The Speech of a Lifetime

The most poignant and powerful speech I have ever listened to was one I heard more than a decade ago, and to this day, I still remember every word of it. Of course, there were only eleven words. I’ve written about this before, but it is more relevant today than ever, and I think it warrants revisiting. It took place near the end of a weeklong “Inspirational Speakers” workshop I attended – along with about a hundred other people. At the end of the week, [...]

By |November 20th, 2023|Achieving Dreams and Goals, Columns, Professional Speaking, Values|Comments Off on The Speech of a Lifetime

Diamonds in the Rough

One of the speaking programs I used to do was titled, “Where Do Diamonds Come From? A Lump of Coal and a Lot of Pressure.” The inspiration for the title of the program came from an old television series, The Adventures of Superman, ­that ran in the 1950s. People of a certain age – meaning my age or older – will remember the many episodes in which Superman took a piece of coal, squeezed it, and opened his hand to reveal a sparkly diamond. The [...]

By |April 3rd, 2020|Columns, Health and Well-being, Professional Speaking, Values|Comments Off on Diamonds in the Rough

The Best Response

“Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” That was the theme of a Toastmasters meeting I attended on Friday. It was a demo meeting at a company in Augusta that is planning to sponsor a new Toastmasters club for employees, and I was part of the team providing a demonstration of what a Toastmasters meeting is like. “Feel the fear, and do it anyway” could easily be a motto for Toastmasters in general, since public speaking is one of the biggest fears many people have, [...]

By |February 2nd, 2020|Achieving Dreams and Goals, Columns, Professional Speaking, Toastmasters|Comments Off on The Best Response

Looking forward to an old/new experience

“Everything old is new again.” I’m not sure where or when that saying originated, but it’s what I’m feeling right now. I’ll be spending this weekend in Atlanta at the Toastmasters District 14 Conference. This isn’t my first Toastmasters conference. I’ve attended a number of district conferences and conventions, and several regional and international conventions since I first joined Toastmasters in 2005. But that was when I lived in Minnesota. This is my first district conference since moving to Georgia two years ago, and I’m [...]

By |April 26th, 2019|Columns, Professional Speaking, Toastmasters|4 Comments

Time for Class

My class at the Georgia Writers Museum is tomorrow, and I’m really excited about it. I was there for a few hours this morning helping with set-up and getting things arranged. I’ve printed out all my handouts, and tonight I plan to bake some cookies so I’ll have some homemade snacks to serve. Everything else is pretty much taken care of. The class is a two-hour version of a full-day workshop that I presented a number of times in Minnesota, along with my friend and [...]

By |October 19th, 2018|Columns, Professional Speaking, Writing|Comments Off on Time for Class

Forever friends are always close by

“You’ll always be my friend… You know too much.” That was the saying embroidered on the quilt I gave to a close friend of mine for Christmas a number of years ago. This lighthearted sentiment is similar in tone to another phrase that’s often given as the definition of a friend, which is that a friend is someone who knows everything about you – and likes you anyway. Both these sayings came up as part of a talk I gave last week to a women’s [...]

By |January 27th, 2017|Buried Treasure, Columns, Faith, Professional Speaking, Values|Comments Off on Forever friends are always close by

How others see us can open our eyes

I had just finished a presentation for the staff at a Senior Living Community, when one of the attendees came up to me and said, “You know, you could be a pastor.” I was flattered by her words, and more than a little surprised. No one’s ever said anything like that before. People have told me they were inspired or motivated by my programs, or that I gave them a new way of thinking or looking at things. Some later told me of changes they [...]

By |May 20th, 2016|Columns, Faith, Gifts and Talents, Making a Difference, Professional Speaking|Comments Off on How others see us can open our eyes

Speaking of dreams, a familiar one returns

It happened again. I taught a class one evening this week, and it was a presentation I’ve been preparing for and looking forward to for quite a while. But two nights before the program, I had a dream in which the class was about to begin, and I suddenly realized that I didn’t have any of my notes or materials with me. In a moment of panic, I briefly considered driving home and returning with everything I needed, but I didn’t have enough time to [...]

By |December 11th, 2015|Accountability, Coaching, Columns, Professional Speaking, Writing|Comments Off on Speaking of dreams, a familiar one returns

Gifts are everywhere when we take time to notice them

It’s a gift. I think I’m going to adopt that saying as my mantra from now on. Sometimes it will be in a joking way, as when I’m talking about being directionally impaired and getting lost or turned around very easily. But mostly I will be serious, and it will be a reminder – to myself as well as to others – that we do indeed have many gifts in our lives. And when we take the time to realize and acknowledge this, our lives [...]

By |January 25th, 2013|Columns, Faith, Professional Speaking|Comments Off on Gifts are everywhere when we take time to notice them

Love and loss were intertwined this Christmas

My brother-in-law passed away on December 23. He had been very sick for quite a while, and as Christmas approached, we learned that he wasn’t expected to live much longer. That doesn’t make it any easier to accept or to live with when it happens, especially when it’s around the holidays. “I was hoping so much that he’d be able to hang on till Christmas,” my sister sobbed when she called us from the hospital. We were prepared to drop or significantly alter our holiday [...]

By |January 11th, 2013|Columns, Family, Health and Well-being, Holidays, Professional Speaking|Comments Off on Love and loss were intertwined this Christmas