Thursday, August 31, 2006

Free Prize Inside

If you needed any reason to want to be a Fred (as in The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn) besides the joy of doing your work in a way that brings pleasure to other people and yourself, then read Free Prize Inside by Seth Godin. Because he explains the advantages and, indeed, the necessity of being not just good, but remarkable!

Free Prize Inside!: The Next Big Marketing Idea
Free Prize Inside!: The Next Big Marketing Idea

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Fred Factor

Before I even left the conference, I read my own signed-by-the-author copy of The Fred Factor. It's a great book that tells how Fred and people like him make the world a kinder and friendlier place by doing little things that make a difference. Awesome!

The Fred Factor
The Fred Factor

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Tipping Point

Of course, I did some reading on the plane going to and from DC. On the way out, I read The Tipping Point, How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell. Fascinating stories! If you believe in the power of one person or one cool idea, you'll love this book. I highly recommend it.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Monday, August 28, 2006

It's in the Doing

I am trying to find where I read recently a statement that people will usually say that they are friends with people who think like them. But when you really look at it, it turns out that they are friends with people who do things with them, even if they disagree on many issues of the day.

And someone close to me was telling me that he needed to get himself together, to work out his own issues, before he could do anything else. But I told him that I thought it was not introspection alone that helps you find your way, it's being with other people who are also learning and growing.

It's not in the thinking, it's in the doing.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Truly International

Over the course of the Toastmasters International Conference, I met people from all over the world. In fact, I met more people from other places in those three days than I have met in my whole life! After a few days, I realized that I would never remember all the cities and countries people were from, so I bought a tablet for people to sign. The only thing I could find was a ruled writing tablet, which was not very fun. Next year, I am going to buy a bound diary or journal, or maybe an atlas so that people can sign by their state or country! But here are a few that I remember or that people wrote for me:

Sagamiono, Japan
Kingston, Jamaica
Limerick, Ireland
South Africa
Sri Lanka
New Zealand
New York
New Mexico
Washington DC
South Carolina

And there were many more! Toastmasters are really easy to meet and start talking to because we are all learning and practicing communication all the time.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Third and Last Day

This was the Big Day. We got up at 6:30 AM, that would be 4:30 New Mexico time, to roast the outgoing International Director for our Region. The other Regions did the same. It was fun.

Then we went to the World Championship of Public Speaking. Great speakers and great speeches! I laughed a lot and cried many times and was thoroughly entertained. It might have been discouraging to see how far I have to go, but it wasn't, it was inspiring. I found out that when an audience of 2,000 claps or laughs, it is an awesome thing. Although my favorite didn't win, he was close to the top. I hope he comes back!

The last thing was the President's Reception and then the President's Dinner Dance. Everyone dressed to the max, good food, and good company. I started to go back to my room when it looked like things were winding down, but changed my mind and went back to experience every last moment. That's when I found out about the sing-along. It is a tradition apparently, but not on the program, so we went looking for it in the empty rooms. Pretty soon, there were probably 100 people there singing when they knew the words and just listening when they didn't. I left at 1 AM because I just had to get some sleep before morning and they were still going strong. Next year, I will definitely plan on being up all night!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Second Day

This morning was the elections for international office. Following Robert's Rules of Order, we agreed (moved, seconded, and everybody in favor saying "aye", everybody opposed saying "no") to instruct the secretary to cast one vote for the uncontested seats and those people were elected. Then we heard short speeches by the candidates for contested seats, and delegates and people holding proxies voted for those candidates. Even though there were about 2,000 people there (although not everyone was voting), they still collected the ballots in boxes and took them out and counted them manually. But it was very efficient and we got the results back very fast. I wonder if we will ever vote electronically?

After that, there were two different options for lunch. I went to the Club Leadership Luncheon. I had met the speaker the night before and, after I told him about my book, he said doing the right thing was in his talk also. So, I carried my brochure over to him during lunch and said, "Here, if you need any material, feel free to use this." He laughed heartily and I loved that. His name is Ross Mackay and he is an excellent speaker and a wise man.

After lunch, we went to the Hall of Fame, which was several hours of people and districts being presented with the awards they had earned during the year.

Then many hundreds of us loaded onto 20 buses and went down to see the Monuments by Moonlight. It was strange for me to see the new additions to the national mall. Nothing had been added in my lifetime before except a new museum. I didn't like it at first. But I realized later that even the Lincoln Memorial, which has "always been there" for me, was relatively new for our 230-year-old country and that there have been changes in all the generations. The Korean War Memorial was pretty spooky in the moonlight though. I liked the Vietnam War Memorial best, although I think the World War II Memorial more closely matched what was already there.

We had a great guide and I learned a lot. For instance, there has always been a little stone house down on Constitution Avenue near the Washington Monument and I had always wondered what that was. The guide explained that it was a canal keeper's house. When they were building the capitol, there was a canal where Constitution is now and they floated the stone in on it. The house is from that time. Very cool!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

First Day

I was late getting down to the conference this morning. It was hard to sleep last night because I was excited! I went to two educational sessions this morning, sneaking breakfast in between. Then my brother came for the Golden Gavel luncheon. Every year, Toastmasters presents an award for outstanding communication and the person being honored gets the award and gives a speech after lunch. My brother and I sat with two women from Virginia, a woman from Australia, a woman from Canada, a man from New York, and a woman from Alabama who lives now in California, and I also took him around and introduced him to almost everybody from New Mexico. The speaker was very good with a great message about doing what is significant and what makes a difference.

After my brother left, I went to another educational session, called work, called home, and let myself be redirected from going out to dinner to stay and hear the candidates for international office. There were 13 positions to fill and candidates from the Phillipines, Canada, Dubai, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the United States (Texas, Florida, Oregon, Washington, California, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, and New York). Whew!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Opening Ceremonies

The opening ceremonies for the Toastmasters International Convention started at 7:00 PM. I was looking for the room and checking my map against the signs on the doors. Ah, there it was. I went in. It was a huge room and there were thousands of people in it! Wow! I have never seen so many people in a room before, let alone that many Toastmasters. First, there was a parade of flags from the 70 countries with representatives there (out of 90 countries that have Toastmasters clubs in them). Then all the International officers and directors were introduced and our International President welcomed us and told us about his experiences visiting Toastmasters all over the world this year.

Our keynote speaker was Mark Sanborn. Can't place the name? But maybe you've seen his book, The Fred Factor. It has sold nearly a million copies. He was an awesome speaker. I know I'll love the book, of which I have a personalized, signed copy, of course!

Baltimore Harbor

My brother and I went sightseeing at Baltimore Harbor today. If you are anywhere near there, you should definitely go. It's awesome. We took the water taxi around the harbor first, which was cool and breezy and beautiful. Then we went to the old Power Plant, which is now a huge Barnes & Noble. And then had a late lunch at Phillips Seafood House. The Maryland crab cakes were the best I've ever had. Even the cole slaw was fantastic. Delicious!

The USS Constitution, an old sailing ship, lives there permanently and is gorgeous. There is a submarine that you can go into. And the Coast Guard had a ship there for tours. Many of the old buildings have been converted into shops or restaurants. And there's the aquarium, too.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Even When I'm Flying!

All it took was for us to smile wryly at each other when the stewardess commented that the weather in Dallas, our layover point, was a balmy 84 and not expected to go over 100 degrees. Then, of course, we started talking. By the time we had made it halfway to Dallas I had sold my seatmate a book. At one point, she said, "Well, it sounds like there are some good things in there." And I said, "Oh, yes, there are really good things in there!" She laughed and I realized that it was immodest of me to say that about my book, but it didn't feel that way because it is a wonderful book, not because I am wonderful, but because the ideas are wonderful. I didn't think them up you see, I just saw them and wrote them down.

Besides an interminable wait to take off at Dallas that made us late getting into DC, the flight went smoothly. I hooked up with my brother for dinner and then we had a great time playing on our respective computers for hours.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Washington, DC

The day has finally arrived! Tomorrow morning I board the plane for Washington, DC (my hometown!) for this year's Toastmasters International Convention. It was hard to make those reservations so many months ago. I always feel like I don't know what I'll be doing next week! But it was nice not to have to scramble, to know that everything was all arranged. I've never been to an International Convention before, but I have to reason to believe it's going to be awesome! What makes me think so? Well, I'll tell you. I've been to my club, that's 10 or 20 people, and laughed always and sometimes cried and learned something every time. I get that feeling that I'm on my way, doing something important, helping people to become what they want to become while they help me. It's a rush. I've been to District conferences for the State of New Mexico and County of El Paso, where there were a few hundred people, and that was even more exciting. I've been to Regional conferences for six states where there were several hundred people, and that was amazing. So, I know if I go to the International Conference, where there will be thousands of people from all over the world, it's going to be something!

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Speaking of rain, we have had plenty of it! This summer it seems like it has rained almost every day. Not a gentle spring rain either, but a downpour. In April, we moved to Moriarty so that we could have more land and found this beautiful 2.5 acres about half a mile down a dirt road. Which didn't seem like a problem at the time! But now, as my coworker pointed out, my car "looks like an adobe on wheels". The ruts in our road are over six inches deep and some ponds that have formed in the middle of the road have not dried out for weeks. I hope the rainy season, which has not started yet, is not any wetter than this. But we do have a great vantage point for seeing the awesome storm clouds.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

East Mountain Toastmasters

We had a great time at East Mountain Toastmasters! They have a wonderful meeting place -- a little building off to itself with a huge meeting room right inside the front door painted and decorated in a multitude of cheerful colors. We had Table Topics (impromptu speaking practice), a speech, and a panel discussion. A great meeting! After the meeting, we moseyed on down Dinkle Road a little ways to the Edgewood Community Fest. There was live music, roasted corn and other food, and lots of arts and crafts and local businesses with booths. The rain threatened all day but never really came. Southwest Writers shared a booth with Custom Cabinets and Fine Furnishings by Ed Schairer with Sandy Schairer promoting SWW. Two of the East Mountain Toastmasters and I made the rounds promoting Toastmasters. It's a great community!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Edgewood Community Fest

Tomorrow, I will be at the East Mountain Toastmasters meeting in Edgewood, New Mexico, at 9:00 AM. It's at the Mountain Valley Church (modular building next to the church). From Edgewood, take old Route 66 4 mles west until you come to a road where 217 goes south and Mountain Valley Road goes north. Go over the viaduct and immediately past the viaduct turn right, go about 50 feet, and turn left into the driveway of the modular building.

Then, it's on to the Edgewood Community Fest. It's at the corner of Dinkle Road and Deanna Lane next to Thunder Mountain Water Company and it lasts until 4:00 PM. Southwest Writers will have a booth there. I bet there are lots of writers in these mountains!

Here's the map to both events!

Oops, they shrunk the map! The Toastmasters meeting is just a little bit west of Deanna and Dinkle, shown here. It's at Mountain Valley and Dinkle.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


It’s not that we should ignore each other’s flaws or put up with bad behavior or shoddy work. It’s that when we try to solve these problems, we do it with some respect and a little compassion.

In my book, I talk about seven ideas that help with sorting out what we know, seven ideas that help with listening, seven more that help with speaking, with respect and compassion.

Before we can change anything, we have to change our minds.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What We Know

Before anything else, we have to consider what we know. F. Scott Fitzgerald said,
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
I submit that we all have a first-rate intelligence because we do it all the time.

It’s not that we know too little, but that we know too much, and haven’t culled any of it. For instance, we know that respect must be earned. On the other hand, we know that every human being deserves respect.

The first thing, then, is to make a choice. Out of all the things you know, which will bring happiness?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Who I Am

I am a writer and public speaker on personal growth, professional development, work relationships, conflict resolution, management and leadership. My book is called Doing the Right Thing and Achieving All Your Goals at the Same Time. It is a book about people who work in offices and why we fight.

Why do we fight? Because we are not treated the way we want to be treated. What do we want? Different things, but mostly respect for our accomplishments and compassion for our weaknesses.

How do we give that in order to get it? That's what my book is all about.

There are three areas to consider: Knowing, Listening, Speaking.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

What Do You Want?

What do you want?

A million dollars? I think you can get it if you really want it. To start, read Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich. He will tell you how to attract money and anything else that you want.

Influence? Read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. Still the best advice on how to get people on your side. Because power is not something you get for yourself. It’s something other people give you.

But if you want happiness, listen to the Dalai Lama. He says,
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
He is making an assumption here, which is that people need other people to be happy.

Do you agree?

Friday, August 11, 2006

What Would Happen?

If we decided to always try to react without criticizing or condemning anyone and only in whatever ways would best solve the problem, we wouldn't have to waste any time or effort. We would win allies instead of making enemies. All that we have and all that we are would be focused on our goals.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

It's a Choice

I have been a manager for many years now. The thing that most interferes with getting things done is not that people make mistakes, not that they don't know what they're doing, not that they are lazy, crazy, or stupid. It's that people say those things about each other, blame each other for what goes wrong, and fight with each other. All work stops while people attack or defend, try to get out of the way, or come over to see what's going on. If we eliminate the fighting, the problems are easy to solve. What does it take?

It takes believing that the person is not the problem. If we believe the person is the problem, we naturally want to get rid of them, and they naturally resist that solution. If, on the other hand, when something goes wrong, we only want to help, we can solve our problems without too much pain and suffering.

We have a choice about how we react. That choice makes all the difference.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What's It About?

The question people ask me most often when they hear I have written a book is "what's it about"? The first time somebody asked me that, I honestly didn't know what to say! But I realized that it is the most important question I have to answer. And I may have less than a minute to answer it. After a few trials, I developed a quick response and put it on the cover. It's about people who work in offices and why we fight. That worked for a long time. Then somebody said to me, "Yes, I can see that right here, but what does that mean?" Ah! But by then I had been a Toastmaster for a year or two and I was able to give a fairly coherent and somewhat longer response on the spot. I can answer that question now in 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 2 minutes, or 2 hours, depending on how long I can have your attention.

But... I don't think I've ever really told the truth about it. The truth is, my book is about how we have somehow learned to misjudge each other and how we can learn to see and treat each other in a new way.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Just One More!

This was the favorite of the Federal Executive Board. I will be giving a talk based on my book in their Book Forum. It's not until next year, but the brochure is being made already.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Another Publicity Photo

This one is my favorite in the "serious author" category!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Kyle Zimmerman Photography

Kyle Zimmerman took this picture of me and now I do love her, just like she said I would, because I love this picture!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Party at Page One

I set out to make sure that we got noticed today at the local author book fair at Page One. I made a big, colorful sign to put in front of the door and stopped by Party City on the way there. No good -- it would take 45 minutes for them to make me 12 balloons, but, they had two dozen that somebody hadn't picked up, ready to go! So I took them. I had to stuff them into the back seat. When I put up the sign and passed out three or four balloons to each of the authors, it looked like a party! We had just a few people come over to browse our books, but we had a great time anyway. I love balloons!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Saturday 3:00 to 5:00 PM at Page One

Don't forget to stop by Page One Bookstore Saturday, that's tomorrow! I'll be there with some other local authors:

Self Publishing and Local Author Book Fair
Saturday, August 5, 2006, 3:00 to 5:00 PM
Page One Bookstore
11018 Montgomery NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111
southwest corner of Juan Tabo and Montgomery
in the cafe!


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Seth Godin's Advice for Authors

Follow this link to read Seth Godin's advice for authors:

Seth's Blog

Some of what he is talking about is a concept called The Long Tail. It describes how a very few books (or anything in any other category) are very, very popular but most books fall somewhere in the long tail that trails out from those (if you graphed it by volume of sales). Because of the internet, it is possible for people to find those books, to find the exact book they are looking for. Read about it in The Long Tail Squidoo Lens.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Page One Local Author Fair

This Saturday (and every first Saturday of the month), Page One Bookstore hosts a local author book fair. So I'll be there!

Saturday, August 5, 2006
3:00 to 5:00 PM
Page One Bookstore

See you there

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Marketing and Personal Development

As I was updating my beautiful new Squidoo lens, Business Management and Personal Development, I noticed that two of my links are to marketers. Not marketers as in getting you to buy something you don't want and can't afford but as in getting the word out so people can find what they need or want that you've got. One is Seth Godin and the other is Scott Ginsberg. They are very different, but I love them both, and I think they must have something in common. Maybe it's that they don't gripe about what's bad, they get creative about how to change it. Maybe it's that they have a vision of what's good and a brilliant way of communicating it. And they're funny, amusing, entertaining, witty, but never at another person's expense. I think they see the possibilities in everyone. Maybe we're all customers? Maybe that's a good way for us to treat each other!