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motivational speaker


6 Inspiring Quotes That Have Stood the Test of Time (and my mom).

A challenging morning can be made less difficult by reading a few inspirational or motivational quotes. Sources for inspiration can be found in the quotes of former presidents, successful business people, inventors or even your parents. A deeper meaning for each quote can be determined by what is going on in your life at any given time. 

These quotes have helped guide me during challenging times, times of failure and times of victory. I hope they have significance in your life as well. As you read the quotes, let them simmer in your head. Allow each quote an opportunity to find meaning with you.

Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right.
— Henry Ford

Your brain is an incredibly powerful organ. Electrical impulses fire off at incredible speeds and if we don't learn how to work the mechanics of our brain properly, it could possibly work against us, letting fear of failure or fear of the unknown block our way to success.  Feed your brain with positive self-talk, happy thoughts and keep yourself thinking about success (however you define it). You are in control of your behavior and your thoughts. 

Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.
— Dr. Benjamin Spock

What does your gut tell you? The vast majority of the time you have the tools to make decisions on your own. What is good for someone else might not be good for you, so rely more on your ability to make decisions, taking your best interest at heart. When you trust yourself, you start to build more self-confidence. Ultimately, this will benefit you as well. When you make a wrong decision, get value from the lessoned learned, grow from it and allow it to help you trust yourself even more.

If I have nine hours to cut down a tree, I would spend six hours sharpening my axe.
— Abraham Lincoln

Preparation is very important, but there is a fine line between preparation and procrastination. Be wise enough to know the difference when it comes to you making decisions and taking action. Write down a list of the actions that you are fearful of. Maybe you are afraid of cold calls, public speaking, networking, making decisions, etc.  If these are troubling areas for you, when it comes to taking action, be sensitive to your inability to move forward. Prepare to be the best you possible, but don't wait for perfection. If you do, it will never come.

Anyone that has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
— Albert Einstein

Scientists, inventors, visionaries and entrepreneurs understand the importance of making mistakes. Learn the valuable lessons that mistakes and missteps can create. Look back to all the amazing things that you have been able to accomplish in your lifetime. You have earned many achievements. I can assure you that you did not go from point A to point B without a few, if not many, mistakes. Mistakes made is the Universe's way of asking, "Congratulations for stepping outside your comfort zone, what did you learn?" 

Some people come into your life as blessings. Other people come into your life as lessons.
— Mother Teresa

Not everyone you come in contact with will be your friend, no matter how awesome you may think you are. I had a tough time with this one. People come into your life for a reason. Personally, I'd prefer to meet someone with the hope that they are a blessing in my life, as I would hope to be a blessing in their life as well. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Think of the relationships you started over the past few years. Are all of there people still in your life as a positive influence?  Probably not. Appreciate the fact that some people are placed in your life as a way for you to grow. Do not see this as a negative. I have learned several valuable virtues including patience, diligence and perseverance from people that I no longer have relationships with, but needed them in my life at that specific time, to teach me these values.

Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.
— RosaLea Finstein (Doug's Mom)

My Mom, a frequent participant in the comments section of this blog, has provided a generous amount of content for my Nice Guys Finish First speaking and writing platforms. I will often label a quote, "Doug's Mom."  Although many of the quotes are tongue and cheek, they all have a deeper meaning with multiple interpretations. Although the exact origin of this quote is unknown, this "show me your friends" quote dates back, for me,  to her mother, my grandmother. I never had the honor of knowing her during my lifetime. Both professionally and personally you are who you associate with. Align yourself with positive, caring, empathetic people if you want to be a positive, caring and empathetic person. When you are working towards a goal, it is always a good idea to associate with others who have reached similar goals so you can learn from them. It may require effort to separate from some of your "negative" influences, as they might, at times, be disguised as things like television, Lazy Boy chairs or even a persuasive friend. 

There are many great sources for finding inspiration. Social media channels including Twitter and Instagram can provide great inspiration. Search engines like Google provide an "Images" tab for their query results to help me visualize the quotes I select for inspiration and motivation. Websites like BrainyQuote.com are wonderful as sources for content as well. Good stuff in equals good stuff out, and inspirational quotes are a great way to kickstart your thinking. 



The Power of Nice is Right

photo credit - pixabay.com

photo credit - pixabay.com

As a guy who makes a living at being nice (I even wrote a book called Nice Guys Finish First, so you know I am a believer), one of the more commonly asked questions I get when speaking to groups all over the country is not, “Why are you always so nice?” but rather, “How can you always be nice?” It appears to me that people in general know that being nice is far more beneficial than being not nice. I think people are stuck in the mindset that I must always be “up,” in a good mood, or in a constant state of happiness. Well, the short response to that statement as it pertains to me is, “Yes, but…” Yes, but I do have my mean moments. I want flip someone off in traffic, lay into someone for generally being stupid or yell back at someone when I am challenged by them. Yes, I want to do all of those things (I am human after all), but I hold back. The reason I don’t respond to mean, stupid or challenging people? What’s the point? Even if I win, flip or challenge back, I will never be right in the eyes of the offending party. I consider myself an expert at assessing idiocy while maintaining an attitude of "you cannot overcome dumb." So, I save my energy for kindness, happiness and niceness. I win.

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
— Buddha

You must keep in mind that the only things we are in control of are our attitude, our thoughts and our behaviors. Over the years, I have worked hard at the six inches between my ears. My brain constantly is sending messages to me in the form of thought waves. And if your brain is functioning correctly, yours is doing the same thing. You have a choice when you interpret those thoughts. You can either process those synapses and be kind, nice and happy or take the fork in the road and be cold, callus, selfish, mean and dark. I find the latter to be just plain wrong and totally counter productive. I prefer to build up rather than tear down.

Want to know the best way to get anything you want? Give away everything you have. In a previous blog I wrote about a year ago I talked about the act of giving. Want love, give love. Want happiness, give happiness. Want more time and money in your life, give away your time and your money. The world is just a big circle of energy and if you don’t believe that, just try paying a good deed forward. The act of being nice will always be rewarded by the receipt of nice. You win!

Want love, give love. Want happiness, give happiness. Want more time and money in your life, give away your time and your money.

Success in business today involves taking the road less traveled. Recently, I had an opportunity to work on a business project with my brother Richard. Until last month we have never had a chance to work together. Rich has built a tremendously successful (and very personable) business in a potentially cold and sterile high-tech world of webinars, webcasting and learning management systems (complicated business stuff). His company, CommPartners has built a reputation as “the” go-to source, in his market. I would venture to say partly because of his approach to exemplary service, outstanding support and kindness (plus he has a great product too). His competition is stiff and in the world of high-technology, Rich and his talented staff score an A+ for creating a culture of nice, while maintaining a high touch profile with his clients. I learned, over those 30 days, that nice doesn’t just work in the world of my small business, but instead translates perfectly well in a multi-million dollar business like Rich’s. Way to go CommPartners. (#ELEVATE).

Back to the original question, “How can you always be nice?” I honestly don’t see that we have any other logical choice. I tell myself that nice is my only option. If you think that being nice means being a pushover, a “yes” man, or someone that is constantly getting dumped on, think again. Whether you are a leader of a company like my brother Richard, run a small company like mine or run a billion dollar empire like Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos), being nice is the best, most productive and most positive way to be. There is a tremendous amount of power in nice. As an added bonus, nice pays well too.

If given a test on the subject of being nice, would you score A+?

Train your brain that being nice is your only option. Create habits that allow you to be mindful of another perspective other than yours. If given a test question on the subject of being nice, would you score A+? Bad stuff is out there folks, that is reality for all of us, but there is plenty of good stuff too. Focus on the good stuff and nice is right around the corner.

Please take a moment and check out my book, Nice Guys Finish First, on Amazon now and climbing the charts quickly. Also, I have a podcast on iTunes, The Nice Guys on Business podcast. Fun and Business can mix well. Everyone can use a bit more NICE in life.



Motivation from the Fast Lane

pixabay.com jonbonsilver

pixabay.com jonbonsilver

Dedicated to my Uncle Morris, the most motivated and successful man I know. 1931-2015

Anyone that knows me, knows that my favorite lane on the highway is the slow lane. Life rolls by at a much more comfortable speed. I feel safer, less anxious and much more in control. Oddly enough, I love fast cars, but I like to drive them slowly. On the highway, cars all the way to my left are zipping by at breakneck speed. Why is everyone always in such a hurry?

I have, however, spent the majority of my career in the fast lane. In business, I am a fast lane acting kind of guy. I want to go, go, go and once I get locked into a plan, don’t try to talk me out of it. Keep your hands and feet in the “vehicle” at all times because it’s about to get up to warp speed. I love the rush of adrenaline I get from starting a new project, discovering a new angle and pushing the wheels of progress forward.

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.
— Zig Ziglar

When asked, what motivates and inspires me to work hard to strive for success, I think part of the answer is the simplicity of it all. I am inspired by TV commercials, sappy magazine advertisements and by thoughtful gestures. I see a store clerk helping an older woman load groceries into her car and I fall to pieces. Any television commercial with a horse or a puppy makes me cry and I am ok with that. I am also inspired by bad systems in need of repair, poorly laid out processes and a void of a product or service in the marketplace.

My motivation? I truly believe if someone can achieve success then why can’t I? If all it requires is effort and I can learn the skill, sign me up, find me a teacher and let’s go. To stay motivated, all I need to do is look at the path ahead, focus on getting there and stay true to myself. About failure? Hell, I’ve failed at many things in my life, but I have practiced getting up so many times as well. I am very good at rebounding and moving on.

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.
— Theodore Roosevelt

Sure, there are days when I have to dig deep, but those days are few and far between when I am working on something very exciting. Whether you are writing a book, starting a new job or working on the next best widget, staying motivated is about being fresh, following your heart and working through the fear of failure. Some days I have awesome cheerleaders that put me back on my feet and inspire me, but many days, I have only myself to rely upon. On days like these, I feed my head with positive thoughts and inspiring self-talk. There is very little room for negativity in my life, but if it creeps in, I work to turn it into positive action.

Although puppies and bad systems can inspire and motivate you as well, nothing can beat feet on the street and practical application of a well thought out idea. There is only so long that a Budweiser horse and a yellow lab can keep you inspired after the 30 second TV spot is over. Here is my list of action items that help keep me motivated.

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
— Albert Einstein

Set it - Write down your goals, dreams and plans. Visualize them daily.

Say it - Tell others what you are doing. Nothing like a little accountability to keep you motivated. Enlist others to be your cheerleaders. If you are a dreamer, in the beginning, you may have to convince others of your plans. Do not let anyone discourage you. Don’t argue with logic, prove to them with action what you are going to accomplish.

Feed it - Power up with positive motivation. Take time to feed your brain with positive words. There is a great book written by Shad Helmstetter, What To Say When You Talk To Yourself. The book is filled with great exercises and applications to turn your biggest critic, your brain, into a motivational, positive thinking machine.

Play it - Get busy doing what you set out to do. The conditions will never be perfect. Action is a great motivator as well. When you are able to notice progress, negativity will not be able to get hold of you.

Stay at it - Don’t give up. Don’t you realize it is impossible to fail if you don’t give up. Expect detours along the way. Stay in the game, review your goals and keep going.

Accept it - You deserve success in your life. Say goodbye to all the naysayers you meet along the way. No matter how old you are, how young you are, how educated you are not, you have within you the power to make it happen. Don’t let the voices in your head or in the next cubicle next to you make you feel like you are not worthy of success.

Fall seven times and stand up eight.
— Japanese Proverb

Success will come to you, count on it. Maintain a positive attitude. I will agree that sometimes that is not the easiest thing to do, but success does not find you when you are on the dark side. You need to stay on the light side. Once you get a taste of success, you will see what it does for your confidence, self-esteem and attitude. You will feel better about you and that has a whole new set of positive vibes as well. It’s time to get inspired, get motivated and get going.

Please share on your favorite social media channel. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter amplify my message. If you have not yet gotten a copy of Nice Guys Finish First, please take a moment and check it out on Amazon. As of the date of this post, it has hit #70 on the Amazon Best Seller rankings for Business Strategy. Let’s take it to #1.



When Big Business Fails the Little Guy



When I started writing my blog I made a promise to myself and to you, that I would work hard at making sure the same passion I put into my business, would be put into my writing. Hopefully my heart and my passion has been reflected properly in the words I have put down. And there is nothing I am more passionate about in business than exemplary service. Whenever I see an opportunity to catch someone doing something right, I do my best to provide praise, positive feedback and a good old “attaboy.”

Hopefully, I will get through to one person that can make a change, make a difference and make a plan.

Over the last 14 months, I have written about 70 blogs and approximately 90,000 words. If you include my book, which is about 40,000 words and my guest blogs of about 25,000 words, I would approximate that I have written over 150,000 words in about 60 weeks. The vast majority of the words that have spilled out of my brain and onto your computer screen, tablet and smartphone have been positive. By design, I like to make people happy. So when there comes a time for me to air something out and complain, please know that I am doing so to make a point and not for the sake of just hearing myself rant. Hopefully, I will get through to one person that can make a change, make a difference and make a plan.

Big Business, you know who you are, you’ve really let us down. But, you haven’t just let me down, I could handle that. Instead, you are letting down a whole bunch of people. As I share my Big Business experience with others, they are also telling me their stories as well. I think you owe us all an apology for being so challenging to deal with, so taxing on our patience and for creating so much stress in our lives. We know there is so little that we can actually do about it and we know that you will be very slow to change your ways, but we thought it would be a good idea for us to write an apology letter that expresses how we think you feel. Since I know you will never write a letter of sincere apology, I thought it would be appropriate for me to write an apology letter with a Big Business spin. Here goes:

Dear Mr. Little Customer, 

We want to care but:

Our systems are too complicated and we really are not sure how they work exactly. We actually don’t know what the other departments in our big company actually do, so we will go ahead and transfer you to them.

We don't understand our technology, and although it may sound like we are taking notes when we discuss things with you on the phone, we actually are just going to hit delete when we hang up with you.

Our departments don't communicate with each other and even if we knew what their procedures were, when we transfer you to them, you will accidentally get disconnected. If you do happen to get through to them, they will tell you that you have reached their department in error. They will try to transfer you back.

Our employees can't make decisions. We will escalate your issue to the guy in the cubicle next to us, but he will just ask you to repeat everything you just said so he can delete the notes too before he takes no action.

We prefer not talking directly to you, so we are going to try and get you caught in our automated phone system. Please listen carefully, our menu options have all changed. Next time you call back, they will change again. But first, we will make you wait on hold 30 minutes with badly distorted music playing in your ear.

Those are just our policies. Sorry, we realize that the policies we have in place don’t make sense to you today, but you will thank us next time you call, because they will not make sense then either. Hey, we are consistent.

Please let me stick to my script. Please do not ask me to be human, have any empathy or show compassion. It’s troubling for us to stay on script if you don’t play by our rules. Before you call next time, we will send you the customer script so we can follow your part as well.

We appreciate you waiting on hold for 30 minutes. It gives our people a chance to take a break. It’s hard listening to complaints all day and they need a break to complain about you.

Pardon all the background noise and the sound of my breathing on the headset. We're really packed into these cubicles. You do have another option though. If you prefer you can get online and chat with us there. Our answers will make no sense to you but at least you won’t hear us breathing.

We are going to ask you if we resolved your issue and ask you to take a survey after we are done, even though we never plan on using your answers to make improvements.

We know our fees are high and are services are substandard. But we know our competition is just like that too. 

Sorry. Not sorry.

~Big Business

PS - We know we have inconvenienced you many times over the last several decades, since becoming so big. As a sign of our sincerest apologies, we are raising our fees effective immediately. Thanks for the business and have a nice day.

As a sign of our sincerest apologies, we are raising our fees effective immediately.

One day, things will be better. Meanwhile, the best I can do is laugh about it, write about it and hope that in the not too distant future, something will change. Do you have a Big Business horror story? If so, we need to band together for a giant group hug or something. In the meantime, accept the letter above as an apology for a job poorly done by Big Business.

Doug Sandler, helps organizations build better relationships with their customers. He strongly believes that Big Business (and little business) need to add the human element back into business. Doug’s book, Nice Guys Finish First, is available on Amazon.com. He is available for keynotes and workshops for your organization.



Practical Advice to Reinvent Yourself



The only thing constant is change. We are challenged, almost daily, by the conflict of push and pull. We want to make good decisions for ourselves and our families. When it comes to decisions, we often get stuck in a rut and make choices out of habit. The route we take to work, the cereal we buy at the grocery store, how many times we hit the snooze button in the morning. Habits are hard to break and they are certainly what keeps us in our comfort zone. Why else would anyone keep a bad hairstyle from the 1980s? Even worse, why would we ever stay in a job that is taking us nowhere or stay in stagnant relationship that provides little nourishment for our soul? There is, however, a solution in every problem, but we need to be willing to look for it. Big challenges require big vision and bigger change. Enter stage right, the reinvention.

It actually isn’t dramatic at all, and it usually comes with no fanfare, no grand entrance and very little hype. But is does come with a bunch of emotion, worry, and self-doubt. When you are in reinvention mode, it feels great and scary all at the same time. You’re free, you’re refreshed, you are loving life and you are scared. The difference between the old you and the new you can be put into motion by the simple turning of a figurative switch. Make a decision and get to it. Once the decision is made, being overworked becomes being overjoyed. Don’t tell yourself you can’t make the change because change is “complicated.” It doesn’t have to be complicated. Put on your big boy briefs and get to work. Stop settling and start moving. Yes, I am talking to you.

You need to decide that it is time for a change. Focus on a perfect world of I can do it.

What will that catalyst be? It might me waking up one day to discover that you have finally had enough. It might be an enlightening conversation with a friend, coworker or relative. In any case, it will require a decision and then action. First, the decision. You need to decide that it is time for a change. For just a moment, set aside the fear that says “you can’t” and focus on a perfect world of “I can.” Second, take action. I have a very close friend that talks about a principle of a flywheel. Flywheels can be difficult to get started and require a lot of upfront energy to get into action, but once they are moving they chugalug with very little effort.

So let’s get to it. I did it and so can you. Too old to reinvent? Think again, I was almost 50 years old when I started my reinvention, well over 20 years in another world, coming from an entirely different industry, different market and different mindset. So how did I do it? I made a decision, just as you will too. But you will need to make up your own mind, I can’t do that for you.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
— Buddha

Here are the practical steps to reinvention:

Be willing to accept change in your life. Change is not a four letter word. Allow it to enter your life and your decisions. Don’t let the fear of change hold you back.

Burn the boats. Once you make a decision, keep moving forward and do not stop until you win. Ryan Estis, a successful consultant, keynote speaker and friend talks about the idea of burning the boats. Do not allow for a Plan B. There should be no retreat, no surrender and no choice BUT to win. If you have no boat to go back to, you have no choice but to move forward.

Visualize the new you. Say it into existence. Make plans and talk about the new you. It may require a bit of “fake it until you make it” attitude, but I can assure you it works like a champ. In my own personal experience, before I had written the first word of my book, I was an author. Sure, it took 20 weeks of writing, another 10 weeks of editing, a boatload of design and plenty of patience after uttering those words the first time but, “I’m an author.” became my reality.

Develop a step by step action plan. Your best bet is to make a plan and spell it out, step by step. If you don’t know how to do it, follow someone else who has gone before you. Don’t have a relationship with anyone that has gone before you? Make that your first step. I had no clue about the steps I needed to complete in order to become a professional speaker or author, but I knew the right people to ask. It’s incredible what you will discover when you open your mouth and start asking questions.

Seek out support. Disconnect from naysayers. Feed your brain with good, and move away from bad. Seek out the people currently in your life that provide positive energy. For me, I have an amazing network of cheerleaders that regularly boost my energy, bring me back up if I feel down, and keep my head in the right place. Under no circumstance should you align yourself with anyone that will allow you to get away with “average” or second place results. Right now, you need to be pumped up. See my post, 24 Seconds That Can Change Your Life.

Be willing to fail. Don’t let a temporary setback keep you down for good. Remember, you’ve burned the boats, you have no way to get back. I can assure you, you will hit roadblocks and detours along the way and at times you will want to climb under your covers and wait it out. Do not retreat. You got this.

Enjoy life and all it has to offer. There are many years of happiness in front of you and if you take off the rear view mirror and stop looking backwards you will see all that life has to offer. Life is best played with a positive attitude, a huge smile and a soul filled with love.

I would love to hear about your reinvention. Tell me about the new you, the old you went down with the boats. xo