Do you play lotto with your life?

Yesterday afternoon I was into a store and one gentleman started jumping up and down, all excited. He almost hugged one other gentleman who was in the store with him at that time. What was going on? He had just won about 500 dollars from the California Lotto. As he was boasting about how he had only spent 1 dollar to win 500, I thought to myself: “If this guy just tried his luck one time and won 500 to 1, then maybe I can also win.” I almost was tempted to buy a lotto ticket but a voice from within mean spoke and said: You have never done this, why start today? I tried to reason and replied back to the voice: “But there is a first time for everything, today could be my lucky day.”  california lottery life lotto

Then I thought about what I had just said and it downed on me that my last statement implied that if that was my lucky day, then all other day of my life had been “unlucky” days. Obviously, that cannot be a true statement. I am one of the luckiest human beings on the planet, and I believe in what Seneca said: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Many people go through life waiting for that one “lucky” day when something magic will happen and the doors of heaven will open for unbelievable blessings to pour on them. That is not how life works. Don’t play lotto with your life. Don’t spend every day not preparing for that opportunity to present itself. Keep working on yourself and when you feel ready to move to the next level, the opportunity will present itself. If the opportunity does not present itself, because of your diligent preparation, you will have enough strength and guts to go out and create those opportunities.

The man who won the lotto convinced me not to buy a ticket when as he walked out the store, he said: “I can finally take the children to the mall.” With that statement, I understood that he was stuck in a vicious circle.  Are you stuck in a vicious circle ? Are you playing lotto with your life waiting for your big break to happen? Here are the keys to get out: #1) Practice gratitude, #2) Define what you want from life, #3)  Engage in consistent action daily towards your goals. Playing lotto is not the solution if you are caught in the rat race and are looking for a way out.

Successful people and high achievers who understand the game of life do not play lotto. They prepare for big opportunities and if those opportunities do not appear, they go out and create them. Regardless of your current circumstances aren’t you lucky today?

Day 4 of 21: 100 words per day for 21 days. 465 words.

The one size fits all question to start a conversation

Networking and communicating with people is an essential skill for any one who is to succeed in business and life. Many people who consider themselves to be introverts are not always very enthusiastic about starting or keeping a conversation going with strangers. I consider myself to be an introvert and I consciously work on getting out there to meet and talk to people. gloves-one-size-fits-all

We grow from people who know us, and the projects we work on. The more people know you, the greater your probability of being involved in projects that will make you grow. The best way to get more people to know you is to become very adept at starting conversations with strangers, and keeping those conversations engaging. Here is the question you can use to start conversations with strangers: What’s your story?

This question is almost a synonym for “Tell me about yourself”, but when phrased this way, it sounds more like an interview question. You don’t want to make people feel like you are screening them. Remember, they is not the words you use, but how you use the words. By how I mean the tone of voice and your body language at the time you are asking the question. Start a conversation today with a stranger. Ask the question: What’s your story?

Day 3 of 21: 100 words per day for 21 days. 220 words.

Three important reasons why you must practice what you preach

A few months ago I watched someone shoot himself in the foot multiple times. Luckily not literally with a gun, but that’s how it felt. He was giving a presentation to a corporate audience and he spoke several times in a way that degrading to his persona. It is one thing to make fun of yourself by narrating a story about you to someone or an audience, but it is something else to just say degrading thing about yourself just because that’s how you feel. Because I was reading the listening (body language) of the audience during that presentation, I could they were insensitive to that, it had no positive impact on them. walk the talk

After I had witnessed that situation, I went on for several weeks speaking to people about how it was important not to speak in a degrading way about ourselves when addressing a group of people. Here is the irony, yesterday I gave a presentation at the Orange County Speakers Bureau and without realizing, I shot myself in the foot several times. When I was done with the presentation and it came to my awareness that I had shot myself, I began to reflect and felt really bad about not walking my talk.

A leader is someone who has any degree of influence on the action of others. You are a leader. As a leader, it is important to walk your talk, practice what you preach. Here are three reasons why I believe you must practice what you preach:

  • Credibility: The best of us are almost exposed to the most criticism. If you are interested in making an impact in your circles of influence, you must be credible. You build credibility by leaving a track record of someone who does what encourages others to do.
  • Self-esteem: When no one is watching and you retreat to your little corner by yourself at the end of a long day, nothing beats the feeling of knowing that you practiced what you preach. Your self-esteem is how high you regards yourself. If your actions are not consistent with your words, you will not hold yourself in high regards. That will in turn diminish the quality of your interactions with others.
  • Effective communications: most humans learn by observing, by watching, not by listening. Babies don’t know how to speak at the time they develop the ability to walk. They learn how to walk by watching other humans around them walk. As evidence, if you leave a newborn baby among a heard of monkeys and you never expose him to another human being, there are chances that baby will never walk.

Practice what you preach. I am reminded of that today and I hope my reflection helps you. What do you think is the most important reason why we must walk our talk?

Day 2 of 21: 100 words per day for 21 days. 469 words.

Three simple tips to overcome stage anxiety

Most people are afraid of public speaking more than anything else in their lives. Working professionals who learn how to communicate better and speak confidently in public earn on average 30% more than their pears who have not developed that skill. In my eBook on “The 3 P’s of Public Speaking“, I list preparation, practice and performance as the keys to turning every public speaking opportunity into a masterpiece. public speaking tips

There is a ritual I go through every time I have to go on stage to deliver a speech or give a presentation. This will be useful to you if you have experience with public speaking, or if you don’t have that much experience and really need help overcoming stage anxiety.

  • Increase your heart bit rate. You can do this through breathing (take short breaths repetitively) and possibly physical exercises like jumping jacks in the bathroom or stretching.
  • Engage in positive self-talk, out loud if possible. The fear of rejection is one of the root causes of stage anxiety. When the little voice in your head gives you reasons why you will not succeed, talk back to yourself. I carry a little card with positive encouraging messages every time I have to give a presentation. Just by reading my card, it makes me at ease.
  • Focus on your audience, not on yourself. Every opportunity you have to address a group of people, you can change someone’s life for the better. If your message is important (and it is), focus on delivery it in a way that at least one person in the audience will be positively affected. If possible, have someone you know in the audience for an deeper emotional connection. I have noticed that I tend to give better presentations when I have familiar faces and friends in the audience. It makes a difference.

There is a video of my friend Robin Kelly on YouTube where she gives a lot of good useful tips on how to overcome stage anxiety. For your convenience, the video is below.

What is your experience with stage anxiety? Have you experienced it? How do you make yourself comfortable when giving a presentation?

Day 1 of 21: 100 words per day for 21 days. 356 words.

Writing Challenge: 100 words every day for 21 days

If you are to become good (or better) at something, anything, you must continuously work on yourself. Practice, practice, practice. I love writing but I don’t always keep my commitment to write for publishing every day. I do write in my private journal, but at this stage it is more sporadic than regular. 21 days new habit

When I recently gave myself the challenge to write one hundred words every day for ten days, it went really well and I was extremely happy with the result. I posted about my experience here: One hundred words every day for 10 days: lessons learned. After that challenge I realized that I got rusty, I needed a new challenge but I allowed life to distract me. For the next 21 days, every morning at 5:30 am. I will wake up and write 100 words or more about an experience I had the previous day. The themes I will use to write are: public speaking, entrepreneurship and technology. Those are the three subject areas that I am most interested in. To take the challenge a step further than last time, I will publish every post with a picture or a video.

You have probably heard in the past that to destroy a bad or develop a new habit it takes 21 days or practice or abstinence. I don’t believe that is true, unless one decides to make it true for himself. This is what I shall do, make it true for myself. My objective is to develop writing daily as a habit.

Have you every applied the 21 days rules to one of your endeavors? What has been your experience with that?