How Ego, Comparison And Fear Can Impede Your Success
20 Nov 2019

It is human nature to compare ourselves to others, and comparison is often a tool that can serve us well for success. For example, if I want to rank higher in my spin class, by comparing my numbers to the leader board of the other classmates, I push myself a bit harder and perform better. Or, if I compare myself to other guests in an on-camera interview, before I’m about to go on, I observe what works and doesn’t and improve my performance. These are healthy comparison tools. It’s also human nature to have an ego and to experience fear. However, when you live in the dangerous trifecta of ego, fear and comparing yourself to others, you are not only hurting yourself, you are slowing down the process of reaching your highest potential.

As a director, producer and speaker coach, one of my jobs is to observe. I have to be patient with my speakers because they are also in process. I can’t expect perfection out of the gate. I may not love something they are doing — for example they may dramatically emphasize a certain word — but I wait, because they may organically stop. Or they don’t, and that’s when I decide if I’m going to ask them to change it or if it’s grown on me. It’s part of the process, and you cannot rush the process. If you do, I guarantee your ego will show up, closing you off to collaboration, feedback and growth, creating the first part of this dangerous trifecta equation.

If a speaker I’m coaching is still stuck or needs my support, I’ll direct them. Not allowing speakers to have all the answers along the way always creates some fear. It’s scary not being perfect during rehearsal. But here’s the disconnect: Rehearsal is about rehearsing, not being perfect. Uncertainty allows for expansion in the content and in the delivery, so it’s paramount to let go of the fear of it. If you don’t let go of that fear, you have just added the second variable of the trifecta.

Sometimes, the speakers I coach will ask me, “Why is this other speaker booking so many stages? We are the same level of experience, so why is he speaking all over the world?” This question means the final variable of comparison has been added to the trifecta, leading us to nothing good.

When you allow ego, fear and comparison to infiltrate your world, nothing makes sense. And this uncertainty breeds more fear and more comparison, which then feeds that hungry ego even more. You cannot do your best work when you are making it about you.

The trifecta of ego, comparison and fear, not only keeps you stuck, it makes you impatient, frustrated and annoyed. And, more often than not, it takes you off of your own path. I suggest paying attention to this equation at all times.

1. When your ego takes over, remind yourself that your message is what’s important, not you.

2. Instead of comparing your path to another’s, redefine your goals and strengthen your message.

3. Allow the fear to be a healthy part of the process instead of letting it define your choices.

When you begin to trust the process, stay on stage literally and figuratively, and fully embrace your unique point of view, you will become the success you are meant to be. It’s okay to not have all the answers yet. Simply play your scene until it all makes sense. Because if you stay in it, it will.

The Big Pitch
09 Jul 2019

I have received thousands of pitches over the years, whether it’s to be in a show I’m producing, on my podcast, TEDx event or now Speakers Who Dare. You have one opportunity to stand out from the crowd from one piece of paper, or in one email. This is your chance to get on the radar of the event organizer so that you can get onto their stage and have the impact you want to have.

Here are the top three mistakes people make when pitching:

  1. Save the best for last.

You may think saving the best for  last is a good move, however, not when it comes to getting and keeping the attention of organizers. Lead with your important thought. I see this over and over, it’s as if people are working it out and then they figure out what they actually want to say and it goes at the very end. We may not make it to the end of the pitch and therefore, miss your important thoughts, because they are not up front. Do not save the best for last, when pitching.

  1. Puff yourself up with books you’ve written and your credentials.

Most organizers want to know the message or idea that you are sharing can serve their audience. We don’t rely on your resume for that. Instead of leading with, I’m a PHD and have written three books on behavior, lead with My patients are dying and I believe this is something we can prevent by creating a behavior pharmacy.  This tells me you are a doctor, that you care about what you do, and it peaks my interest to keep reading.

  1. Leading with the want.

When you are pitching, it should never be about you. It should always be about the idea and the important message. Instead of leading with I want to help people see fear is a gift, which is about you,  lead with the idea. Fear is a gift that will serve the population and ultimate the world. When you highlight the idea, you become the person we choose.

By avoiding these three simple mistakes, you are giving yourself an opportunity to connect and stand out with event organizers. For more support on pitching, download my free Sample Pitch Letter.

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Check worry off of your list
09 Jul 2019

In all my years of producing different shows and events, the one thing that remains same is that two weeks before the event or the show, fear sets in. And no matter if you are a seasoned speaker, or a new one. No matter if you have done 1000 shows or one. It is consistently about two weeks before that fear sets in, because the speakers or actors are far enough out that they start imagining everything that can go wrong, but not too close to the performance, that they begin to manifest the failures.

These fears range from forgetting the lines, to being rejected, to feeling like they are not worthy.

I had the privilege of working with three top speakers on their TEDx Talks, recently.
What I learn every time in this process, is that it unfolds like this.

Each speaker starts out with excitement. Then we move into the process, which is not easy. It takes lots of time, thought and more thought to write, listen to, and rewrite and deliver a talk. Then they move into the insecurity phase. Is this any good? How am I going to edit my idea down to 18 minutes? Who do I think I am to be talking on such a big idea? From there, because of the work, we move into the confidence phase. This talk is going to help so many people. I’m the absolute right person to be  sharing this idea worth spreading. I am off book and ready to deliver a game changing talk.

This next phase is the phase I welcome and frankly love. The fear phase is where the mind begins to take over. What if I forget everything? What if they reject me? What if I die?

It is at this point that we take an inventory of everything we need to do to set up for success, so that on the day, there is no room for fear. So that on the day, all there is room for is delivering an incredible message and having impact on the audience and the world.

Just like an athlete, seeing the ball going into the net, your mind is going visualize your success from that stage. However, if you are thinking about what you need to do right before you go on, this kind of distraction can fuel the fear that will be in the way of your captivating performance. Free your mind from fear and worry so it can do what it’s meant to do, be with the audience.

Reducing or even eliminating fear starts by removing any and all things that can go wrong. My speakers and I create a list of everything they need, of everything they want and of everything that will insure their success on the day. Being this kind of prepared, is what gives you the freedom to be fully in the moment on stage.  And this is how you deliver a rock star performance every time.

Grab a free copy of The Art of the Big Talk check-list so that you can set yourself of for success.

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The Most Important Thing to Do Before Asking for a Raise
10 Jan 2019

When you’re planning to ask for a raise, the most important thing to rehearse is not what you think.

You’re probably obsessing over talking numbers with your boss, but how you begin the conversation and establish your case is far more important — and often less stressful to prepare for.

I’m a passionate producer, and I’m often asking for funding or development deals from places like Comedy Central and HBO — and I always lead with what’s amazing. For example, “I know this film is a going to be a hit and the talent we have attached will insure it. I am also fully committed to getting it into theaters around the country. Distribution is key and we are good to go. And I can see us on the red carpet together.”


To Give a Great Presentation, Distill Your Message to Just 15 Words
07 Nov 2018

Fearless public speaking is about more than combating nerves. It’s about knowing the technique, the art, and the business of public speaking.

In my two years working as a TedX producer, and my 27 years working in film, television, theater, and events production, I have worked with hundreds of speakers, and with actors including Kate Winslet, Christopher Walken, Susan Sarandon, and the late James Gandolfini. All of the speakers and actors I’ve worked with rely on technique when they walk on to a stage or a set. They don’t simply hope they will connect with the scene or with their scene partner. The same applies to anyone who’s public speaking. While you may not deliver a captivating talk every time, you can learn to apply technique, and in turn, become a fearless speaker every time. But your nerves are not the only thing you have to master. You must also:


Here’s How Highly Successful People Generate Their Own Good Luck
27 Sep 2018

It can be tempting to look at successful people and think they’ve been luckier than everyone else. Maybe. But more likely they’re just better at creating opportunities and opening doors. Here’s advice from more than a dozen high-achieving executives on how to do it.

1. Perfect your ask.
“Leading a startup accelerator, I can tell you there is no denying the power of a great pitch. No matter your industry, role or goals, good listening skills are a necessity, but it’s critical to perfect your ask. Have a well-honed standard for what you’re good at, what you love to do, and what you’re looking for, and take advantage of every opportunity where you can share that narrative with people who can open doors. Fortune favors the bold.”

–Micah Kotch, managing director of URBAN-X, a startup accelerator backed by MINI, which invests $100,000 in up to 10 startups every six months

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Taking a TEDx Stage
10 Sep 2018

As the executive producer of TEDxLincolnSquare in New York City, I have privilege of working with some amazing speakers. I also get to read hundreds of incredible ideas worth spreading during the application processes each September. Wearing the crown of a TEDx speaker is something authors, speakers, and leaders all want. And the truth is, this red crown, gets you through more doors and gets you more returned calls. But, why does being a TEDx speaker bring on instant credibility? What about taking a TEDx stage is so fancy? I believe it’s the wow factor. The brand TED is super credible. The ideas and speakers who take TED stages are important. Pope Francis spoke at the 2017 conference! And the dream of what could be is alluring. Simon Sinek and Brene Brown became rock stars overnight and that excites people. However, committing to the process of identifying, writing and delivering a TEDx is not easy. TED and TEDx talks are an artform that take time to learn like any other artform. Along with learning the art of TEDx, each event and how to apply successfully, must also be a consideration on this amazing journey. And finally, when you take the stage, be sure to accept the gift of the audience before you give us yours.


The Art and Commerce of Story-Telling
03 Sep 2018

I have always been a story teller. It started back when I took my first stage. My story, although told with my body through dance, was a total expression of my soul. Story telling is something anyone can take on. And when we decide to become vulnerable, and share our ideas and purpose with the world, it’s possible to create not only magic, but also make an impact that will have a profound effect on every life.

Story telling is an art that may take on many forms. Choreography, filmmaking, literature, and now famously, The TED Talks. TED is a not-for-profit organization standing for technology, entertainment and design, but also includes scientific, cultural and academic topics. The conference, for short form, 18 minute or less talks, started in 1984 and has continued annually since 1990, with curator Chris Anderson at the helm. TED Talks are “ideas worth spreading” and there are over 2,600 TED Talks freely available online. Wikipedia notes that by November 2012, TED Talks have been watched over one billion times worldwide.

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