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Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
How to stay positive during dreadful winter weather!
- by Charlie Adams

This weather is testing us all! I was supposed to deliver an after dinner keynote tonight at a banquet down past Bloomington in Washington, Indiana, but the City of South Bend is not letting folks on the road.

Right now, a big challenge for a lot of people is staying positive through this brutal winter. One tool I use to stay upbeat in depressing weather is perspective.

We think we’re cold. When the passengers of the Titanic went into water that was 28 degrees, it was like a thousand knives suddenly pierced them.

Just over one hundred and one years ago the Titanic went down in bitterly cold waters. At 11:40 pm it hit the iceberg. By 2:20 am it was headed to the bottom of the ocean.


At the Titanic Museum in Branson they have it set up where you can stick your arm in a container of water that is the exact 28 degree temperature of that night.

I was moved by the stories of courage from that chilly April night in 1912. Isidor and Ida Straus (photo below) were by a lifeboat.


They were not allowing men in. It was women and children only. Ida refused to leave her husband’s side although life boat officers urged her to get in. She was heard saying, “Where you go, I go.” They both perished. During all their years of marriage, if one was apart from the other on a trip, they would write each other a letter a day.

The eight musicians continued to play until the very end to help calm the terrified passengers. They did this and yet they were not even on payroll that week. None survived. One eyewitness saw them play until they were either washed off or dragged down.

Wallace Hartley, a violinist, was the bandleader (photo below).

He had left his fiancee to work the Titanic in hopes of developing key contacts. He was seen saying “Gentlemen, I bid you all farewell” as he was pulled under. One newspaper reported that what these men did was among the most noble things in the history of sea.

Hartley’s body was found two weeks later with his musical instruments still strapped to his body. So moved by his story, over 40,000 people lined the streets when he was buried in England.

Father Thomas Byles was seen praying with passengers of all faiths up until the end. They said twice he was offered lifeboat seats, but he passed both times and died with those that had come to him.

At the end of the museum in Branson, where you can put your hand and arm in water that was the temperature of that night, I had to pull my hand out within twenty seconds. I couldn’t imagine being in that water. So, sometimes when it is cold as ‘all get out’ as my Dad used to say, I think about those travelers.

Another tool of perspective is to remember our Continental Army under George Washington. With the British encamped in Philadelphia, Washington’s men spent the harsh winter of 1777 at Valley Forge 20 miles outside of Philly.

Every 12 men had a 16 x 14 foot long hut in which they were to sleep in incredibly cramped conditions. They were built two feet into the ground in an attempt to conserve some warmth, but mostly had only dirt floors. Doors were generally composed of a simple cloth blanket draped over the entrance to the huts.


Christmas dinner of 1777 for the soldiers was composed of fire cakes (a tasteless mix of flour and water). Reading the diaries of soldiers who spent the winter there we learn of stories of bloody footprints in the snow left by those who did not even have boots to wear on their feet, not eating for days on end, freezing cold temperatures.

With shivering temperatures and rain and snow commonplace, little to no food, inadequate clothing and completely unsanitary conditions disease was rampant. It is estimated that as many as 2500 men of the 12,000 died during the winter due to disease.

Out of it they would become a toughened group who trained hard and years later defeated the British.

Charlie Adams

(photo below – delivering How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing to Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library staff at their quarterly meeting last week)

New addition to this newsletter

The better shape we are in, the more positive we are
A story I often share when speaking on positive attitude is how a man lost 70 pounds several years ago and has kept it off. Jeff Rea  was mayor of Mishawaka, IN at the time. In February of 2007 he brought in Connie Bryan, RN, the founder and CEO of OnSite Health, an Indiana-based wellness company that specializes in workplace health screenings, clinics, and education.

Mayor Rea was 247 pounds in February of 2007. He learned that based on her charts, he was classified as obese. By August of that same year he was down to 167 pounds. He has stayed around that weight ever since.

I have asked Connie to be a regular contributor to this Newsletter.

“Charlie, I meet people every day that tell me they can’t find time to exercise. Busy lives make it difficult to carve time out for ourselves, but my response is this…you may not have an hour today, or even a half of an hour, but no matter how much time you have make it count! If you have 7 minutes before the next meeting, can you take a flight of stairs or get up from your desk and walk around your office? Absolutely! Is it “perfect”? Absolutely not, but it is SOMETHING! Something is better than nothing! Before you know it you might be up to 3 flights of stairs or three rounds of the office! Just MOVE! You’ll feel better for it!

If you’re stuck at your desk, with no way out, try pedals (see picture above – can be purchased online or at most super stores)! Bicycling under your desk gets your circulation moving and can decrease mid-day fatigue! Give it a try! You’re worth it!!” – Connie Bryan RN

For more about Connie Bryan RN or her company,

To read a Chicago Tribune review of bike pedals under desks click here

To learn how Jeff Rea lost all that weight and has kept it off click here

Charlie Adams Motivation

Programs to help ignite your events and your people in 2014

Planning events for 2014?

Contact me to learn more about how Stoke the Fire Within can ignite your event and how How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing can help your people to stay as positive as possible.

For more information or to book me call 574 807 2279 or email charlie@stokethefirewithin.com

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
The ‘on fire’ leadership of warden Burl Cain

- by Charlie Adams – Inspirational speaker and author

I recently had the opportunity to study the remarkable leadership of Burl Cain. He is the man who turned America’s bloodiest prison – Angola – into a place of hope. The picture below was taken after I was given an in depth tour.

Angola, known as the Alcatraz of the South for years, is the Louisiana State Penitentiary. How bad did it used to be? Prisoners would go to sleep with thick phone books on their chests to try to protect from stabbing.

Decades ago, they had a building called the Red Hat with tiny cells with cement beds. Angola didn’t mess around with inmates that got out of line. Charlie Frazier, an inmate who ran with Pretty Boy Floyd as well as Bonnie and Clyde, had murdered two guards in the cane fields where the inmates work. They put him in the last cell on the left and the door and window were welded closed. He was welded in for 7 years until he became ill and died.

I toured Angola prison recently. Built on the site of a former slave plantation, the 1,800-acre penal complex is home to more than 5,000 prisoners, 90 percent of whom will die there from life sentences. There are people there that have done horrible things, yet I could not get over the peaceful atmosphere.

It comes from the leadership of warden Burl Cain (photo below). He has turned what was a horrifying place into a place that is now an example of remarkable positive change.

After touring Angola, I bought the book Cain’s Redemption, which is about how Cain’s leadership reduced violence within Angola by 80%, and how prisons around America have been studying his methods.

Cain believes the men at Angola can rebuild their lives if they have a genuine change of heart. He calls it moral rehabilitation.

“I realized that I could teach them to read and write, could help them learn skills and a trade – but without moral rehabilitation, I would only be creating a smarter criminal,” Cain tells author Dennis Shere in the book. “Moral people are not criminals. That’s why moral rehabilitation is the only true rehabilitation.”

When I deliver my programs on positive attitude, I share the 4 Needs we have.

A purpose. Something to hope for. Someone to love. Something to believe in. When Cain arrived, he new he had to deal with hope.

“The lack of hope is our greatest enemy in here,” he said. “In our case, once they become moral, or once they become Christian, or once they become rooted in another faith, then they believe in the hereafter. Most religions believe in life after death. So if you believe in life after death, then it’s not hopeless here.”

From day one when he took over in 1995 he felt that if you wanted traditional prison results, you have traditional prison.

He has not.

When he took over the prison he was greeted with big cuts to the school funds that had helped curb the violence. A man of strong faith, Cain invited the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to open a seminary. They did, with donations covering the cost. ”The Bible college was the game changer,” said. “It changed the culture of the prison.

Now, over 2500 inmates regularly go to prison, including the man below who I met. He is serving a life sentence for murder, but has been morally rehabilitated and is of strong faith.

When new prisoners arrive at Angola now, they are met by an inmate minister, who simply tells them they can go with him for moral rehabilitation, or go with the predators. The choice is theirs.

Or as warden Cain puts it, “Have it your way.”

I learned of amazing stories of rehabilitation. John Whitlock, number 111547, was in for murder. At Angola he imeresed himself in the programs and became highly liked and respected. Years later and terminally ill, he asked that at his funeral (there are cemeteries on the grounds) that two prison horses take his casket to the grave. He wanted one to be black and the other white because he had never been one to look at a person’s race. At his funeral, all kinds of black and white inmates walked behind the horses as they carried him to his final resting place.

John had asked that one song be sung at his funeral, ‘Amazing Grace.’ He had that sung by a Native American.

Warden Cain had made these funerals so much more humane. In the old days, wardens had shabby makeshift caskets made with dead inmates often falling through the bottom and into the grave hole. Cain’s innovation was to allow the inmates to build their own coffins and hearses, and those of others. The coffin of the late Ruth Graham Bell, Billy Graham’s wife, was made there by inmate inmate Richard “Grasshopper” Liggett. It cost about $200 and is lined with mattress. Billy Graham’s has been built by inmates as well.

Cain is tough on those that do get out of line, not hesitating to revoke privileges. His approach is simple – “We don’t take things from you. You give them to us.”

Since Cain implemented all his changes serious prison violence has substantially declined over the last 15-20 years from 1,500 assaults a year to fewer than 300. The weekend prior to my Monday visit there were zero incidents. None. There is no profanity.

The prisoners are kept busy working. There are 18,000 acres of farmland. I took the picture below of inmates picking okra.

Every year, they process more than a million pounds of tomatoes, onions, cabbage, okra, peppers, squash, beans, and strawberries. Many of them work out their 8 hours a day.

Cain has all kinds of things they can do to make their time valuable. They take old wheelchairs and fix them up, or use their parts to make new chairs, crutches and canes. Several thousand refurbished wheelchairs have been donated by the prisoners to the poor of Guatemala.

Many also make crafts that are sold to the public for the annual October Angola rodeo, which draws large crowds. Cain says the challenge many prisoners face is showing their is something about their life that is worth noting, and that by making crafts or repairing wheelchairs they are showing that they may have done awful things but they are changing.

As a leader Cain combines compassion with fiery discipline. Prisoners that get out of line are dealt with firmly, and there was the time a young guard froze out in the agriculture fields when some prisoners got into a fight and two of the three officers there got hurt in the brawl. The young guard, on horse, didn’t do much of anything.

When help arrived Cain wasn’t far behind. He lit into the young guard, taking his rifle and demanding to know why he didn’t fire warning shots. Cain fired the rifle into the ground to prove it worked, then got up in his face and said, “You’re fired. I’m taking away your gun. I want you off the prison grounds now. I don’t want to see your face again!”

The young guard just walked towards the gate.

I was truly impacted by my tour of Angola, which was once called by Life magazine ‘America’s bloodiest prison.’
Charlie

Positive News out there
On Fire people doing extraordinary things!
This past Thanksgiving morning I ran 4 miles on icy roads and in frigid conditions to raise scholarship funds for the Kelsey Mikel Memorial Foundation, which is based near where I live in northern Indiana.

As I lumbered along, I came across firefighter Bill Mitschelen, who ran all 4 miles in gear, and took this picture of him near the end of the run. I love sharing stories of people like him in my motivational programs. Way to go, Bill!

Inmates vs enraged Bulls

More on how things are different…at Angola Prison in Louisiana
Angola prison, which I wrote about above, is known for their rodeo every October. The inmates participate in one of the wildest things I have every seen.

There is inmate pinball, where the inmates stand in hula hoops as the enraged bull charges. Last man standing wins.

There is inmate poker, where four play at a table as a massive bulls comes at them. Last man sitting with chips wins.

The inmates choose to be a part of this and more sign up every year than there is space. In this week’s video for you, there is more below…..

The unbelievable Angola Prison Rodeo
The unbelievable Angola Prison Rodeo

Charlie Adams Motivation

Keynotes for conferences, retreats and meetings and seminars designed to be a part of your training events
“How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!”

Strengthening cultures of positive, solution centered and team oriented attitudes

* Stoke the Fire Within

This peak performance keynote is ideal for opening or closing conferences, retreats, meetings and off-site days.

* The Spirit of Customer  Service

2 hour seminar often paired with How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!

Contact information:

Direct line: 574 – 807 – 2279

Email: charlie@stokethefirewithin.com

Monday, November 25th, 2013

The grateful attitude of Terry Klarich

- by Charlie Adams – Inspirational speaker and author

Terry Klarich spoke after me at a recent conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma where the Dept. of Rehabilitation Services brought me in to speak on the power of attitude and how it impacts customer service.

Terry is blind. That hasn’t stopped him from raising three girls, being a valuable employee as a system analyst at the energy company ONEOK or from wood working on the side. He just finished a four poster bed for a client. He also has a sail boat.

(photo of Terry and me and his guide dog Virgil)

Like many of the people I have studied over the years who have built and kept a positive attitude, Terry utilizes humor. With his guide dog Virgil by his side, he opened his Talk by saying one time a lady approached both of them and blurted out, “Is that one of those blind dogs?”

Without missing a beat, Terry replied, “Ma’am, if it is, he and I are both in trouble!”

He talked about how he doesn’t have any lights on in his wood shop at night. He joked how a neighbor came over and said there were no lights on. “I’m blind,” Terry said. “Don’t need them.” The neighbor replied: “Well, I am turning them on….because it makes ME feel better!”

Terry actually found humor in making his way to the podium after being introduced. His dog got him close, but as he slowly stepped towards it he bonked into it!

“Found it!” he said with a smile.

Terry was born two months premature back in 1963. He said back then they didn’t know a lot about taking care of premature babies. Babies eyes aren’t meant to be exposed to oxygen until birth. Doctors were so concerned with keeping him alive that by putting him something with oxygen, which damaged his eyes greatly.

He could see to a degree up until his teens when he had to stop doing things his friends could do easily. One of the things I speak about is the solution centered attitude. When Terry realized he wouldn’t be able to drive, his solution was this:

“I got a girlfriend that had a car.”

During his college days they didn’t have books in electronic form, so he would have to hire someone to read for him. He would take a tape recorder to class and hope the batteries would last.

“I owe everything that I am to my mother Mitzie,” he said with conviction. “She didn’t cut me any slack. One time it was my time to clean the bathroom. I said I couldn’t because I was blind. I said it to be lazy.”

He paused.

“I ended up cleaning the bathroom.”

“She made me do my own laundry,” he added. “She would say, ‘I don’t know how, but we will find a way for you to do things.’”

Terry then said something I think is very important.

“Helping someone is good,” he said. “But doing for someone is not, in my opinion.”

She raised me with a find a way attitude,” he said. “We had a pool where the kids would jump from our roof into the pool. I know she cringed when I did it but she didn’t stop me. I know she spent a lot of time on her knees. Another thing she did was say that she didn’t want me to look blind. I had this habit where  since I couldn’t see faces I didn’t see the point of looking at the person speaking to me. If she saw me not looking at them, she would kick me under the table.”

“Of course after being hard with me … now she is a real softy with my kids!”

Terry admitted his first marriage was not good. “I got married in 1990 and had three girls,” he said. “That marriage did not work out. Huge custody battle. I don’t know how many depositions I went to. Imagine, a blind guy getting custody of his girls. I did. The Department of Human Services came out to see if I could take care of them. They saw how I had all the food organized. The guy said, ‘Make them a meal.’ He watched as I made spaghetti, green beans and garlic bread.”

Terry got married again and was very much in love with Cheryl. One day he and his wife were sailing competitively when she became very tired after the first race. Exhausted after the second they forfeited the third. Cheryl went to the car and sat there as Terry broke down the sailboat. When he got to the car she was crying on the phone while talking with his mom, a nurse. Cheryl described her yellowish eyes and skin and was told by Mitzie to get to the hospital. There they found it was pancreatic cancer.

“She lived about a year,” Terry said. “The company I work for, ONEOK, let me work from home for the final two months. We had been saving for awhile for that sailboat. I wanted to name it after her. She said no. She told me I need to get on with my life. So I thought about how we both loved to listen to the blues and we liked the song Misty Blue. I named the boat Misty Blue because blue was her favorite color and that was my way of honoring her without using her name like she wanted … ”

Cheryl has been gone since April of 2012.

Terry talked about searching for and getting jobs over the years.

“I would submit resumes and never mention I was blind,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to apologize for being blind. One thing I do in interviews is explain how I will get to work and get around, even though that is not a legal question for them to ask. I just make sure they know so it will ease their mind. As someone with a disability you have to be better than those with abilities. No one said life would be fair. I have worked hard. The IT world here in Tulsa is pretty small. I have built such a reputation that I could get a job anywhere here in it.”

“I would never have considered disability,” Terry said. “My mother would have killed me.”

After speaking in Tulsa and hearing him speak after me at the conference, I called him up when I got back to my home of South Bend to tell him he would be the subject of my Tuesday newsletter. I then asked how he was able to sail.

“There’s no way I could do it by myself,”  he said. “I need someone to steer but when I am at the wheel I use my iPhone. The compass helps me maintain a course. As far as sail trim I can feel what the boat is doing. I have learned by the way it sounds and feels what needs to be done, but to get that last 10% you have to see the tell tails which are the streamers attached to the sails and I can’t see them, so I need help there.”

Terry Klarich is an amazing person with a positive attitude. He told me we all need to understand how important encouragement is in life.

“The way I look at it is that I have lived a very blessed life,” he said. “I wanted a sailboat and got one. I have a wood shop. If I had gone the disability way I would have spent my life sitting in an apartment with nothing to do.”

What an awesome attitude! No doubt, when I deliver future talks on attitude, one story I will share will be that of Terry. If you know of someone who could benefit from his positive approach to life, take a minute and forward this to them.

Charlie Adams

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Lessons from Chick-Fil-A

- by Charlie Adams – Inspirational speaker

I had the opportunity to deliver a 3 hour form of the important correlation of positive attitude to customer service at the Oklahoma Dept. of  Rehabilitation Services Fall Meeting in Tulsa (photo below). When I asked them of a place that came to mind when they thought of customer service and positive attitudes,  Chick-Fil-A was a frontrunner as well as their QuikTrip convenience stores there.

When I talk with my three children about the ‘working world’ out there there are two things I emphasize that are critical for success: a positive attitude and customer service.

There are many other things, but those two are big. My oldest, son Jack (photo below) is a 20 year old college student who also works 4 nights a week. Because customer service is so important, I encouraged him to work at a local Chick-Fil-A as their organization is known for tremendous customer service.

I recently asked Jack to share some insights, which his manage was fine with (I called him because I wanted to make sure it was okay to reveal some of their philosophies).

“The owner and site manager of the Chick-Fil-A I work at is Edward Endres,” Jack told me. “He has an approach called ‘Think Mike.’ Mike is an older, disabled man who comes in once a week. We take his tray to his table. When families with lots of kids or older or disabled people come in, we ‘think Mike’ and take their tray to their table so they don’t struggle. We don’t ask, which would be emphasizing that they can’t or it’s a struggle for them. We just do. Edward has a slogan of ‘Second Mile Service’ which means going the extra mile.”

Jack shared all kinds of inspirational customer service methods they practice, such as they never ask, ‘How may I help you?’ Instead, it’s, “How may I serve you?’ It is all about service.

“We never say, ‘You’re welcome,’” said Jack. “We always say, ‘My pleasure.’”

Jack sometimes works the register. Other times he moves around the Chick-Fil-A looking for opportunities to serve. “When picking up trays we never say ‘trash,’” said Jack. “We always say something like, ‘May I take your tray.’”

When Jack works the counter he says they always say, “I can serve the next guest.” They always make eye contact. They then get the name so that they can let that person know their order is ready by saying their name rather than saying some number.

“They are never customers,” Jack said. “They are guests.”

Edward is very big about us not being fake, but being genuine,” he said.  I think that’s a great point because I know sometimes when I go in a Jimmy John’s and they all shout out a welcome, it doesn’t seem genuine.

Jack says on the door leading out from where the food is prepared into the dining area are signs with Edward’s philosophies, such as “Think Mike” and “Second Mile Service.”

“Edward is very big about us being ‘relationable’ with customers and not ‘transactional,’” Jack told me. “It’s about building a relationship and not just taking money through a transaction. He wants us to create a tiny memory with that customer so it’s not about getting as many customers through but about being a nice place to eat.”

“We also have an approach of we should do something for them before we ask how their meal is,” he said. “For example I may go out and ask if I can refill their drink. When I bring it back then I will ask how their meal is going?”

He brings up a great point. How many times have you been in a restaurant when the manager or the waiter or waitress flies by and asks how everything is going. Then they zoom off to another station.

“When a customer asks us to do something we always answer with the word ‘absolutely,’” said Jack. “That word has an immediate and positive energy in it and it means we are going to do something immediately.”

My thanks to my son Jack for these valuable contributions. Whenever I speak at colleges I always say that their ability to have positive, solution centered and team oriented attitudes and understand the importance of exceptional customer service will dictate – along with determination and perseverance – how far they go in life.

Last year Farmer’s State Bank had me speak on positive attitude, customer service and peak performance at their off-site meeting. Their leadership had the Chick-Fil-A training video played at the end of the day. There were hardly any dry eyes after watching it. If you have not seen this short 2 minute and 39 second video, I encourage you to watch it below. It is about how every customer has a story. It … is … powerful …

Every Life Has A Story - the powerful Chick-Fil-A training video on Customer Service
Every Life Has A Story – the powerful Chick-Fil-A training video on Customer Service

Charlie

Thank you for the tremendous response to last Tuesday’s enewsletter on the commitment legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden and his wife Nellie had for each other. For 25 years after she died John wrote her a love letter on the 21st of each month, and laid it on their bed. As a follow up here is a very, very inspiring Wooden did just before he died at age 99…

John Wooden Love Letters
John Wooden Love Letters

Charlie Adams Motivation

Keynotes for conferences, retreats and meetings and seminars designed to be a part of your training events

“How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!”

This keynote, or 2 or 4 hour seminar is based on the 2013 book of the same title. It equips your people with the attitudes to be more positive, team oriented and solution centered.

* Stoke the Fire Within

This peak performance keynote is ideal for opening or closing conferences, retreats, meetings and off-site days.

* The Spirit of Customer  Service

2 hour seminar often paired with How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!

Contact information:

Direct line: 574 – 807 – 2279

Email: charlie@stokethefirewithin.com

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Commitment – 2 powerful examples of it!

- by Charlie Adams – Inspirational speaker/Seminar leader

When speaking on attitude or peak performances, sometimes organizations will ask me to put an emphasis on commitment. I will share two stories with you this week that will both have a lasting impact.

One of the most inspiring stories I know about commitment is one of the legendary love between John and Nellie Wooden.

Many motivational books have been written on Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach who led them to ten national championships. His Pyramid of Success has been used as a model by many companies.

But to me, what was more impressive was his love for his wife Nellie, who he was married to for almost 53 years (photo below)

They met at a country carnival while early in high school back in the 1920’s in their home state of Indiana. They were classmates at Martinsville (Indiana) High School. John played basketball and Nellie played the cornet in the school band. They were together constantly from then on. John always said Nellie was the only girl he ever kissed in his life.

In the book ‘They Call Me Coach’ author Jack Tobin writes that Nellie and John’s plans for getting married on August 8, 1932 in Indianapolis in a little church were severely challenged when two days before their wedding, the bank where they had their savings ($909.05) went broke and closed.

They were very sad but the father of Nellie’s best friend loaned them $200 so they could be married. John’s brother drove them to Indianapolis and stood up for them.

John and Nellie had dinner after their wedding ceremony at the Bamboo Inn and went to the Circle theater to hear the Mills Brothers.

They were together from then on until her death at the age of 73 on March 21, 1985 after a long illness. John was at her side when she died. They had 2 children, 7 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren.

While he kept busy sharing his motivational messages and writing books, he missed her terribly. From 1985 until his death in 2010 at the age of 99, John would sit down on the 21st of each month and write a letter to Nellie. Rick Reilly wrote more in a wonderful column for Sports Illustrated:

‘He’ll say how much he misses her and loves her and can’t wait to see her again. Then he’ll fold it once, slide it in a little envelope and walk into his bedroom. He’ll go to the stack of love letters sitting there on her pillow, untie the yellow ribbon, place the new one on top and tie the ribbon again.

The stack would grow to be hundreds of letters high. In her memory, he sleeps only on his half of the bed, only on his pillow, only on top of the sheets, never between, with just the old bedspread they shared to keep him warm.’

In Jay Carty’s book ‘Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success: Building Blocks for a Better Life,’ John shared this:

“Another old-school quality that I have chosen to maintain is the fact that I am a one-woman man. Nellie and I were married for 53 years. I’ve never been with another woman. When she died two decades ago, I decided to remain loyal. I was loyal to her in life, and I will remain loyal to her memory until we are forever together again.”

John would live 25 years after Nellie passed away in his condo near Los Angeles. “I’m not afraid to die,” he would tell friends. “Death is my only chance to be with her again.”

In Steve Jamison’s book ‘Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court,’ he shared their approach:

“Love means many things,” he said. “It means giving. It means sharing. It means forgiving. It means understanding. It means being patient. It means learning. And you must always consider the other side, the other person. You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving … I agree with Abraham Lincoln. He once said that the best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother.”

“Life is a united effort of many. My life has been inspired from my youthful days in high school, through university, and into my coaching career by one person — my late wife, Nellie. Together we survived many trials, many misunderstandings, many separations; together for over 52 years, we weathered the Great Depression of the ’30s with few material possessions and shared in the innumerable joys, fears, such as World War II, a miscarriage, and disappointments that cross every life. Whatever problems arose — and there were many in the life of a teacher/coach — Nellie was always beside me …” – John Wooden

What a wonderful story about commitment.

The other story I have shared in inspirational keynotes about commitment that has connected with audiences from Curacao to Chicago to Juneau is the story of Pass Right. Whether you have time right now in the office or at your school, or whether it is later today, I encourage you to watch this inspiring story of what commitment really means.

It happened in 2005. A dying boy asked the Notre Dame football team to pass the ball right the first time they got the ball in their next game at the University of Washington.

However, when they got the ball, they were backed up within feet of their own goal line. Would they honor their commitment?

Pass Right - Commitment means following through..regardless of the situation
Pass Right – Commitment means following through..regardless of the situation

Charlie Adams Motivation

Keynotes for conferences, retreats and meetings and seminars designed to be a part of your training events

“How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!”

This keynote, or 2 or 4 hour seminar is based on the 2013 book of the same title. It equips your people with the attitudes to be more positive, team oriented and solution centered.

* Stoke the Fire Within

This peak performance keynote is ideal for opening or closing conferences, retreats, meetings and off-site days.

* The Spirit of Customer  Service

(2 hour seminar often paired with How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!

Contact information:

Direct line: 574 – 807 – 2279

Email: charlie@stokethefirewithin.com

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Leadership from a Bronze Star candidate

- by Charlie Adams – Keynote speaker/Seminar leader

I recently spoke on the attitude of effective leaders at the Michiana SHRM Executive Leadership Forum. Not long before the event, my longtime friend Dan Tudor shared a remarkable story about leadership that will inspire you and startle you.

Dan is a business owner that lives in a small town in California. I have known him since 1985 when I was a department head at a television station out there. His story about a young Army soldier he knows is riveting. There is a part that is a bit graphic, but important to the story. I have changed the name of the soldier for this story for privacy reasons.

No delay! The powerful 4 seconds of leadership by a young soldier
as told by Dan Tudor to Charlie Adams

“Charlie, I wanted to share with you and your readers an incredible story about leadership and positive attitude. Steve is 21 years old, and he’s amazing. I coached him in football the last year I coached in high school three years ago. He was the type of kid that was dressed out first, serious 100% of the time, no screw ups on or off the field. He knew he wanted to go into the Army from the time I knew him. He’s just one of those kids. He’s won numerous medals and awards of merit for his performance in the Army on his 9 month tour of Afghanistan he recently got back from. He’s up for a Bronze Star.

He talked about the large main base he was at in Eastern Afghanistan. He went on over 200 individual missions while he was there, but this was the main big base where all their missions were planned and staged. At one point, he and a few of the other soldiers went to a special training on body language and non-verbal communication.

He was up for it and took a Charlie Adams-like positive attitude into it, while most of the other guys dragged their feet and complained (it was 54 hours of training…most 20 year old kids don’t find that exciting) One guy in particular that took the class was also real sloppy with his equipment. Didn’t take it seriously, which is a no no.

After the training a few weeks later, Steve is back at the base sitting down and eating lunch in their big mess hall with a few hundred other army personnel. They had Afghan nationals working around the base…they really liked most of them. They were good people and hard workers. Steve noticed a new worker standing about 10 yards away from him. He said right away he noticed his feet weren’t right – not relaxed, not normal (he learned that in the class). Overall, the guy just didn’t look right.

Steve looks over at one of the other guys (the sloppy one) who took the class with him. Using eye signals and their own body language they learned from the class, Steve signals that something’s not right with this Afghan worker. They decide – across the room, without saying a word to each other – that they were going to take this guy down. Remember, they’re in a crowded mess hall! So the guy who is farther away starts to take out his rifle and shouts “Get down! Get down!” as he prepares to take the Afghan guy out. But as he brings his gun up to fire, Steve see’s that it is jammed. The guy holds his rifle down at his side as he tries to unjam his gun (remember, this is the guy who never took cleaning and servicing his gun seriously).

Only about 2 seconds have gone by. Here’s where cool leadership and preparation come into play (as Steve tells me this story, he says that he learned that you always have to be prepared to lead…pretty profound for a country kid all of 20 years old). He draws his gun because the terrorist, at this point, knows he is the center of attention. He reaches into his pocket for what Steve knows is the detonator. He had 18 sticks of dynamite strapped to himself. Usually, terrorists will wear explosives and take a detonator that has a magnet on it and hold it up to another magnet near their chest tied to the explosives and once the magnets make contact and he presses the button, it’s all over.

So, 2 seconds have gone by. As the terrorist reaches in to his cloak pocket for the detonator, Steve reaches for his handgun. Steve has learned to be an expert marksman. With one gun, he can hit targets within 6 inches of the bullseye from 300 yards away! As he’s drawing up his gun, he remembers his training: He can’t shoot the guy in the chest because it will detonate the explosives. He can’t shoot him in his head/skull because it will still allow him a split second to trip the detonator if he has it close to his chest because he’ll still have a split second of motor skills left.

So Steve, remembering his training in the past 1 second of the story that has elapsed in this event that is now 3 seconds old, knows what he needs to do. He fires four shots (sorry for the graphic nature of this next part) into the terrorist’s cheek so it will go through and hit his brainstem, which will shut him down instantly. He hits his target. No other injuries.

Had the terrorist done what he wanted to do, it would have killed between 70-100 soldiers inside the base. It would have made national news…who knows what the ripple effects would have been.

Steve isn’t a West Point grad, and doesn’t come from some sort of extraordinary family. He’s a regular kid who happens to be detail oriented, knows what he’s good at, and will do his duty when called upon. But what a story about being prepared for a one or two second event that forced him to take a leadership position. He was ready because he was prepared. I don’t know, Charlie, but I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere for leadership that a business person or someone in the academic world can relate to.

Steve had these injuries when he was in Afghanistan:

* He was shot in the back – saved by his metal protective backplate

*  Broke 5 ribs when a bullet hit his flack jacket

* Concussion from an IED (he was in vehicles that hit 5 IED’s in all)

* Shot in the leg – (”just through the skin, no big deal” as he says)

He said he became a voracious reader while he was there. He would be on guard duty up in a tower when he was on the base and they’d be taking fire from the hills, bullets whizzing overhead, and he’d just be hunkered down reading a book to pass the time. Every once in a while he’d have to get up and return fire, and then he’d go right back to reading.”

By Dan Tudor, as told to Charlie Adams

My goodness. Thank you, Dan, for sharing that story of a young man who at the age of 20 had to make leadership decisions of great magnitude within 4 seconds that most of us will never have to make at any point of our lives.

A follow up to the Allison Hayes story

Since I started writing this Tuesday newsletter in 2006, I have never had more response to one than the recent one I did of Allison Hayes. I had hundreds of emails from many of you about it. Allison and her 4 year old daughter have started a non profit called One Good  Deed Michiana, a year after she lost her husband in a car accident. Her strength and optimism is inspiring.

Allison was recently on the television program Experience Michiana where she talked openly with host Gordy Young about how she got through the hardest part of her life.

When you click below, you can use the arrow to go to the 1:30 mark of the program, which is where the interview begins, or you can watch from the start of the program. She is the first guest.

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

A positive attitude to inspire you!

- by Charlie Adams, author of ‘How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!’

A few days ago I took a picture of the sign below. It was taped on the glass of an exercise facility.

For success, attitude is as important as ability.

Everything comes back to attitude, and when it comes to positive attitude Jim Swihart has one of the best I have ever seen. Jim was among the travelers on a recent group trip I hosted.  Since 2006 I have hosted a few group trips each year where I share inspiration and humor. Along the way, I meet so many inspirational people that are in the group.

As the picture below shows, it is hard for Jim to get around. He is constantly hunched over from spinal stenosis, osteoporosis, arthritis, degenerative discs, and rheumatoid arthritis. He has congestive heart failure, a pacemaker, rods in his back, and a plate in his toe. He has had both knees and hips operated on.

“My brain’s still semi functional!” he told me with a smile.

Turning more serious, he looked at me and said “there are people worse off than I am, Charlie. It’s not easy. I do what I can.”

As the trip went on, I watched as the other 45 people couldn’t help but notice and be impacted by Jim’s positive attitude. One traveler took me aside and said Jim was the most positive person he had ever seen and that nothing could hold him down. Jim kept up with everyone. Grunting and snorting, he would get off the motorcoach. The driver, Bernard, would have his walker ready, and Jim was ready to roar – with a constant smile on his face.

“I see little kids in hospitals that can’t get around and some are dying,” Jim said. “People have it worse than me. I’m hunched over but I can still get up and move around. I like to keep a smile on my face. When I was in school our health teacher used to tell us it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. I have always remembered that.”

Jim’s spinal condition is hereditary and wasn’t helped by his job of working at the feed mills as a young man. He lifted 100 and 50 pound bags for years to provide for his family.  Just 61 now, his conditions really started kicking in 15 to 20 years ago. The pain got so bad that a few years ago he had a pain pump implanted with a constant infusion to his spine. Every few weeks a nurse comes to their house to empty and refill the pump.

Besides his physical challenges, when Jim was 16 he and his buddies were in a car when something ran across the road causing an accident. One of his friends was killed.

“I have always thought about that,” he said. “God must have had a plan for me. When my brother got to the hospital they had me lying in the hall. My brother asked why. They said I was going to die anyway. I didn’t and it was because God wasn’t through with me.”

Jim admits he was a hand full as a young man. When his Dad died at 49, his brother stepped up as a leader and helped him so much. “To me my brother has the most positive attitude I have known,” Jim said.

Jim told me we all have a purpose. He said he still wasn’t sure what his was. I told him I thought it was to inspire others with his positive attitude despite such physical challenges.

“Yeah,” he said. “That could be it. I had an ex military guy with a oxygen tank once tell me I was the most inspirational person he had been around. We are all here for a reason, Charlie. Maybe me being positive all the time is mine. I have always said you can go a couple ways with your attitude. Why be negative and always blaming things?”

Jim and his wife Terry tackle his challenges with a sense of humor. Extremely supportive, Terry can also be counted on to deliver zingers at Jim. When he took part in the men’s “Best Legs” contest on the group trip, she shouted out “don’t fall!!” as he tried to raise up from his walker to pull up his shorts to showcase his legs. when he strutted out fast on his walker. She gives him grief regularly, and even turns his physical challenges into a positive.

“He would wear shorts all year if he could get away with it,” she told me. “Even in the dead of winter. So what I do is take them all down in the basement during the cold months. He can’t get down there!”

“My wife has been such a support,” Jim said. I couldn’t do it without her. She does make jokes and maybe some people take that the wrong way but she is with me 24/7.  She knows me inside and out. Using humor may be one way she deals with it.”

I asked Sandy Shoff, who has been the group tour manager on two trips that Jim and Terry have gone on, to share her observations on his approach to life:

“I have traveled with Jim to Alaska and most recently the California Coast and Wine Country Tour. It’s not just watching Jim tackle his mobility issues, it’s watching his speed, the way he picks up that walker and slams over the curb instead of using the sidewalk ramps, it’s his ongoing, sincere, positive comments about life and all he has to be thankful for as others have it so much worse that have impressed me since I first met him. This wonderful man and his lovely wife, Terry, are mentors to me and I truly know they are two of God’s chosen people who are living their lives as He would have them do.” – Sandy Shoff, group tour manager

Jim says it is about taking it one day at a time and doing what you can do. For Jim, it is inspiring others with his determination and constant positive attitude!

Charlie Adams

Gray

To see Jim take part in the infamous “Best Legs” competition we had on the group trip, the video is below. Ironically, the picture on the video below is of Fred, who took me aside in the group trip and told me how Jim’s positive attitude had impacted him. “That guy doesn’t think he is disabled at all!” Fred told me.

Jim competes in the
Jim competes in the “Best Legs” competition against the likes of Fred above

Charlie Adams Motivation

Keynotes for conferences, retreats and meetings and seminars designed to be a part of your training events

“How to Build a Positive Attitude and
KEEP the Darn Thing!!”

This keynote, or 2 or 4 hour seminar equips your people with the attitudes to be more positive, team oriented and solution centered. Everything from customer service to organization chemistry comes back to attitude!

* Stoke the Fire Within – this peak performance keynote is ideal for opening or closing conferences, retreats, meetings and off-site days. The inner core is tailored to the theme of the event, such as leadership, embracing change or team. It includes the popular ‘run the steps’ or ‘tripod’ way that everyone can approach life.

* The Spirit of Customer  Service (2 hour seminar often paired with How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing! If people haven’t build a foundation to have a positive attitude, it’s hard to try to train them in customer service)

Contact information:

Direct line: 574 – 807 – 2279

Email: charlie@stokethefirewithin.com

(photo below – equipping an organization with the tools to be positive, solution centered and team oriented)

Key Bank

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Seeking Excellence in all you do

- by Charlie Adams

It is about doing the best you can and seeking excellence no matter what you do in life.

The story of Darin Pritchett is an example. Chances are you’ve never heard of Darin, or will ever hear him on the radio. He’s not famous nationally, or regionally, or in his state. It doesn’t matter. He seeks excellence in all that he does. Darin hosts a nightly radio talk show known as “Weekday SportsBeat” on News Talk 960 radio in South Bend, IN where I live. I tune in when I can, and am always impressed with the professionalism of the show. One time I had finished delivering a positive attitude seminar for an organization when a corporate businessman came up to me and said, “Charlie, I listen to that Darin Pritchett. I’ve listened to him for years. I have never heard him say ‘Uh’ or ‘Um’ or ‘you know’ or anything like that. Ever!”

“Really?” I answered, with a surprised look on my face. I had never really thought about it, but surely Darin had an ‘Uh’ in there once or twice! After all, he was on the air 2 hours a night, 5 nights a week.

I called Darin and asked him about the “Uh” situation. “Well, Charlie,” he answered in a humble manner, “I don’t believe I have ever said “uh” on air. When I decided to go into this profession I made a commitment to speak the English language in a very professional manner. I decided that if I ever did have to pause for thought I would do just that – pause for thought. I studied people like Bob Costas and other high achievers that had excellent control of their speech.”

Ever since then I have listened to Darin, intently waiting for an ‘Uh.’ I’m still waiting.

THAT is excellence! He does it night in and night out on a fairly small radio station in northern Indiana. He doesn’t set a standard for excellence because he is on a national radio show. He does it because it is the thing to do, regardless of the magnitude of the show. Darin and his highly respected co host Rick Carter have a large sized, loyal audience in their area because their program is built on consistently being excellent.

Could Darin work for national radio audiences? Absolutely? Does he? No. His wife is from the South Bend area and that’s where he they want to raise their family.

Just be excellence (this slogan could be a cousin to the Nike slogan . . . ) wherever you are. The nationally known people aren’t always the best.

Peak Performers don’t settle. They don’t necessarily have to work unreal hours every day and live unbalanced lives, but they get to where they can’t do anything but get better day after day. They relish new challenges. Former Notre Dame Football coach Lou Holtz used to say, “If what you did yesterday seems important, you haven’t done anything today.”

That’s a good one. Of course, if you got married yesterday, you’d have a hard time topping that the next day! Peak Performers simply will not allow themselves to get caught up in the excellent work they constantly produce. They have an intangible that’s hard to put a finger on, but basically it’s like every time they do something, they’re doing it for the first time. Just because they did it great in the past doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to do it great the next time. They’re confident, don’t get me wrong, but they don’t take their performance for granted.

I watched a Biography of comedian and actor Steve Martin. He said he was born with no noticeable gifts. The point was that he worked his tail off to accomplish the things he has done in his career. I recently watched a Biography show on songwriter Paul Simon. He made the comment that even though his father worked a lot and wasn’t at home a lot, a comment he made impacted Paul’s life significantly. He was in his room singing when his father happened to hear him and walk in. He sincerely told his son that he was very good at it. That comment made a lasting impact.

I’m often asked who was the most impressive athlete I ever interviewed during my broadcasting days. That would be Vanessa Pruzinsky. When I say her name people look at me like, “Who’s that?”

Vanessa carried a perfect 4.0 grade point average her entire time at Notre Dame in CHEMICAL ENGINEERING! How hard is that? She was only the third person in the University’s history to do that, and the first female ever. At the same time she was also a starter on the powerhouse soccer team. Vanessa was the Rookie of the Year in the Big East Conference in 1999. She was a key player on a team that was consistently ranked in the top five in the nation, and that has won 3 national championships over the past 15 years.

She achieved excellence as a student and as an athlete. Vanessa was committed and determined. She had one brutally tough class that led her to tears. The librarian would often have to wake her up at 2 in the morning so that she could go back to her room for some sleep. As an athlete she had to have ankle surgery one season, but came back to lead a defense that allowed just 5 goals in one 19 game stretch.

She was excellence. Not excellent, excellence. It was her state of being. She was as close to perfection as any high achiever I ever covered in my broadcasting career.

Vanessa’s perfect grade point average in a brutally challenging major is an inspiration because it is up there in the “perfect” range. While she was able to persevere, that can of pace can take its toll on many of us. As Peak Performers you have to be careful to cut yourselves a break from time to time. I’m not talking about settling, but about understanding that seeking perfection can be damaging. No matter how well you do at something, you tend to harp on the one area where you came up a little short. It’s that “perfectionist thing.”

Then I read a quote by Dr. Harriet Braiker: “Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.”

She’s on the mark there, I believe. Striving for perfection is noble and this world would be in a whole lot better shape if everyone was in tune with that, but striving for perfection can demoralize you. Seeking excellence, however, is motivating. I truly believe it can be a state of being. Peak Performers strive for excellence as a habit and way of life. They care deeply, as I wrote about earlier, and take it hard when things go wrong, but they keep moving on because excellence is their way of life. Be excellence. I did a one hour interview with Pat Riley, who is the President of the Miami Heat and former head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. He summed it up best when he said…

“Charlie, excellence is the gradual result of always trying to do better.”  – Coach Pat Riley

Charlie Adams

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Allison Hayes Freeze – Giving back!

- by Charlie Adams

Allison Hayes Freeze and her young daughter were overwhelmed with help and support during an incredibly hard time. Now, they are giving back in a way that is so inspiring.

Allison has one of the most positive attitudes of anyone I have ever known. I first met her back in my television news days about 15 years ago when she was an aspiring sportscaster. Bubbling with enthusiasm and drive, Allison had gone from her small hometown of Niles, Michigan to study broadcasting at the University of Florida. She had a dream of being a female sportscaster. I could see she had potential so I encouraged her. Her positive attitude was the thing that told me she would do well.

She eventually was hired as the weekend sports anchor at the Fox affiliate where I live in South Bend, IN. The viewers came to love her upbeat style of sportscasting and community involvement. Everything was wonderful. She had married her high school sweetheart Rob and they had a young daughter Emery.

Then, in August of last year, Rob was driving home after have going over to Illinois to watch the Chicago Bears practice. His truck left the road and he was killed.

He was just 37 years old.

I wouldn’t begin to try to write about the shock and sadness she and her daughter went through, but has happened since is an amazing example of the goodness that is out there, and the power of a message from a rainbow. While a grieving Allison missed work for awhile, including the next Friday night of reporting on area high school football games, the community responded. At the end of the first quarter of a local game, cheerleaders from NorthWood and Jimtown High Schools passed buckets through the stands. By the end of the game a total of $1,093.33 had been collected for a fund for 3 year old Emery.

Allison received an incredible amount of support from people she knew and did not know. “People sent Build a Bear gift certificates for Emery,” she told me. “She really liked those. We got all kinds of encouragement cards not just for a few weeks after what happened, but throughout the year. They really do mean a lot, that people take a few minutes to write. People would come over and do yardwork. My yard is really much too big for me to handle, so teams of people would show up. It was breathtaking to see. The Christmas Commandos were phenomenal. The way they made us feel….”

(on Christmas Eve, the commandos visit homes where there is great sadness due to a tragic death of a child or parent with children at home … the commandos leave gifts of love in hopes to bring joy to the remaining family members … decorations of garland, ornaments, and candy canes are hung around the yard and an angel statue is left in memory of the lost love)

All of this left such an impact on her that Allison has formed a non profit known as One Good Deed Michiana.

“We all know someone who goes above and beyond to help others,” she said. “Whether it be organizing a benefit for someone in need, dropping food off, running errands, writing letters or volunteering their time. I want to let those people know that what they are doing is meaningful and they are appreciated! What is so nice is they they don’t do it for recognition but because it’s the right thing to do.”

“Our motto is, ‘Helping those who help others because one good deed can change a life.’”

She has tirelessly worked to get this going. Allison says the plans are to honor about six people a year. They want to do it right and make each one special. Not long ago, the first recipient was honored, a lady named Janet Price. An avid supporter of the nearby Warsaw High basketball team, she puts together goodie bags with motivational sayings for road games. She provides treats at home games and holidays. She takes hundreds of pictures and gets them developed and gives them to the players. She also makes meals for area folks going through hard times and sends out encouraging notes to them. She had been nominated by Doug Ogle, the Warsaw High boys basketball coach.

Allison, her daughter, and members of the Tigers team showed up at her house with a basket full of gifts.

With tears streaming, Janet (on left) was overwhelmed as Allison presented her with a gift basket filled with season tickets for Price and her mother to attend Wagon Wheel Theatre, donated by the theatre.  Bennigan’s restaurant and Owen’s Super Market have her gift certificates. Artist Nancy Swan Drew donated framed work.

Knowing she loves cameras, they also got her a Nikon digital camera, tripod and case as well as some photography classes from Blosser’s Photography.

“The idea is to let her know that what she is doing is appreciated and we hope she inspires others to do the same,” Allison said. “What we are doing is not earth shattering but so many people do the little things that mean so much.”

It has been 13 months since Rob’s death. Allison has received a tremendous career advancement as The Big Ten Network has hired her to be a reporter. The photo below is of her interviewing Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio after a recent game.

Last month, on the one year anniversary of the accident, Allison wrote shared this incredible experience:

Today, we went out to the cemetery as a family, me, Emery, Sharon, Terry & Terri Beth. While we are standing in the pouring down rain, the sunset shines through the dark clouds and a beam of golden sunlight shines directly on Rob’s headstone. It was beautiful and glowing. And just as we are about to leave, a perfect complete rainbow forms over us, a double rainbow on each end! It was truly breathtaking! I have never believed in signs, but I can tell you that without doubt, I know that was him. It was electric! I can’t fully explain how it made us feel, but I am so glad that I shared it with his family. It is as if every tear shed this past year, lead us to that exact moment. We are going to be ok.

I asked her how Emery and her have moved forward.

“You just keep ……… going,” she said. “We just have. I have my daughter. We make sure we talk about him every day. We have video. I don’t want it to always be sad when we talk about him. We laugh a lot too at the memories. I do most of my crying when I am away from Emery.”

“There is no magic way to go forward,” she said. “You just do it one day at a time. It’s part of our life … who we are. We are all on a journey and this is part of our journey.”

Let’s help Allison and Emery make a difference by supporting this.

Allison can be reached at

ahayes@onegooddeedmichiana.org

One Good Deed Michiana is on facebook by clicking here

They would like your nominations of people. They appreciate donations that they can give to people, like beauty products and ideas of things like what they got to Janet. They are currently planning the 3rd annual Freezer Memorial Golf Outing for the summer of 2014. Emery runs a lemonade stand at that event each year!

Charlie Adams

(to help spread the word please forward this to people you know would want to know about this)

Gray

Charlie Adams Motivation

Keynotes for conferences, retreats and meetings and seminars designed to be a part of your training events

“How to Build a Positive Attitude and
KEEP the Darn Thing!!”

This keynote, or 2 or 4 hour seminar equips your people with the attitudes to be more positive, team oriented and solution centered. Everything from customer service to organization chemistry comes back to attitude!

* Stoke the Fire Within – this peak performance keynote is ideal for opening or closing conferences, retreats, meetings and off-site days. The inner core is tailored to the theme of the event, such as leadership, embracing change or team. It includes the popular ‘run the steps’ or ‘tripod’ way that everyone can approach life.

* The Spirit of Customer  Service (2 hour seminar often paired with How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing! If people haven’t build a foundation to have a positive attitude, it’s hard to try to train them in customer service)

Contact information:

Direct line: 574 – 807 – 2279

Email: charlie@stokethefirewithin.com

(photo – delivering How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!)

How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!!

How the book and seminar or keynote can ignite your life, event or workplace as attitude impacts everything from customer service to team spirit…


Tools inside this book and the seminar include:

The power of Initial Spin

The 4 Needs you need to meet to be content

What I learned from the most positive people I met in 23 years of television news and how their insights can impact you

Step by step on how to start a day positive and stay as positive as possible when the curve balls come

How to get a better balance of work and life

Helpful tools to manage your time

Practical fitness and nutrition insights that can help you to stay more positive

Self Talk tips to keep the negative thoughts on the outside looking in

How forgiveness can help negativity vanish

How encouragement can invigorate the positive attitude culture of any organization or work place

How to create the solution centered atmosphere instead of the ‘they this, they that’ culture that poisons so many places

To order individual copies:

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

That we all could have the attitude of Justin Freeman!

- by Charlie Adams

I met a young man this past week who will inspire you and refresh your attitude on life!


While speaking on building and keeping a positive attitude at the Mississippi R.A.M. Conference at the Natchez Convention Center Thursday, I met Justin Freeman. Justin, pictured below, was honored with an award for significant accomplishment in overcoming disability. This young man is at the University of South Alabama studying engineering several years after a trip to the river changed everything in his life.

His mother Pamela took me back to June 14, 2007 when Justin talked his brother into going to swim with him and a buddy in the Escatawpa River near their Lucedale, Mississippi home. “That was very unusual for his brother to go,” said Pamela, his mother, “because he had a girlfriend and a job. But that day he went…”

Scared of the sticks on the bottom of the river, earlier that week they had dug a hole in the river where they could jump in and swim. When Justin ran off the sand bar and jumped in, he didn’t know the river had dropped. In an instant his C1 was cracked and his C5 was crushed.

“His brother and friend let him float in the water until the helicopter came,” said Pamela. “I really think God was telling them to let him float. The helicopter landed on the sand bar. They floated the boards under him and took them away. Medical experts to this day don’t understand why he has not been on a ventilator or trachea. We think letting him float was key.”

As a speaker, I find the biggest challenge people today face is staying positive because of all of the challenges at work and in life. While we may think we have it tough and all that, Justin has gone through 31 surgeries. “We call him the Six Million Dollar Man,” said Pamela, referring to the Lee Majors old television series in the 70’s. Through all that, he finished high school in strong fashion with a 26 on the ACT and earned a full academic scholarship to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he carried a 3.75 GPA. It would have been 4.0 except for all the travels to Philadelphia for surgeries. He is now at the University of South Alabama, not far from their southern Mississippi home.

Attitude has been the foundation of Justin’s recovery and forward growth. “I don’t let anything get me down,” he told me. “I have a very stubborn attitude because I am Irish and I’ve always had a comical attitude. I try to find a funny side to everything, and I think every cloud has a silver lining.”

For example, he says because of what happened he was able to be fed birthday cake on his 18th birthday by Miss America (photo below)!


One one of his many trips north to the Philadelphia (PA) Shriner’s Hospital, he was also fed birthday cake by one of the Philadelphia  Eagles cheerleaders!

And then there is his Justin’s ability to find humor in just about anything. His Dad took him to Mardi Gras one time with some of his Dad’s friends. It was crowded with no place to sit except curb sides. These men were struggling with what to say to Justin after the accident because they felt a little uncomfortable. Finally, one of the men asked what would he be doing now if he hadn’t had the accident. “I’d probably be looking for a place to sit right now,” said Justin.

He has used his dry sense of humor in the darkest times. Right after the accident in the operating room an ER person told him he would never walk again. “That’s alright,” said Justin. “I didn’t much like that anyway….”

In the hospital one time a kid asked him how he ended up in a wheelchair. Without missing a beat, Justin answered dead serious, “because I didn’t eat my vegetables as a kid.”

The kid walked off with the strangest expression.

“After that we told Justin he had to watch it with his sense of humor,” said Pamela. “That young boy is probably at home right now eating nothing but veggies!”

Justin has built and kept a positive attitude from day one of the accident and the many hospital rehabilitation visits.

“I’ve seen people at rehab that were adamant the hospital fix them,” said Justin. “It’s rehabilitation. Some of it can’t be fixed. You have to learn it yourself. Attitude is pretty much everything.”

“Justin has never once complained about anything,” said Pamela. “He has been about finding a way. They transferred his biceps muscles to his triceps so he can now lift his hands above his head. He can write now. A high school teacher saw him a year after he did have to have special help and couldn’t get over how much progress he had made!”

Even though you would think Justin would need the encouragement, he is often the one lifting up others.

“There was a time after one of the surgeries where he had both arms in casts all the way up to his shoulders,” said Pamela. “He finally learned to where he could text with his teeth which made him look like a chicken pecking. Well, his brother called all down because his girlfriend had broken up. Justin was on the phone thirty minutes encouraging his brother.”

“In rehab he sings to the elderly,” she added. “The kids and everyone move towards him because of his attitude. He had this one little girl attach her chair to his and they went all over the hospital getting into trouble!”

Turning serious, Justin said this is what he wanted to emphasize:

“Just because your life may have changed, it doesn’t mean what you do are where you are going has to change.”

Justin was honored after I delivered the closing keynote at the Rehabilitation Association of Mississippi annual conference last week. These fine folks work hard to equip people with disabilities the skills to be employed. They brought me in to speak on the power of the positive attitude and how it impacts everything. With such an attitude, Justin Freeman is an inspiration to us all!

Charlie Adams

Gray

(photo – speaking on building and keeping positive, solution centered and team oriented attitudes, at the Conference where Justin was honored in Natchez, MS – photo by Garrett Yeager)
“Charlie, I really enjoyed your session and encouragement to keep a good attitude. It was a wonderful reminder that we are not able to change people, places or things – just how we react to them. Our attitude affects everyone around us. By trying to find the positive we are not only helping ourself but also those around us. No matter what we face at any given moment, we can always find someone going through their own issues that we can help.”Lea King, counselor’s asst., Conference attendee

Charlie Adams Motivation

Keynotes for conferences, retreats and meetings and seminars designed to be a part of your training events

“How to Build a Positive Attitude and
KEEP the Darn Thing!!”

This keynote, or 2 or 4 hour seminar equips your people with the attitudes to be more positive, team oriented and solution centered. Everything from customer service to organization chemistry comes back to attitude!

* Stoke the Fire Within – this peak performance keynote is ideal for opening or closing conferences, retreats, meetings and off-site days. The inner core is tailored to the theme of the event, such as leadership, embracing change or team. It includes the popular ‘run the steps’ or ‘tripod’ way that everyone can approach life.

* The Spirit of Customer  Service (2 hour seminar often paired with How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing! If people haven’t build a foundation to have a positive attitude, it’s hard to try to train them in customer service)

Contact information:

Direct line: 574 – 807 – 2279

Email: charlie@stokethefirewithin.com

To read previous newsletters click here

How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!!

How the book and seminar or keynote can ignite your life, event or workplace as attitude impacts everything from customer service to team spirit…


Tools inside this book and the seminar include:

The power of Initial Spin

The 4 Needs you need to meet to be content

What I learned from the most positive people I met in 23 years of television news and how their insights can impact you

Step by step on how to start a day positive and stay as positive as possible when the curve balls come

How to get a better balance of work and life

Helpful tools to manage your time

Practical fitness and nutrition insights that can help you to stay more positive

Self Talk tips to keep the negative thoughts on the outside looking in

How forgiveness can help negativity vanish

How encouragement can invigorate the positive attitude culture of any organization or work place

How to create the solution centered atmosphere instead of the ‘they this, they that’ culture that poisons so many places

To order individual copies:

 

574-254-0188 || Email Charlie