Archive for May, 2013

Not Now. Not Ever.

May 16, 2013

Last week I was on the phone to Chris Long at AEI Speakers Bureau in Boston, MA. who books me for gigs as a motivational speakerBoston Marathon bombinbI asked if his family & friends were OK in light of the recent marathon bombings and he shared  his personal story that is a valuable lesson
for us all…..

Here’s what Chris said:

“My kids had no school Monday on account of Patriots Day.   My wife and I argued about who would take a personal day. 
I won because I had taken 2 days to travel for work the week before. Otherwise my wife’s routine for the past 10 years has been to go to the marathon finish line at about 2:30 p.m. to see friends complete the race. (She works in the John Hancock building).  

She went to the zoo with the kids instead of the race as they tend to go off in opposite directions.

Boston Marathon bombing man on groundWednesday after the bombing I went to the Bruins game which was the first event after the bombing on Monday. Thursday my wife and I went to dinner and the theater for her birthday as planned.  We wanted to take a stand in the face of terrorism. (Editor’s note: Actual language was somewhat stronger here!)

Besides, every one was desperate to get back to normal. 

At dinner, photos of the suspects were released and Thursday night late is when the man hunt began in earnest. Weirdest feeling to have an entire city in lock down. It was like opening the wound all over again. But life goes on and we’re moving right along with it.

Chris and his wife are two of the many faces of resilience in Boston. They flatly refuse to live in fear. Like late night host Jay Lenno said: “They messed with the wrong city”. Despite the tragedy of numerous deaths and injuries, did those cowardly terrorists win?

Not now. Not ever.

When life throws you a curve ball, remember Boston. Face your fear and move forward.


Make Nice, Make Money

May 8, 2013
Motivational speaker Theresa Behenna speaks on being fearless to realize more success in your life. This blog from Fast Company tells the story of one man’s courage to reach out to strangers for help…
Cap Watkins is now the design lead at Etsy, but before that he was a lonesome Louisiana-bred web designer living in Oakland, working from home and not knowing a soul outside his small startup.

 Then something changed: He decided to meet creative folks in San Francisco.

 “I did the only thing I could think of,” he writes, “I made a list of web sites I thought were well-designed, figured out who designed them, and sent a cold email to the designer telling them I was a new designer in the area and asking if they’d like to get coffee or a beer sometime.”

He sent between 20 and 30 emails. He got one reply.
Daniel Burka, who was then the creative director at Digg, said sure, he’d love to grab coffee. Coffee turned into rock climbing, which turned into a cascade of introductions and friendships. Whether he knew it or not, Burka had facilitated a ton of relationships.
When someone asks you to lunch (or rock climbing), say yes.

“Suddenly I wasn’t all alone in Oakland anymore,” Watkins writes.

Though he’d be let go from this startup job a few months later, he had friends who could help him find contract work while he sought out a full-time gig. Eventually he was introduced to the folks at Zoosk, and suddenly he was “off to the races,” designing products for millions. And after that, Formspring, Amazon, and Etsy.

The lessons

Watkins writes that he gets “overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude” when he thinks on all the people who helped him–though they totally didn’t have to. So now he answers those cold email messages that come his way every so often–that was him, then.

There’s a lot to be learned from his story:  

  • As 99u observes, when you’re kind to people–and thus open up opportunities–you can change their lives.
  • You need a lot of hustle–and coffee dates–to be let into any industry.
  • Kindness is a form of networking. 
  • As John A. Daly writes in Advocacy, when someone asks you to lunch (or rock climbing) say yes.

Be kind.