Saturday, October 22, 2011

blog Nov 04, 2011

There are days in our lives we wish could be a model for every day our lives. Saturday, October 22nd was a model for how I want to live my life. It was the day after my 34th birthday.

On the 21st, I went to the game, had dinner with my family and my roommate Patrick, then went to bed. I woke up at 6:00, took a shower, ate breakfast, and met my manager Kristi to go to the TED event in Pasadena. We arrived around 8:30 at TEDx and met my speaking partner Rich and his girlfriend Anne.

Throughout the day we heard speakers, watched some videos, and because the elevator was broken, I could not get my electric chair onstage. The organizers wanted me to do my speech from the floor, but Rich and I would hear nothing of it. We explained that I could walk with help, so Rich got my other chair from the car and helped me onto the stage. We had been working on the speech on and off for about a month and we could not wait to give it. We were still tweaking the speech right up until we got on stage....

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A Kinship

blog Oct 27, 2011

On Sunday night, after a weekend of speaking and celebrating my birthday, I went to bed, turned on my DVR, and put on 60 Minutes. The first segment was about Steve Jobs. His biography came out this week and they were interviewing his biographer Walter Isaacson.

I always study successful people and I was reminded who I am as a business man. For the last several months, actually all of this year, I have been taking a step back to reevaluate where I want to take my professional life. In that time, I have been also focusing on me as a person.

A few attributes about Jobs reminded me about who I want to be, who I am, and what principles I want to keep near me.

First, there was a clear dichotomy of Steve Jobs being a business man and a true artist.  He understood that if he wanted to be a success, he had to be hard-nosed, but above all that, he wanted to create slick products that would help people. Like Jobs, I love the business end of things but I never put anything out there that I...

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The Power of Play

blog Oct 20, 2011

Playing isn’t just for kids.

Everyone plays. We play with our food, we play with the car radio, we play fantasy sports, and so on.

For the last couple of months I have been taking it easy…I’ve been thinking about playing. I love to have a good time. I’m always cracking jokes, I love my gadgets, my house, and just having a good time. However, one of the things my disability affects is the way I play. As a child I couldn’t put together a puzzle, ride a bike, or run in the park. Yet, I had a very happy childhood. My parents took my sister and me on trips. We used to go to Disneyland at least a couple of times a year. When I was younger, I was a lot smaller, so my father and my mother would just take me out of my chair and plop me on the rides. I used to watch my friends play basketball in the street and it didn’t really bother me to be on the sidelines.

I didn’t feel like I was on the sidelines.

As I grew older, I started to think about the...

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The Proper Environment

blog Oct 13, 2011

I love to write with music on in the background. It calms my nerves. I also like to listen to music before I write. I know that I would not exercise unless I have a set schedule. That is why I meet my trainer Larry three times a week. There are days when the last thing I want to do is exercise, but since I had an appointment with Larry I had to go.

What is your ideal mood for doing the things that you want to do? What is stopping you from doing it? How can you put yourself in a better mood?

Before I started working with Kristi, I used to have an intern come to my house and I would write for an hour and a half. There were times when I could not write. I didn’t want to write. In the hour before she’d come, I would be stressed out because I had no idea what to say. She would come and I would get something on paper. It wasn’t always my best work, but it was something. And for writers, something is always better than nothing.

When we have things such as that business...

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Setting the Mood

blog Oct 06, 2011

There were weeks where I could not or did not write this blog, but for the last year and a half, I have only missed two weeks because of the holidays. There were times that I was on vacation, yet I had Kristi put a blog post up. Same thing with Twitter. I tweet at least three times a week, if not more. If I did not make a conscious decision to blog once a week or tweet at least three times a week, it would become just something I do occasionally. I look at it as a business task and most business tasks cannot and should not be done occasionally. The minute I come up with an excuse like I’m busy this week or I have nothing to write about, I open the door to bigger and more lame excuses.

I stayed out with the boys a little too late last night.

The game went into overtime.

I am obsessed with getting this blog up every week. Not because I’m going to be in trouble , it’s because the last thing that I want to do is make this an occasional blog. As a writer and...

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Twitter Things

blog Sep 29, 2011

To be honest, I didn’t like Twitter in the beginning. It took me a while to understand. My conclusion is it’s about reminding people that you are still thinking and keeping yourself on the top of their minds because if you don’t, no matter how thought provoking or funny you are, people are going to forget about you.

Because I cannot use a smart phone, I can’t tweet all of the time. I would love to tweet that I’m in the car on my way to a speaking engagement or having dinner with friends, but I can’t. Early on I found sites where you could put in a tweet whenever you want and schedule it. One time I was in a meeting at USC and when my family and I finally got out of the meeting, my sister turned to me and said, “How did you tweet that without a smart phone?” She was more than a little bit freaked out. I explained to her that for me, it just doesn’t feel right tweeting about my everyday life. I started to tweet a thought of the day...

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One Morning in 2006

blog Sep 22, 2011

One morning in the spring of 2006…

I woke up and had a speech scheduled for that day.

I always start my speech with this line: “My name is Sourena Vasseghi and I love my life.” That morning, while lying in bed, I felt like crap. It was one of those mornings where I wake up and people around me were scared to talk. I’m sure you have had mornings like that. I was going through my first break-up ever, and it sucked. I always try to be authentic and hate being a hypocrite. How was I supposed to utter the words “I love my life” when I was feeling so down that morning? My mentor, Frank Miles, was even going to be there. I thought of canceling my speech—but I didn’t. I got ready, put on my suit and tie, and went. As I got closer to my event, I began to feel the adrenaline and after I was introduced, I said my first line.

“My name is Sourena Vasseghi, and I love my life.”

For the first time that day, I actually was in love with my...

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How Hard Is My Life?

blog Sep 15, 2011

For the last few months, my manager Kristi and I have been talking about our next steps with my speaking and writing career. Kristi has always brought up the fact that I underestimate my struggles as a human being and neither of us has been able to figure out why that was.

Is it because I’m not self-aware? Actually, I am very self-aware. I know myself very well. If I’m having a good day, I know why and vice-versa. Is it because I live in a cocoon where I only understand my own life? I wish that was the case because it’s only when I think about other people’s lives that I say my life is hard. There are days when I wish that I could only look at my own life in a vacuum. Is it the fact that I don’t let anything get to me? Of course not. I have bad days just like everyone else. I throw hissy fits like any other human being. I get frustrated when I can’t do something right.

Then what is the issue? Why do I keep underestimating my struggles?

I finally...

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Debunking Conventional Wisdom – Part 2

blog Sep 08, 2011

Here is the conclusion of my Debunking Conventional Wisdom post, in which I provide the top six conventional wisdoms I disagree with and why. Read part one here.


4. Never make excuses. Excuses are a part of life. My definition of an excuse is why something did or did not happen. The fact is that I blame a lot of stuff that I cannot do on my disability, such as if somebody asks me to help them move, I can’t. If you are losing your job, and your boss gives you one more chance, what are you going to do? Are you going to roll over or are you going to throw every excuse in the book to possibly save your job? Be careful because the more excuses you make in life, the less chances that you have to succeed. If I made the excuse that nobody wants to hear a speaker with a speech impediment, I would not be following my calling.

5. Overcoming problems. I was considering naming my next book I Didn’t Overcome Anything. From a branding perspective, I decided I...

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Debunking Conventional Wisdom

blog Sep 01, 2011

Last week I realized what Henry Ford said with his quote, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Some of my thoughts about life and love are not what you might think. In my next two posts, I am going to give you the top six conventional wisdoms I disagree with and why.

  1. Anything is possible. First of all, there are more things in life that are not possible than possible. Focusing on things that are impossible is futile. It distracts your focus from what is indeed possible. I never put my focus on being a good football player. Instead, I focus on becoming a speaker and speaking to the USC football team.
  2. Seize the moment, carpe diem. While I am an advocate of living life to the fullest, there are times when we have to get down to business. There are times when we have to skip the movies or tell a friend we cannot take that backpacking trip to Europe. I was at a basketball game with my friend Jay Lavender, who at the time...
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