Last week, a friend send me one of the most entertaining articles that I’ve read in a while. The basic premise of the entertainment was the author blaming the downfall of civilization on a television show. More specifically, the show Friends. With tongue planted solidly in cheek, the article made the case that Fiends vilified intellectual engagement and made being intellectually lazy, cool. It was funny and it was entertainment and it had a ring of truth to it. The reason my friend sent me the article was that we had just been discussing what I believe is the biggest threat to American Business. It isn’t politics and it isn’t the economy, it’s stagnant thinking. For my money, the two are related because stagnant thinking is a direct result of the intellectual disengagement made popular by TV shows like Friends. We live in an era where fake news is a real term. Where the average American reads one book a year, and half of those are romance novels. I’m not going to go all Thai Lopez in his garage on you here, but I truly believe that the answer is in getting back to books. Consider what we gain:

Fresh Ideas

I never read a book without getting at least one new idea. Whether it’s something that will help grow my business, improve my physical performance, or my relationship with my family, picking up fresh ideas makes the time I spend reading a worthy investment.

Mentorship

We may never get to be in the presence of some of the world’s greatest thinkers, but thanks to books, we can learn their ideas. Spending an afternoon with Grant Cardone to learn sales, Mark Twain to learn humor, or Tony Robbins to break habits, isn’t only possible, it’s rewarding.

Relaxation

Most of the people I know complain about not getting enough sleep. It’s little wonder considering those same people binge on Netflix in their evenings rather than reading. Getting to sleep is a lot easier if we unplug before bed with a book rather than a phone or a remote.

Feelings of Accomplishment

Think for a second how many wins you get in the average week. If yours are anything like mine, there aren’t many. Since I’ve taken up reading a book a week, I’ve noticed that the biggest benefit of all has been the feeling of accomplishing something when I get to the last page. Finding a win isn’t always easy, but finishing a book makes it possible  Yes, there are many benefits to reading books. Picking up fresh ideas, finding a mentor, relaxing and the feelings of accomplishment are only a few. Fixing our stagnant thinking, however, is the biggest benefit of all. Intellectual disengagement is a serious issue, but luckily, the cure is only a book away.  ]]>

John_F_Kennedy_Official_Portrait

It will come as no secret after naming this series in homage to John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage that I have a great deal of admiration for our 35th President.

We have had few Presidents as debonair, charismatic or eloquent and for all of these qualities I look up to President Kennedy but his courage and persistence are characteristics that worthy of discussion as well.

It’s tempting to see a rich, handsome, and articulate politician and assume that his meteoric rise was a given, but that’s not the case with President Kennedy.

Popular lore is that Kennedy went into politics to please his father after his brother’s death and in certain respects, that’s been proven to be true, but it’s just as likely that if Joe Jr. had lived, John Kennedy would have sought some avenue of public service.

After returning from the Pacific a war hero, and following his brother’s death, John F. Kennedy was able to use his father’s money and connections as well as his own ambition to win election to The US House of Representatives at the age of 26.

When he was 35 he beat a powerful incumbent Senator with a name legendary in Massachusetts, Henry Cabot Lodge, and became one of the youngest men in the Senate.

It was a fast start that was capped off in 1956 when his name was placed in nomination for the Vice Presidency Of The United States and while he did not win the nomination, he did become the freshest face in Democratic politics.

And then he fell.

Unlike his hero Winston Churchill’s fall which was mostly self-inflicted and political, JFK suffered a fall much closer to the one suffered by his father’s nemesis, Franklin Roosevelt.

Despite going out of his way to display health and vigor, John F. Kennedy had never been a healthy man. Suffering from the autoimmune disease Addison’s Disease and a bad back that was mostly the result of a war injury, it was his health that almost knocked him out of politics in 1957.

Kennedy was warned of the risks that someone in his condition was facing having surgery when he opted for back surgery in 1957. It would be nearly impossible to control infection due to his other ailments but he decided to risk it anyway.

his father tried to talk him out of the procedure, but Kennedy was determined to have the operation saying he’d rather die than spend the rest of his life on crutches.

At first, the operation looked like a success but then infection set in and more than once before he recovered, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was administered last rights.

It was unknown for weeks if he would live. It took longer still to know whether or not he would walk again. He contemplated retiring from politics because he saw not future for his ambitions.

It was during this dark period in his life when his wife suggested he write and while a way from the Senate he ad Theodore Sorenson wrote what would become the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles In Courage.

Buoyed by its success, little by little JFK got stronger and in 1958, was reelected to the Senate in a landside.

During the 1960 Presidential Primaries, he fought back discrimination over his Catholic faith and won his parties nomination for President. Then defeated Vice President Richard Nixon to win the White House.

On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy was sworn in as President Of The United States. He was the first and remains the only Catholic to ever do so.

Yes, President Kennedy was given an advantage that helped him to succeed early in life, but nothing could insulate him from the problems his health caused. It was by sheer determination, hard work, and persistence that he was able to overcome the impossible odds to hold our nation’s highest office and it’s this climb back from the brink that makes him a true Profile In Persistence.

]]>

Thank you for stopping by my website! I certainly hope you find some value as you poke around.

I wanted to share a little more about me that is a little…well, less official than my About Me page to give you a better idea of who I really am.

You might not know it to look at me, but I’m a farm kid. I was raised on our family farm outside of Wapakoneta near a tiny place that doesn’t even appear on most state maps, called Fryburg.

My dad is a carpenter and a farmer and my mother is a registered nurse and from both of them, I was given a work ethic and sense of discipline that I’m proud of.

The turning point in my life happened, however, when I reached High School and joined FFA. There, all of my passions for agriculture were mixed with lessons in communication and leadership and in my junior year, I was elected to serve the 22,000 FFA members in the State of Ohio as a State FFA Officer. This election accelerated my growth and development and forced me to become a much better speaker and leader.

With the solid foundation given to me by parents, tempered through FFA and polished as a State Officer, I have spent a great deal of time studying and observing the habits of successful communicators and leaders.

There was some debate when I was writing my official About Me page about using the word obsessed about developing the skills of communication, but I decided to use it because, for most of my life, I’ve been obsessed with the little things that charismatic people do that separate them from the rest of us.

My obsession fuels a passion that I’m eager to share.

A few more random facts to share:

  • As you could see from my picture, I have a great family. We spend the majority of our time together working on our family’s show steer hobby for our county fair.
  • I love movies and have a strange ability to recall quotes from about every movie I’ve ever seen on demand. I’m sure you want answers, you want the truth, but you can’t handle the truth!
  • I have a reputation as the guy in the suit because I wear one virtually every day. I’ve always lived by the motto that you don’t dress for the job you have, but you dress for the job you want, and I’ve always wanted to be Governor.
  • I read obsessively. Anything from books to blogs to articles, I’m always reading and I love to share interesting things, so follow me on twitter.
  • If you need to talk to me, please don’t call me during an Ohio State Football game. Watching my beloved Buckeyes dominate the B1G is the only television that I actually watch live.

It’s my sincere hope that this post was helpful for you to get to know me. I’d love for you to drop me a line in the comments so that I can get an opportunity to know you as well.

Talk Soon, Randy]]>

 I am an admitted political junkie. For most of my life I have lived and breathed politics. I’ve watched and read and thought about the subject to the point that Chuck Todd would say I should take a break, but it’s always fascinated me. Until now. What I love about politics is that it’s a real world demonstration of persuasion, compromise and power. Or at least it used to be. This year, it has turned into professional carnival barking with live commentary and I tapped out. Instead of devoting my morning coffee time to Morning Joe of MSNBC as my kids get ready for school, I have left the television off and focused on reading. Instead of listening to talk radio as I travel, I’ve played audio books and I have amazed myself at what I’ve accomplished. At the start of last year, I set the goal to read a book each week. At first it was a struggle but with all of my newfound time, I’ve breezed through 24 books so far in 2016 and I’ve picked up some very valuable lessons. To name just a few: Write Down Your Goals Every Day.
My favorite book so far this year has been The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone. His entire premise is that we’re all capable of so much more than we’re achieving. One big piece of advice that Mr. Cardone mentions is writing down your goal every morning and every night in order to keep yourself focused on what you want. This has been a simple little trick but I have to say that it’s been very helpful in keeping myself positive and focused.     Start First and Figure the Rest Out Later
Chris Guillebeau has written a beautiful book about work in our new economy called $100 Startup. He mentions case studies from people everywhere that just one day decided to start on their own with no investors, no cash, just an idea and a dream. He offers a lot of helpful advice including a one page business plan but the entire book is centered on the idea of just getting started and figuring out the details as you go. Maybe it was just timing but I really needed the message when I read it.   Create Your Teaser, Your Trailer and Your Pitch
Good in a Room was written by Stephanie Palmer, a former MGM executive that spent years being pitched by screen writers and anyone else with a movie idea. She eventually took everything she learned being pitched to and started her own consulting firm instructing people on the other side of the table how to get attention of decision makers, get appointments and make the pitch. She made the comparison between the way we market our goods and services to the way studios market movies and it’s brilliant. Her idea being that when we meet someone, instead of giving them our “elevator pitch”, we get our audience interested with a teaser trailer, the way we learn about new movies being released. This is a short, 30 second overview of our idea. It doesn’t push or try too hard, it just sows the seeds of interest. Following the teaser, movie studios release their full length trailer that generates even more interest. If the person you’re speaking to was hooked by the teaser, it’s time to release your two minute trailer with more details of your idea, product or service. Both of these ideas would be helpful for salespeople that need to get in the room, and once there, that’s where the pitch happens. It’s really solid read from start to finish that will make you look at marketing yourself differently. The idea being that not everyone is a prospect, just like not everyone is a SciFi fan but with a good enough teaser, they’ll remember you and pass you onto someone that just might be.   In reading 24 books, I’ve learned a lot. Just to get that much reading done, I’ve learned to focus my time, to get better at reading quickly and to keep a list of what I’ll be reading next. I’m still a political junkie and I think there are still lessons to be learned from watching and studying politicians but I think I’ll wait until the circus leaves town to look again.    ]]>