Was Henry Ford Right?

blog Aug 26, 2011

Henry Ford famously said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”

I believe life has limits. I can list many things I cannot do. Does that mean I am a pessimist? I like to think that I am a realist. Focusing on things that are near impossible is a waste of time. I know that I can’t be a surgeon. According to Henry, if I believe that I could be a surgeon, I can. Is that healthy? I don’t think so.

With that being said, there have been many things that I thought I could not do. Once I started asking “how,” life opened up to me. There was a period of time when I thought going off to college was impossible. And what seemed impossible became possible once I told myself I could do it, same thing with my speaking and writing career.

I could have said there’s no way someone with a speech impediment could become a speaker; instead, I asked myself is it a possibility? Was there a model that I could...

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I’m A TED Speaker

blog Aug 18, 2011

Every year since 2007, something extraordinary has happened in my career.

2007—Published my book.

2008—My book won two Indie Excellence Awards. One for best business book of the year and one was an honorable mention for best book. Forever I can call myself an award-winning author.

2009—Westlake Today named me Man of the Year.

2010—I received the Soaring Spirit Award from Looking Beyond.

I received an email from the organizers of TEDxPasadena asking me if I would be interested in becoming a TED speaker. I was honored. Of course I wanted to, but there was one caveat. It was just an invitation to be considered for the event.

I filled out the form and sent in a proposal, and last week at 10:15PM, I received an email from Kristi telling me that my proposal was accepted by TEDxPasadena. I am very honored to be speaking on October 22nd of this year, the day after my birthday, which means I have to be a good boy on my birthday. Probably a quiet dinner with my...

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Meeting Larry Winget

blog Aug 11, 2011

As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, I recently went to the National Speakers Association annual meeting. As I was looking at the schedule beforehand, I noticed that Larry Winget would be speaking that weekend. At this discovery, I practically turned into a thirteen-year-old girl finding out that she just got Justin Bieber tickets.

In life, we all have people we look up to. When I was a kid, I looked up to Magic Johnson, Bo Jackson, and other athletes, but now I look up to successful business people–especially those who have made it in the speaking and publishing industry. I definitely look up to people such as Jim Stovall, Brian Tracy, and most of all, Larry.

In 2005, I was giving my first speech as a professional speaker–with my dad serving as my interpreter–to a group of Persian women. It was a few months after I went to my first National Speakers Association meeting and my mentor Frank Miles came to give me a critique. In the hallway, Frank and I were...

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Running on Fumes

blog Aug 04, 2011

I had an incredible week last week. On Friday, my friend Pat and his son David loaded up the car and we went to Anaheim for four days. Pat and David went to Disneyland and I went to my version of Disneyland. I attended another convention of the National Speakers Association.

I love the NSA because years ago, the group told me that I could become a speaker. Before I attended the NSA in the winter of 2004, every time I went to a networking event, people would come up to me and say, Good luck. I hope it all works out. But when I went to that first event, I was encouraged to pursue this line of work and actually received advice. I remember talking to Tim Guard, who gave me advice and the names of other speakers to contact.

My theory on networking conferences and meeting people is like finding a date in the bar. if you go out to a bar dressed nice and have a basic idea of what you want, you might find nothing, but you might find everything you’re looking for. What typically happens...

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Why I Do What I Do

blog Jul 28, 2011

The last few months I have been taking a quasi-break from work. I decided that I needed a break from the hustle of life and just needed to hang out, take some trips, have long dinners with friends, and breathe.

I found my mind wandering towards many activities that either I cannot do or that take much more effort like getting dressed in three minutes or climbing up stairs. What’s interesting to me is the fact that when I was a kid, these things did not bother me. Yes, they were in the back of my mind, but they didn’t bother me. There have been many recent times when I would obsess over the things I couldn’t do. I felt guilty for having these thoughts because my life has been great the last year. My family is blessed. One of my friends from high school, Arash,  just went to Costa Rica. A couple of weeks ago, I was at his house and he was telling a group of friends how beautiful it was. I found myself getting upset because there is no way I could have a trip...

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It’s Been One Year!

blog Jul 21, 2011

About fourteen months ago, my manager Kristi made me put a date on the calendar to start this blog. For some reason or another I just did not want to start it. I was afraid that I would run out of things to say and I wanted to focus on getting the right tone out there. So, I wrote ten or so blog posts before I posted a single one.

The week I officially launched my blog, I got some incredible news. On Monday, July 19th, my mom called and wanted to talk to both my dad and me; I never heard her so frantic. She is usually calm, but that day she was in shock. When my father got home a couple of hours later, we returned her call together. Long story short, my mom told us that she had won the mega millions lottery. I was shocked. It changed many lives, including family members. It allowed me to move into my new house and it allowed my sister Sanaz to finally be spoiled after she had worked since the age of sixteen. My mom has retired and, as I am writing this, she is on the way to Pilates....

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Changing Tactics

blog Jul 14, 2011

Last week I wrote about what I’m up to.

Over the last year, my business philosophies and the way I think about my company and body of work have changed. Before my family’s windfall, I was trying to make a move that would put myself in the position where I would be miraculously booking many speeches, selling a lot of books, and creating the lifestyle that I want. Immediately after the win, I was so happy to have the cash infusion I needed in order to make my proverbial “big move.”

For whatever reason, I had trouble spending money on my company. I didn’t know why, but something in the back of my mind was saying that I was not ready yet. Maybe part of it was the fear of failure or that I finally had room to breathe. Clearly, I had been holding my breath over the year; I was not ready to go through that again.

We were given a gift and to jump back into the thick of things was a ludicrous idea. Creatively I was on fire. I was writing…a lot. In fact,...

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What’s Going On With Me….

blog Jul 07, 2011

To say the least, this has been the most interesting year of my life because of my parents’ windfall.

I am adjusting to life in my new house and it’s feeling like home. Everything is custom built for me. I’ve had a few barbeques. My best friend since second grade is living with me and he always makes me feel like a kid. I have been wrestling with my work choices and have decided to take it easy before I get back into the grind. The way that I look at my body of work is that I consider the creative process fun and I consider the marketing and the business end of things the real meat. As someone who loves marketing and has a degree in it, I will say that I often feel that I need to always keep going, going, going. I need to continue on the journey with one hundred percent effort. I am coming to the conclusion that I need to do that in my own time and I am coming to terms with that decision. There are certain times when I question it.

Ever since I was in my early...

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blog Jul 01, 2011

For the last three weeks I have been writing about how people don’t really get a chance to know each other. Now I am going to take the complete opposite approach–because I’m crazy like that.

If we look at everything in our lives to make a decision, we are going to get overwhelmed and confused. We can’t take everything into account. We cannot take into assumption everything that might happen. We are getting judged every day on what might seem to be superficialities, but are they really? Are you more likely to buy a house from a guy in a suit than a guy in shorts? Is that a fair assumption? Is the guy in shorts really serious about selling a house, and even if he is, does he show it?

If we think about a first date between a man and woman, whether or not they are going to go out on a second date or third date–or get married–is based on these tiny little microcosms; things such as not yelling at the waiter, not texting at the table, or whether they...

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Do You Know Me?

blog Jun 28, 2011

For the last two weeks I have been writing about the people in our lives, which got me thinking about…well, me.

I know when people meet me they’re overwhelmed by my disability. People who have never been around disabled people think one of two things. Either I’m mentally challenged or I’m like Stephen Hawking. What people don’t know is that I’m just a guy in a wheelchair trying to have fun, who wants love, and is driven by accomplishments. I’m always looking to make a good joke. I have high respect for people. I go to the movies, I watch sports, and I’m a kid at heart.

Others generally want me to be an emotional rock. For the most part I am, but I do get hurt. I wonder what people think of me when I give a lecture. Do they see me as a dynamic guy? I get a sense when people ask me to come and speak for their group the last thing that they expect is a guy who cracks jokes. I assume that people expect this hardcore speech about if you do...

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