make a choice.

See, here’s the thing. Regardless of what your boss and the HR department tell you, or what you want to believe, no one cares more about your career than you do. Do you get that? No one has the passion for your career and your destiny at any higher level than you do. Maybe there are those rare exceptions, but in general this is true. I repeat … no one cares more about your career … your advancement … your sense of challenge and self worth … than YOU do.


If there is a really cool project in the making, go ahead and dare to ask to be involved. Or maybe even ask to lead the project. I remember asking if I could lead a project one time in my career and it was pivotal!! Thanks Jim for believing in me on that project.

When you start feeling like you can contribute more or want to shift your focus, bring the subject up with you boss and coworkers. They can’t read your mind ya know!

If an opportunity is presented to you that sounds like it could be way cool, at least give yourself permission to explore it and discover how amazing it just might be for you.

There are no wrong answers here when it comes to talking about what you think you might want to do.

And guess what, in your role as a leader or as the head of a household, the same applies to the folks you serve. I encourage to push those around you to play the lead role in driving their careers and their dreams instead of them relying on you to wave your wand and make it all happen for them. Coach them through why they must have the initiative, how they can make that possible and what benefits they can expect when they take charge.

I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do half of the things I did in my corporate career if I didn’t believe I was the one who cared the most about my career. No doubt I was blessed by working for and with people who were willing to take risks on a guy who cheated to get out of college. The fact is when I asked if I could try something bold, I was always rewarded for my courage, my drive and my intensity.

And you can enjoy these same results as well. Do you believe that?

Be intentional … be curious … be stubborn … wonder … and then put one foot in front of the other because winning is all in front of you. What lies behind you is merely an input – the past doesn’t define who you are as a person, a parent, a leader, an employer, a coach or … a friend.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Sit in the driver’s seat and there is no telling where YOU might take YOU!

Your life (and your business) becomes amazing when you do. And your life is happening right here, right now. Make it amazing – I dare ya!

Monday, December 22, 2014


Santa and his team have been bringing Christmas cheer to billions of people every year for a long time. How does he make the whole thing work? And what lessons can we learn from him and the whole gang up North?
Well, I think I’ve got part of his magic figured out. At least I think I do …
See, here’s the thing. Sometimes the best lessons in life come from the most unusual of circumstances. And I think we can agree that everything that surrounds the fat man is unusual by our mortal standards. Giving yourself permission to explore the true magical takeaways from Santa could just change your life. 
So let’s explore seven lessons I have learned from Santa and the team at the workshop way up on top of the world.
You Must Have A Plan. The dude obviously has a plan to be able to achieve what he does every year for all of those children. Depending on luck is not how he ensures that every toy he needs is in the sleigh on Christmas night. The details must be incredible. There must be something to that whole “making a list and checking it twice” regalia that we sing about. I am certain Santa knows that HOPE is not a plan. Details boys … details!!
You’re Only As Good As The People Around You. Santa himself cannot even begin to tackle everything that’s required to pull off the monumental task he achieves every year on Christmas. He must depend on the elves to manufacture all of the toys and to assist him with every last administrative detail necessary for success. The engineer elves design all of the cool new toys each year. And, beautiful Mrs. Claus is always there to provide him support and love. Santa would easily be the Grinch without the support of those around him.
One Day Can Make Or Break You. Ole Saint Nick has one day a year to be a hero or a zero. And he knows it. Santa makes a promise every year to all of the boys and girls around the world that he will deliver toys and other goodies on Christmas night. By my calculations, he is batting 1,000%! Keeping his promise is what keeps the kids coming back year after year. And maintaining that promise allows everyone to have tremendous trust in him.
Manage and Document Performance. “He knows who is naughty and who is nice.” Hmmm. Never thought about how profound that statement is when put into the context of leadership and parenting. Santa is very clear on his expected behaviors – be good and helpful at home, at school and in all aspects of your life. He also has defined the rewards that go to those who behave in such a way – toys and goodies for the good ones and lumps of coal for the bad ones. And you find out every year how you performed!! Set expectations and reward proper behaviors – not just at work but also in all areas of your life.
The Joy Is In The Giving More Than The Receiving. The man gives and gives and gives and all he wants in return are a hug and a thank you. That is servant leadership if I have ever seen it. It is a great model to emulate in your lives. Ramp up the giving and you will receive more than you ever dreamed possible in return.
What Others See As Impossible Can Be Possible For Me. Fly around the world in a sleigh full of toys for billions of girls and boys. Land on rooftops. Flying reindeer. Slide down chimneys into houses. Eat 40 million cookies in one night. Elves … Enough said. The first step in achieving goals is believing that you can and will do it. Believing that once you take the first step towards the goal nothing can stop you. The moment Rudolph’s hooves lift off of the ground Santa knows it’s gonna be a good night. What or who is your Rudolph?
Lastly, It’s OK To Eat Cookies Everywhere You Go! I love cookies – more than most foods in my life. Santa has given me permission to eat cookies everywhere I go. Anyone that knows me can attest to the fact that my favorite cookie is … the next one I will eat. Enjoy what you like is the message here. Allow yourself to be a kid when you can.
Santa Claus is more than a mystery – he is a great teacher of life and leadership. Every year on that fateful night he must dare to be amazing. And he is!!
I’ve strapped on the Santa suit dozens of times in my life for the enjoyment of thousands of children (yep, that's me in the picture above). And every time it is a special experience. I respect the role that I am playing and the responsibility that comes along with representing one of the greatest leaders of all time. What he stands for and how he does it is a model from which everyone can learn.
What has Santa Claus and the magic of Christmas taught you in your life? I would love to hear from all of you about your relationship with Santa.
Look around you this holiday season and notice the lessons to be learned. Embrace the true magic and miracles of Christmas and honor them in your life. And share those newfound joys with anyone who will listen. Santa is watching, so make him proud.

Your life (and your business) becomes amazing when you do. And your life is happening right here, right now. Make it amazing – I dare ya!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Happy Holidays my amazing friends and followers! Wishing you all calm, patience and amazing joy as you traverse through any chaos that falls upon you over the next week or so.
Do you ever find yourself too busy to be amazing? Do you have those times when finishing something – actually completing a task to your exacting satisfaction – seems just impossible? Has chaos become your middle name?

Because you are humans, you have physical limits regarding what you can tackle at one time. Makes sense, right? Somehow, though, too many commitments are made and the pressure gets heavy. And important things fall by the wayside. Not good.

Whoa – and what about those exciting New Year’s resolutions everyone is about to proclaim for 2015? Woohoo!! Or maybe … Oh No!

See, here’s the thing. I am all about continuously improving and setting goals to make yourself better – as a person, as a parent, as a friend, as a leader and as a spouse. That’s what Dare To Be Amazing is all about. The problem arises when you try and be amazing in everything for everybody at all times in all places. That just doesn’t work – ever!!

As you look toward the future and you move into 2015, I encourage you to choose results over excuses. And that will likely require you to narrow your focus on what you seek to achieve during 2015.

No one gains energy and inspiration when sharing excuses of why they failed at a goal. It sucks to have excuses, doesn’t it?

Remember the last time you achieved something amazing and how that made you feel? THAT is what you are looking for in your future. It’s chemistry, man. Your body’s design, driven by your brain, motivates you with “rewards” of dopamine when you achieve a goal. And it feels good.

So here is the challenge I have for you. Replace all of those New Year’s resolutions with one TAG – one Totally Amazing Goal. I want you to T-A-G 2015 as a year to remember. Replace excuses with results by agreeing to have one T-A-G that can, will and must be accomplished. One T-A-G describing how amazing you can be. One and only one focus to show amazing results.

And when you complete your T-A-G with the desired results, find another T-A-G and make it yours. One at a time … give chaos the year off!!

I’m begging you … just one, one, one, one, one T-A-G for 2015. Get the results!

Be intentional. Have a plan. Stop doing what you must. Share your T-A-G with others. Chart your progress. And celebrate along the way.

It is your choice what you T-A-G for 2015. Will it be for home, work, school, athletics, hobbies, relationships, money, volunteerism, or your spirit? It is your choice folks. And I applaud you for making a choice.

Be curious … be stubborn … wonder … and then put one foot in front of the other because winning is all in front of you. What lies behind you is merely an input – the past doesn’t define who you are as a person, a parent, a leader, an employer, a coach or … a friend.

T-A-G … you’re it!!

Your life (and your business) becomes amazing when you do. And your life is happening right here, right now. Make it amazing – I dare ya!