Saturday, April 5, 2008


Many, many years ago while in a student government leadership position in high school, I went to a giant leadership training conference. It was there that I met a man who called himself The Original Mike Smith. He was a captivating motivational speaker. I vowed at that time to become a more intriguing, inspirational public speaker.

A few years later while speaking to an audience and making them laugh and feel better, I was approached by a woman whom I had never before met. She praised my performance and suggested that I move to California to be a motivational speaker. Since that time I've given hundreds of speeches to a variety of groups in over eight states and three countries. I've even been invited to speak at churches (of different religions than my own), high schools and universities, civic groups, clubs, corporate professionals, police departments, and various seminars and conferences.

After hearing me speak, I've been approached by attorney's suggesting that I become a trial lawyer, and I've been told by others that I ought to speak professionally. Still, others say I need to be a news media consultant. Of course, I think all of that would be terrific. With a desire to market myself more as a professional speaker, I contacted the Original Mike Smith at the beginning of last year. I thanked him for serving as such a positive example to me. He's all but out of the business now and his son has taken charge, for the most part, of his company, Difference Makers. They mainly focus on speaking at high schools. I'm not opposed to that, but I'd prefer a wider corporate audience.

When I first heard Mike speak he handed out a copy of a few poems he had written and used in his speech. I memorized them that day. It's amazing that I can still recall them, nearly perfectly by rote. There is once I'd like to share here. Not only is it great for me to hear it, but I can think of another person who it really might help today too.

I know it isn't easy
When things look bleak and dark
To curl my lips and tell my eyes
It's time for them to spark!

But smiling on the outside
Will warm your insides so,
My smile will make another smile
Then two smiles will glow!

So through life's troubles I ride
Behind a smiling face.
I smile and pass it warmly on
And make a better place.

Note: If you know of any group interested in having me speak on overcoming challenges, human relations, attitude, or SMART Leadership -- a program I designed -- or similiar self-help and team-building topics, I'll be available soon.

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