How To Be Smart Without Being Obnoxious

No Comments 24 April 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 4.10.14 AMThere a few things potentially more potentially obnoxious than wine.  French poetry perhaps.  Maybe indie bands that none but a few have heard of (and, boy, are those few proud of it). Also, people who constantly tell you what something means in the original Latin, Greek or Sanskrit. But wine is definitely up there on the obnoxious scale, especially to a simple farm boy from Indiana.

That’s why it’s always thrown me off when my cousins Taylor and Jeremy talk about wine. Somehow they can get away with talking about it and it doesn’t sound obnoxious at all.  At first I thought it was because they’re my cousins and I like them better than most wine people I know. (And aren’t Taylor and Jeremy cute as toddlers? That picture has nothing to do with the content of this post- it’s purely to get page views as that photo is friggin’ adorable). Then I realized why their comments about wine were different than those from most I’ve heard.

They’re talking about it so you can know it.  They actually want other people to learn, to be able to enjoy wine like they do. It’s not about showing what they know and you don’t, it’s about how you can get there, too.  And that’s a huge difference.  Some people talk to hear themselves sound smart, and that’s obnoxious.  Others talk to help others learn to be where they are, and isn’t that better?

We’re all experts on something, so next time you’re expounding on something potentially obnoxious, check to see if you’re doing it to help others learn, or if you’re just showing off.

Hope, inspiration, interview, speaker

Elizabeth Smart- How To Move On From Tragedy

No Comments 15 August 2014

Screen shot 2013-03-18 at 9.27.05 AMElizabeth Smart endured the tragedy being abducted and held captive for several months. Today she’s married and is one of America’s most sought after speakers. In my interview with her, she acknowledges how everyone has had struggles in their past, how to accept it, and how to move on.

Hope, inspiration

3 Small Steps To Make 1 Big Impact

4 Comments 14 August 2014

Screen shot 2014-08-14 at 8.42.53 AMI had no idea the story of how the story of Robin Williams using his rider would strike a chord, especially with how people have said it’s inspiring them to make an impact themselves.  I’ve been working with nonprofits for over 20 years, and I’d hate to miss this opportunity to share with you how you can help others. Taking a cue from the example Robin Williams set in his rider, here are three small steps you can take to make a big impact.

Step 1: Know yourself and your passions. 

You’ll always be most inspired and motivated by what you’re passionate about. Some people are inspired by education, animals, or any number of things.  For Robin Williams, that was helping the homeless. For me, I’m really passionate about helping kids in need internationally.  You’ll have the greatest impact on the world by starting with what you’re most passionate about.  There is something about you that’s unique.

Step 2: Start with what you have, with those around you. 

Are you passionate about education and you live in Omaha?  Start with helping students in Omaha.  Do you have particular skills like IT, accounting, or just listening?  Put those skills to work helping people or organizations in your sphere of influence. For Robin Williams, among other things, he realized he had a voice and a platform.  Publicly, he testified before congress and raised millions of dollars to help the homeless.  On the business side, much less publicly, he knew he’d be on movie sets and would perform at events, and could use his influence there.

Step 3:  Influence Others To Do The Same. 

Teach others how to do what you do.  Multiply yourself.  In the example Robin Williams gave with his rider requirement of hiring the homeless, he multiplied his effect.  I’m sure for many production companies, this was likely the first time they went out and intentionally hired a homeless person for a job.   Once they did, hopefully some of them continued to do so even when they moved on to a non-Robin Williams project.

I’ve followed these steps myself.  For me, I realized that although there are many great causes out there, I was most motivated by helping kids internationally.   I’ve gone along with others to rebuild a home for a widow after Haiti’s earthquake, help feed kids in poverty in the Dominican, and to play games with orphans.  Our family even came together one time to fund the building of an AIDS clinic in Swaziland near South Africa.  But I realized I’m just me, and I really wanted to find a way to multiply the effect, to help others make an even greater impact.  So with some help from some great people, we started, as a way to increase that impact, to help nonprofit leaders who have huge hearts, but maybe not every business skill.  From a little group in Nashville, these people go out and help kids in over 20 countries around the world. Long after I’m gone, the skills these people have learned and will pass on will continue to help those in need.

Obviously life is filled with tragedy, but it’s also filled with a lot of blessings as well. It’s been years since I first saw that clause in Robin Williams’ rider designed to help the homeless, and it’s always stuck with me as an inspiration to help others myself.

Will you choose to find your passion,  serve those around you, and influence others to do the same?

If you’d like to make a donation to help counselors who walk alongside those in need, visit The Refuge Center.

READ: How Robin Williams Secretly Used His Movies and Events To Help The Homeless

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