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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Who Do You Really Know?

blog Jun 16, 2011

Have you ever worked with someone for a couple of months then one night have cocktails together and see another side of them that you didn’t expect? Or how about that brother-in-law that one day actually turns out to be cool?

Last week I talked about my friend Frank, who was on America’s Got Talent. A part of me was disappointed that you only got to see one side of him. By the way, did you know that he does a great Woody Allen impression?

I had the unique opportunity of meeting a couple of big celebrities and many sports commentators when I was hanging out with the USC football team. In almost every case, each one had a different personality and human element that the public doesn’t usually get to see.

One of my favorite things on television is when Brian Williams, the anchor of NBC Nightly News, visits Jon Stewart. On the news he might seem like this uptight guy, but when he visits The Daily Show, he is downright funny. Do we really know the people we idolize? Do...

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America’s Got Talent

blog Jun 09, 2011

Last week I went to Vegas with my friends Patrick and Dave. I would love to say that I was there on business, but I was just there to relax and watch the first two games of the NBA finals. Around 10:30 P.M. Wednesday, I received a call from my Dad saying that my friend Frank Miles was on America’s Got Talent. I asked Dave to see if he could find it online and he did. There was Frank, juggling three 500,000 volt stun guns.

Who is Frank Miles and why the heck am I writing about him?

Frank is a motivational speaker; he is also my mentor. He was the first person who said I could speak for a living even though I had a speech impediment. What got me thinking is that most of the time when you see a talented person on television or on a comedy stage, you can’t get the entire picture of what that person is like. I wonder what people thought of Frank when they saw him. Did they think he was a mad man? What did they think his day job was?

Let me tell you. The Frank I know and love...

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The Counter Argument to my Destiny Post

blog Jun 02, 2011

I know it’s probably bad for an author to write a post arguing one of their previous posts, but if I don’t examine this, I might not understand both sides. After all, a good debater can argue both sides seamlessly. My whole hearted belief is that there is a perfect situation out there for anybody who wants it. I can honestly say that I have had a dose of everything I wanted in life. I’ve tasted everything that I wanted to taste. I have had more than a few all-nighters with the boys, I’ve had crazy Vegas trips, I was in love for a year, I had some amazing opportunities as a speaker, I won awards for my writing, and much more than that. I am loved by my parents.

The point is coming, I promise.

There’s a part of me that feels besides my parents, in my life, that many of the events I just described were not constant. They were just a taste. I only had a girlfriend for one year. Starting when I was 27. I never got the challenge to date in my teens, early...

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How Good Is Your Life?

blog May 26, 2011

We all have different criteria by which we judge our lives. For some, it’s how much money they have; for others, it’s how much they go out; for sports fanatics, it’s how well their teams are doing. People need to judge their life on many criteria, not just one. It’s like putting your money into one stock and betting everything on that performance. Judging multiple criteria allows people to grow and help them with hard times. It also helps smooth out the ebb and flow of life.

In my first few years of business, I spent more money than I made. Isn’t the point of business to make money? I knew that I was onto something with my speaking and writing from day one, but it was often difficult to face the fact that I was not making money. Money was not the only criteria I judged my business on.

* Was I growing as a person and a businessman? In my line of work this is very important because if I was not growing as a person, then I could not honestly lecture people...

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A Day in the Life, May 14, 2011

blog May 20, 2011

Last Thursday I had a great day.

One of the things I wanted to do with this blog was to occasionally describe what a “day in the life” is like for me–so, with that in mind, I’d like to bring you back into my world on the day of May 14, 2011. Mind you, it wasn’t a typical day in the least, but it was a very good day.

My roommate Patrick assisted me with my normal morning routine. He helped me take a shower, shave, and got me dressed. This process started around eight o’clock and took an hour. I met Kristi in my office around nine o’clock; we had two conference calls scheduled that day. One with a PR company in Boston, and one with my friend and collaborator Jay Lavender. Both calls were informative, and we concluded that I should self-publish my autobiography. In the middle of my call with Jay, my friend Jason came by to work on the lock of my front door so I could open it up with a remote (unfortunately, the door lock was defective and we...

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May 11, 2001

blog May 11, 2011

There are days in our lives that we will never forget unless we are stricken with Alzheimer’s. I will never forget May 11, 2001. So on the ten year anniversary of that day, I’ve decided to look back and reflect.

It was a day filled with friends, family, and the combination of a dream come true.

Ten years ago today, I graduated from USC. Now, if you told me that I would be graduating from USC three years prior, I would have called you crazy, because up until September of ‘98, I always thought that I could never go to college. It hurt so much. But…I decided to throw logic out the window, caution to the wind, and just do it. I had no idea what to expect. My dad thought I would call him two weeks into my first semester and say, I can’t do this. Both he and I are so happy I didn’t make that call.

I could write pages about that day, but some of you have to get back to work and I respect that. Here are some of the highlights.

- My parents taking me out...

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