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Will bookshelves become a thing of the past?

I love words – I am an English Major after all.  I am quickly learning though that the rest of the world may not share my love of the English Language.  It is hard for me to imagine that not everyone wants to sit all day and read and create new passages.  There are so many possibilities!

I tend to use more words than less and I have the hardest time on Facebook and especially Twitter because I am limited to so few characters.  I can barely get a complete thought out in 160 characters.  I am going to try to be more succinct though.  Most people these days only have the attention span for a few characters or are so busy they do not have time to read a long drawn out email or blog.  If I want people to read what I have to say, I am going to have to learn to shorten it or I am going to lose my audience. 

I thought that maybe reading was just going to become a hobby of the past and video would reign supreme.  Interestingly enough when I asked on Facebook if people would rather read a book or watch a video, the majority of my friends said read a book.  Maybe there is hope for me after all – as long as I keep it short and to the point!

What do you think?  I am curious to know!

Authored by Sheila O’Mara, Lead Fireball at Speakers With Spark


Remember when you were a little kid and you got invited to someone’s party and you didn’t want to go because you were scared to go or you thought you wouldn’t have any fun? And then your mom or dad made you go, and once you got there you had so much fun that you didn’t want to leave? And how many times over the years have you had that experience? Aren’t you always surprised when you do something you’ve been putting off that you actually feel great once you finally do it?

Often it’s the things we don’t want to do that’re the ones that get us where we want to be—calling those prospects, fixing a problem for an upset customer, getting up at 5:30am and going to the gym before work, or setting one day aside on the weekend for nothing other than rest and family time.

Here’s a tip: when you make out your “To Do” list for the day, and you prioritize it, put the tasks that you want to do the LEAST at the top of your list, and do them first. Two things will happen—you’ll get it out of the way so you won’t have to think about it all day, and your energy level will actually increase because you’re on the downhill slope for the rest of the day.

So—go ahead. Do the things you don’t want to do—but know you need to do—as soon as possible. And help yourself get you what you really want.

Authored by Speaker With Spark Jeff Peden, The Great Ideas Guy and author of Take It to the Max.

Are you cutting off your nose to spite your face when you initiate internal cost-cutting measures?

I was invited to a local radio station to talk with the sales manager about working with her team to increase morale, productivity, and business development results. As I came into their office space in the back of the station, the sales manager rather sheepishly offered me a cup of coffee on the condition that she could find an extra cup to put my coffee in. Seems the parent company had decided that extra coffee cups, or even Styrofoam cups, were an expense they could eliminate from the daily operations of the station.

That might have seemed a good idea from headquarters located 700 miles away in Texas. But how much morale and productivity did saving $2.37 per day cost the company? Can you imagine inviting someone in your office, only to be embarrassed to tell them that the company you work for is so cheap and cares so little about you that they won’t even provide coffee cups for your guests?

Leaders, think very carefully, and then think again before initiating any “cost-saving” measures in your company. It could be that the money you save is being swallowed by the hole you’re creating in the loss of morale, attitudes and productivity of your employees.

Don’t cut your nose off to spite your face!


 Jeff Peden, MEd.

Great Ideas LLC

895 Rhonda Court, Suite 100

Radcliff, KY 40160

(502) 638-2001

Visit us at:

President-Elect, TN Chapter, National Speakers Association

The Great Ideas! GuySM

Working with companies that want to

take employee engagement, customer experience,

and organizational performance To The MAX!

A New Day, A New Choice

Choices, choices, choices! There are so many options to choose from on a daily basis it could almost drive a person crazy! In this day and age it seems like there is a different option for everything and some choices seem limitless. There is still one choice you have that really doesn’t change – it is the same one everyday. That is to decide whether you will have a positive day or a negative day.

You may be scratching your head thinking that it is not entirely up to you. Circumstances in life can cause many reactions and not all of them are positive. In a perfect world we all wake up and have an ideal day – no worries, no stress, no problems – just peace, love and harmony. We don’t live in a perfect world though, so how do you keep the worries, stress, and problems from keeping you from having a negative day.

Your reaction to the circumstances in your life is the key. Adversity happens … but how you react to it dictates how peaceful and positive your day will be. If you see every problem as a problem/hardship rather than an opportunity for creativity and growth, you will be stuck in the negative. When problems become challenges to overcome or the problem becomes an opportunity for something new and better to arise, it fails to be a problem anymore. It almost becomes a gift for renewed skill and strength. When you embrace each “problem” in that way, everything is more manageable and no longer seems a hardship.

With each new situation you can react negatively or positively. You can choose to let the negative situations overcome you and beat you OR you can choose to greet each one with a smile on your face and take the new challenge head on. Each day you wake up you get to rejoice that there is another day to experience whatever life wants to throw at you. Waking up and breathing is an excellent start to the positive outlook of each day. Having a positive day really isn’t as difficult a choice as you may have first believed! 

There are situations that you may find yourself in that you did not ask for, desire or can even pretend to want to deal with. You can complain and whine and scream: “It’s not fair!”, but it doesn’t really change the situation at all. You can say: “This will not beat me. This will help me grow. This will make me stronger and wiser. This will be a learning experience that will make me better than I was before.” Suddenly when you approach with that kind of thinking, adversity becomes something to embrace because of the blessings that will abound. Making it through tough times is a cause for celebration and can boost your confidence. Even situations that seem the most dire can bring about the most amazing results with the right attitude. The good news is … the choice is yours!

There are probably a thousand clichés that could be used to demonstrate that there is a positive outlook for every negative one. Getting bogged down in negative thinking really doesn’t make any situation better. Being open to the opportunities that can spring from tough situations will facilitate growth and strength and confidence that you may have not ever realized was there. There are very few things in life that you have control over. Your attitude is one of them. The choice is yours and it is a new decision for you everyday. Here’s hoping that you have a decidedly positive day!

Authored by Sheila O’Mara and featured in the Speakers With Spark Column in The News Enterprise.

Customer Satisfaction doesn’t mean much anymore. Customer satisfaction means they’re not complaining, but it doesn’t mean they’re coming back.

One question I ask businesses is this: Why do your customers leave you? They give me all sorts of answers, but the real answer is: You have no idea why they leave you until you ask them.

I recommend that companies make a phone call to their customers no later than two business days after a transaction, and after thanking them again for their business, ask them one simple question.

“On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being we walk on water and 1 being you never want to talk to us again, how would you rate us on recommending us to a friend?”

Then listen to what they say. If they give you a 9 or 10, you say “Great! Can you give me one reason you rated us like that?” If they give you a 7 or 8, tell them “We’re really shooting to be a 9 or a 10 in your book. Can you give me one suggestion as to how we could move from a 7 to a 9?” If they give you a 6 or lower, say “Somehow we’ve made a great mistake. What would it take to make you happy again?”

Ask your customers and they will tell you what you’re doing right and what needs improving. And, their loyalty and referrals will grow because you’ve taken the time to talk to them, listen to their ideas, and show you really care.

Authored by Jeff Peden, The Great Ideas Guy and Speaker With Spark

Jeff Peden, Author of Take It To the Max

It Starts With Respect

Every once in a while, we need a little pep talk. If our spirits are lifted, then we are more productive, create better relationships with clients and generally have a better quality of life. I think that it all starts with how we think of ourselves. Here is an article I would like to share that may help you achieve the life you desire!

Have you heard? There is a growing epidemic sweeping our nation. It is claiming the well being of thousands of people and is changing the shape of our society. It is altering lives and not necessarily for the better. What is the cause of this growing epidemic? That would be an overabundant lack of self respect.

Some of you reading this may have an overabundance of self respect and I congratulate you! Stay the course and continue to flourish! You probably do not need to continue to read this article either – which is aimed for the rest of us who may think we respect ourselves or want to respect ourselves but may not even know where to start.

The way we view ourselves affects everything we do and say, how we interact with others and how successful we can become. Respect is a healthy attitude of reverence and awe for the existence of something. Respecting yourself is recognizing that you are a gift merely by your birth. You are worthy and are an awesome creation! When you recognize those two ideas as true it helps achieve a higher level of self esteem. Self respect is like the glue that holds together your self esteem. It is difficult to achieve high levels of esteem without a healthy dose of respect first.

When you embrace your worthiness, other things fall into place. They way you treat yourself and take care of yourself for one. That also translates into how you treat and relate to others. Your achievement increases because you believe you can do it and are worthy of success. If all people walked around with this kind of attitude can you imagine how different our world would be? It is unfortunate that self esteem peaks for most people in the third grade! Third Grade!!! That doesn’t bode well for us, but the good news is that it can change.

The most difficult part about respecting yourself is that no one else can do it for you – just you. The great news is that you can do something about it. Here are a few ideas to help you achieve a healthier attitude towards yourself.

Celebrate your creation. You were created therefore, no matter what anyone else says – YOU ARE AMAZING and certainly worthy of respect!
Quit the negative self talk. Recently I spoke with a group of teen agers and we did an exercise where they looked into a mirror and had to describe what they saw. They all had faces that they could describe and yet the majority of the descriptions focused on the negative items that they saw. Interestingly enough, the things they did like about their faces were not described in positive terms like the negative aspects that they shared. There weren’t “pretty eyes”, but there were plenty of “ugly noses”. This doesn’t apply to just your physical features either. Your job performance, your attitude … the list goes on and on.
Express and truly feel gratitude – for your creation, your blessings, your highs and your lows. If you were to make out a list of all of the “things” that you possess or were given, they would surely outweigh the negatives. Unfortunately we concentrate so much on the negative things we do not like experiencing, we neglect to respect the positive and healthy things in our life. Being grateful for both automatically lends to respecting each situation for what it is and confidence in your ability to weather any storm. Emerging from dark places and horrible situations is plenty to lend momentum to your self respect and what you can accomplish.
If you are feeling like the odds are stacked up against you and your life is overcome by difficult and seemingly impossible circumstances, there is still hope. Really look at the situation and find purpose to your pain. Even the most desperate situations have a purpose and you are a part of that. Look for the lessons and learn from them. You will emerge stronger and wiser and certainly worthy of praise.
Take care of yourself – body, mind and soul. Take steps everyday that lend to your healthy state of mind and body. Get enough sleep, eat better, exercise, dream, participate, and believe. By feeding your body and mind with what makes it stronger and clearer, you will feel better about yourself. When you are too tired to care about anything, your self respect is on the top of that list. If you are feeling guilty because you ate a whole box of Oreos, it is hard to celebrate your creation. When you stop believing that you can do anything, you can’t. A healthy mind and body can change everything for you.

Remember too that you can be a model for those around you. You can lead by example and hopefully change the trend of those who do not highly respect themselves. It is a contagious feeling and who wouldn’t like to feel good about who they are and what they can achieve? Don’t forget – YOU ARE AMAZING – and worthy of respect!

This article was published in the Speakers With Spark column of The News Enterprise.

Life Is A Test

How many of you realize that every person you meet gives you a test? They have five questions about you, and based on the grade you receive, decide if they like you enough to get involved with what’s going on with you, or run the other way?

The first question people have about you is: Can I trust you?

People want to spend their time with people they know, like, and trust because they feel safe with them. They know if something goes wrong, they can count on the other person to look out for them. When you can earn the trust of other people, they are more likely to go along with what you want and help you achieve it.

Trust is the key question everybody has about you. Trust is the cornerstone you can build upon to create great friendships and relationships.

The second question is: Do you care about me?

Looking out for ourselves is easy. But what could you gain if you raised your level of thinking up to the bigger idea of looking out for the best interest of others as much as your own?

Caring is the secret ingredient in relationships. Caring is the emotional connection, the deposit we leave in other people’s hearts that makes them want to be a part of our lives. People don’t care how much you know, til they know how much you care.

The third question is: Can I depend on you?

A lot of people don’t follow-through on what they say they’re going to do. They may have the best of intentions but not the discipline and commitment to follow through and deliver what they promised.

If you tell someone that you are going to do something, and then don’t do it, you are sabotaging your success. How many times have people told you they would do something, and then didn’t do it? Didn’t that cause you problems, sometimes BIG problems?

So, consider the impact you have on the people that are counting on you. If you don’t follow through on your promises, they lose their faith in you. On the other hand, when you consistently do what you say you’re going to do, people are drawn toward you like iron to a magnet because you’re one of the few that actually do what you say you’re going to do.

Question number four is: Am I important to you?

I once heard someone say, “I’m not much, but I’m all I ever think about.” That’s amusing to most of us when we really think about it, but it’s also true. The person we care about the most is the one that looks back at us in the mirror every day.

The faster the world turns, the more it creates people who want to have their personal worth validated by someone who takes the time to make them feel important.

When you make others feel important, you increase your personal magnetism. When you step out your door, transform yourself into a listener, an encourager, and a problem solver. Put all your attention on whomever you are with at the moment. Make it all about them, not about you. And people will love you for it!

And the final question is: Are you telling me the truth?

Let’s face it. We all want other people to be truthful with us. When we care enough about the welfare of someone else to be honest with them, the people with whom we want to build long-term relationships will appreciate and respect us for that. As a result, our reputation grows over time. We become someone they trust. And when they trust us, we can create some incredible things together.

The bottom line is this—we sabotage ourselves and our success by earning poor test scores. The formula for success is simple. If you want to have extraordinary relationships with people in your life, be trustworthy, look out for their best interest, do what you say you’re going to do, make them important, be honest with them, and show them how much you care about their success.

After all, isn’t that what you really want for your life?

Jeff Peden, The Great Ideas! Guysm, is an International Speaker and author of Take It To The MAX—The Ultimate Strategy for Maximizing Profits and Growth. He works with organizations on leadership & organizational development, employee engagement, and customer loyalty. Jeff can be reached at

 This article, authored by Susan Rider, our Lead Dynamo,  was published in The News Enterprise in Spring 2011.

As the crocus bloom and the Easter flowers show their glory, it’s not uncommon for our minds to turn to spring cleaning.  A desire to freshen the linens, clean the cobwebs and start anew.   Just as we start to spring clean in our homes it might be a good idea to start spring cleaning our life! 

Let’s start with our minds.   First, eliminate all negative thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, a vacuum to perform this task hasn’t been invented, therefore, it will be up to us to ignite this new change in our minds.  Imagine a virtual garbage can and we’re going to get rid of all the garbage in our minds.  Throw out all those thoughts and feelings keeping us in a bad mood or motivating us to be angry.  So, get out a big garbage can and put all our thoughts of anger, hate, fear, worry, anxiety, jealousy and resentment in the virtual trash can.   Now, when these negative thoughts try to slip back into our minds, switch the thoughts to  positive ones,  such as comfort or confidence versus fear, happy versus sad, love versus hate.   It’s really hard to do but it will make a monumental difference in how we feel and we’ll have more energy.  Those negative thoughts tend to bring us down causing depression and sadness.  Un-forgiveness is one of those negatives.  So, forgive yourself and forgive others.  Let go of the past.  We don’t have a time machine, yet, so we can’t go back and change.   Let it go! View our minds with a light switch so when the negative thought creeps back into our minds, flip the switch and turn it into something positive. 

Every day we have a choice, we can focus on the positive or the negative.  If someone told us today was our last day on earth, few of us would waste our last hours on negatives, would we?   So, think this could be our last day, it’s easier to focus on the positive.   Change the way we think and we’ll change the way we live. Here’s an example of switching, one morning we awake and it’s raining, foggy, dreary outside, we could say, “YUCK I don’t want to get out of bed it’s a nasty day.  Or we could flip that switch and say, “Look at the beautiful rain, it’s going to nourish my flowers, fill the ponds, water the animals and less people will be out and about so the store will be less crowded or if you’re in sales, your customers won’t want to get out in this rain so when I call them they will be in the office.  I’m grateful for rainy days.”  

   Recently, on a plane and seated next to a lady who had just months before lost her husband.  I noticed she was sad, withdrawn and depressed.   How long were you married, I asked.   Sixty years she answered.   “Wow, sixty years with a wonderful man you loved.  How fortunate you were.  I suggested that she tell me some of her favorite memories.  She talked and laughed the whole flight.  She seemed like a totally different person.  When we landed, I suggested she flip that switch every time she began to feel sad and focus on how grateful she could be for the wonderful relationship she experienced with her husband.

 If you have troubles right now, it’s hard to be positive, it is work!   If you’re out of a job, getting a divorce, having money troubles, have a friend on drugs and you’re thinking, that’s easy for you to say, think positive, are you crazy?  Actually, I’m not crazy but do believe that in every dark cloud there is a silver lining.  Think just a moment about how it could get worse, but only a moment!  Then be grateful for other things that are going right, your health, the health of your children and friends, the clean air we breathe, the kind neighbor, your eyesight, your pets.   Got the picture?   No matter how bad things are we can always find someone who has it worse.  There are endless things we have to be grateful for if we focus on our gifts instead of our trials.