My last month is filled with anniversaries. Anniversaries stir memories that are worth recalling. For those willing to dig deeper, there are lessons that are worth applying and reviewing (and sharing). And anniversaries remind us of how life grows and changes us.
May 5th was the one-year anniversary of the release of my third book, Silver Goldfish: Loud & Clear with co-author Stan Phelps.
- Favorite memory? Stan silently deleting my favorite one-liner of the book and not telling me. Of course, it was a joke at his expense, but it was a good one. We usually tracked edits and reviewed them together. That one never made it to committee.
- Lessons learned? Teaming with someone else makes projects a LOT easier. Stan’s experience with a dozen or more books made the process amazingly smooth. When he outlined our schedule, I internally laughed. But we made the deadline with a product I’m proud of.
P.S. Book #4 is on final approach. Look for Virtual Presentations with Kevin Snyder within a newsletter or two.
- Biggest change: My mindset. I used to say I was an author. Now I’m a writer. An author is based on what you’ve done. Writing is what you do. I try to stay current and write more and more. Identity is the precursor to all behavior change (James Clear, Atomic Habits).
May 9th marked the 13th anniversary of leaving a very secure job to start a business chasing a dream to use my teaching talents to empower others to tell their messages with clarity and skill. I had (have?!) no idea what it took to start, run, or grow a business. My favorite line sums it up: “We’ve been successful despite my skills at running a business.”
- Favorite memory? Too many to count. But from the first sporadic-paying clients to international travel to being an invited keynoter to having the freedom to make kids’ ball games, it’s not a path I could ever reverse. Sorry corporate America, I’m a consultant to you now, not an employee.
- Lessons learned? You can’t do it all. Do what you’re good at and hire the rest. And good today is probably better than perfect tomorrow. Don’t neglect growing yourself to grow an organization.
- Biggest Change: Again, mindset. I hate the term expert – I know what I don’t know. But trying to convince myself that I have something worth sharing has been an ongoing challenge bolstered by a phone that continues to ring and people who do what I ask and see amazing results.
June 1st is the 25th anniversary of the day I said “I do.” No person or program can prepare you for marriage. You marry for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. When we launched our relationship, we had great health, things were almost all good (better), but we were poor. We didn’t care. 25 years is enough time to find that things can get worse, health is fleeting, and a full bank account isn’t the only goal worth having. It’s the journey through those low times that defines us, molds us, and steels us for the challenges of the future.
- Favorite memory? I’m learned enough in 25 years to not pigeon-hole a favorite memory. After all, my lovely bride is a reader of this newsletter. We’ve had a lot of good times from the honeymoon traffic in Boston to the first big fight on the cookie aisle in Food Lion to the impending graduation and empty nest. What a ride, with more to come!
- Lessons learned? Life is better with a companion, even for introverts. The good times and the bad will both end without announcement or fanfare. It’s not always a good idea to say what you think.
- Biggest change: Careful readers will notice a theme here: mindset. It’s we, not I.
While I love memories and anniversaries – especially those in picture form (as my 300,000 picture collection will attest), they also are bittersweet and a stern challenge to those willing to listen. The past is the greatest predictor of the future, yes, but past success is not indicative of future gains, as the fine print says. My marriage is (thankfully) not defined by one day in 1996. My business is not dictated by a good (or bad) client engagement. A book does persist indefinitely, but there are always new ideas and new ways to present them. Resting on what I’ve done is the best way to ensure I won’t do much more. The best is yet to come!
Sadly, many speakers do just that. They rely on a past success and never freshen up their content. They are “good enough” and don’t get better. And they don’t look at the pictures (video) to see what really happened.
What is your favorite memory? What have your anniversaries taught you? What lessons have you learned that you need to revisit? What’s the biggest change you’ve experienced? And… what needs to happen next.
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This article was published in the June edition of our monthly speaking tips email newsletter, Communication Matters. Have speaking tips like these delivered straight to your inbox every month. Sign up today to receive our newsletter and receive our FREE eBook, “Twelve Tips that will Save You from Making a Bad Presentation.” You can unsubscribe at any time.
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