Breaking Into the Network

Nobody likes networking. It is awkward, uncomfortable, and painfully reminiscent of high school prom. We all know the flood of self-consciousness that comes as you put on your best fake smile and sling business cards around a table of strangers. But while some hope and pray for a better way, others make it happen.

I contend that networking isn’t about sales, promotion, or schmoozing. Networking is about building lasting connections – building relationships. And today I spent my lunch hour introducing a dozen Tampa Bay professionals to networking comfortably and effectively. I taught them how to network like spies.

Spies follow three simple rules: 1. Don’t talk about yourself, 2. Find a common Bond, 3. Get a second meeting. Effective Networking follows the same rules. I saw a dozen people discover their networking potential today with these rules. Will you find your own potential?

Youth Matters

I spent my Sunday evening with an impressive group of young men – the Young Men’s Service League of Tampa. I was not aware of this organization before they contacted me, and now find myself hugely supportive their community-building mission.

Born in 2001, YMSL is an organization focused on fostering closer mother-son relationships through service oriented acts in the community.

Like many sons, my mother has a special place in my heart; part hero, part Police officer, and all love. I count myself lucky to have had the opportunity to meet this group and advance the lives of these sons and the men they will become.

Writers Rock!

If only I had learned how much fun writers have when I was in grade school! I would have turned to writing as soon as I learned how to spell my name. Instead, it took an invitation from the Florida Writers Association, St Petersburg chapter, to teach me.

After talking about my book, my background, and my personal mission for over an hour, this detail-oriented group of writers was relentless in peppering me with insightful and challenging questions until the moment the doors closed behind us.

In my search for critical thinkers and achievers, this visit is at the top of my favorite places. While I was thankful for the chance to talk about the difference between ‘Lonely and Alone,’ I was fully privileged to connect with this group of like minded visionaries.

And for the 5 ladies who shut the place down with me… I’d be your ‘Charlie’ any day!

True Talent

I spent my afternoon rediscovering Tampa’s beauty with photographer and gifted creative Caleb Daniel. I hired Caleb based on a peer recommendation but found him to be far more than just a talented photographer. The best artists are able to see beauty as it lives in the moment. Caleb introduced me to moments I never would have noticed had he not been there beside me.

The mission of the day was to get new professional headshots. Instead, Caleb found a way to unlock my joy and comfort and capture them on film. I have high ambitions for 2018, and with people like Caleb supporting me I have every faith that my ambitions will be met.

I do not envy him the job of going through our hundreds of photos from today, finishing them and preparing them for social media, marketing, and promotional use. I do envy him, however, his totally natural way of loving every minute he is alive. Thank you for making my world a little brighter today, Caleb.

Growth in Groups

I was privileged to see a recent project I’ve been working on come to life this week! In the Fall of 2017, actor and voice talent Colby Boothman-Shepard (Jurassic World, Star Wars: Battlefront, Mythbusters) asked me to serve as a consultant on a new film screenplay he was developing. This past Sunday, I got to see that screenplay read through by a group of talented men and women at the beautiful Andi Matheny Acting Studio in St Petersburg, Florida!

Watching Colby’s creative journey to develop his screenplay was humbling and impressive. I have a new respect now for those brave enough to make a career in the film industry. But even more impressive was seeing the host of people who came together for nearly four hours to breathe life into Colby’s work under bright lights and the watchful eye of an experienced Hollywood veteran – the lovely Andi Matheny herself!

I have stood side-by-side with paramilitary, Special Forces, and elite intelligence operators for more than a decade. This Sunday reminded me that whether you are part of a cast or combatants, growth is found in groups that choose to focus on a shared goal. Well done and good luck, Colby!

Opportunity Ahead

If there is anything I have learned over my professional years, it’s that opportunities only stop appearing when we stop looking for them. No amount of frustration, discouragement, or fatigue will impact the availability of opportunity. For those who seek it, it will be found. For those who stop looking, it will illude.

2018 will be an exciting year for me not because of anything I do, but because I will keep my eyes open. Opportunity awaits you as well, if you are willing to look. I will look where no one else is looking, I will try where I have never tried before. And I invite you to join me.

Happy 2018, and Happy Hunting!

One Life. No Compromises

I speak because I love to speak. I can’t make people listen, but I am honored when they choose to listen.

The best way to learn is from one another, and I listen to others far more than I speak to others. Maybe that it why I love to speak. For every hour I am on stage, I get to spend many more hours listening to the people I meet off stage. My content gets stronger with every compliment and criticism I receive. My fear of failure gets less with every success and mistake. And most importantly, I get to share experiences with people I may never have met otherwise.

I am grateful to every person who takes the time to talk to me. They inspire me more than I could ever hope to inspire them.  They remind me how important it is to value this one life. They remind me now important it is to never compromise on doing what you love.

I speak because I love to speak. I can’t make people listen, but I am honored when they choose to listen.


Book Release: ‘Everyday Espionage’ goes live!

Every now and then we surprise ourselves. Such is the case today as I announce the release of the first installment in my Everyday Espionage book series!

For anyone who thinks that accomplishment happens alone, I must offer an opposing view. Alone, we doubt. Alone, we fear. Alone, we convince ourselves that we are not good enough, not worthy, and not able. Only through community can we connect with a power source strong enough to combat our own self-doubt.

Everyday Espionage: Winning the Workplace is going to see the light of day on November 21st, 2017 because of a community; a group of people who encouraged me, supported me, and even gave me their talents because they believed this book would change lives. I promise you I could not have done this alone. Alone, I am weak. In my community, I am strong.

There is something you want to build; something you want to change. And alone, you’ve struggled, doubted, and feared. But hear me now when I say to you that FEAR FEARS COMMUNITY. There is no room for doubt when your head and heart are filled with encouragement and confidence from others. The struggle stops when you accept help.

The world is waiting for you to build your legacy. Your team is ready… are you?

Practical Persuasion

It was a great weekend to be in Venice, FL with the fine women and men of Toastmasters District 48! I had a busy speaking schedule teaching “Practical Persuasion” to outstanding audiences in excellent workshop spaces with standing room only! I was humbled and inspired by the stories of the people I met, and look forward to a long relationship with this dedicated group of learners.

“Practical Persuasion” is a one-hour workshop I designed to introduce fundamental persuasion concepts to a broad range of professionals. This workshop demonstrates how techniques used by statesmen, salesman, and spies can also be applied at home, at work, and in life to get what you want and reach your goals. While most people consider persuasion to be a manipulative or negative act,”Practical Persuasion” shows how the persuasive process can be motivating, constructive and empowering.

To the brave volunteers who stepped up to participate during the workshop, I know that you will not soon forget that, “Everyone in the world eats RICE!” For anyone interested in learning how LROC and RICE can grow your mission, network, or business, help me bring “Practical Persuasion” to your organization today!