Category Archives: Skills


5 tips for speaking to 10,000 people or 10.

Recently I was in Dallas, TX speaking to 10,000 people at a Young Living Convention. That’s an intimidating amount of people, but five lessons I’ve learned over the years helped me deliver the speech. Here they are:

1. Speak to a person, not a crowd.
No one wants to feel like they’re a part of a big glob of an audience. One person speaking to ten thousand people is hard, but one person speaking to one person is a lot easier.

I always try to find one person in the crowd who is happy and engaged. It’s so easy to find (and focus on) the one person who hates every word you’re saying. Public speakers tend to have laser vision for the guy in the room with his arms crossed and a scowl. Instead, find the one person who’s locked in on the conversation and speak to them. When you do that, your talk feels less like a lecture and more like a conversation, and everyone wins.

2. Be careful to not be subtle.
As the size of your audience grows, so too should the way you express yourself on stage. This is a tip I learned from my friends Tripp & Tyler, who have spent a lot of time on big stages making people laugh. They warned me that subtle jokes and subtle movements don’t always play to a larger crowd because you’re communicating with the first row AND the last row, no matter how far from the stage it is.

The dynamics shift with big crowds, so be careful to avoid subtleties as your audience grows. If you’re speaking to 10 people, make sure you don’t act like you’re speaking to 10,000. It’s always awkward when a speaker yells like he or she is in a stadium if there’s only a few people in the room. In those situations I’ll often circle a few chairs and sit down for the talk instead. If the event is intimate, acknowledge that.

3. Allow time for the crowd to laugh and think.
If you prepare 45 minutes of material for a 45-minute talk for a larger crowd, you might run out of time with ten minutes of material left. The problem is, you didn’t account for the crowd.

The crowd will laugh, and they need time to laugh. The crowd will think, and they need time to think. If you ask the crowd a question, give them a moment to actually answer it.

Planning an event is hard. Honor the event planner’s schedule by preparing a talk that’s slightly shorter than your window to account for the crowd.

4. Laugh or move on if you make a mistake.
There are two types of mistakes you make when you speak. There’s the mistake that’s big enough that it’s funny, and you should sit on it for a minute and enjoy it with the crowd. That happened to me at the Orange Conference. I said something that was accidentally inappropriate in front of 6,000 people. I heard a few start laughing so I decided to ride the wave of the mistake and laugh along. It ended up being the biggest laugh I got during my speech.

The more common mistake is the small one you just move on from because it’s so inconsequential. If it’s a minor mistake don’t call attention to it. Just move on, more than likely the crowd didn’t even notice.

5. Have fun.
I know, I know, this is so cliche, but that doesn’t mean it’s false.

If you’re not up there on stage having fun, the crowd’s not gonna have fun either. If you’re wound up, the crowd won’t be relaxed. If you’re racing through your notes, the crowd will feel that too.

I get nervous when talking to big crowds like everyone else, but the times when I have the most fun on stage are the times where the audience does as well.

You might never become a public speaker, but you’ll speak in front of a crowd at some point. You’ll present a college paper, deliver a project at work or make a speech at a wedding. Remember these tips for when do and you’ll have a great time, whether it’s 10,000 people or 10.

P.S. If you want to become better at public speaking or anything else, do the note card exercise on page 93 of my book Do Over.



How to get motivated every time you open your phone this summer.

According to the calendar, summer officially started last Sunday, but according to the #DOSummer2015 hashtag on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, it’s been in full swing for a couple weeks.

In fact, as of Monday over 10,000 people have downloaded the #DOSummer Checklist!

Already working on the checklist? Awesome! (Don’t have one yet? It’s a simple, free PDF that will help you work through all your goals this summer. Click here and I’ll send it to you.)

I thought it would be fun if every time you opened your phone you got motivated to stay on top of your DO Summer goals, so I created these lock screens. The goal of DO Summer is to help you spend 1,500 minutes doing something awesome this summer via 15 minute chunks of time.

It’s impossible to climb a mountain with one step but you’d be surprised how easy it is to knock things out in 15-minute segments. Every time you open your phone, you’ll be reminded to complete another 15 minutes of something you care about. Click the links below to open a new tab and save the one you want.




Hopefully you can make one of these three resolutions work for you, depending on the phone you have.

(For iPhone users, save the image on your phone and use as wallpaper. They work best if you turn “Perspective Zoom” off and pinch the image so it fits perfectly into your screen size.)

Don’t forget to post your updates every Monday with the #DOSummer2015 hashtag!


Are you ready to DO Summer?

Next to relationships, skills are the most important thing you can have when it comes to chasing a dream. Whether you want to write a book, start a business, like your current job more, or turn a hobby into a job, you need skills. That’s why 25% of my new book Do Over is dedicated to helping build your skills.

The challenge though is that skills get sharp slowly and dull quickly.

Not this summer though.

We’re going to work on our skills together. We’re not just going to talk. We’re going to do. We’re not just going to dream. We’re going to do. We’re not just going to wish. We’re going to do.

DO Summer is simple.

1. Pick one skill you want to work on.
It can be a completely new skill or something you used to love that fell behind in the busyness of life. It can be career related like working on your resume or life related like jogging for better health. (I’m picking writing for mine because I didn’t write for a solid month and could feel that skill getting rusty.)

2. Work on the skill for 1,500 minutes this summer in easy 15-minute segments. dosummertease
I’ve created a free worksheet that helps you track time in 15-minute chunks. Each time you knock out 15 minutes, color in one of the boxes on the sheet.

3. Read the quick, weekly skill tip I email you each Monday from Do Over.
You’ll get 60 seconds of I dare you to be awesome content for the next 12 weeks.

4. Share your results each Monday morning online with #DOSummer2015
I’ve been blown away by how motivating a little visibility is when I use my Fitbit step tracker with friends from the Internet. You’ll be surprised how encouraging having other people cheer you on is. As part of DO Summer, you’ll also get invited to the exclusive, private 30 Days of Hustle Facebook group for wildly fun accountability.

That’s it. At the end of the summer, if you spend 1,500 minutes on your DO, you will have invested 25 hours in a skill. There’s no telling what positive habits, life changing opportunities and unexpected adventures you can stir up by doing something so simple.

You ready to DO Summer?

You ready to make a small investment in your big dream?

I am.

8/22/2015 UPDATE: DO Summer was a ton of fun, but being that the summer is over, we’ve closed this campaign. If you want us to let you know the next time we do something like this, and you’re not already subscribed to my newsletter to receive all my new ideas via email, sign up here!


Win a free library! (We’re giving away 17 books in the Do Over Bookshelf Challenge)

Over the last month we’ve given away 5 books each week to the four winners of the Do Over Bookshelf Challenge.

This week? We’re giving away every book we featured in the challenger to one winner!


That’s right, 17 books to 1 winner. So, how do you win?

Post a photo of my new book, Do Over, and tag someone you want to read it with on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Make sure you use the hashtag #DoOverBook in your post as well. Your picture can be taken in a store, in your home, or anywhere else on earth where photos can be taken.

You have until midnight on Monday, April 20th to post your picture. We’ll announce the winner some time next week.

Here are all the books included in the prize package:

So let me know who you would like to read Do Over with by tagging them in your photo of the book, and don’t forget the hashtag #DoOverBook.



How to be a better writer, part 1.

I spent four years in college studying journalism.

I then spent 17 years as a full time, professional writer.

I’ve written and published five books, but it wasn’t until this last one that I learned 3 important lessons about writing. (I was going to say, “lessons that could change the way I write forever,” but sometimes the over the top dramatic style you have to write blogs with these days is exhausting.)


It’s almost embarrassing how obvious these lessons are, but I promise I missed them most of my writing career. Learning them is why my book Do Over is:

1. The hardest book I’ve ever written.
2. The best book I’ve ever written.

I’ve said that first sentence about other books I’ve written, but I’ve never said that second sentence before. Why am I starting now? Because I learned 3 ways to become a better writer. Here’s the first lesson, I’ll share the second two in the weeks to come:

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How to build your own library with a tweet.

It bothers me that I don’t own my own private library that has a ladder with wheels.

Whipping around on a ladder with wheels, possibly singing “Seize the Day” from Newsies, is one of my biggest dreams.

Unfortunately, our public library gets all weird when you bring your own ladder from home to use on their bookshelves.

It’s time to start building our own libraries.

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