Brad Meltzer is one of my more talented friends, who somehow manages to simultaneously run a business, write bestselling thrillers, and host a television show.  You may have seen my interview with him or an on-stage interview with other thriller writers.  Recently, I stumbled upon this speech and realized he is also an inspirational speaker.

In this powerful video, see how you can change history.  Learn the three steps:

  1. Dream big.
  2. Work hard.
  3. Stay humble.

“Every life makes history and every life is a story.” Brad Meltzer

Are You A Lovemark?

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This is a guest post by Brian Sheehan. Brian is Associate Professor of Advertising at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University. Previously he was with global creative powerhouse Saatchi & Saatchi, with CEO roles at Team One Advertising and at Saatchi & Saatchi Australia and Japan. Brian is the author of Loveworks: How the world’s top marketers make emotional connections to win in the marketplace (powerHouse Books).

No matter how much we think we have grasped it, love remains full of surprises. Most of us would say that we know what love feels like, but try to get people to explain what makes love happen (and how to keep it alive!), and you’ll find that that there are no guaranteed solutions. If we take our understanding of interpersonal love and apply it to brand love, the needs of the relationship share some similar characteristics.

So I hear you ask, how do I know if my brand has reached Lovemark status? Here’s a fast way to do it. Though Love tends to dominate conversations about Lovemarks, people forget about its non-negotiable partner, Respect. Without Respect, a brand can never be a Lovemark. It’s impossible to love something that you can’t trust or rely on.

It’s impossible to love something that you can’t trust or rely on. -Brian Sheehan

Ask yourself:

  • Does your brand perform best in class each and every time?
  • Does your brand stand for things your customers believe in and admire?
  • Is your brand good value for the experience it offers?BrianSheehan246

If you answer “no” to any one of those questions, you need to focus on building Respect before you get ahead of yourself. If you answered “yes” to all the questions, you can move on to thinking about building Love. Look at the questions below and see where you rate strongly and how your brand may need work. Love can get stronger — and weaker. Your job is to ensure that the hearts of your consumers only get bigger for your brand.

Mystery stimulates excitement, surprise and wonder. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of. To have Mystery, a brand needs to take on the role of storyteller: draw on its past, present and future; and also inspire people to dream.

  • Do people share positive stories about your brand?
  • Is your brand recognizable through an icon, logo, symbol or mythic character?
  • Do people feel inspired by your brand?

Sensuality involves interacting with our senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste are direct connections to our emotions, and brands that have strong connections with their consumers provide distinct sensory experiences.

Your job is to ensure that the hearts of your consumers only get bigger for your brand. Brian Sheehan

  • Does your brand deliver the best in design?
  • What is the sound of your brand?
  • Does your brand deliver a physical sensation that people can’t find in anything else?

 

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Intimacy is where we get up close and personal, and it involves Empathy, Commitment and Passion. Consumers today want to be understood and feel cared for.

  • Do you act on feedback provided by your customers? Do you listen to them?
  • Do your customers have confidence that if something went wrong, you will do the right thing and fix the problem quickly?
  • Does your brand gain new business by referral?

 

Learn the Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks

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August Turak is a highly successful corporate executive, consultant, entrepreneur and author. His business experience spans from MTV to Raleigh Group International and Elsinore Technologies, a company he founded that won the Fast Fifty Award from KPMG. He is a contributor to Forbes.com and is regularly featured in national media.

Recently, August released a new book, Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks. It is filled with practical business advice, yet infused with a deeper wisdom from centuries-old practices. When you read it, I guarantee it will have practical applications for your organization, and also for you as an individual.

Business Secrets of the Trappist MonksThe subtitle of your book is “One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity.” Tell us more about your search and what led you to a monastery outside of Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1996 I was coaching some college students at Duke University when they talked me into going skydiving with them. I shattered my ankle in the dive, and by forcing me to face my own mortality the accident precipitated a personal crisis. A few months later I discovered that one of my Duke students was spending the summer as a monastic guest at Mepkin Abbey. I wrangled an invitation for a weekend retreat and have been returning ever since, sometimes for weeks and months at a time. Ironically the last thing on my mind on my first trip to Mepkin was Trappist business success or even my own. I was searching for psychological and spiritual solace.

You have distilled numerous business lessons from the Trappist Monks. When you first hear “business secrets” and “Trappist Monks” in the same sentence, it stops you. Tell us more about your journey to uncovering these secrets. What surprised you?P1010266

As a business executive and entrepreneur, I was struck by a simple question: How do a couple dozen aged monks, working only four hours a day and largely in silence, manage to run several highly profitable multi-million dollar enterprises with such frictionless efficiency? At the time I was the CEO of two software start-ups so of course I wondered if and how I and other business people might do the same. I decided that the answer was yes, proved it in my own companies, and have now written a book to share my experience and insights with others.

Selflessness is the shortest path to business, professional, and personal success. -August Turak

Selflessness. It’s one of the attributes the monks are known for. How do you apply selflessness in business?

Why Your Success Depends on Being Off Balance

Dan Thurmon is on stage, and I’m already wondering how I will describe this scene.  He’s completely different from other speakers, but I’m not even sure I would characterize this as speaking.  He moves effortlessly from motivational speaker to performer.  One minute I am furiously writing down nuggets of wisdom to review for later.  The next, I am gripping my hands together as I watch him balancing on a unicycle as knives are thrown his way.  After he leaves the stage, I intentionally eavesdrop on the others around me.  They, too, are trying to put it into words.

Dan Thurmon’s performance may be difficult to describe because he has blended his many interests and talents into a role that suits him uniquely and perfectly—roles that include speaker, author, juggler, and acrobatic performer.  Dan is a keynote speaker, a member of the prestigious Speaker’s Roundtable, and the president of Motivation Works, Inc.9781608320141

Dan dispenses advice that seems to contradict common wisdom.  He talks about life balance in a way that gets your attention: balancing atop a tall unicycle as he juggles sharp objects.

Here are five things you may not expect to hear from a motivational speaker:

  1. Forget balance.  The goal to have a life in balance in unattainable and also undesirable.  Life is off balance and you must be off balance to grow.  The key is to be off balance on purpose.  Embrace uncertainty to create a life you love.
  2. Let go to get a grip.  You need to let go of the necessity to control everything.  Let go of the need to do everything yourself.  Let go of negative emotions.  Letting go will free you.
  3. You won’t reach your potential.  It may seem strange to hear this from a motivational guru, but you have an infinite capacity to grow, learn and love.  Keep reaching higher.

Power Is Not A Dirty Word

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This is a guest post by Achim Nowak. Achim is the author of Infectious: How to Connect Deeply and Unleash the Energetic Leader Within (Allworth/2013) and Power Speaking: The Art of the Exceptional Public Speaker. An internationally recognized authority on leadership influence, Achim has coached entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 executives around the globe.

Yes, I used to think power was a dirty word. I had it all mixed up with ego, bravado, narcissism. The Donald Trump kind of self-flaunting.  And I was spiritual, after all …

Then I had a wake-up call.

It happened during a retreat in Arizona. For the first time in my life I had taken time off to look at myself. I was in my mid-thirties, a successful theatre director in New York, recognized for my work, pretty sure that I “was somebody.” Until Reverend Mona, the facilitator of my desert experience, looked me squarely in the eye one day, held the look way too long, and uttered the words: “You need to stop being a doormat.”

Boy, she pissed me off.

When I stopped reeling from Mona’s remark, I quickly saw all the ways in which I truly was not very powerful at all. And here’s the part I instantly “got:” Because I did not have a clue about what personal power really was, my effectiveness with everyone I worked with was diminished. Day in, day out. Ouch.

I have since learned that all of us have different sources of power. I like to call them power plugs. I also know that exceptional leaders understand these sources of personal power and use them to great effect. Here is a Power Plugs model (created with psychologist Margarita Gurri, Ph.D.) which I use in my work with leaders at every organizational level. The notion of a plug implies that we can access these sources of power. Plug into them. It’s a very practical path to something that can seem elusive and overwhelming.

Our 5 Power Plugs

Achim