The stuntman on the jet ski attempted the “submarine trick” for a scene of a feature film I was directing. He wiped out amid a huge splash. He was unable to dive the jet ski underwater and then pop up like a dolphin.
We were running out of time to film the scene because we were “burning daylight.” That means the daylight was waning.
I had a choice: Send him back out to re-attempt the stunt or use an “editing trick.”
Using my mind’s eye, I edited the scene in my imagination. I had my answer. I said, “Go out there and make a huge splash like you’re recovering from the submarine stunt.” He did the motion.
In the final cut of the movie, the first shot is the stuntman causes his jet ski to dive underwater, and the second shot is a closeup of the lead actor emerging from the waves. The sequence ends with the big splash that simulates that the character successfully completed the submarine trick.
When the stuntman failed to complete the submarine trick, it felt like a disaster.
Fortunately, using my intuition and imagination, I solved the problem.
My point is: It may look like a disaster, but with imagination you can find your solution.
Here’s an example. Some time ago, I hired someone to edit a writing project for me. When I saw the mistakes left in the project, I was shocked. When you create a written work, the whole point is to serve the reader. This so-called editor did not watch my back.
I needed to find someone I could trust to help me.
Looking for a solution, I next talked with Daniel, a friend, who complained, “I don’t get relevant feedback from my writing group.”
I paused and let my imagination flow toward originating a new solution.
I innovated something I call “5 for 5.”
Later, I described “5 for 5” in this post I placed on Facebook:
#LeverageTip: Here’s a way to share kindness. I call it “5 for 5.” You read something you’re working on — for 5 minutes, and your friend gives helpful comments. Then, your friend reads something of their own for 5 minutes, and you provide supportive comments. (I just went through 800 pages with 15 friends in this manner … in 54 days). I helped people with LinkedIn profiles, sales emails, web pages, first novels and more. This deepens friendships and creates empowering energy, momentum and progress. many blessings
What difficulty are you facing?
Can you do something like “5 for 5,” in which you offer support and receive support, too?
Recently, I watched the series Into the Unknown: Making of Frozen 2. I noted that even on the highest levels of film production, team members face huge unknowns and problems. The solution requires caring people teaming up and supporting each other as they stretch and innovate solutions.
Now you have another tool you can use: “5 for 5.”
May your projects go well.
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I didn’t know that the key to a better life was in the 39-year-old book in my hand. I had not seen this book in two decades. I only found it because during the coronavirus crisis, I was dealing with some materials in storage.
Opening the book at random, I discovered an idea that has stayed with me. The book is Isaac Asimov on Science Fiction. I wondered what I might learn from viewing this author’s words. I found his story about a woman named Peg, who was the wife of the famed science fiction editor John W. Campbell, Jr.
John Campbell and Isaac Asimov fell into a big argument. Their dispute escalated and became worse. They even wrote letters that hammered at each other.
Peg read the letters from both men and told them, “Any more and the friendship will be destroyed, and this argument is not worth a friendship.” John Campbell and Isaac Asimov dropped their argument and talked about other things. The friendship was saved.
Years later, John Campbell died. Asimov ended his chapter of the book with: “Then [Peg] died, too, in 1979. But I remember her.”
“But I remember her.”
For weeks, this phrase resonated in my mind like the chorus of a song.
Why did Asimov remember Peg? She was the peacemaker who saved his friendship with her husband, John.
My question for you is: How will you be remembered? As a friend? As a peacemaker — as someone who did the most important things? Or someone who got caught up in small things in anger and in arguments?
Recently, a friend on Facebook invited people todescribe themselves in Three Words.
This brings us back to Peg and “But I remember her.”
I think of Peg as peacemaker, friend, memorable.
What is most important to you?
Have you noticed that our energy is being drained by the coronavirus crisis and upheaval throughout the world?
To stay strong, do something each day that nurtures your spirit and your well-being. Then, you’ll have the energy to have a positive impact on people and the world around you.
Strength rises in focus.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
… and how would people, who are important to you, describe you in three words?
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Who do you trust? Who trusts you? The answers to these questions relate to how trust will make you strong during the coronavirus crisis.
Just today, I remembered my father, who destroyed a sacred religious object that my mother owned. I saw this as a kid. I didn’t trust my father then. His grabbing me by the hair and tossing me into walls also left scars. Decades later, I still do not trust this man.
He’s remained self-righteous about why he acted as he did.
These experiences cut deep. I rebelled against my father’s ways. I’ve lived my life to be trustworthy.
Trust means a lot now.
Every day, bad news bleeds on news broadcasts and social media about the tragedies related to the coronavirus crisis.
Why is trust relevant during the coronavirus crisis? Because many people are devoting so much time sheltering in place with family members and partners. The New York Times reported that “A New Covid-19 Crisis: Domestic Abuse Rises Worldwide. Movement restrictions aimed to stop the spread of the coronavirus may be making violence in homes more frequent, more severe and more dangerous.”
Can we trust each other to act in calm and appropriate ways? Can you trust yourself to avoid overreacting and lashing out?
What can you trust?
I’ve learned that one thing we need is a Personal Energy Buffer— that’s extra energy.
Trouble shows up, and you need extra energy to think clearly and often to restrain yourself from a rash emotional reaction. (My father did not care to stop his rash emotional reactions.)
In movies, heroes take action. In real life, real heroes often stop themselves from lashing out emotionally.
How can you trust yourself? You need to strengthen yourself with your daily actions.
Look at your daily actions and people in your life.
Check in with yourself and ask, “Does this strengthen me?”
We need a Personal Energy Buffer. We need extra energy to think clearly and restrain ourselves from overreacting.
Here is a step in the right direction. Make sure to schedule some time to focus on three areas: Creativity, Connection and Compassion.
To keep up your morale, every day find a way to create something. Find a way to take some steps forward. Build something for the future. This is something that will help you feel better. It can positively affect your health. Being creative will help you maintain healthy levels of hope and vision.
Every day find a way to connect with someone you care about. Especially focus on connecting with Uplifting People. An Uplifting person is someone who can lift your spirits even in in a 9-minute phone call. Listening to a friend can improve your energy. Just yesterday, I listened as a friend read to me his first draft of a dialogue scene. I felt great by providing support. It’s valuable to combine creativity and connection. Find ways to do something fun with your partner or family members. These moments of connection warm up your relationships. For example, one family has a specific, tiny teddy bear for games of “find the teddy bear.”
Compassion for yourself can empower you to have more patience. Additionally, compassion for others is a great foundation for creating good relationships. Researchers demonstrate that good relationships improve the health and well-being of people. Good relationships help you feel more capable and strong. When you demonstrate compassion toward yourself, you make sure to do things that nurture your well-being. David, a friend of mine, found himself getting irritable with family members. So, one night, while his family members were asleep, he watched the feature film written and directed by Richard Curtis, About Time. He laughed, and he cried. He later told me it was a “good cry.” He released some emotions and felt better. His next day with family went well. Perhaps, you’ll take a break by watching a film that makes you laugh or even makes you cry. Safely releasing emotions helps you stay calm.
How can people find you to be trustworthy? It’s when you take good care of yourself so you can trust yourself to stay calm and present in the moment.
Make sure to have moments of your day devoted to a routine that includes Creativity, Connection and Compassion. Build up your Personal Energy Buffer. This is how you’ll be able totrust yourselfto stay calm and avoid overreacting. When you do that, you’ll feel stronger. As people trust you — the good relationships will empower you, too.
May we all stay safe and well during this time of crisis.
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What’s worse, when swimming in the ocean, than a cramp in your left leg? I found out. A cramp in both legs! How am I still alive? My sweetheart pulled me into shore. I helped by swimming with my arms — so she wasn’t alone in saving my life. Still, my legs were no help.
Many of us approach the need to give the best speech or sales presentation in our lives like we have cramps in both legs. I’m using cramps as a metaphor for what shuts you down. The “cramps” include the obstacles: Fear, procrastination, and the perception of rehearsal as a bad chore.
Additionally, this relates to the 3 Deadly Mistakes centered on No Time, No Rehearsal, No Pretesting.
What does this boil down to? — No coaching.
The good news is: I can serve as your coach here.
Here are the 3 Deadly Mistakes:
1) No Time (Mistake: I’ll just procrastinate and do something at the last minute.)
2) No Rehearsal (Mistake: I’ll just have a few notes and talk off the cuff.)
3) No Pretesting (Mistake: I’ll just wing it. I know what I’m talking about.)
When I was in the ocean, the cramps made my legs nonfunctional. The 3 Deadly Mistakes cramp your ability to do what’s necessary to speak powerfully and inspire people to say Yes to you.
Here are 3 Methods so You Can Rapidly Improve and Make Your Breakthrough Speech or Presentation:
1.Use a Streamlined Process for Rapid Improvement (Solution to “No Time”)
I advise my clients to rehearse for 9 minutes-a-day over several days. This yields better results than cramming all the rehearsal into one night-before, 3-hour session. Why? Because the multiple sessions engage your subconscious mind. Have the 9-minute session early so your subconscious mind works on the material all day long. Additionally, have brief phone calls with friends and say, “Can I practice the opening one minute of my speech with you?”
In my work as the Spoken Word Strategist, my focus is on a Streamlined Process. With a coach like me, you have someone who can ask the right questions that help you find your best material faster.
2.Use “Directed Rehearsal” (Solution to “No Rehearsal”)
Many of us fall into a “default” of rerunning a bad memory in our thoughts. If you were embarrassed when speaking in a high school class, it’s easy for your brain to rerun that failure. I call this bad pattern Default Rehearsal. The brain falls into the default pattern.
Instead, I introduce my clients to Directed Rehearsal. I guide my clients in the process of putting in New Conditioned Responses. These New Conditioned Responses overwrite the default patterns. Research shows that, under stress, people fall back into the default settings. However, when you have New Conditioned Responses, you are freed of the old, painful default settings.
One method (among many) is to preplan two answers for each “worst question” you might get. I guide my clients to have two answers for the 10 Worst Questions. My clients rehearse their answers in response to my questions. They develop an inner-knowing that they are well-prepared.
I look on this preparation for the 10 Worst Questions as a way to avoid the “cramp” that can torpedo a great presentation.
One reason people fail to rehearse effectively is that fear arises when rehearsing. Such fear often leads to procrastination. Why? Because even thinking about the speech can lead to pain and more fear. Instead, as a client works with me, we are able to move forward fast. I’m there so the client feels real support.
3.Use a “Discovery-Rehearsal Process” (Solution to “No Pretesting”)
In summary, we talked about three major mistakes that center on No Time, No Rehearsal and No Pretesting.
We covered these Solutions:
1. Use a Streamlined Process for Rapid Improvement 2. Use “Directed Rehearsal” 3. Use a Discovery-Rehearsal Process
You’ll discover how you’re able to get more done in less time. You’ll have ways to make breakthroughs in your communication and your work life.
I was faced with a dilemma: Claustrophobia wins or I get to fulfill my dream of walking on the ocean floor. Prior to this moment, claustrophobia had hammered me when I was stuck in an MRI machine. In the cold room, I found being placed into the MRI machine was like being rolled in a morgue drawer, into a wall. Suddenly, I felt that I was suffocating, and I kicked off a blanket.
Now, months later, I had the opportunity to wear a diving helmet and walk on the ocean floor. The problem included claustrophobia and James Cameron’s film, The Abyss. As an effective film director, James Cameron had a scene in which we, the audience, took on the point of view of a terrified diver. The diver looks out through his diving helmet, and he’s hyperventilating. The scene got your heart pumping, and I dreaded that I might hyperventilate like that terrified, diver-character.
Now, I had a choice: Give up or find a way to get past the claustrophobia. I decided to use rehearsal — something that I do with my own clients — in my work as the Spoken Word Strategist. With effective rehearsal, I could access new resources.
My solution was to rehearse — using my imagination — walking on the ocean floor. I wore a hoodie that stood in place of the diving helmet. I rehearsed, imagining that I would concentrate on the wide expanse of the ocean (seen in the window of the helmet) — instead of feeling suffocated by the enclosure — the helmet itself.
Yes! The rehearsal worked, and I fulfilled my dream to walk on the ocean floor. The dream had captured my attention since I was 8 years old, watching TV and viewing the Disney film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
I share this story with you because every day we are faced with a choice. It affects many of us on the subconscious level. The choice is: Allow yourself to be pushed around by toxic people and toxic ideas and continue working in a frantic way — or learn new methods and discover how to work less and make more money.
Here are 3 Secrets so you overcome real blocks:
1. Let go of a Limiting Belief
My client, Cynthia, told me that she had to abide by the industry standard of clients pay half up front and half on delivery. Her problem weighed on her as she found it truly uncomfortable and time-consuming to keep returning to clients and get the second payment.
During our coaching session, I pointed out a couple of important details. “Cynthia, you have enough credibility, and you’re trustworthy,” I said. “Have you considered asking for full payment upfront?”
Cynthia pushed back and said, “No, that’s not how it’s done in this industry.”
“You’ve heard from other people, and they’re arguing for what they know, not what’s possible,” I replied.
I helped Cynthia rehearse so she could ask for full payment upfront. Asking for that payment was a big stretch for her — like my overcoming claustrophobia to walk on the ocean floor.
Cynthia discovered that she released herself from so much stress and extra work for having to chase after money. She found that she could work less and make more money.
2.Replace Hard-headed Convincing with Soft-hearted Persuasion
Many of us get stuck in trying to push and overcome objections when we’re trying to get a new client. I refer to this is Hard-headed Convincing. You’re trying to overcome or push your way through objections.
Instead, replace that process with Soft-hearted Persuasion. You focus on being a good listener. Using a soft-hearted approach, you help the person realize that you really care about their concerns. You’re trustworthy. You stop pushing your ideas. With my clients I emphasize this idea: When you’re listening, you’re winning. Author and top negotiation expert, Chris Voss, emphasizes these ideas: It works best when you listen and then summarize. Then you set up a situation in which the person says, “That’s right.” That’s when they let you know how they feel you truly understand their situation, their values and their problems.
You might find it a stretch to rehearse and use Soft-hearted Persuasion. But it’s worth it — like my rehearsing and fulfilling my dream to walk on the ocean floor.
Using Soft-hearted Persuasion is an opportunity for you to work less. You avoid trying to be hard-headed and convince somebody of the logic of your reasoning. Additionally, it’s a classic idea that people believe more what they say than what you say. Your providing a summary shows that you have a clear understanding of the other person’s priorities.
3.“Contain the Damage”
Many of us find ourselves thrown off by certain toxic behaviors inflicted on us by other people. A disgruntled customer may yell. Some family members may do cruel actions.
You have an important choice. You can decide to learn to “contain the damage.” By this I mean, you do not let someone’s bad action contaminate your whole day. I’m not talking about pretending that some bad action didn’t cause damage. Instead, you can limit the amount of time and energy you use to dwell on that bad action. You could talk with a coach about this person’s bad action for a limited time, say 15 minutes. Then, you decide to move on with your day.
Why is this important? The reason is: When you contain the damage, you have more time and personal energy. That’s when you can work less and make more money.
Containing the damage can include ending the interaction with a negative, untrustworthy vendor — for example. You might closeout working with a troublesome client. Containing the damage might include changing a system in your company’s work.
Here’s Your Special Advantage When You Contain the Damage … You Gain Access to an Intuitive Download.
An Intuitive Download is when you get a rush of great ideas that can expand your business or refine how you do business activities.
What’s the enemy of an Intuitive Download? That’s when your thoughts and feelings are jammed up with worries or upset from toxic people causing damage. When you contain the damage, you free up your thinking and feelings.
Often, an Intuitive Download will save you time and bring new money-making ideas to you. You’ll work less and make more money.
I emphasize this phrase with my clients: “You cannot get the Intuitive Download if you’re gummed up by the damage.”
Instead, make sure to elevate your perspective. Imagine that you rise above your daily work patterns in a helicopter. From this elevated perspective, you can make better decisions. You become aware of patterns that cause damage and people who cause damage. You can choose to protect your personal energy and time.
For example, some of my clients choose to limit their exposure to certain negative family members.
To work less and make more money, you need to be strategic about what patterns and which business associates you allow to remain in your life.
In summary … I shared my choice to take action to overcome claustrophobia so I could fulfill my dream of walking on the ocean floor. I made a plan and took action. Similarly, I’m encouraging you to use these 3 Secrets:
· Let go of a Limiting Belief · Replace Hard-headed Convincing with Soft-hearted Persuasion · “Contain the Damage”
You’ll discover how you’re able to get more done in less time. You will make space in your life for ease and many Intuitive Downloads. You’ll have ways to make breakthroughs in your work life.
“The worst moment of my life,” I thought, as I sat down at the table. My gut seized. No! I think I’m going to throw up.
After more than five years of work, my dream project was being taken from me. This project was going to set the positive course of my next 30 years of life.
However, the tall guy, who was going to take the project and my dream from me, glared at me from across the table.
I decided to be polite. This simple lunch, in a nearby diner, was hopefully going to create peace and a positive resolution. I reached for the napkin dispenser to get a napkin to hand him.
Reaching for that napkin, I stood up, and my suit jacket sleeve caught on my tall, plastic cup of water.
And time stopped. The water cup tilted, balanced on the edge of the bottom rim.
I felt it in that instant.The water cup’s going to spill over, and I can’t stop it.
Splash! Water all over the table.
My gut clenched. Now, I’m going to vomit.
But both of us were in action, tossing napkins on the table, trying to stop the water from soaking the floor. Such water would create a hazard for the server’s return to our table.
The other guy laughed. I didn’t.
But … a miracle. Some tension was eased.
I then improvised and built rapport with the other guy. And the project was not taken from me. An agreement was reached.
I share this story because the true source of how you can believe in yourself is probably different from your first imaginings.
How can this be?
Through the standard school system and the guidance of parents and guardians, many of us were taught to believe in our talent. “Oh, you’re so talented at this.” We were required to be a good boy or a good girl. We heard, “I’m so proud of you. You got an ‘A’ on this report.”
On the other hand, I’m now inviting you to look at certain essential supports for your real and sustainable belief in yourself. You can build success and the ability to influence others on these true supports of your self-belief.
The essence of our conversation here is to…
Shift from a Thought Pattern of “I believe in myself because I accomplish”
“I believe in myself because I prepare, participate, learn and adapt in the moment.”
You see that this is a shift from the external to the internal. You empower yourself by looking at your internal choicesas opposed to letting other people’s opinions rule your life.
Here are 3 Secrets for Sustainable Belief in Yourself
1. Measure by your heart, not their approval
You’ve likely noticed that much of your life you have been graded, and your performance has been measured. Here I’m suggesting that we measure by our hearts. You measure by your own values and your own aspirations.
Fortunately, I carried on to shift from concern about his scorn to transforming this moment into an opportunity to create rapport. With such rapport, we moved forward to a resolution.
When you measure by your heart, you approach your life with a growth mindset. You’re learning, preparing, and rehearsing. You’re able to get better and develop your skills.
Meanwhile, the truth is you can do all the appropriate preparation and rehearsal and still not get the outcome that you want. Perhaps, the marketplace does not respond to your work. The feature film The Princess Bride landed with a thud at the box office. But this film has continued for decades to serve millions of people who have purchased copies on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray.
Some of our work serves as a staircase to our doing better work with our next project.
Elon Musk said that success requires having a high pain threshold. Along this line, we’re looking at nourishing your personal strength by measuring by your heart. That gives you the stamina.
The good news is: When you measure by your heart and not their approval, you can give yourself appropriate acknowledgement that you are moving forward.
2.Engage with doing and being present
All of life includes improvising. Every conversation you experience calls upon you to listen, adapt and respond. Many conversations involve restraining yourself and keeping certain emotions in check. In the situation that include my tipping over the water cup, I needed to carry on and ultimately create rapport to bring the painful and stressful situation to a resolution.
In my work as the Spoken Word Strategist, I help my clients focus on Words. Strategy and Rehearsal. This process helps each client develop compelling communication for an important situation.
Consider dividing your goals into Effort-Goals and Result-Goals. Your Effort-Goals will focus on preparation and rehearsal. With the appropriate Words, Strategy and Rehearsal, you will be able to improvise and be in the present moment — and perform at your best.
We seek to develop our vital skills that include focusing on what you’re doing in this present moment.As a side note: It’s valuable to develop daily habits like meditation so that you can shift from a stressful perception into one of calm and peace. Even a daily five-minute meditation session can change the structure of your brain. You’ll be empowered to perform at your best in moments that feel truly stressful.
3. Define Your Own Healthy Identity
Many of us are locked into the identity placed on us by parents, guardians, and the traditional school system. The old idea was you have value based on “you are talented, and you accomplished what we say is important.”
Instead, consider defining your own healthy identity built on something other than other people’s approval and only accomplishments. Build your identity on how you devote efforts and you participate in life. The idea is that you focus on how you prepare, participate, learn and adapt in the moment. This gives you a solid foundation, which helps you maintain your poise in stressful situations.
My point is: Avoid relying on other people’s version of your identity. Instead, choose your identity as someone who prepares, learns and adapts.
Facing other really tough moments in my life, I have relied on rehearsing every day, and I work with mentors. I have developed improvisational skills to perform in stressful situations.
Focus not just on your accomplishments and other people’s approval. Consider an internal approach in which you measure by your heart. You will radiate more confidence, and people will say Yes to your influence.
Build your internal strength as you say to yourself: “I prepare, participate, learn and adapt in the moment. I am growing. I take appropriate risks and feel fulfillment in my life.”
“Let’s make a movie,” my friend said. That unleashed so much creativity that we made a feature film that went to the Cannes Film Market. My directing, co-producing, writing and acting in that film also opened the door for me to become an educator and author of over 50 books.
Before that, another four words launched my time as a lead singer in a band and song composer. Those words were “Let’s record this music.” That was a chapter of my life. I was not gifted as a singer. 😊
Here are another four words: Make the dream happen. At 8, I saw on TV, the Disney film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The dream to walk on the ocean floor like Captain Nemo stayed with me. Years later, I fulfilled my 8-year-old self’s dream to walk on the ocean floor. I sure didn’t expect that I’d wear eyeglasses underwater.
By the way, the four words that launched the idea for this article were “Share information — make offers.” I read these words in the book, Chillpreneur by Denise Duffield-Thomas.
When I saw those words, Share information — make offers, it opened a new door for me. For years I continue to serve clients in my role as the Spoken Word Strategist and Executive Coach. But these four words opened my thoughts, so I could serve a whole different market.
Two Powerful Elements of “The Four Words that Change Your Life”
First Element: Your Creativity is Unleashed
The 4 Words that can change your life unleash so much creativity. You become full of energy. You have a purpose and a mission. You’re serving somebody by making something. It feels great!
So, after I read Share information — make offers, I decided to convert material from some of my 50 books on Amazon and create these 3 Online Courses for udemy.com:
I felt thrilled to create these courses. Have you had the experience of feeling excited to express your creativity and serve people?
Second Element: You’re Released from a False Limitation Placed by “The Experts”
The four words that can change your life release you from a false limitation placed by “the experts.”
Experts told me: “Do not release modest cost online courses.” However, reading the guidance from Denise Duffield-Thomas, I realized that I could reach a completely different market, while continuing to do personalized work as theSpoken Word Strategistand Executive Coach. I could continue as an International Speaker from New York to New Zealand (with Silicon Valley, Thailand and more).
With videos in online courses, I could serve more people. The strange thing is when somebody only pays $10 (super discount) for a course, they are still more invested than someone who pays nothing. Just receiving free information may not spark necessary, life-changing efforts. But taking an online course that you paid for can beyour springboard to a better life.
Let’s Craft Your Four Words to Change Your Life
Here are questions to help you focus on four words and change your life:
What 4 Words represent an invitation for you to try something different and unleash a lot of creativity?
How can you craft the words, so they’re easy to memorize? (examples: Let’s make a movie; Let’s record this music; Share information — make offers)
How can you take an appropriate risk?
Now, I’ll close with this question:
What new chapter are you going to open in your life and how are you going to unleash your creativity?