Monthly Archives: June 2014

Episode 88: Being Present with People | Dr. Mollie Marti, Director of the Community Resiliency Project and Author of Walking with Justice

Being Present and Making an Impact with Dr Mollie MartiDr. Mollie Marti has been a lawyer, a psychologist, a university professor, an author, and is now the director of a nonprofit organization. One of her mentors growing up was a judge. Judge Max Rosenn, he’s since passed away, but she wrote a book about his experience. He was one of those extremely influential people who made a difference. One of the things that made him so influential was his ability of being present for other people. Everybody thought very highly of the man and he made a huge difference.

Dr. Mollie Marti is the author of Walking with Justice and co-author of The 12 Factors of Business Success. After years of active partnership with nonprofit organizations, she recently accepted a position as CEO of the nonprofit Community Resiliency Project, dedicated to empowering communities to grow resilient youth and create an environment in which no life is lost to suicide.

Zeb’s Take – Being Present with People and Making an Impact

Dr. Mollie Marti had a lot of really interesting things to say about success and life in general. I really loved the sentiment she expressed about her mentor, the judge, Judge Max Rosenn and what he was able to do, not just for her, but for his community and the people around him. What struck me was when I asked what about him made him so memorable and made so many people think so highly of him, and it was his ability of being present in the conversation when talking with people. He would drop the things he was doing and he would be present and try to address the needs and concerns of the people that came to him.

That’s a very admirable skill to have, and not just admirable. It’s a trait that a lot of success people possess. We’re in a smart phone age with social media and constantly being connected to the internet, and trying to be social in that context, but we can miss out on genuine face-to-face human interaction. It’s a skill that is diminishing. The more that you can acquire that skill, being present for other people when they come to you with questions, the better you will be.

I know I’m guilty of this myself. Your mind wanders to different topics during a conversation. Those things happen but the more you can avoid doing that, the more you can actually listen and pay attention and be present for the people there the more beneficial and helpful you can be to the person. Those people are going to think much more highly of you. Usually if someone is telling you a story or something about their lives they are looking for feedback and for your genuine responses. The more you are being present for that the more people will feel that respect from you.

That’s something I really struggle with. I make a conscious effort to try and be present when people are talking with me. This podcast is actually a way to help me with that. I know sometimes I lose track, and maybe you listeners have noticed a time or two when my mind might wander into a different direction, but this podcast has really helped me stay focused and at being present for other people.

Now go out there and find your success!

Find out more about Dr. Mollie Marti her books and the Community Resiliency Project

Visit MollieMarti.com or DrMollie.com. Visit CRProject.org to find out more about Community Resiliency Project. Dr. Mollie can also be found on social media sites.

Community Resiliency Project

Quotes

  • “It is really our service, especially to our communities, that enriches us and defines the quality of our life.”
  • “We need to be very intentional about being present with others and making those connections that nurture others, and that nurture ourselves as well.”
  • “Our mission is to empower communities to grow stronger youth and create an environment in which no life is lost to suicide.”
  • “It is just following your own heartbreak, and my heart was broken by these losses and how they happened and the impact that they made.”
  • “Success is a big word. Passion is a big word. Vision is a big word. We work with these big words and sometimes people just get stuck thinking about them.”
  • “What breaks your heart and you just think there’s got to be a better way. Ask those type of questions and then what’s one step you can take to just make things a little bit better in your corner of the world.”
  • “It’s about coming through whatever challenge more wise and stronger and with a deeper sense of your mission and why you are here. That all will equate to a more rich and meaningful life.”
  • “I look at people and I just see the extraordinary potential that they have. I’m passionate about helping them tap more and more of that.”
  • “Thrive and serve. I’m about living vibrantly, using that potential, and living in a way that is meaningful to yourself. Loving your life while you’re serving others and making that impact.”
  • “No matter what the world says of you or to you, with your accolades and your accomplishments, if you don’t live in a way that the people you love the most know that they’re loved and feel that love and you haven’t made those deposits that love lives on long after you’re gone, I don’t think you’re successful.”

dr-mollie      dr-mollie2

More From the Interview

By training, Dr. Mollie is a lawyer and a social psychologist. She did the law first and she went to clerk with a judge. A very wise judge who changed Dr. Mollie’s life in many ways, one of them was a perspective on how we interact with our communities and how service really defines the value of our life. That came as a young lawyer. She practiced law, went back got her PhD, worked in performance psychology with a lot of athletes and corporate. Then she wrote a couple business books.

She says the thing that connects all of her past occupations is her utter fascination with human beings and their potential, and her really strong pursuit of justice. She says, “Even as a kid if I thought something wasn’t fair I would get really riled up about it.” I was always studying people and what made them tick. Psychology was a great fit for me and a higher use of my potential than law. I always had my hand in law, but when I’m working in the area of performance psychology, positive psyche, human potentiality, resiliency, all of those things I get lit up pretty quickly.

When she was young her family’s business what on the cutting edge of antibodies vs antibiotics. The work they did was a threat to the established drug companies. When she was 14-years-old she remembers going with family members and seeing the lawyers and all of this stuff through the courts. At the end of it they got an extension on a patent. The family was celebrating when they got a phone call saying the bill had disappeared of the presidents desk. At the age of 14 she wondered how these drug companies could be so powerful to take this bill of the president of the united state’s desk. It inspired her to go into law.

Judge Max Rosenn made such an impression on people because while with someone he was always being present with them.Dr. Mollie wrote a book called Walking with Justice about her greatest life mentor Judge Max Rosenn. She says he’s hard to describe and quantify, his colleagues referred to him as a Judge’s Judge. He was a prominent federal judge on the 3rd circuit court of appeals and, to this day, he is still one of the most cited jurists in American history. While by his side she saw portraits, law libraries, even a whole federal building dedicated to him. While he was still alive they renamed the building that he went to work to everyday. He had a great deal of impact.

She went to learn the law from him, but what she didn’t expect to learn was that “it is really our service, especially to our communities, that enriches us and defines the quality of our life.” He was a servant of the people. A humble and very wise man.

Six years ago Dr. Mollie became very ill with a life threatening heart condition. Her regrets surfaced up. She was surprised that one of her regrets was that she never put Judge’s lessons in a book for others to learn from him. Judge had died and if she died all of that information would die with her. Dr. Mollie decided that when she got better that would be her priority. She says, “It actually helped me heal. As I returned to Judge’s life wisdom and love and lessons and put that in a story for others, I found it very healing for myself.”

She shared some of her 25 Uncommon Leadership Lessons from Judge Max Rosenn

  • Your value lies not in status or title but in the ruts of your character and depth of your compassion.
  • With every choice you create the life you live. With every decision you design it.
  • Helping others in need is not only a responsibility of life, it is what gives meaning to life.
  • Our power lies in our small daily choices one after another to create eternal ripples of a life well lived.

She says while she was watching and learning from him when he didn’t even know, when the endless traffic of people from his community come to his door and what he did to help them and try to find ways to help and refer them to other people, were what made him so memorable. “Watching how he served day-in and day-out and helped people and how he shared his presence both with others, but with us. You walk into the presence of judge and you would literally feel like you were the only one in the world.”

She was a young lawyer who was on fire to change the world. She saw that he got a tremendous amount done but he did it by being very centered and very mindful and creating this presence. He carried this stillness with him. He gifted his presence to others.

She says it’s challenging In the world we live in now. We can get caught up in our computer our smartphone even when the most important people in our world are there.

“We need to be very intentional about being present with others and making those connections that nurture others, and that nurture ourselves as well. They nurture us at a very deep level.”

Dr. Mollie’s nonprofit, Community Resiliency Project, started when her small town in Iowa lost three teens to suicide within 6 months time. She had three teens of her own in the same school. It deeply affected the community. She had taken a hiatus from working on her book, Walking with Justice, she came back to it and was affected by the text she had previously written. She realized she was a psychologist, a resiliency researcher, a member of this community, a mother of teens, well connected in the mental health field, she thoughtt I need to do something. “I am being called right here and right now to do something.” She started that day, making phone calls and organizing meetings to put something together so that not only something good could come out of these tragic and heartbreaking losses but that something must.

That was 3 years ago, since then the work has continued and they’ve spread information to many other communities.

“Our mission is to empower communities to grow stronger youth and create an environment in which no life is lost to suicide.”

Her book sales and personal contributions were what funded the work, now they’ve become a nonprofit and are starting to get more support from foundations and writing grants and things like that. The work continues on a more national level and she has stepped in as CEO and she continues to direct this work.

She found a need and then addressed that need in her community. She stepped up to the plate.

It’s not so much as finding a need. “It is just following your own heartbreak, and my heart was broken by these losses and how they happened and the impact that they made.”

dr-mollie-marti“Success is a big word. Passion is a big word. Vision is a big word. We work with these big words and sometimes people just get stuck thinking about them. And so I think it can be really helpful […] what breaks your heart and you just think there’s got to be a better way. Ask those type of questions and then what’s one step you can take to just make things a little bit better in your corner of the world.”

This connect to another interview Zeb had with Angela Meyers, Choose to Matter listen to it next.

Resiliency is the ability to respond to, cope with and grow through adversity. Resiliency is not about bouncing back it’s about growing through adversity.

On resiliency: “It’s about coming through whatever challenge more wise and stronger and with a deeper sense of your mission and why you are here. That all will equate to a more rich and meaningful life.”

Another book she worked on, The 12 Factors of Business Success, she wrote with Wiley. The chapters talk about self-discipline, having a game plan, taking directive action, decision making, living from passion, having confidence, mastering criticism (a popular chapter), self-control, resilience, wealth building, putting support structures in place, and the mindset for success.

They asked over 10,000 people their questions and challenges for success. They loaded as much coaching into the book as they could.

“I look at people and I just see the extraordinary potential that they have. I’m passionate about helping them tap more and more of that.”

On Success: “To live true to yourself, to live vibrantly, and live in service to others in a way that people you love the most will say that you showered them with love.”

“Thrive and serve. I’m about living vibrantly, using that potential, and living in a way that is meaningful to yourself. Loving your life while you’re serving others and making that impact.”

“No matter what the world says of you or to you, with your accolades and your accomplishments, if you don’t live in a way that the people you love the most know that they’re loved and feel that love and you haven’t made those deposits that love lives on long after you’re gone, I don’t think you’re successful.”

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Episode 87: The Importance of Body Language | Dr. Nick Morgan, Owner of Public Words

Nick Morgan, body language expertIn this interview I want to focus on how important body language is when you’re speaking, and not just in front of a lot of people, but just speaking in general. What your body language tells people. Dr. Nick Morgan is one of the top experts on body language and how to make sure it conveys the message you are trying to convey. Dr. Nick Morgan owns Public Words, a company that is helping to create strategies for people who want to become professional speakers.

Dr. Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches
A passionate teacher, Nick is committed to helping people find clarity in their thinking and ideas—and then delivering them with panache.

Zeb’s Take – Importance of Body Language for Public Speaking

It was a real pleasure talking to Dr. Nick Morgan. A body language expert, he just has such a solid background; he’s done so many good things for so many people out there, so many well respected people in the speaking industry, companies, businesses, the advice he was willing to share with us today was phenomenal. I hope all of you out there listening took notes, because he knows what he’s talking about and he gave some excellent tips and advice today.

In this wrap-up I want to focus on the importance of body language. This is one of the things I struggle with. Recently I’ve been giving speaking engagements, and they’re smaller venues maybe 40-50 people. I’m talking about social media and my whole focus is on the content, the stuff that I’m saying. What Dr. Morgan correctly pointed out is that most people aren’t going to remember what you say. They are going to remember your energy, the way you interact, respond and your body language and what that tells them about the experience and what they’re learning.

If you notice professional speakers, they have that charisma. I’ve seen enough people speaking and you can tell, some of these people are charismatic. But, they are charismatic because they’ve acquired that skill. They are very deliberate with what they choose to do with their body language and the way they convey and represent themselves to others.

I was talking with Adam Whitmer, someone in my mastermind group, he gives speaking engagements all the time. He speaks mostly in the banking industry about regulations, bankers have to go to these events. He wants to become a better speaker, so he’s been going to some training and learning about speaking. He was very clear that a lot of it is your body language and the way you present yourself just like Dr. Nick said. He has seen the difference. Adam said it made a profound difference in the way the audience responded to him once he started applying the rules of body language and using them effectively.

I’ve never applied these things before, because I’m literally just learning. I always knew body language was important, but I never focused on the body language because I always focused on the content. In the future, moving forward, I’m definitely going to be more conscientious about my body language and what that is conveying to the audience that is listening to the message I’m trying to share.

I really appreciate Dr. Nick sharing all his advice today, and not just the body language stuff, but everything he shared. It was extremely eye opening and enlightening.

Connect with us on Facebook, I’d love to hear from all of you. Hear some feedback on the interview and let me know if you have any questions for me or Dr. Nick.

Go out there and find your success!

Find out more about Nick Morgan and Public Words

Visit www.PublicWords.com to get tons of free information about speaking, body language and the business of professional speaking. It’s a real treasure trove of information.

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 8.23.47 PMQuotes

    • “We teach them a lot about body language. We make them very cool body language experts and then they can begin to take charge of their own body language and then read it better in others. That makes them smarter interpersonally.”
    • “One of the classic mistakes that business people make when they’re going into a meeting, pitching a client or are giving a speech is they say, well let me start by telling you a little bit about myself or my company. Frankly, nobody cares about you or your company.”
    • “Don’t leave the body language to chance, think about it beforehand. Decide how you are going to show up with your body as well as with your content.”
    • “Most people think charisma is something that is reserved for a few lucky people. […] In fact, we are all charismatic at a few unplanned times in our lives.”
    • “If you are not fully present, if you are not completely focused, then you are not going to be as effective.”
    • “Being able to fully utilize your Voice with a capital V in the world so that you know who you are and people know who you are, that way you can share something unique and that’s powerfully you with the world.”

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dr-nick

More From the Interview

Nick Morgan, Author of Power CuesDr. Nick Morgan was an academic. He taught Shakespeare and public speaking. He trained as an actor, did that for a while. Had some children he had to take care of, so he had to get a paying job. He worked briefly as a speechwriter for a governor. Then he entered the business world via consulting and then started his own business.

Public Words started in 1997. He says, “We help people tell their stories.” They work with essentially three kinds of clients: pofessional speakers who need to be on the top of their game and need to develop successful brands for themselves, executives who need or want to improve their communication skills, and companies who need to tell their stories to the world or to their own employees for motivation.

Zeb was introduced to Dr. Nick Morgan through David Meerman Scott author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR. Who has worked with Dr. Nick.

Nick gives an example of one of his clients. Someone who is cool under pressure and get’s promoted because that’s exactly what you need in some industries. Once he was promoted to a certain level he was told that his employees think he’s too cold, now he needs to show more emotion. Even though not showing so much emotion may have helped him get to that position in the first place.

“Sometimes it’s for a specific speech, but it’s also often for just in general relating to your employees or your colleagues.”

They do is a combination of coaching: talking over strategies, how to behave in meetings, a certain amount of role play, video tape to show people how they look and what they’re doing. “We teach them a lot about body language. We make them very cool body language experts and then they can begin to take charge of their own body language and then read it better in others. That makes them smarter interpersonally. They know when they are doing well and when they need to adjust.”

Part of their job is figureing out people’s or businesses’s story. They’re about figuring out, what’s the streamlined story.

“You need to figure out how to tell that story economically and in a way that’s powerful and grabs people right from the start.”

The movie Casablanca starts with 7 minutes of opening credits. Nowadays, movies begin with action, once they’ve got you hooked they run the credits along with the action. The world has sped up for us that way. Speakers and business people in general need to do the same.

One of the classic mistakes that business people make when they’re going into a meeting, pitching a client or are giving a speech is they say, well let start by telling you a little bit about myself or my company. Frankly, nobody cares about you or your company. They want to know why. Why am I there, what’s in it for me, why should I care, why is this important. You have to answer that why question first then you can tell them about yourself.

He says he asks people when they are creating a speech how much time they spend thinking about the content of the speech and how much time they think about the body language. An honest answer is usually 100% on the content and 0% on the speech.

“When you are standing up in front of an audience that communication with the audience is actually two conversations. On the one hand it’s the is the content, on the other hand it’s the body language. And when those two are aligned then the audience will get your message. When they are not aligned, what happens is people will believe the body language every time. The body language always trumps the content. [… ]If you don’t think about your body language, or what you’re going to do with that beforehand, you are leaving it up to chance.”

If you do what most business speakers do, you clutch your hands nervously in front of your stomach then your body language sends out the message that you are nervous and your stress levels are high. Studies show that when you do that you actually raise the stress levels of the audience as well. When stress levels are high people don’t learn well, remember well or listen well. You are actually making the communication worse.

“Don’t leave the body language to chance, think about it beforehand. Decide how you are going to show up with your body as well as with your content.”

He says videotaping that is a great tool for the average person wanting to give better speeches. Videotape yourself either in rehearsal or giving a speech, just watch and see those ticks that we all have that do get in the way of communication. They are good to clean up and to get smart about and eliminate.

Dr. Nick can’t help but notice the mistakes people make when he sees someone speaking.

Often times people over prepare and overload their audience with too much information. So people really need to cut down, figure out the one thing you want to get across to your audience and make sure everything you say is in support of that one idea.

“Most people think charisma is something that is reserved for a few lucky people. […] In fact, we are all charismatic at a few unplanned times in our lives.”

Emotional focus is very charismatic, that really is what charisma is.

“If you are not fully present, if you are not completely focused, then you are not going to be as effective.”

We work with people who want a sustained professional speaking career. There are three things you need in general: a great speech (or a few great speeches), a great book (as proof that you’re the expert), and a community – these days that’s the online community.

One of the pieces Public Words often helps with is the book. Help them with the story, the proposal, pitching to agents, selling to publisher, and bring it to market and persuade people to buy it and read it.

“You’re not writing a book to put it away on a shelf and have nobody see it. That’s not the point. You write a book to share your ideas with people because you are passionate about them and you think they will help them. So you gotta have a plan these days, in this world, for distributing and marketing the book”

To develop a community Public Words uses the idea that you are passionate about, that you want to share with the world, that you want to write books about, give speeches about, and debate with the community.

Fifteen years ago there were certain gatekeepers who got to decide what information reached most people. Newspaper editors, tv and radio show producers. Now we have the internet and things have changed. You can create a community online and those gatekeepers are much less important than they used to be. But, now you have to do the work.

We tend to build our relationships based on face to face relationships. In those kind of relationships trust is pretty durable. “Online, trust is very fragile. If people get the sense that you are not honest or that you are not being authentic in some way then they will drop you like a hot potato and they won’t come back.”

“You have to make sure you know exactly who you are, and what you are doing, and that it’s authentic and you are in it for keeps. The internet is very quick to sniff out people who are just trying to sell something.”

Nick shared a failure he had with a client who had a great story, he was an immigrant who built up a huge successful company. He worked with Public Words to put together a big public speech to a really large crowd to talk about his legacy and how he got to where he was. After the speech was written he refused to rehearse. Instead of doing everything he could to get the client to rehearse, he let the client convince him that rehearsal wasn’t necessary.

When it came time to give the speech the client starting doing martial arts moves in front of everyone. He would say a few lines from the speech and then do some more martial arts. Everyone one was staring wondering what was going on. Nick wishes he would have worked harder to convince the client to rehearse.

Nick Morgan says the amount of rehearsing you need to do varies depends on how experienced you are, how comfortable you are, how big the stakes are, how different the speech is compared to what you’re used to. There are a lot of factors involved. What you want to do is stand up there and have it not look like you’re doing this for the first time.

“If the body language is saying oh I’m a little scared I’m doing this for the first time, that undercuts the authority that the speaker is trying to get across.”

How long should you rehearse? Enough to get it into your muscle memory so that you don’t look like you’re giving the speech for the first time because that body language message woefully undercuts the message you’re trying to get across.

When you get into the room, it’s important to have a rehearsal, at least walk and around and check everything out, but ideally a full rehearsal in the actual space you’re going to give a speech in.

“Being able to fully utilize your Voice with a capital V in the world so that you know who you are and people know who you are, that way you can share something unique and that’s powerfully you with the world.”

1904262_10152426866698120_1782783527655435063_nNick has a new book, Power Cues, in which he shares some personal stories some reasons why he cares so much about body language and speaking. “That’s about being authentic and getting my voice out there.” The book also discusses the relationship between neuroscience and how communication actually works. “It’s a big step for me.”

 

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Episode 86: Take Action & Create Your Dots | David Ralph, Host of Join Up Dots Daily Podcast

Take Action Find Your Path with David Ralph from the Join Up Dots PodcastIn this interview I talk with David Ralph about how important it is to take action. David had me on his podcast not to long ago. I really liked what he was doing. I liked the message and the tone of his podcast. So I decided to have him on the Defining Success Podcast. It’s his first time being interviewed himself on a podcast. It’s a great interview.

David Ralph is the host of the Join Up Dots Podcast, The Daily Podcast Talking To The Motivational, Inspirational and Conversational Movers And Shakers Across The Globe Today.

Zeb’s Take – Take Action

It was really great to talk today with David Ralph again. He’s always a pleasure to talk to. He has a great message and mission to share, which is joining up dots. He shared that quote with us from Steve Jobs about joining up dots and what that looks like. You’ll never know, you can’t join up the dots to your future, you can’t say I want to achieve this and this is the path I’m going to take to get there. But, when you start to take action the path sort of opens up before you.

My goal when I started my entrepreneurial career was to start a successful tutoring business and the tutoring business was going to fund my lifestyle. A tutoring business, I realized it wasn’t going to be extremely successful unless I took it nationally or did something like that. I knew it would be a difficult long road. But I took action to get there and as I started down that path I began to learn about internet marketing. I started learning about how to market myself. People started to approach me and said, “You’re really good at this. why don’t you try doing more of this. Go out and try to attract businesses.”

I took action again, I started down the internet marketing route. And as I’m doing my internet marketing work I started to develop niches. I did really great work for golf courses. In that golf course industry I started getting a lot of attention, people saying that I was doing a good job. I decided to take action and write this book on The Social Golf Course. It went from running a tutoring business, to running an internet marketing business, to running social media specifically for golf courses. Which is what I’m focusing on now. I know for sure it is going to change as my path unfolds, but that’s how I’ve joined up the dots.

Looking back it’s easy to see and point out the turning points that made those events happen. But let’s say when I started my tutoring business and I was looking into the future, I was never going to know where life was going to take me. I think it’s remarkable that David Ralph is trying to share that message. It’s taking action and taking steps that are going to improve your lifestyle, to do something that you are happy with excited about and want to do, you take action to start doing that and eventually doors are going to open. They are going to guide you down that path that makes sense for you to your purpose, or to what you can genuinely offer to other people to be of service which will make you happier, lead a better life and all that good stuff.

I was great talking with David, he’s a really funny guy. I hope you enjoyed the interview and enjoyed hearing about his journey in creating his daily podcast, Join the Dots. The amount of work and dedication that he’s putting into it is really remarkable and I think he has a lot of advice already even though he is very new into this business adventure. I want to encourage all of you to go out there and find your success.

Find out more about David Ralph and the Join Up Dots Podcast

Find Join Up Dots on iTunes!
Visit www.JoinUpDots.com or email ContactJoinUpDots@gmail.com. David loves getting emails.

Quotes

  • “Some of your darkest moments in your life, when you look back with new eyes, you can actually go, ‘Yeah. Thank god for that. If it wasn’t for that I’d still be in that situation.’”
  • “I believe in what I’m doing. I believe in the content that I’m producing, I believe in the feedback that my guests were giving me. So, I’m just going to keep going with it.”
  • “You don’t have to know something about anything. You just need to have to have a passion and then research it. So that’s what I did.”
  • “I enjoy this more than anything I’ve done before.”
  • “Once you get an email in from a ‘complete stranger’ to say I like your work – thank you very much for putting it out – and you get that validation that is like woah!”
  • “It’s very much about overcoming fears and creating a life that is what you deserve.”
  • “I realized that I couldn’t plan going forward, I could only do things that kind of felt right and hopefully if I meander this way or go that way or whatever they are going to pull together.”
  • “You’ve got to have trust. You’ve got to have faith. You’ve got to be able to push forward and find your path. And it may not be the right path straight away. But if you do enough things and have enough failures, ultimately, fingers crossed, if you believe hard enough, you are going to find your successes.”

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More From the Interview

Zeb was recently on David’s Join Up Dots Podcast. The podcast hadn’t aired a single episode yet, but Zeb was his number 60 or something interview. He had scheduled plenty of these interviews before he launched his daily podcast. Today he started at 9 AM interviewing people all day. It is now 11 PM in London and he is still going strong chatting with us today. It is an impressive schedule that he sets for himself.

Before the Join Up Dots Podcast David was going through emotions. He was in corporate land and for many moons he was a financial trainer. He would stand in front of people doing the same presentations that he had done hundreds of times before. He did 20 years in banking in London and he did a few years in insurance as well. He was a gray suit man.

“It is hard to believe. Now I’m doing this, I kind of wonder whether I had actually done that, although it was such a big part of my life, it’s kind of like waking up from a bad dream. I’ve been in a coma or something.”

He was in a job he knew inside out. He could do it better than anyone because he had so much experience. Everything was going swimmingly until his manager left and someone new came in. He said that lady was the start of the end. He realized that one person in an office could dictate his happiness. She came in and started telling him how to do a job that he could do better than anyone. After several bad days, he felt that his life wasn’t his own anymore and something had to give.

He thought, “This is it. This is the end. And it was. It was the closest thing to an epiphany I’ve ever had. It hit me with such force that this was the end that I actually had to go home. I said to them ‘look, im going to take the rest of the day off.’ I couldn’t physically work. It was like, I was just exhausted from this built up energy that had been taking over me. And that was it.”

He says, looking back on it now, as he tries to emphasize on his show, “Some of your darkest moments in your life, when you look back with new eyes, you can actually go, ‘Yeah. Thank god for that. If it wasn’t for that I’d still be in that situation.’”

David says if you are considering running a podcast, the amount of work that it takes is surprising. The day David launched his podcast he had 45 people listening, then 54, then 20 on the third day. He was concerned. He wondered, why aren’t they listening? But he kept with it. Now he realizes that people were probably just busy.

“I believe in what I’m doing. I believe in the content that I’m producing, I believe in the feedback that my guests were giving me. So, I’m just gonna keep going with it.”

“I lost the fear at that stage.”

Originally, David wasn’t going to do a podcast, he was going to be a web developer. But after a few days of working at home alone without talking to anyone, he felt he made the wrong decision. He started listening to podcasts. He says, “It seemed intoxicating and vibrant and fun.” He thought, I could do this, this is an idea. He sort of batted the idea away because he didn’t know anything about it, but what he realized was: “You don’t have to know something about anything. You just need to have to have a passion and then research it. So that’s what I did.”

It was time to take action. On a budget, he got a little mixer, had his computer, bought a mic, and that was his setup. Then the hard work started, he had to approach people and ask them to be on his podcast. Ask people to come on a show that they haven’t heard of, that they can’t check out because there are no episodes yet, with someone who hasn’t done this before, and has no experience. To get over the fear of asking people, he sent his first email to Elton John, knowing he probably wouldn’t get a response. The next person he sent it to said, “Yup, fine. I’ll be on.”

Then David thought “Oh my god, I’ve got to do this now. I’ve got someone waiting for me.”

“If you are sitting out there and you’ve got that idea that you want to do something and you think you’ve got to be good, well you don’t. Because you listen back to episodes 1, 2, 3 of Join Up Dots and compare to where I am now you can see that you have time to progress.”

You just have to take action, bite size chunks, and good things are going to happen.

“I enjoy this more than anything I’ve done before.”

“Once you get an email in from a ‘complete stranger’ to say I like your work thank you very much for putting it out and you get that validation that is like woah!”

“It makes you feel like, yes there are people out there waiting for you to speak.”

“It’s actually realizing that I have something to say, that is worthwhile and that people want to listen to.”

So far David has done 92 interviews. Some of the coolest interviews were with Clay Herbert (crowdfunding guy) and a man who is traveling around the world without flying, Niall Doherty, he was fascinating. Scott Barlow and Mark Sieverkropp with a website and a podcast called Happen to Your Career. David is proud of that episodes he said it felt like they knew each other for years and years. And, of course, his interview with Zeb Welborn. David just tries to find inspiring people who he wants to talk to.

David tries to keep to a theme, the show title comes from a speech Steve Jobs gave where he said you can’t really see your path in life, it’s only when you look back and connect the dots. He wants to get the kind of conversations that the guests haven’t had before, so David has to ask some bizarre questions. He really tries to keep a balance where they can be light-hearted and have some fun, but the overall show still keeps with the theme and provides value.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
-Steve Jobs

People do want to help, but we don’t like to ask. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

“It’s very much about overcoming fears and creating a life that is what you deserve. I realized that I couldn’t plan going forward, I could only do things that kind of felt right and hopefully if I meander this way or go that way or whatever they are going to pull together.”

“You’ve got to have trust. You’ve got to have faith. You’ve got to be able to push forward and find your path. And it may not be the right path straight away. But if you do enough things and have enough failures, ultimately, fingers crossed, if you believe hard enough, you are going to find your successes.”

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Episode 85: Taking Initiative | Michael Ghandour,18-year-old owner of MAKO Program

Taking Initiative, Michael Ghandour creator of MAKO Program Michael Ghandour took the initiative and created MAKO Program, it’s kind of like an artificial intelligence for computers where you can talk to the computers, it’ll take your commands and respond to you in the appropriate way. I’m fascinated with Michael for a lot of reasons. One of them is that he did something for fun. He just got excited about it and then he took initiative to take it to the next level, take it to the next step and really own what he was creating. Own it to make a difference.

Michael Ghandour is the creator of MAKO Program, an artificially intelligent assistant that can do anything you ask it to do! MAKO is the most advanced artificial intelligence software. Their revolutionary software is not only able to learn from you, but it can also do essentially anything you require it to do with the power of your voice.

Zeb’s Take on Taking Initiative

I can’t tell you how interested I am in Michael’s story. Just being so young and taking the initiative to go out and get this work done is so impressive to me. He had an interest in playing video games and so he decided, hey I want to learn how to build this video game, and so he did. After he built the video game he thought he wanted to do something with a little more substance. He saw Iron Man 2 and thought, ‘Hey that looks cool. Maybe I could create something like that.’ Then he went out there and created this program that essentially does what JARVIS does in the Iron Man movies. It’s all just because he thought of something, thought it was a cool thing to do, why don’t I create that. There are not a lot of people out there that think that way, that take the initiative, take the action to do something like that.

Taking Initiative, he was talking about how he was learning Economy before he was required to take the Economy class in High School. He was talking about how he had to learn leadership skills. And you can tell that he’s talked about this before. He’s going out, he’s marketed his product, he’s talked passionately about the program he’s creating. For somebody, at 18-years-old, I mean… me at 18 I was so nervous to get in front of people and talk about anything, being on a podcast would have been horrifying. He handled himself very well. He was articulate. He talked about his program the way you would expect someone who is very excited and passionate about what they do.

Putting this all together, he just has this passion, something he enjoyed and wanted to do. He took initiative. He went out there and he did it. That really typifies what The Defining Success Podcast is about. Once you define your success, for example, Michael said, ‘Hey I want to create this program, this artificial intelligence, I want to get recognition, I like recognition. I’m going to go out there and define what my success is and then I’m going to go out there and make it happen.’

It’s remarkable. I hope all of you out there, if there’s something that interests you, something that you want to do, something that you are passionate or excited about, take initiative and go out there and make it happen.

Now, go out there and find your success.

Find out more about Michael Ghandour or MAKO Program

Visit MAKOprogram.net or email Support@MAKOprogram.net

Speech Recognition Program - MAKOQuotes

  • “What can I do to feel like I did something?”
  • “I thought, why can’t I just create it?”
  • “I had that curiosity that I had from the video game, how are video games made? Now, I’m like how is software made.”
  • “The ability to create something and see it at play is just magnificent to me.”
  • “I love programming. I love getting recognition.”

Michael-1

More from the Interview

Michael Ghandour, Owner of MAKO Program and Video Game and Software ProgrammerAt just 18-years-old, and 3 days from his high school graduation, Michael is the youngest guest we’ve had on The Defining Success Podcast.

Before he created MAKO Program he says he played lots of video games. He created his own video game that he programmed and managed, called Final Heros. It was a web based platform, a player vs player game, you compete with other players fighting to gain items and stuff. There was an economy to it and it was starting to suffer from inflation. Michael had to study economy to fix the problem within his video game.

When he was 14-years-old, he still remembers the day a player of his game asked him how they could donate. He said that it was a wonderful game and would like to support it. He wanted to donate $100 and maybe he could get some items in the game in return. At the time Michael hadn’t thought about how to make money from his video game, but $100 sounded pretty good. He looked into it, found PayPal and that’s when his mom helped him set up his first bank account. He says, “I told my mom, she was kinda skeptical of the whole thing. She was like, ‘$100 dollars from a game and you have to put in your bank account number?’” She was supportive though.

He was getting donations from players making purchases within the game, there were no required payments or membership fees. Everything was, players could either work hard and get it or they could donate. He actually needed donations to keep the website going.

Michael didn’t just have to learn about programming to create this game. He had to learn about economy, mathematics, and all these other things that he had to apply and incorporate into the game. Michael says, he also had to learn about leadership skills. You wouldn’t expect someone to learn leadership skills from a video game. I had a staff of 8 people and 4 of them were from other countries, so we had to manage our time to see when who will be logged in and it was all for fun. They were never paid. Michael had to manage them so they were never abusive within the game and that they were helpful.

When Michael had to shut down the game he created (he felt it was taking away from from his schoolwork) he decided to have a more relaxing summer before his last year of high school. After playing lots and lots of video games he says he felt kinda depressed, because he wasted his summer. He didn’t take advantage of the summer like he had in the past, he didn’t learn any new programming, he wondered what he could do at the end of summer to make his summer feel like it was worth it. He saw Iron Man 2, and thought why isn’t there something like JARVIS. He knows there’s SIRI, but it’s not actually that smart or functional, and there’s nothing for PCs that can actually do many things. He thought, why can’t I just create it.

“What can I do to feel like I did something?”

“I thought, why can’t I just create it?”

“I had that curiosity that I had from the video game, how are video games made? Now, I’m like how is software made.”

Two new features that Michael has recently added to MAKO Program. One is MAKO Research Center, you can say ‘gather information on Bill Gates’ or ‘gather information on Oprah Winfrey’ and it will pull up 3 photos of the subject and bring up a small description. The other feature is self-aware mode. That’s in prototype stage. Michael says, “It’s pretty scary because it’s actually like artificial intelligence. You’re talking to it and it actually responds like in the movie.”

He says it uses a similar algorithm to Cleverbot, an online chat program that can think, respond to and remember what you said at least for the short term. He has lots of plans for this feature.

He knows it’s not perfect. He is trying to make the engine for MAKO really flexible so it can work with any microphone.

Michael is reminded of something one of his classmates posted on Facebook, “‘Art is magnificent, it’s my passion. I can create anything and it feels like it comes to life seeing the response I get from my art.’ I feel like I’m the same way, programming is the same way for me.”

“The ability to create something and see it at play is just magnificent to me.”

Michael says the biggest mistakes he’s made is over-trusting people, staff positions, with passwords, or the ability to spawn items, it can be abused. He says you need to take precautions. The other big mistake Michael says he’s made is being naive to the law, but he’s learned a lot.

“I want MAKO to have the best engine, 98-99% accurate; that it can understand you 99% of the time. To make self-aware mode feel like you are actually talking to another human. To make MAKO truly like JARVIS from the movie. To make it functional and not just an entertainment factor.”

He named it MAKO because when he asked his mom what he should call his program that was was she suggested. She had been watching shark week on the Discovery Channel and was thinking of the shark. She thought a shark fin could make a good logo too. Michael liked the name, it’s short, simple, easy to pronounce, and he thought the fin could make a good logo.

To help Michael, just have curiousity like he did, if you are at all interested in his program check out his website MAKOprogram.net and try the 7-day-free trial. If you don’t like it cancel it.

Many people use his software for the dictation aspect, he likes to use it for reading text and for the research.

Being proud of yourself and proud of your achievements, and having those achievements recognized, even if it’s small recognition, I think that’s what success is.

“I love programming. I love getting recognition.”

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