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Guaranteed to Show You How to Successfully Reinvent Yourself in 12 “Easy” Steps

Guaranteed to Show You How to Successfully Reinvent Yourself in 12 “Easy” Steps

By John Baumann


If you have decided that you desperately and passionately commit to transform yourself no matter how much effort, time and sacrifice that it will take, keep reading, this information is for you. If you are willing, you will have to work harder than you ever have before and sacrifice more than you thought possible. It is not “easy.”

I wrote DECIDE SUCCESS: Twelve Action Steps to Achieve the Success You Truly Desire as an easy-to-understand, step-by-step process for building your own personalized success plan complete with written exercises for each action step. While pragmatic and academically sound, it was not intended to, nor does it attempt to, address the emotional (and even spiritual) foundation often necessary to succeed. I will attempt to provide that foundation here. Just as the steps in DECIDE SUCCESS are hard to stick with, the same will be said about these self-improvement “edicts.” This process or program or, better yet, set of ideals are not for the faint of heart. You got to want it bad enough to get through the pain that is transformation.

As the well-known expression goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expect that you are going to get a different result.” Many of us have never learned this lesson. We hold on to familiar approaches to life issues when deep down inside we know that we will get the same result, although unhealthy, one that we are actually comfortable with. Doing something different takes either a very brave person or very desperate person. I recommend that you take the bravery route and not wait for you to become desperate, some call it “hit rock bottom.” Being exposed to someone who is brave enough to transform, or is in the process of transforming, his or herself, a mentor, makes a tremendous difference because you realize that it is possible to succeed, “If they can do it, so can I.” Seek out a mentor.

I have broken this book down into two parts using an old adage adapted to fit my needs. First, “out with the bad.” Then, “in with the good.”


Out with the bad. I am not proposing that the proverbial baby be thrown out with the bathwater. Quite the opposite. A complete and honest review of your life is necessary from all angles to decide what unhealthy things (including people) need to be removed and who and what have the privilege and honor of remaining in your life. It is “your” life after all. You only get one chance at life and for a very limited time at that. One of the first things you need to do is to stop watching or listening to the news. You may be thinking, “Is this guy kidding?” or “Is this guy for real?” Bad or negative stories are the lifeblood of the media. Uplifting or positive stories are an afterthought or allowed on the air after, I believe, much arm-twisting. Turn off mainstream television and watch documentaries instead. Learn something. Get in touch with the energy emitted by people. In particular, whether the comments made have a negative bent or a positive one.

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when I was 41 years old. We, in the Parkinson’s community, use the example of a snowflake when describing how the disease affects each individual differently. Just like every snowflake is unique unto itself, every person with Parkinsons has their disease progress at a different rate. Since there is no test to determine how long one will maintain their quality of life, moments become precious. As with any life-changing medical condition, a sense of urgency develops. We may not have the time to wait to transform our lives. Thus, the following fall under the category, “Out with the Bad.”


This may be a little bit gross, but ticks will embed themselves into a human body by inserting its head below the surface of the skin. If you pull the tick off, the head will remain. The way to remove the tick completely is to apply a flame to its body or use an alcohol swab. In this way, the head comes out and the whole tick can be disposed of.
There are ticks in your life that have embedded themselves into you. You may have grown accustomed to having them attached to you and feeding off you. It may seem ordinary and usual to have them connected to you. You feel like they belong. You may even feel a sense of superiority to have these people dependent upon you. What you need to realize is that they are slowly, but surely, sucking the life out of you.

You need to properly and honestly determine who are your ticks and “burn” them off. Ask yourself, “Am I better off with this person in my life or without this person in my life?” Do they add to my healthy enjoyment of life or detract from it? Do the things they say tilt toward the positive or the negative. What energy do you feel? A clear signal is, if after spending some time with someone, you feel like you need to take a long, hot shower to wash the muck off, you might want to rethink the amount of time you spend with that individual, if any. Burning the ticks off is not easy. Ticks have a vested interest is remaining embedded in you. There will be resistance. Serious resistance. It takes courage. It takes guts. It takes resilience. Most of all, it takes discipline. You have to stick to your decision even when doubt creeps into your head. Burn, baby, burn.


Everyone has a sob story. Some have a whole book of them. Some have enough to fill a small library. Just stop. No one really wants to hear the tragedies that have befallen you in your lifetime. Don’t wear them like some kind of badge or medal. Realize that no one has a perfect life. I don’t mean to belittle or minimize the horrific things that we, as humans, have been forced to endure: death of a child, sexual assault, disease, disasters, concentration camps, addiction, etc. However, you need to look at yourself as a survivor and move on. I am not saying forget, but, by telling your “story” over and over just for the sake of eliciting sympathy, you become the story. It becomes who you are. It becomes your identity. You stop growing. You get lost in the “woe is me” syndrome and your life, for all intents and purposes, is over.

Just as with all the others, this will not be easy. Some people have held on to their sob story for decades and don’t want to move on. Nothing worth anything is easy. But isn’t getting “your” life back worth it? As my wife, Bernadette, says, “Send the Boo-Hoos Bye-Bye.”

Chapter Three: GET OVER IT
Glenda, a wise friend coined the expression, “STOP or I can’t help you.” Any time anyone is involved in some way in a “Life-changing Event” a flood of emotions come with it. For me and my Parkinson’s, what I call the “emotional rollercoaster” started with disbelief, moved to shock, then to denial, isolation, embarrassment, sadness, depression, and finally accepting and even embracing my Parkinson’s.

Its at these times that Glenda’s words of “Stop” or otherwise remain present, regroup and I’ll help you move forward is all my wife needed to realize that she had to shift her thoughts toward a place of “I can” and begin a renewal process. She did. There are positive people around you that are in your life for all the right reasons, might not be forever, but they can just show up and carry you when you need to be carried. This is the support of love and compassion that strengthens a person and pulls them out of the hole, helps you fight. It’s the team, the brigade, the peers, the mentors in your life and your faith that you need to move forward. Then, and only then, can you be lifted. Stop or they can’t help you.

Interestingly, I have not felt angry about having Parkinson’s, who am I going to be angry with? God? Not smart. A pretty powerful force to be mad at. In reality, no one was to blame for my Parkinson, at least not that I know of.
But often someone is to blame, and anger becomes a major blocking emotion. Very justified. Also poison to the soul. You allow the perpetrator to dictate sometimes the remainder of your life. I’m not saying that you, me or anyone else would be able to get over someone taking the life of someone you love or any other evil act. And I am not oblivious to the time necessary to heal. But, I think you would agree that the faster we move through these emotions, the better.
So, I term this simply, “Get over it.” There is no standard for the time it should take, but there comes a time that you need to just “get over it.” Sooner rather than later. Any way that is right for you (and legal, of course) works. Spiritual. Exercise. Primal scream. Yoga. Fitness Boxing. See a therapist or a doctor. Or, as bold and simplistic as it sounds, just make the decision “to get over it.”

By now you know what I am going to say next: It will not be easy, in fact, depending upon the severity of the incident, it may very well be the most difficult thing that you ever do. But you have got to do it. Getting stuck on any negative emotion takes a tremendous amount of energy and blocks you from moving forward. In fact, when people truly “get over” an emotion, whether it be denial, anger, sadness, depression or any other, they typically report some sort of feeling that a weight has been lifted off of them (usually their shoulders). Why wait? Why not control your own circumstances?

By way of example, why wait for the justice system to procure (or worse, not procure) a guilty verdict in the situation where you or a loved one was harmed by another to take your life back? You have the power to move forward through the natural emotions that you experience in as quickly a fashion as possible.
Shock. I had every right to be in shock. I was 41 with Parkinson’s. I needed to “get over it” and did. Denial. Anyone would understand why I would be justified in being in denial. I was so young to have an “old person’s disease.” But I needed to “get over it” and did. Sadness. Interestingly, most of my sadness appeared when I disclosed my illness to others. I had to deal with the emotions experienced by family especially my mother and father. I had to actually help them “get over it.”

Depression. I experienced depression both because I could see my future in other people that I meet with Parkinson’s (wheelchair, uncontrolled movements, inability to swallow, etc.), but also the chemical reaction in the brain to loss of dopamine that is the pleasure center of the brain. Although I do take medication to combat my depression, I don’t rely solely upon the medication. I still do what I can to “get over” my depression. Eat healthy, exercise, stay mentally active, pursue my life’s purpose, etc.

This “get over it” philosophy is necessary to move forward from wallowing in a negative emotion and applies to more than just being diagnosed with Parkinson’s or any other incurable disease. It applies to emotions associated with becoming a caregiver for someone with such an illness. The loss of a parent. The loss of a sibling. God forbid, the loss of a child. Injury of you or a loved one. Divorce. Being cheated upon by a spouse. Loss of a job. I could go on and on. The response stays the same, “Get over it.”

Addictions produce very complex issues. Addictions from drugs to eating disorders, etc. are not likely something that one can just will oneself to just “get over.” Intervention, medical personnel, counselors are necessary. But there is still a critical element of the person, somewhere deep inside themselves, making the affirmative decision to “get over” the addiction.


After discussing such sensitive areas thus far, it may seem trite to provide an edict called, “Quit being mean.” The significance of this statement should not be trivialized. People provide ample opportunity to be criticized, made fun of, teased, bashed, bullied, abused, etc. You need to resist the temptation to somehow build yourself up by tearing someone else down, whether to his or her face or behind his or her back. I’m just saying. It’s exciting to be mean. We get a rush from it. In fact, watch most of the shows on television. Meanness abounds. You must, on some level, be affected by watching people being mean on these shows. The meaner the host, the better the ratings. Stop the insanity and choose different programs to watch.

Chapter Five: FORGIVE

I’ll end the “out with the bad” section with the most significant edict. Forgiveness. What a powerful word. Who do you need to forgive? Everyone. That includes YOU. Though we should always strive to be, no one is perfect. Sometimes we come down hardest on ourselves. I am not saying forget, but give yourself a break. Learn from mistakes. Learn from failure. As I state on the first page of my website, JohnBaumann.com, “It’s through the pain and fear that builds a warrior.”

You absolutely can, and must, forgive even if it is something that you will never forget. We need to learn from our experiences, but that does not mean that we cannot forgive. It is totally within your power and control to forgive anyone. The other person does not have to ask for your forgiveness or say that they are sorry for you to forgive them.
Your forgiveness does not entitle them to avoid the consequences of their actions, that is their issue. But you don’t have to carry around the anger or other baggage associated with the situation. You have the option of simply forgiving them in your heart. Think back to the people who have wronged you over your lifetime and, one-by-one, forgive them.

I know I sound like a broken record, but, as simple as it sounds, truly forgiving someone, let alone everyone, is also a very difficult thing to do. It takes strength. It takes all kinds of strength, including spiritual strength. “To err is human, to forgive divine.” You may question whether you can forgive. What if you were molested? Lost the ability to walk due to the intentional act of another? Had a loved one brutally murdered by someone? Yes. Yes. Yes. And there are many more circumstances, too many to be able to include in this publication. As monumental as the task, you cannot improve until you have relinquished the anger and pain of your unique past.


Now that we have removed the bad, we have created a void. We need to fill that void. It is just human nature. What do we fill it with: Good. In with the good. After all, this is self-improvement. It is time to discuss the improvement part.


Many, if not most, people naturally procrastinate, especially when it comes to doing things that are hard or difficult. So, you need to, as my friend Terri says, “Just pick a day to start and stick with it.” If you don’t decide upon a day to begin, you never will get going.

I recommend that you jump right into your transformation, but some people need to start slowly and build up steam. Whatever works for you is fine so long as you are moving forward and not backtracking. It can be a random date or a date that has some significance. Just don’t make it too far into the future or leave it flexible. Focus hard on the date and set it in concrete. Tell people that are important to you the date. Gain ownership in the date.


There are positive people out there. You just have to keep your eyes open. Look for them. Join a gym. Take up a hobby. Something you really enjoy. Get involved with a charity. Go to a place of worship. Meet new people. Make the time to do what you truly love to do. Surround yourself with the most positive, upbeat, fun-loving people that you can find wherever you go.

Seeking out positive goes well beyond people. Create a positive environment in your world. Open the shades and let in the light. Build a fire in the fireplace on a cold, winter’s night. Feel the warmth. Schedule time to just do nothing.

Go for a walk in the park.

Have real conversations with people. Discuss things that matter. You don’t have to discuss politics or religion to have a real conversation. If in a group, a good rule of thumb is to speak no more than one quarter of the time and listen intently to what others are saying the remainder of the time. Are they confrontational? Are they conciliatory? Are they really listening to what others are saying? Are their comments of a sexist or racist nature? Then, pick out the ones that you want to consider a friendship relationship. Slowly at first, but remain in touch and engaged with them.


Although I recognize that there are many, many people with no material possessions, there are also many people who have shelter and food to eat on a daily basis. We get so caught up in adding to our “stuff” that we forget what we have. You need to constantly remind yourself to maintain perspective.
When you wake up in the morning, practice making your first thoughts be a relationship that you cherish, could be your relationship with a parent, a sibling, a close friend, a higher power, etc. Or maybe the comfortable bed that you just woke in, the roof over your head that is protecting you from the elements, the ingredients necessary to make your breakfast, etc.

Chapter Nine: BE HEALTHY

Being healthy covers a range of topics. First, eat “clean” (healthy food). Make sure that you put fuel into your body that will aid in living a quality life, make you healthier. You need to eat organic foods to minimize the ingestion of pesticides and other damaging products used in non-organic and processed foods. It would be best to grow your own vegetables and fruits in order to make sure that the soil is not depleted and has the necessary nutrients. If that is not possible, farmer’s markets are popping up all over. Develop a relationship with some of the producers.
In one form or another, sugar is contained in almost everything food purchased in a store. You need to read labels and wean yourself off sugar and sugar substitutes. If you choose to eat meat, focus on locating sources that don’t add steroids or other growth stimulators, treat the animal humanely during its life and the manner of its death, and handle the animal parts in a proper, sterilized and refrigerated environment. Again, start with a farmer’s market.
Drink water. Lots of water. Cut out soda and diet soda, any drink that is sweet. Go cold turkey if you have to. No discussion. No negotiation. It is that bad for you.

I found that when I started eating healthy, I could eat a lot more food, I never had that bloated full feeling, I have more energy, I can exercise more effectively and, so long as I am prepared, I almost never feel hunger pains. What I mean by prepared is to have food always ready to eat no matter where you are, just in case. For me, an Ezekiel wrap of hummus and length-wise cut cucumbers. This removes any excuse to ever be tempted to go to a fast food restaurant.

Remember, food is your body’s fuel. At first, you will struggle giving up many so-called “comfort foods.” I know that I sure did. But as your system cleanses itself, the cravings diminish and then disappear. For the first few months of your transformation, think of food as fuel for your body to operate efficiently and not a source of pleasure or reward. Sure, some of the clean food you eat will taste good, but, temporarily, don’t focus on taste, focus on nutrition.
Second, exercise on a daily basis just beyond your comfort zone. I was attending a conference on Parkinsons when one of the speakers made this statement. It shook my world. I immediately went home and started to exercise on a daily basis, no excuses allowed. I put a definite time on my schedule. I progressively moved from walking on the treadmill to spin bike, etc. Sixteen months later, I do, on alternating days, an hour of strength training in a kettlebell class called G-FIT at Core Combat Sports and 90 minutes of hot yoga at Bikram Yoga Louisville.
I, over the past sixteen months, unintentionally went from 215 pounds to my optimal weight for my height of 180 pounds. I can honestly say that I am healthier and fitter now, over ten years into my Parkinsons, than I have ever been even before I started exhibiting the symptoms of Parkinsons.

Chapter Ten: TOUCH

Make human connection. Many may scoff at this notion. I have an “old school” doctor who during my appointment is in constant contact with me whether it be my forearm, hand, wrist or shoulder. It is unusual and, I’ll admit, I was somewhat uncomfortable with it at first, but, when I got used to it, I realized how soothing it is. I have come to realize how important hugs are in appropriate circumstances. I hug my son and daughter every time I see them. My wife has to remind me sometimes to stop writing so we can hug. For us, it is a minimum of 20 seconds.


Wow, what a mouthful. But doesn’t everything boil down to these five words. What is the golden rule? What are the teachings of most, if not all, religions? The message of many self-help or self-improvement gurus can be summarized to be more kind, compassionate, and especially loving.


I discuss extensively in my book DECIDE SUCCESS having faith that your life has purpose. Once you have accepted the fact that your life does have purpose, the next adventure is to uncover what that purpose is. You don’t create it. Often, you don’t decide what your purpose is. You just uncover it.

For me, I thought my life’s purpose had something to do with working as an attorney. I was wrong. As it turns out, what I uncovered was that my life’s purpose has to do with inspiring people. Go figure. I found out that I have a gift. My genuineness, kindness, compassion, empathy, joy for life, optimism, love comes out whenever I am asked to inspire a group or even an individual. I can bring back hope where hope had been lost. I can help people see beyond what is apparent. I can work with people to create a more positive “End-vision.” I had to develop Parkinson’s disease to uncover my life’s purpose. I now not only accept my Parkinson’s, but actually embrace it. God does work in mysterious ways.

What is your life’s purpose? I know one thing, if you don’t burn the ticks off, slam the door on unfulfilling dating relationships, stop telling your sob story, get over it, stop being mean, forgive, pick a day to start, seek out positive, be aware of what you got, be healthy, touch, be kind, be compassionate and be loving; you will not be prepared or ready to uncover your life’s purpose. It takes work, hard work, to move forward, but, I can tell you, it is worth every bit of it. I hope that I have set a positive example for the people with whom I come in contact. After all, that is what being a mentor is all about.


Most would give in and give up when diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (or any other chronic illness) at the age of 41.  John made the decision to “Decide Success.”

He had a wonderful life and believed he was fulfilling his “purpose.” He graduated from Cornell Law School, and had practiced law for 15 successful years. Then his world was turned upside down. He had no idea how quickly the symptoms of this horrific, debilitating disease would progress. It totally changed his perspective on life.

What no one would see as a positive development, John decided to make one. He worked for seven more years as a full-time attorney. He contributed to several books and wrote one of his own aptly named, “Decide Success-You Ain’t Dead Yet.”John joined the faculty of the University of Louisville, and was honored as “Most Inspiring Professor.”

But his most important decision was to reinvent himself as an Inspiring Success Speaker and Workshop Facilitator. Now over 15 years later after that first diagnosis, John speaks on topics he knows he is an expert in, and maintains an honest, genuine, real, humorous approach.  He has truly “uncovered his purpose!” 

“Thank” Your Way Through It- by Guest Blogger Lucy Wellmaker

Thank Your WayBy now, many of us know the benefits of being thankful and having an attitude of gratitude. Studies show that being grateful is linked to increased satisfaction, motivation and energy. Practicing gratitude involves finding and noticing things in our lives for which we are grateful.

While I am a big fan of a being grateful, I’d like to share a concept that is similar but very different. What I am suggesting here is that we give thanks for things for which we do not necessarily feel grateful.

One of my favorite movies is “Facing the Giants”. In it, a losing high school football coach tells his underdog team that they will do their best in all areas of their lives and whether they win or lose they are going to give thanks and praise.

Why would any coach want to give thanks and praise after losing a game? Maybe, because it works?

They didn’t stop at giving thanks. Giving thanks actually inspired and motivated them to do what they needed to do to change their situation. They faced their fears.

The coach pushed them even more and the team worked even harder to get what they wanted. In the end, when it really mattered, they won.

I know it’s just a movie, but I have seen this play out in my own life as well.

I am generally a naturally positive person. I see the glass half full. I look on the bright side of things. I don’t try to be this way, I just am.

So when I found myself making a list of things that made me angry and resentful I knew I needed to do something about it. Rather than shifting my attention to the good things going on in my life, I stayed focused on this list.

As I read each item on the list, I said “Thank you.” I did not feel thankful, nor did I have a reason to be thankful. I just said “Thank you”.

I was amazed at how quickly my mood shifted. I felt like I had discovered a miracle cure.

What I realized later was that I was tapping into something I know to be true. That is, that all things work for good even when we don’t understand them. It is when we trust this concept and just say “thank you” that we align ourselves with a powerful force that will get us through our seemingly negative situation.

Saying “thank you” doesn’t mean we become complacent and accept our situations as they are. It’s about acknowledging our situations as they are now, facing our fears and trusting that there is a reason that is somehow, someway in our best interest.

The change of heart that can be experienced by doing this is amazing! It really is a miracle.

It will fill you up and provide the inspiration needed to move you forward. In order for this strategy to work successfully, one must believe and have faith in it.

I invite you to give it a try.  Share your comments and let us know how it worked for you.

Give thanks and be well,

Lucy Wellmaker


Lucy Wellmaker is a Board Certified Coach helping others with work-life balance, discovering deeper meaning and living more on purpose. For information visit LucyWellmaker.com or call 336-540-0733.


New Year’s Resolutions or Solutions?

successGot your list ready? Aren’t we supposed to be making New Year’s Resolutions to improve ourselves, our families, and our businesses at this time of year?  Or has this age old tradition finally become extinct since we know they don’t work and we’re not sure they ever did?

I agree taking an honest look at ourselves and how we look and live is not the most fun thing to do!  No one wants to think about setting goals and making plans for change!  That’s hard work, and it might include having to give up something we are not prepared to lose!

Is there still a need to plan for change with all of our modern technology and higher education opportunities?  Think a minute, didn’t someone have to take a look at themselves and their lifestyles and made their New Year’s Resolutions and kept them in order for the changes we are seeing to happen!

Today, I believe you know what changes in 2015 are needed and possible for you; but where do you begin? Life is a process of the experiences of success and failure and once you realize that;  you are on your way to seeing your dreams and goals fulfilled! Do you know the choices you make today have the power to impact and leave a legacy of hope for many others?  It’s time to “let it go” and create a new mindset!

Do you know you can become S.M.A.R.T. at this?  It’s not that hard!  I didn’t create this process, (and no one knows for sure who did), but this is the solution to making your New Year’s Resolutions a reality and permanent!  To begin:

  • list your changes and follow these steps in order:

SSpecific-don’ t just list you want to: increase business, get a promotion, lose weight, or get out of debt- be specific- how, when, why, how, where, who is involved! The more specific you are the closer to success you will become!

MMeasurable– your change has to be measurable so you will know when you succeed or fail, and how to handle both!

AAttainable– Your change needs to be attainable for you to reach! Set your goals larger than you can do by yourself, but not so large no one can do them!

RRealistic– make sure you keep in mind where you are in life! Is it realistic to think you can change overnight? Remember this is personal for you,  not a “one plan fits all”  Make it your “real” not some one else’s!

TTimely – for every change you must set a timeframe for accomplishing it! Otherwise you will have set yourself up for the “roundtoit”  mindset! It will never happen! These need to be short enough to create urgency and well defined enough to be successful!

Don’t you  feel “smarter” already? Can’t wait to begin? Word of caution: take a few minutes to get your list as “smart” as you can make it, share it with others because you are not in this alone, and learn to laugh at yourself and the situations that appear everyday! As a woman of faith, I add prayer to my “smart” planning since I know my struggles and how easily I can get off track. Prayer keeps me grounded, transparent, and humble.

Our speakers here at “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency, are experts at making this process work in their lives and businesses. They enjoy helping others become “SMART” too in a variety of topics and settings! Click here for booking information for your upcoming event!  www.simplysuespeaks.com/contact

Ready for the ball to drop, the band to play, and your favorite football team to take the field?  “The Best is Yet to Come” for them and for You in 2015! Ready to make your SMART solutions this year instead of resolutions? Love to hear how it works for you, share a comment with us!






Happy New “You” Year
from “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency



It’s Motivation Monday with Kelly Swanson

sonMy nine-year-old son asked me, “Mom, what would you do if you had a million dollars?”

I immediately saw visions of more hair. And chocolate. And candles. And some more hair. And a walk-in closet where my shoes move in front of me on a conveyor belt. And more shoes. Definitely more shoes. And a new car with tons of room and no french fries under the seat. And a bigger house. Wait. Scratch that. That would mean I would have to box up this house. No way. I’m one trinket away from being a hoarder. No way I’m packing up all this stuff. I’ll just buy a new front to my house, so it will look nicer from the street.  That’ll work.

My son saw forty-seven-hundred light up Star Wars sabers – enough for all his friends to have a complete arsenal and secure his status as the neighborhood arms dealer. He saw walls lined with Chicken McNuggets and those spinning candy-filled toys at Cracker Barrel that I never let him buy because they cost more than my colonoscopy. He saw his own walk-in closet filled with super-hero costumes that never get too small, and a room full of Chuck E Cheese tokens that he thinks are worth more than quarters because they’re gold.

After a while, we got around to actually giving away some of that imagined million dollars. I’m not proud that it took us so long to get there. We agreed that we would have enough money to give to our friends and the family members that we liked – and even the ones we didn’t. And to charity. And to our church. And to feed all the dogs and cats in the world.  Because that’s the kind of people we are.  Especially now that we’re millionaires. What’s an extra thousand?

And we remembered that song “I want to be a millionaire” that we just love on the Glee album. And how the guy in the song wishes he was a millionaire so friggin’ bad. And we talked about how we shouldn’t say “friggin” inSunday School. And how the guy in the song would grant peoples’ last wishes, and give away gifts like Oprah. And it got us to thinking how easy it would be to give away gifts and grant wishes if you were Oprah.

Real easy.

Not really a sacrifice at all.

Because it’s easy to give when you have a lot.

In fact, we agreed it wasn’t that much of a sacrifice for a rich man to give away a piece of his riches.

And we remembered the story of the widow who barely had anything and gave it away. My son and I agreed that took much more of a sacrifice. That it’s easy to give when you have a lot – much harder to give when you have nothing. And maybe therein lies the test of true character. (Okay, so maybe I was the one who used the wordtherein – my son still can’t remember the days of the week.)

And we wondered why we should wait until we have a million dollars to give? What if the entire world waited until they were millionaires to give?  And my son and I came to the conclusion that what you do with a million doesn’t mean near as much as what you do with ten.

But we will still definitely get the hair and the light saber. You might as well look good while you’re giving.


Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by Our State Magazine as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.

It’s Freelance Friday with “Dr. Woody” Woodward

How to Become the MVP in Your Office

Employee-at-desk-happy-about-career-successWith the Super Bowl XLVII coming up, all the talk is about star performances.

One thing we know from watching the NFL playoffs is that team MVPs always train harder, work harder and play harder. They are more mentally and physically prepared and continuously bring their “A” game.

Star players don’t just wish for success, they are willing to work for it. And we can all take a page from their playbooks to become our office superstars.

Here’s a look at what we can all do in the office to enhance our performance and become a team leader:

Embrace Adversity. True stars don’t shy away from adversity–they embrace it. In the business world, this means identifying and fixing problems before they even become an issue. It’s about having the courage to look in the mirror and face the harsh realities of your own mistakes and possibly those of your team and boss. In other words, don’t just be a problem solver, be a problem finder. Once you identify a problem, be sure you come up with potential solutions before taking it to your boss. Don’t worry about blame. A problem is a problem, regardless of fault. Winning teams don’t harp on losses, they rally to win.

How to Take Action: Seek out a critical problem nobody is willing to tackle and own it in 2014.

Push Your Boundaries. If you want success, you need to be willing to push yourself. Star athletes are always looking to improve themselves. This means being proactive and stretching yourself beyond your comfort level. It’s common for bosses to overlook workers’ talents, so it’s up to you to highlight your skills and potential.

How to Take Action: Volunteer for a stretch assignment every quarter in 2014. Look for projects your boss needs to unload and step up to the plate.

Hold a Press Conference. A lot of people are really uncomfortable with the idea of self-promotion, but here’s the reality: You can be the greatest employee in the world, but if nobody knows, it doesn’t matter. Star players always find a way to get their coaches to notice them, which ultimately leads to more playing time. I’m not talking about being outright shameless and banging pots and pans to tout your latest achievements, but you do have to step out a little and let management know what you’ve done.

How to Take Action: Schedule a regular lunch with your boss to review your successes.

Be a Role Model. Always do what you say you are going to do. There is nothing that hurts trust more than when someone doesn’t complete their commitments. If you can’t back up your talk with action, then don’t talk. Building trust is critical to any relationship and trust starts with consistency. Do what you say you are going to do and your boss will know he/she can rely on you.

How to Take Action: Write down every commitment you make and schedule a follow up to make sure you complete your workloads.

True stars always step up their play when the game is on the line, and in the current economic climate, every company and every job is potentially on the line. Treat every day as a playoff game, and those who have found a way to not only survive, but thrive, have relied on making star plays!

Dr WoodyMichael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and the new on-line course The YOU Plan for Career Change on Udemy. Dr. Woody is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership. To book Dr. Woody for your next event contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155. 

It’s Work Positive Wednesday with Dr. Joey Faucette

disappointmentDisappointing results happen…to all of us.

It did to me recently. After hours and hours spent on a proposal, after being told, “It’s yours,” and after projecting it into our cash flow, the response came back, “We’re not going to do it.”

Hero to zero in 1.3 seconds.

Focusing on the positive and filtering out the negative is tougher sometimes than at others. How do you deal with it?

Here are 3 Positive Ways to Deal with Disappointing Results:

Take a Breath
Once you get the news, get up and do something different, preferably physical. If you just sit there, the stench grows worse. If you simply get in your car and drive away, the vehicle fills with funk really fast.

I get up from my desk and walk. My office is at home and our driveway is a quarter of a mile long, up a hill.

You can do the same around a parking lot. Or stop the car and meander through a park.

Take a breath. Give yourself at least a few moments to vent, purge, and exhaust the negative emotions assaulting you.

Take a Look Back
Next, take a look back. Glance in two directions with these questions:

1. “When did I receive similar disappointing results and recover well?”
Remembering an experience like this one and looking at the reality of, “Hey! I’m still here and trying again” strengthens your courage and helps you gain heart to persevere.
I actually recalled some larger disappointments than this one. I recovered from that one and determined that I would this one, too.

2. “What could I have done differently?”
There’s a lesson to be learned from every experience, positive and negative. You can control only yourself.
I decided to avoid projecting cash flow until I have the contract and a deposit. What lesson will you discern and Work Positive moving forward?

Take a Boost
Finally, take a boost. Put on a favorite, positively feel good song and dance around. Or, read an inspiring blog. Or, call an ideal client who loves you, just to say “Hey! How’s it going?” Or, write down three positive experiences you’ve had lately that you’re grateful for. Or, go get a coffee and pay for the person behind you.

A boost removes you mentally and emotionally from the address of disappointment to an entirely new zip code of positive belief.

Disappointing results last a season. Positive success endures for a lifetime so take a breath, a look back, and a boost to Work Positive in this negative world.


JoeystandingDr. Joey Faucette is the internationally known author of the #1 Amazon best-seller, Work Positive in a Negative World: Redefine Your Reality & Achieve Your Business Dreams (Entrepreneur Press). He is a professional speaker who coaches business professionals to increase sales with greater productivity so they leave the office earlier to do what they love with their family and friends, leading individuals in organizations of every size to achieve amazing results. He and his wife have two adult daughters. They enjoy living on Pleasant Gap Farm with their three yellow Labs, three quarter horses, and one cat–Boo Radley.

To book Dr. Joey as your next Keynote Speaker or Seminar /Workshop Presenter,  contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.

It’s Work Positive Wednesday with Dr. Joey Faucette

I'm SorryOne of our yellow Labs had an accident on our bedroom carpeting.  I discovered it unfortunately when the stain had set.

So I went to the grocery store and rented a carpet cleaner.  I thought that since I had it, I might as well clean the entire room.

You wouldn’t believe what came out of our carpet!  I mean, it looked clean on the surface.  Sure, it had a few stains here and there, but overall I thought it looked pretty good…until I emptied the dirty water bucket.  It was really dirty!

As you reflect back, last year might look pretty clean.  You might be thinking that you can just keep on doing life the way you did last year.

But odds are last year was more like my carpeting than you imagine.  That there’s something beneath the surface of your habits that needs cleaning.

Do you have any negative thoughts that keep coming up at work or at home?  What about a personal habit that keeps you from succeeding?

Clean up your act and make a positive life, not just a living.

JoeystandingDr. Joey Faucette is the internationally known author of the #1 Amazon best-seller, Work Positive in a Negative World: Redefine Your Reality & Achieve Your Business Dreams (Entrepreneur Press). He is a professional speaker who coaches business professionals to increase sales with greater productivity so they leave the office earlier to do what they love with their family and friends, leading individuals in organizations of every size to achieve amazing results. He and his wife have two adult daughters. They enjoy living on Pleasant Gap Farm with their three yellow Labs, three quarter horses, and one cat–Boo Radley.

To book Dr. Joey as your next Keynote Speaker or Seminar /Workshop Presenter,  contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.

It’s Work Positive Wednesday with Dr. Joey Faucette

PerseveranceGot Perseverance?

We moved to the Appalachian mountains when our younger daughter was less than a year old.  So she spent her preschool years hiking up and down mountains with us.  When she was small I would carry her, but when she was around two years old, I decided that it was time for her to hike.  So she did for a while…

…until she would get tired.  “Help me, Daddy,” she’d say with her arms outstretched.  At first, I always picked her up and carried her for a while.  But as she got older, I started telling her, “Just keep walking for a little while longer, honey, and you’ll feel better in a few minutes.”  So she would and in a few minutes she’d say, “I feel better, Daddy.”

Our daughter wanted to quit, but persevered long enough to get her second wind.  If you want to keep your New Year’s resolution, you’ve got to stick to it when you feel like quitting.  Sure, you’ll get tired, maybe even worn out, but to reach your goals, discover a positive partner, develop a winning attitude, celebrate each success, and persevere in the New Year as you make a positive life!


Dr. Joey Faucette is the #1 Best Selling Author of “Work Positive in a Negative World” and the leading International Positive Success Expert.  Isn’t it time to invite Dr. Joey to your next 2014 event, as a Keynote, and/or Seminar and Workshop Presenter? Contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155. We can make that happen! #WOWfactor, #wpnw

It’s Freelance Friday with Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward

Social Media Job Searching Tips for Dummies

  • Facebook on Computer Screen

If you are a serious job seeker, you better be using social media.

A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn for sourcing candidates. On the flip side, the recently-released State of the Job Search in 2013 report by CareerArc Group found that using social media ranked in the top three as the most valuable resources for job seekers along with personal referrals and online searches.

And it’s not just young workers using the social networking tools, theCareerArc Group report also shows that 58% of respondents 45 or older ranked social media as their top job-hunting resource.  

Landing that great job has always been about “who-you-know” and social networks have made it easy to expand your connections. The challenge lies in understanding how to effectively use social media to establish meaningful relationships and then turn them into opportunities.

According to Joshua Waldman, career expert and author of Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies,“people become so transfixed by technology they forget social media is not a solution in-and-of-itself, rather it’s tool.” He says too many job seekers fail to understand that creating and posting a profile is a starting point not an end point.

This comes from the mistaken view that social media sites like LinkedIn are akin to having an online resume. But the resume is a byproduct of an era long gone. Waldman points out that the cold, static, and impersonal nature of the traditional resume is counter to the dynamic nature of social media sites. Digital content is very robust and employers expect job seekers to take advantage of these capabilities to put their best foot forward.      

Here are Waldman’s tips for effectively using social media outlets to help find a job:

Position Yourself: Your profile is your job search foundation. Waldman suggests job seekers ask themselves: What one thing do you want a potential employer to remember about you? Once you have identified how you want to position yourself, consider what type of profile picture, headline and content would best support that message. In other words, be sure to back up what you claim and do it in a way that is consistent and catchy.   

Polish Your Profile: The content of your profile should clearly support your headline. Waldman says the message has to align with what you are trying to sell about yourself. The body of your profile should be a set of talking points designed to convince an employer you can deliver on the promise of your headline. Also, keep in mind your content is dynamic. Be sure to integrate pictures, video, audio, graphics and any other relevant data points that bolster your case.   

When writing a profile, Waldman recommends being wary of what he calls “profile-itis” or the propensity to obsess over tinkering and tweaking your profile. Consistency is important when it comes to your online presence. If you are constantly changing your status, profile picture or headline, it may cause a recruiter to take pause.     

Proactively Publish: To be clear, publishing doesn’t necessarily mean writing a blog or launching a newsletter. The idea is to be an active user as opposed to a passive bystander. In other words, you can’t just post your profile and forget. Each social media platform has its own unspoken rules, so be sure you pay attention to the typical posting and communication behaviors in your network. Waldman notes that it’s one thing to blast twenty tweets out a day, but when it comes to LinkedIn less is probably more.  

There is certainly a lot of debate about the big three social media sites and how to best utilize them in job searching. Waldman contends that the divide between personal and private is more manufactured than real. The job search has always been about leveraging personal connections, so why wouldn’t you want to reach out to those who know you best. There are certainly different strategies for using social media sites, but mastering them all is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity.


Dr WoodyMichael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and the new on-line course The YOU Plan for Career Change on Udemy. Dr. Woody is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership. To invite Dr. Woody to be your next Keynote, Seminar or Workshop Presenter in 2014 contact Sue Falcone- sue@simplysuespeaks.com, or call 1-888-766-3155 today. 


It’s Work Positive Wednesday in the New Year-2014 with Dr. Joey Faucette

2014Did you know that New Year’s Day is the oldest of all holidays, first observed in Babylon more than 4,000 years ago?  It started with the first day of spring and lasted for eleven days.  Can you imagine a New Year’s party lasting eleven days?  And the Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions with the most popular being to return borrowed farm equipment.

The Romans observed the New Year in late March, but in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, the Roman senate declared January 1 as the date to begin the new year.  To do it right, Julius Caesar had to let the previous year last 445 days.

The Greeks were the first to use a baby to symbolize the New Year around 600 B.C.  And the Germans added that New Year’s banner to the baby new year.

So what’s your history with New Year’s Day?  What symbols do you use?  How did you celebrate?  Celebrate by listening to life and choosing to Live Positive and Work Positive all year long.

frontcover-1Dr. Joey Faucette, Author of the #1 Best-Seller “Work Positive in a Negative World” is a celebrated Speaker, Seminar and Workshop Presenter, and Coach. He also has an on-line coaching series and his blogs are featured all over the world!

Looking for a great Keynote Speaker, or an engaging and captive Seminar and Workshop Presenter? Dr. Joey is booking quickly, so to invite him to your event contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com, or call 1-888-766-3155.