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What’s Trending in the Speaking World?

What’s Trending in the Speaking World?

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

Event strategists always start with the end in mind. They know the core principle in strategic planning is that all actions and decisions must support the event goal. When it comes to choosing speakers, it can be easy to get distracted by celebrity status or choose topics that may be personally interesting but not right for your target audience. Engaging the professional skills of a speaker’s bureau allows you to add an expert to your team at no cost to you, saves time and will potentially introduce you to people and topics you may not have otherwise found.

When it comes to choosing speakers, it can be easy to get distracted by celebrity status or choose topics that may be personally interesting but not right for your target audience. Read on to discover, what’s trending in the speaking world?This is the second in a three-part series recapping a conversation I had with Sue Falcone, Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau (you can see Sue’s smiling face in the photo shown above). Our goal was to explore how planners can strategically build relationships with speaker’s bureaus. If you missed the first installment and want to see the first article, please click here.

Christy: What changes are you noticing when planners call to book a speaker?

Sue: At one time, my relationship was exclusively with planners operating in a silo, meaning there were no other people for them to run ideas by or to get suggestions from. Now planners are part of a much larger team. Having more people making the decision translates to needing to provide more options as each person has an opinion or vision on the topic and/or presenter needed. I once shared three potential speakers for consideration before someone was selected. Now I find myself presenting up to eight candidates before a decision is made. As a bureau that is focused on helping clients meet their goal, it’s crucial to adapt to their changing needs and timeline to provide the best service possible.

Christy: What is one thing everyone should know when booking a speaker to get the best fit?

Sue: As is the case with all things strategic, the goal is the key. First, I need to know what the speaker is expected to accomplish. Then I find out what the necessary audience takeaways and outcomes are. Not everyone can put their goals into words, so I created a detailed questionnaire to help the process. Sometimes people know how they want the audience to feel after hearing the message but can’t articulate what the message itself should be. We specialize in finding and delivering what you ask for and sometimes even what you don’t know how to ask for!

Christy: I’ve noticed lead times to plan are getting significantly smaller. Are you seeing that too?

Sue: Absolutely! We are getting requests with very short time frames for the search to be done yet the same level of quality is expected.

Christy: In an ideal world, how far in advance should planners start looking for a speaker?

Sue: After the event goal is established and a budget is confirmed, the speaker search should begin. The speaker is often the main draw, so the process shouldn’t be rushed. To do the job correctly, it takes a lot of time to search the options before we can propose the perfect match. We need to find speakers who match not just the topic’s parameters but are also a good fit for the audience/corporate culture, have the right personality, attitude, and of course, price. We need it to be the right fit on all counts or it doesn’t work.

Christy: Are you finding speakers are becoming more flexible in tailoring their topics to the audience?

Sue: I’ve booked over 3000 events and work to make each experience custom to the client’s needs. That includes making sure speakers are willing to adjust their content based on who will be listening to them. Today’s audiences consume tremendous amounts of content daily and are incredibly savvy. They will not accept “canned” presentation. One size does not fit all.

Christy: It seems that this is part fact-based and part intuition in terms of pairing speakers to audiences. Is that right and if so, how do you make that work?

Sue: When first contacted to provide a speaker, I gather detailed information from the client, so I have the background I need. Like I said, it’s not just the topic, the personality and style have to be a good fit. I do my homework in advance and get a sense of who the hiring organization is. I get a sense of their culture, their expectations, what has and hasn’t worked for them in the past and what their goal is. That way when I pick up the phone, I know who I’m looking for and what we need to achieve.

Additionally, my speakers must complete a comprehensive questionnaire before signing with me. This gives me a wealth of information at my fingertips, which saves time, avoids confusion or miscommunication and allows me to be the best at what I do.

Thursday, Sue and Christy finish their conversation, during which they discuss, among other things, how to build a partnership with a bureau.

CEO, Sue Falcone, recognized the need for a speakers bureau that would represent professional speakers, and provide the perfect speaker for clients who sought the best for their events with a personal “hands on” custom touch.

From a former corporate executive, to becoming a professional speaker and author being hired, and creating a distinctive and unique speakers bureau representing speakers for hire, she gained the experience and expertise needed to give a full service experience.

5 Words to Avoid in Your Social Media Posts!

Here are 5 types of words that I want you to think twice before using in your social media.

Why so important in social media? Because you have a much shorter time to make an impression so you want to make a good and intriguing impression, fast.

CLICK TO TWEET

 1. Avoid words that focus on the negative.

Words like:

  • Can’t
  • Do not
  • Unfortunately
  • Impossible
  • Mistake
  • Problem

That doesn’t mean your prospect client doesn’t have a problem you want to (and can) solve. It means you need to word it differently.

Instead use words like:

  • Your benefit
  • It’s best to
  • Success
  • Value

Show you understand where your reader is coming from and how your service benefits them to keep reading, to sign up, to click, or to buy.

2. Avoid using the words THING or STUFF or IT.
I actually wrote this sentence in this post and had to go back and change one above because I realized I used it when I could have been more specific. Always, always, always be specific. Be clear, tell your followers what you want them to focus on so they have clear takeaways.

What was the sentence above I had to change?

Tell me what you think of the difference when I followed my own advice…

Before: Show your reader how it benefits them to keep reading, to sign up, to click, or to buy.

After: Show your reader how your service (or product) benefits them to keep reading, to sign up, to click, or to buy.

Small difference but a big one nonetheless. Don’t you think?

3. Avoid the word REALLY.
This word is a descriptive crutch. Just like a lot, and very. If you are describing something that you want to emphasize and you can’t think of a good adjective then grab your thesaurus or go to thesaurus.com (my personal fav) to get inspiration. Or just delete the word altogether and your sentence should be strong enough to stand on its own.

Example: You really need to buy my service if you are suffering from a lot of fear that posting on social media is difficult and are very nervous about spending money on ads.

Change to: Buy my service if you suffer from fear that posting on social media is difficult and you are nervous about spending money on ads.

Just removing those words made your statement much more clear and powerful!

4. Strike out “I believe” “I think” and “I feel” , from your posts.
People assume the words they read are the author’s opinion, unless you are quoting a fact. Using these “I” statements sounds wishy washy, reduces the power of what you are saying, and leads to a decrease in your perceived expert status. So don’t do this, instead just take those words out of the equation and let your sentence stand on its own.

Example: I believe you should revamp, revitalize and renew your LinkedIn profile so you look professional and polished.

Now take out the “I believe” and notice how the focus stays on the reader and you sound much more persuasive!

What do you think?

5. Never use the word JUST.
I read a fascinating article recently. The author talked about some personal research she did on the word just. She found that a much higher proportion of women used this word in communication.

  • “I just wanted to check in on …”
  • “Just wondering if you’d decided between …”
  • “If you can just give me an answer, then …”
  • “I’m just following up on …”

The author (Ellen Leanse, Business Insider) makes a fantastic point about the word just and why women seem to use it more. This word is a way of asking permission, showing deference to who you are talking to (whether they deserve it or not), and most often dramatically reduces the power of the communicator who uses it.

Striking this one word from the sentence strengthened the sender’s message and clarified it too. Isn’t that something we always look for in communication? I know I do.

So I challenge you to take a look at your communications you send today and see how many justs find their way into your emails, and then delete them!

I bet you will feel a little more powerful and confident in your request, and just might (will!) get a faster, clearer response.

Want another word list to keep handy? Here is a great one: 297 words and phrases that rob your writing of power. Check it out!

Have you found a great resource of words to use or words to avoid? Share with us in my LinkedIn group! I bet you will learn another smart business tidbit or two to use in your social media marketing plan. Join us!

Social Media Brand Strategist Speaker, Karen Yankovich is the CEO of Uplevel Media, LLC.  Having “been there and done that” in the arena of losing (and then re-finding) a focused approach to business and life; Social Media and LinkedIn Evangelist, Karen guides entrepreneurs to creating wealth by combining smart business practices with simple proven systems that develop and maintain strong customer relationships. She offers results oriented and expert Conversational Marketing strategies that position her clients to bring in instant results. Karen’s background includes over twenty years in the fields of information technology, marketing, and customer relationships, making social media her ideal niche. “I highly recommend Karen Yankovich as a speaker. She recently presented to our Texas Women in Business group and had our audience fully engaged with her incredible presentation on Profitable Social Media.”  ~ Megan Tull, Leadership Training Expert   To book Karen for your next event contact Sue Falcone at 888-766-3155 or click here:   Book Karen Today

Do You Have “T-shaped” Work Skills for the Future?

tshapedOur workplace is changing at a fast pace, but have you heard much about the “hot topic” of becoming a “T-shaped” person?

When you hear “T-shaped” what picture comes to mind first? Does deep and wide pop right away? The recruiting industry has started looking extensively into the skill sets that will be needed in the future workplace. They are finding more and more they need people who can do bigger things and think more broadly. The work of the future needs people who have the depth of expertise and skills represented by the vertical part of the “T”, while the crossbar of the ” T” represents the amount they are willing and able to collaborate and share!

Quite a different look, than our normal way of thinking about our work as an individual isn’t it? “T-shaped” people are well-rounded and versatile. They are able to contribute and take on a variety of roles without being “assigned” them as in the workplace now! This will open new mindsets, and focus on how people will be compensated, promoted, and given development to be able to transform organizations!

The skill sets needed to be a  “T-shaped” person are: adaptable/versatile, communicate effectively, multi-cultural awareness, entrepreneurial, intrapreneurial, team player, problem solver, self-motivated, disciplined, critical thinker, collaborative, service focused, and have a mindset of being your own CEO. Sound like an impossible task to make these changes?  Do they look familiar when reviewing the past success of major companies? What were once the so called “soft skills” are now becoming the “hard skills” that we must have!

Our professional speakers and trainers here at Simply Sue Speaks Global Booking Agency are ready to help you,  your companies, and organizations step into the future workplace!  Having the mindset of an entrepreneur while working for someone else is not the norm we are taught in our high schools, and universities.  Nor are the sought after skills when formulating your “Business Plan” either!  Contact me soon and let’s see how we can serve you!

Are you excited about the future workplace? I am! Being a “T-shaped” person is part of what it will take to move our country into our destiny of continued greatness!

Keeping it simple,

sue

 

Sue Falcone-Owner and Booking Agent
Simply Sue Speaks Global Booking Agency
www.simplysuespeaks.com (new website under construction)

Part 2 of “The Secrets of Managing Your Time: from the Experts!”

wow1I knew this was an important topic for all Entrepreneurs and those that dream of being one, but was overwhelmed with the response to the advice shared last week from the talent found at “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency!  Glad to hear we are sharing solutions to this issue of having enough time to do it all!

Did you know Americans work more hours than any other country in the world?  Is having your own business the answer to being able to choose your own hours and be your own boss? Looks like there is still an issue on how one has the time to accomplish everything!  Our experts are ready to share some more valuable tips that can possibly change your life forever!

Alfred Poor, Speaker, Best-seller Author and Technology Expert shares how he manages his day so that he has time to accomplish all he needs to do!  “I break my day into 90 minute segments with a 15 minute intervals between. That gives me times of head-down concentration, with breaks to make phone calls, answer emails, and post on social media. I also provide time for planning at the start and end of each day so that I can keep an eye on the big picture, as well as on the deadlines that might be looming around the corner. I also have a note posted on my desk that asks: “What do I want to accomplish TODAY?”

Alfred, a graduate of Harvard and sought after speaker on college campuses and technology events, is a full-time professional speaker and author with an international reputation. He is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books, as well as thousands of articles in print and on-line. He brings energy and humor to his highly-interactive presentations. Traveling from Pennsylvania, looks like Alfred’s advice is working in his professional and personal life.

Coming from across the country from where I am located is Julie Austin, speaker, award-winning author, inventor, and innovator. Julie is from the fast-paced lifestyle of Los Angeles, and shares: “My one tip on time management would be to make out a to-do list the night before. That way you can hit the ground running first thing in the morning! I do anything that requires ‘heavy brain focus’ first thing in the morning, make all calls before 5, and do anything, like shopping or cleaning after hours when you don’t really need ‘peak’ brain performance!”

Julie believes “how you beat your competition is through innovation.” As an inventor/innovator who “turned, $5.00 and a lump of clay into an International, NASDAQ winning product, “SWIGGIES-the Wrist Water Bottle by Hydrosport,” Julie appears all over the country sharing the techniques she learned as a former gatekeeper of an International Academy Award-winning production company, commercial actor and TV host. She is featured in the books “Patently Female” and “Girls Think of Everything,” and has a best-seller “The Money Garden” available now.  “Why hire Julie?  If you don’t your competition will!”

Heading back to North Carolina on our time with the experts today, we find PJ Sawvel, award-winning communicator with a passion for helping people turn their words into vehicles that drive profits, productivity, and professional development. She shares: “I begin my day by asking two simple questions. What’s one thing I can do today to move my business forward?  What’s one thing I can do today to move my family relationships forward? Then I make sure I do those two things! Additionally, I schedule my physical exercise and spiritual meditation at the top of every day because that’s the way I take care of me! When these three things are taken care of–God, family, and business–then the rest takes care of itself!”

PJ Sawvel as a former top producer in real estate, insurance, and the brokerage markets–is an accomplished face-to-face communicator. In the mid-1990’s, she changed lanes and became an award-winning investigative reporter, founding president of a grassroots non-profit, and now author of the 2014 Global E-Books Gold Media winner, Under the Influence: The Town That Listened to Its Kids. These roles have given her the rare insider’s view of the connections that exist between intentions, words, and the target audience–and the subsequent results. She is a sought after keynote speaker, and workshop and breakout session presenter.

We have one more tip that is sure to let us see what taking care of our time now can do for our future!

Rachael Wonderlin is a nationally recognized expert in the Dementia Care field. For as long as Rachael can remember she has wanted to care for aging adults. Even though Dementia in some form affects 1 in every 3 seniors,  this can be a very difficult topic to discuss. But not for Rachael! She has a world-wide following on her blog and is a contributor to the Alzheimers Reading Room where she shares all aspects of the aging process and Dementia. With so many challenges in her work life, and personal life for her time, Rachael shares: “I am an A Type personality, so I enjoy being busy. I am into old-fashioned-to-do-lists. My work items items I keep in a special notebook, and my personal to-do list I have on my phone. Keeping them separate really helps!”

Rachael is a former child film actress, and although she loved acting in commercials, video, and film, she wanted to focus on her education and the calling she had early in life of caring for aging adults. While in college she did not give up her passion for performance. She comes alive in front of an audience, and now with the topic of Dementia as her platform, she is able to speak and educate her audiences in a fun, comical, and engaging way. Rachael has a new book coming out soon from  John Hopkins Press:  What to Remember When They Forget.

With the varied lifestyles, careers, and personal abilities we all have, time is very valuable and precious to each of us! One of our other speakers, Carol Andrews recently shared this: “Put a premium on your time. You’ll never get back what you’ve wasted!”

Better prepared to face the issue of time management in your business and personal life?  We would love to hear your comments, and how we can help you and your audiences in the future.

Sue Falcone

Sue Falcone

The Secrets of Managing Your Time as an Entrepreneur: from the Experts!

wowEntrepreneurs around the world are seeking answers on how to handle a major issue: how to have the time to do what they love; and also have a personal life! I recently was asked this question at a conference I attended, and knew this needed to be addressed in more detail by the experts!

I sought out some of our speakers, trainers, presenters, entertainers, coaches, and authors, that are represented here at “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency. They are successful entrepreneurs and business owners with very different fields of expertise and business models; but I knew they had learned secrets along their journey that hopefully they would be willing to share! And share they did!

We each have the same amount of time: 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week, and normally 8,760 hours a year. In making a choice to have your own business instead of working for someone else, one clear thread ran through all the experts’ comments: you need to have a positive entrepreneurial mindset, and create a plan that allows you the freedom to have a blended and balanced lifestyle. Your success is not based on how many hours you spend at working, but rather having a plan that allows you the freedom to choose what is most important and how you spend the hours to accomplish your plan.

Award-winning Global Entrepreneurship Speaker and Professor Gary Palin shares this:
“Balance is key! Take the time to have a family walk, including your dog, every day.”

Professor Palin speaks and trains all the right ways to operate your business plan for success, but he knows you must intentionally take the time daily to spend with your family and, in his case, the awesome dog- Spirit, a Rhodesian Ridgeback.  He is an ‘in-demand’ global speaker on all areas of Entrepreneurship, and when he travels Spirit misses him I am sure.

Kelly Swanson, motivational speaker, comedian, award-winning storyteller, and the author of “Who Hijacked My Fairy Tale?” shared in her business she has to have:
1.   A clearly defined business plan for the year with areas of top priority and focus.
2.  Be able to turn that plan into daily/weekly/monthly action steps based on priority and deadlines.
3.  Whenever something comes across your desk/email ask yourself: is this a priority and does it have to be done now?
4.  Daily ask yourself: what is best use of my time today? Stick to it.
5.  Learn to say NO to things that distract you from your top priorities.

Kelly is a Wife and Mom of an 11 year old son, and her business is a “family” business. She lives what she shares and has fun doing it all! She is an excellent blogger, and author, and is a sought after keynote speaker for events across the country.

Barbara Hemphill-known as the “Paper Tiger Lady” offers these tips: “I spend the first hour of everyday in quiet time reminding myself of the “why” for my business. What is it that is important enough to accomplish in my life that makes me willing to do the three most important things in my business today to be profitable?”

Barbara is an internationally recognized Organization and Productivity Expert, Speaker and Author. Her recent book Less Clutter More Life is to help people “accomplish their work and enjoy their lives” by not only handling the paper and digital clutter, but also addressing the emotional and spiritual clutter.  She is a sought after speaker who travels across the country sharing a practical message of change.

Can you see from these successful Entrepreneurs some ways that you could change what you are doing now concerning having enough time to do it all? I want to always be a “long-life learner” and I learned some things here that I am beginning right now!

Hope you will come back next week, as we share some more time management tips from the experts who are successful at making it happen! Are you looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? Save time, stress, and money by taking a look at our speakers found here at www.simplysuespeaks.com 

Sue Falcone

Sue Falcone

 

 

 

What a Dedicated Entrepreneurial Spirit!

Kay and ShirleyRecently visited for the first time the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The beginnings of this major oil company Phillips 66 began 107 years ago here in this city. In 2002 Phillips 66 merged with Conoco Oil Company and now the Corporate offices have been moved to Houston, with a new name Conoco Phillips. Remembering the Phillips 66 history is very important to this city, and this museum was a great community collaborative effort to make it happen!

Interesting to note that even though the merger changed the name somewhat, today there is another twist to the story because in 2012, Conoco Phillips repositioned into two stand-alone publicly traded companies, one of which is the Phillips 66 of today. You can view that entire timeline of both companies at http://www.phillips66.com/ 

The one spokeswoman I was honored to meet is Shirley Patterson, who now has 52 years of service with Phillips 66, and is not planning on retiring soon! She has many roles, but one she loves is volunteering at the Company Museum!

As you enter Shirley greets you and shares how to have the best experience while visiting both floors. She has personal stories to bring to life what you are seeing and feeling. She actually lived out the history and knew the officials and all the details of what you view as you travel back in time. You will be inspired as you see “the story of Phillips’ transformation from a small Bartlesville business to a global energy enterprise, and the extraordinary people who made it happen.”

Shirley is one of those “extraordinary” people! She is not originally from Oklahoma, but the close related state of Kansas. Her father was with the Walgreens Drug Stores and they traveled and moved all around. She ended up in Bartlesville working for Phillips 66 and raising her family.

You can tell from the spark in her eyes and the step in her walk that she is proud to be an employee of this outstanding company. She is a valued part of the past as well as the present and future. She has received many awards and is an active part of the Jane Phillips Society (formerly Jane Phillips Sorority) which was created in 1937 by a group of female employees at Phillips 66 whose motto is: “In building character, it pays to use only the best materials.” It was named after the wife of Frank Phillips who was the founder of the company. For many years this organization has contributed to the growth of women in the company, and given great service to the community providing scholarships and many needed contributions and services.

You can tell an Entrepreneurial spirit when you see one! Shirley Patterson is a shining example of how to live and work whether for a company or as the owner! Shirley takes ownership of her position and does whatever it takes to be the best wherever she is planted!

It was an honor to meet Shirley Patterson. I was introduced to her by my best friend of over 61 years, Kay Cunningham Reynolds, who is now a retired Phillips 66 employee with 38 years of service. See them pictured here together enjoying a great experience and history together!

Think you will keep working or are you looking for the day when you can retire? It is a personal choice, but as for me, retirement is not in my DNA! Here at “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency our speakers are wired with an Entrepreneurial spirit and are gifted to be able to help others create and be an Entrepreneur whether you are the owner or not!

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Exciting New Series “Entrepreneur Mindset…Your Formula for Success”

Thanks to Davidson County Community College Small Business Director, Martha Larson, for this video to promote our “Entrepreneur Mindset… Your Formula for Success” coming to DCCC in October, located in Thomasville, North Carolina!

This series was created out of an idea by Ervin Allen, Small Business Director at Alamance Community College, Burlington, North Carolina. He presented it to me here at “Simply” Sue Speaks!  I took the concept to three of my creative talents, and the series became an experience and formula for success! Thanks to Blanca Cobb, Carol Andrews, and Debbie Wright for all your hard work and long hours in getting this series to a professional package that is being reviewed all over the world!

This series features an introduction to:
Change Your Mind, Change Your Future
Legal Compliance is “Risky” Business
Money Matters-“Show Me the Money!”
Pushing Through Your Fear in Creating and Delivering Your Business Plan
Success is a Click Away: Perfecting Your Brand, Team, and Marketing Strategy
How “Soft Skills” Generate More Money than “Hard Skills!”

It has been presented successfully at Alamance Community College, and Piedmont Community College, Roxsboro, North Carolina. It is currently being presented again at Alamance Community College and is now is coming to Davidson Community College.

The series can be customized to any target market, (this one at DCCC is focused on Cosmetology) and is available now for your audiences. For booking information click on Contact at this site  and send me a message! You can also call me at 888-766-3155 or email me direct at sue@simplysuespeaks.com.

Brought to you by: “Simply” Sue Falcone, Owner of “Simply” Sue Speaks! Your Global Booking Agency, where “We bring the “WOW” factor to your next event!”

Weekly #WOWfactor-Do You Have a “To Do” or a “To Try” List?

yesornoI read a post this week that I felt we all needed to focus on! It was on Google + by  Tracy Myers, sharing this “profound statement” his 12 year old son had said that morning: “I’m not going to try and be successful. I’m just going to be successful.”  Tracy added, “Positive affirmation works! Believe that!”

This statement triggered my mind  into wondering: how many times do we make out our daily “to do” list and really intend to do it, or is it just a “try” list, and not a positive affirmation that we will do and not just try to do?

Do we realize the real difference between “try” and “do?”  I found that in many other languages the word “try” is not used as we do!  How many times do you find yourself saying “I’ll try” or “I’m trying” daily versus the mindset of  saying Yes I am or No I’m not?

As for me I don’t want my doctor to “try” and solve my issues, I want him to do it, don’t you? How about the pilot on your next plane trip? I don’t want them to “try” to get me to my destination, I want to arrive safely and on time.

I’m sure my clients don’t want me to “try” and provide a speaker or presenter for their next event, they are expecting me to just “do it” and yes, bring the “WOW” factor as well!

In my business and life, I’m in agreement with Tracy’s son: I’ve eliminated the “try” stage in my mind, and in my language. Either I am being and doing, or I’m not! Do I fail? Sure, but then I learn and continue on being and doing!

Take a look at your day.  Are you in the business of doing, or are you just “trying ?”

Keeping it simple,

simplysuename2

 

 

 

 

Is Contentment Part of Your Business Plan?

happyAs an entrepreneur and small business owner, I am learning that I want to be defined more by my contentment than wealth or success!  Quite a different approach than most are pursuing, isn’t it? Not a popular road to travel when the mantra is ‘do more with less’ is it?  What we have come to associate  with ‘being content’ doesn’t sound like high and lofty enough goals, does it?

For me this has been a long journey of being driven and succeeding but still feeling it is not enough!   It has been a life long struggle at being balanced; but still feeling that my worth and success has to be earned daily which causes a direct ‘out of balance’ conflict!

How did I come to this moment in time where I realized contentment is the joy and real happiness of doing ‘what I love with those I love to do it with’ more than the outcome of those efforts?

Simply I realized “it’s not about me!”  Contentment comes from serving a God who loves me, and helping others succeed in the plan He has for them first, above what I would have as a plan for myself! I provide solutions with the gifts and talents I have been given, and it is time to live with that purpose and focus in mind.

To keep that mindset as I reflect at the end of the day, I find and think  about the ‘positive’ things that happened, not what wasn’t, didn’t, or the failures that I encountered! Keeping your mind set on the thoughts of what brings contentment is the key.

My grateful thanks goes to Dr. Joey Faucette www.ListentoLife.org who believed in me and showed me the truth of how to create a business and live in the world of being an Entrepreneur by being ‘positive’ and doing things different than others are willing to do!

Does this mean that I quit doing my best, having a solid business plan, rest on my successes, and live happily forever after with no problems or interruptions?  As an ‘over the top’ A personality that is not who I am; but it does mean I face the future with a different perspective and focus on what is really important and what is not!

Where are you in your journey? Is your business plan built on you or others? Do you have solutions that really work, or are you just in it for the money and recognition?  Can you listen to the song, “Happy” and relate to the experience?

I urge you to take a long, hard, honest look at yourself and what you have created as your lifework, and place contentment as the true measurement to really know if it is working for you!

Enjoy the trip, it is the only one you get!

“Simply” Sue

It’s Freelance Friday with “Dr. Woody” Woodward

Founder of Tough Mudder on Why Teamwork in Office Matters

Mud Run

Sprinting through mud-covered fields, army-crawling under live wires, climbing walls and running past fires all on the same course will test the endurance of any person. And it’s a big business.

While attending the 2013 Annual EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Desert Springs, California I had the opportunity to sit down with Will Dean, founder and CEO of Tough Mudder.

I asked him what spurred the idea of the 12-mile challenges and how his own values and lifestyle play a role in his growing business. Here’s what he had to say:

Woody: What is Tough Mudder?

Dean: Let’s start with what Tough Mudder is not first. What Tough Mudder is not is a race. It’s a challenge you do it with your friends. It’s about teamwork and camaraderie. It’s a 12 mile military style obstacle course with about 20 obstacles spread out over that 12 miles designed to test you physically, mentally, and as a team.

Woody: What is it that inspired you to launch Tough Mudder?

Dean: About six years ago I did a triathlon and this was not a competitive event. There was no prize money and it wasn’t like I was at the front anyway. The zipper jammed on my wet suit and I turned to the guy next to me and I said, ‘hey can you just give this a quick pull?’ He said sorry, I’m kind of in a rush. And then the second guy said the same thing. Then the third guy, he helped me, but what I realized is this is an incredibly solitary pursuit. A lot of endurance events are very much about the individual and one of the things I saw with marathons in particular is when you do a marathon what people ask you is what time do you do it in. For a lot of people that’s not really the metric of success.

What I wanted to do was build an event that was all about team work, camaraderie, having fun, absolutely testing yourself physically and mentally, but at the end of it feeling like you’ve done it as part of a team.

Woody: So what is it about you personally and your personal experience that gave you this desire to facilitate team work and get that out there in the world through Tough Mudder?

Dean: I played a lot of sport growing up in the UK and one of the things that’s emphasized a lot in the UK, and certainly in Brittan, is it’s not just about the winning, it’s being part of a team, it’s taking part in something, something that’s bigger than yourself. I very much wanted to try and find an event that did that and I was looking around for something to train towards and I just didn’t see something out there that really resonated.

I thought I’m probably not the only person to think this way. I probably have friends and there are others out there that like the idea of something that’s about all around fitness, but isn’t about racing all the time because too much of life is one big rat race. Why can’t exercise be fun?

Woody: What are some of the challenges you have faced growing your team?

Dean: I think the key to scale is company culture. Company culture, culture in general, is just how people behave when you are not looking. When you’re walking around, people tend to be real saints. They tend to do exactly what you want when you are looking. The trouble is we are putting on events in 53 fields all around the world. Live events tend to rely on a lot of young people to execute them and so you have to be confident you have people who are actually going to behave the way you want them to in those tough situations when you may have to deal with an injury on a course or when you are dealing with a storm coming through. So it’s about recruiting the right people.

One of the things my co-founder and I always said was we’d never hire anyone that we wouldn’t have dinner with, and that’s something we’ve always been able to hold true to. I think really strong cultures– not only are they about getting the right people in and creating the right behavioral norms–but it’s also making sure the organization itself, when you get someone who doesn’t fit into that organization, rejects that individual. I think we’ve done a very good job of building a culture where people take a lot of personal responsibility. I think in the live event space that’s very, very important. But it’s certainly a challenge to build, grow, and maintain that culture.

Click here to view Dr. Woody’s full live-taped video interview with  Dean

Sebastian's First Birthday PartyMichael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economand the new on-line course The YOU Plan for Career Change on Udemy. To book Dr. Woody for your next event contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.