I’ve known Joe Larson for over twenty years. Joe had a successful business in Wisconsin and is well-known as an entertaining and engaging speaker. He and his wife Jan relocated to the Scottsdale, Arizona area some years ago.
Joe and Jan sold their home and now reside at Classic Residence by Hyatt, a luxury retirement community. I’ve just learned that one of the first things Joe did when they moved in was to establish a foundation to help wait staff and others there get a college education. He now has 90 residents each donating $1,000 a year and has raised $300,000 for the foundation.
I got to call Joe last night as he was gathered with a group of friends and tell him he was selected to receive the Honorary CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame Award from the National Speakers Association. It was a treat for me to give the good news to someone who has been a friend and supporter for so many years, and who is loved by so many.
Joe Larson is a classy guy.
My friend and speaking colleague Randall Larsen has written a new book that promises to be most timely. I’ve not read it yet–it doesn’t come out until next month–but knowing Randall and his background, I’m betting it will be well worth checking out:
Our Own Worst Enemy: Asking the Right Questions About Security to Protect You, Your Family and America (Grand Central Publishing).
Early reviews have been exceedingly positive, and I’m interested in any book that provides practical insights for protecting our families as well as our country.
You can read an interview with Randall in the September 3 issue of U.S. News & World Report.
Consider this quote from my friend and world-class speaker Joel Weldon: “You prepare for what you love.”
The single biggest booster of performance is preparation. Pros prepare; amateurs wing it.
I prepare as much for a pro bono presentation as I do for a paid speech. Why? Because I take the opportunity to share ideas very seriously. Whether I’m donating my time and expertise or being reimbursed, I love to communicate important ideas. That’s why I prepare. I love my work.
Have a big meeting this week? How much have you prepared?
Have you prepared more for your next sales call than your competitors?
If you’re a teacher, will your students benefit from a little extra preparation for your next class?
You’re a manager giving a performance review. How much time have you invested in thougtful consideration and preparation?
Got an upcoming date night with the husband or wife? Have you made plans that will make the evening special, or will it be a last minute decision about where to eat and what movie to see?
You prepare for what you love. Where your preparation takes place, there lies your heart.
What have you prepared for lately?
If you’re a manager looking for leadership ideas, or a leader looking for reminders and new ideas, I recommend checking out this useful post by Rich McIver. Just click here.
That according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll. Of those who had read a book, half read more than four and half fewer than four.
I’ve heard explanation and excuses ranging from using alternative sources for information (radio, TV, internet) to not having enough time (nobody ever “has” enough time; one “makes” time for important things).
I’m concerned, not as an author, but as a fellow citizen of this country and planet. People who don’t read any books are severely limiting themselves not only of potentially important information, they are limiting their cognitive skills. Reading requires specific brain functioning that relates to comprehension, analysis and critical thinking. We live in a world where being uninformed–or unable to assess what information means–can be dangerous.
For readers of this blog, try this: ask a few of your friends this week for the title of the last book they read, and when they read it. I’d like to know what your informal poll finds.
This past weekend I attended a special event honoring my dear friend and legendary speaker Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. A nickname like “Tremendous” might seem over-the-top, but not if you’ve met Charlie. His enthusiasm for life and love for people is authentic and makes him quite unlike anyone I’ve ever met.
In my tribute I said that the phrase I most often associate with Tremendous is “larger-than -life.” To me, people like him remind me that life can be larger than the way I experience it each day. Larger-than-life people stretch my thinking and inspire me by their refusal to play by the rules. Their over-sized commitments and passions inspire me, so when I say someone is larger-than-life it is a compliment of the highest order.
I hope you know someone who is larger-than-life, and that you get to spend time with them on a regular basis. If you do, you’ll know what a “tremendous” experience that is.
Yesterday wasn’t a good day to travel out of Harrisburg. Weather in Chicago had delayed or canceled most of the inbound flights on United Express. Despite that, two good things happened.
First, the ticket agent for United/United Express in Harrisburg was very empathetic and sincere. He apologized profusely for what was going on (and the weather certainly wasn’t his fault), and he thanked me repeatedly for my understanding. Empathy rules the day. It creates allies rather than opponents.
Secondly, I got a phone call on my cell phone from a real person in Harrisburg telling me what they were trying to do to get me on my way. A cheerful voice said, “Mr. Sanborn, we’ve been trying to find you!” She then said there was a chance they could create a special shuttle flight to get us to Dulles for our connections. Friends were driving me to Dulles already when I got the call, and at that point I didn’t want to take any chances.
This has been a tough year for flying, but in the midst of it all, basic human relations skills like friendliness, sincerity, empathy and helpfulness are powerful for solving or at least mitigating a bad situation.
Thanks to the UAL team in Harrisburg, PA!
This morning I spoke to first year teachers at Littleton Public Schools. Mike Porter made a presentation about technology in education and pointed out that kids today are “digital natives:” they can’t remember a time when there wasn’t an internet.
He held up a Bratz doll his six year old daughter just got. It came with a USB memory key and matching working mouse. Technology has reinvented dolls and stuffies too. My kids are crazy about Webkinz (the stuff animal that comes alive online in Webkinz World).
There was a video of fourth graders who created their own podcast after twenty minutes of instruction, and a teacher in the system who did a podcast using Google map technology to connect her class to a class in Italy they had an “e-pal” relationship with. Projecting Google maps, she “flew” from Colorado to Italy. Very, very cool.
Technology used well is creating a good kind of magic in classrooms and I applaud the teachers who are using it creatively to positively stretch minds.
“…be careful of distractions and the desire to do too many things at once. Above all things, be faithful to the present moment, doing one thing at a time, and you will receive all the grace you need.”
That was the advice Fancois Fenelon, the French bishop, wrote to his young protogee over three hundred years ago and it is still good advice today.
Darla and I planned to fly home Sunday afternoon but got a flight delay at 8:00 am from United. The only option was an 11:30 am flight so we took it. That meant a hurried and harried job of packing and leaving the resort hours earlier than planned.
We had prepaid for a shuttle service to the airport that we now couldn’t use, and I decided I’d bite the bullet and pay for a private car to make our flight. Darren at the front desk helped with the logistics. He said the shuttle service had a cancellation fee but he’d see what he could do.
He got the cancellation fee waived.
Darren quickly became my service hero. He had more clout with the shuttle service than I did, and he used the power of relationship to help a guest. He also arranged the private car in short order.
Sometimes distinction is in things, but more often than not, it is in the way we treat customers. Darren is proof.