Presentation.

Today I remembered why I enjoy presenting in front of people, the thrill of sharing a message that some need to hear is exciting. Tonight I was apart of a basic presentation for my marketing class, I shared about four minutes worth of information to a audience that wasn’t interested in the subject we shared but listened for a grade. I tried to keep my talking points simple yet entertaining and felt the audience heard what I needed to say.

In the past, I have been privileged to present in front of groups from twenty to a thousand people and have loved the opportunity to share my story. A story that to me is normal life lived as I do, one foot in front of the other and adapting to the world around me. I have been blessed to have a story to tell others, one that people say inspires them to live a little happier each day. As a person with a disability, I find joy in living independently yet can happily acknowledge that I need help from time to time. This has not only humbled me but has given me the opportunity to openly learn how to ask better questions.

As a speaker and storyteller, I am often asked to share my journey, the ups, and downs alongside the lessons I have learned as I’ve grown little by little. It’s never easy to be vulnerable, to allow others to know your weaknesses and fears. Yet, it is surprisingly freeing to tell a story built off those pillars and develop a message that can inspire others to recognize the good in their lives. I love hearing the good and seeing the good that others have in their lives.

This desire to hear the good has led me to the next leg of my journey a podcast, a bi-weekly segment highlighting the good of the world. I can’t wait to present you with the release date of my podcast, “What’s your take?” launching May 2019.

Consumption

It seems that everywhere we go we are faced with ads and marketing campaigns that are designed to do one thing, get us to make a purchase. This buy-in might be to visit a local lawyer if we’ve been injured, visit a local car dealership because they listen, donate to a cause because you care, or purchase a product to change your life. We live in a world that is built around you or I spending money after being advertised to. We are a generation of consumers.

Some are in constant search for the newest item that will make them appear smarter, trendier, and more tech savvy than others. Some build their self worth and esteem based off the brands the shop and use on a day to day basis, this practice can be freeing for many and depressing for some. Not only are we surrounded and influenced by the consumer culture we are built or broken by it at times.

For those who have extra funds to buy the premium products they are easily able to attain their desired status amongst their peers and are often early adopters of the latest fads and trends. For some their path to attain products to boost status can be lengthy and combined with a uphill battle as they attain the products later and they may attain them well after a newer iteration of the product arrives and others mat remind them of how “behind the times” the late purchaser might be.

As consumers, we need to be better at finding satisfaction with the products that we have. I mean do we really need the latest and greatest or will what we have do for another year or so? What does a new product in our hands really change about us? For many it is all about the self confidence and self esteem that comes along with the items, but this is not the case for everyone.

Finding happiness with what we have could pay off in the long run if we are willing to be okay with having things for a long time. It could allow us to be happier in the current moments we have and less focused on the fleeting moments ahead. As a consumer, you should remind yourself that things don’t define your actions and personality do.

Digital Vomit.

When I thought up the idea of writing at least Three Hundred Words a Day every day I thought that thinking of an inspirational message connected to my day to day activities would be easy. Little did I know that this task would be harder than I could have imagined. I have been stumped many nights over what to write that might help others to see life in a better light and be easier on others and be easier on themselves. It is a challenge for me writing something every day that makes sense and doesn’t come out as what I call “digital vomit”.

Digital Vomit is simply defined as posting something just for the sake of posting it. A post that has no real meaning or purpose and posted just for the potential views along with the hope that you’ll keep the algorithm from the internet in your favor. That’s what I do some nights just to get my post up and my checklist checked for another day. This isn’t what I envisioned when I started out this project and it’s been hard to recognize this is what I do just to get by.

What I had hoped was a simple day to day activity for my own personal growth that I could share with others to inspire them. I feel that I fall short of this goal a few nights a week, I hope to change that. This week I will be putting more effort into my posts to see how I feel about my work, as we all know to put more effort into something usually yields increased satisfaction with your output. I’m hoping for a week with less digital vomit and a week of sharing posts that can inspire others in their personal journeys.  

This is a personal evaluation of my progress as a writer, storyteller, and person who shares inspiration. Am I the best at my craft? No, but I am better today than I was January 1st and that is what matters to me. Here’s to a week of improves posts and better storytelling.

Confront.

I talk to heaps of angry people, people who are blindly angry because of the things they do not know and don’t want to understand. There are so many people who would rather stay in perpetual annoyance and misunderstanding than invest a little time to learn something new. I spend plenty of time helping people recognize change and do my best to help them learn the changes and adapt.

This is often met with pushback from the people I am attempting to educate. I often find myself confronting these people with the fact that life and technology are changing and will continue to change. People dislike this a lot, they dislike change because it is unknown and nobody is comfortable going into the unknown. It scares us more than we would like to admit and we allow ourselves to change little by little so we can adapt easier to the change.

I hate confronting people and I have a strong dislike for change. Yet, I know that change is a constant and I try my best to roll forward with the change. Often when I confront people for being stubborn about the change I meet a wall, a wall that has stood in the same place for a number of years and has no plan of moving in the coming years. This wall is called the comfort zone, we love our comfort zones. However, with most walls, there is a gate that allows things in and out. This can be said about our comfort zones, we gradually open up and allow new things in to change who we are and let the old ways fall out.

Accepting the changes that are happening around us is a true challenge. Acknowledging these changes takes time to digest and become accustomed to, allowing ourselves to be willing to educate ourselves on the change will help us to welcome change better. I’d recommend we all think about how we accept change and how we adapt then confront our weaknesses and strive to open our comfort zone to new things.

Know.

I know a few things about life and I mean just a few things. The things I don’t know about the world outnumber the things I do know one-billion to one. I like being able to acknowledge that I only know a few things because that allows me to be open to learning many more as my cup has plenty of room to be filled. Every day we have the opportunity to learn new things from books, the internet, and other people. We should try to always be ready to learn a thing or two when the occasion arises in front of us.

I bring this up because today was one of those days where I asked a few questions then was able to listen. Listen to peoples passion about the products and services they provide to their customers. Listening to others share their passion behind the company they work for is exciting and motivating to me. Each person who I interacted with was excited about the products and services they sent out into the world because they made a difference in educational institutions for all students who were able to have classrooms that utilized their products.

I loved hearing that students grades were increasing by 10% and teachers were taking 8% less sick days because of these products. As an employee at this company, these people knew they were using their skills to invest in the education of others. I think that was what excited me the most was hearing the feedback that these employees felt that they were apart of something bigger than just another transaction for money. They were apart of the development of future scholars, policymakers, and leaders.

It’s always a happy experience for me to be asked to audit employees of companies and see where they fit on an employee happiness scale. As employees, we look to do a good job at a great company that has a great culture within. We are a vital part of maintaining this culture as leadership often introduces ideas that we might not understand at first we are responsible for ourselves and those we interact with learning the updates and helping others understand them. If we are willing to learn new things and continue being a strong asset to the company we are apart of.

Join a culture that learns.
Help that culture continue to grow.

See where that can go.

Interest.

I’ve mentioned this before but learning new things by reading then applying is one of my all-time favorite past times. I love reading books that have a lesson to be learned and a new way to look at life. There are times when I am constantly reading the same styles of book, ones that promote self-improvement and time management. I get there are people who look at these books and think they are complete folly, but I take the good from them and apply them in my day to day life.

There are plenty of reasons to spend a little time each day invested in self-improvement. First to improve your quality of life, not because you are broken or need improvement but because too many of us fail to see the good we do and the strengths we have. Being honest we are often too critical of our weaknesses, we need to be more kind when we look inward at what we do. Investing a little time into self-improvement can truly make your mental well being better as you are a bit kinder to yourself.

Second would be to learn topics that can help you to be a better friend, primarily a better listener who can respond with better answers and follow up questions. There I said it, often times as friends we are needed as good active listeners who are able to respond with answers that add value to the conversation. These moments when we can add to the conversation will strengthen our friendships and help our friends have someone besides themselves to lean on. Obviously, you don’t want to take over the conversation but add enough value that your friend not only knows you are listening to them but you are invested in learning about their interests too.

You and I both know the list could add up to one hundred different points but that’s not why we’re here. Take a little of your time each day and work on learning a little about self-improvement, take a little more time to appreciate yourself and the good things you do. Be interested in adding to your quality of life and your personal happiness and everything else will follow.

Effort.

When you want to accomplish something you have to put in the work or the effort to get the desired task completed. An effort is a hard thing to have at all times, the willingness to put your best foot forward and making things happen can be compared to a wave, rising above the rest, cresting, then falling back lever with the rest of the water around it. Often when we set out to accomplish a goal we are fully invested in seeing it through and can easily see ourselves at the finish line of our desired goal. Yet, after a few weeks of struggle as you find momentum within the challenge the finish line can be hard to visualize.

I am this way when I start out working on different projects, I put forth as much effort and work into the motion as I can and after a few short weeks start feeling the burnout. My efforts began to fall a bit less than desirable and my attitude changes from one of delight while working on my goal to one that has a little drag in the step. I’ve felt this on both personal pursuits and professional work done for different companies I’ve previously worked for. When you realize you are drained and unmotivated to continue with the project your output falls short of your regular quality work as does your attitude in general.

Am I alone in feeling this way? I doubt it. I’d guess that I’m not alone in feeling this way after putting in the effort in full at the start and attempting to sprint to completion and end up sprinting to burnout. We need to set our efforts at a pace that can be sustained and build endurance. Gary Vee has explained it best as he consistently reiterates putting in the work and preparing for a marathon and seeing the long game. I think he is right in reminding everyone that we can be better prepared mentally for the tasks and challenges ahead if we escape the mindset of the sprinter and build the mindset of a marathon runner. We’ll be able to stay on task longer and have a greater output if we do.

So be smart how you use your efforts, set up for the long game and the struggles and add them to your strengths as you grow.