Sunday, August 30, 2015

From Hustler to Zen Pilot

The morning of July 19th of 2015 started as usual; I woke up frantically grabbing my phone to snooze my obnoxiously loud 6 A.M. alarm. For some strange reason, I had thought I could train myself to get up early in the morning if I played something irritably loud. But my “brilliant” idea worked only partially: high-decibel sound would certainly wake me up, but it wasn’t a good enough motivator to put me in a vertical position; the moment I touched my smart phone, I would lose myself in catching up with the “so important” nowadays digital world and stay in bed for another 30 minutes.  

That morning I checked my text messages first. Not finding anything interesting, I moved on to Facebook, and the first thing I read was a post from my good friend from San Diego:
“EMERGENCY LANDING at Kuala Lumpur (KLIA2) today after loss of oil pressure at 10,000 feet of the coast. I declared an in-flight emergency and coasted in… Details to follow…”

Robert DeLaurentis and I were just Facebook buddies for some time before we actually met in person back in March, while I was attending Social Media Summit 2015 in San Diego. I was 20 minutes late for our meeting, but he was very patient with my poor navigation skills, watching me circling around Balboa Park like a mad woman in attempt to find him.

From his Facebook posts I knew quite a bit about Robert and his biggest passions –flying, public speaking, traveling—but I was mostly eager to talk about his major adventure: an upcoming flight around the world in 90 days in his single-engine 1997 Piper Malibu Mirage plane, which he called “Spirit of San Diego.”

That night I felt intoxicated from the excitement of his idea of flying around the world on a single-engine airplane and was firing off questions at 100 mph:
What was his motivation?
Was he scared?
What kind of safety equipment would he be using?
What if the weather was bad?
Who were his sponsors?
Who was promoting his trip?
How many countries was he going to visit?

I caught myself thinking that most of my questions were about fear and expectations of negative scenarios. I never asked him if he was more excited or worried about this flight. He calmly answered my questions, smiled a lot, and described the trip in detail. It was obvious that he wasn’t afraid of the challenges and was fully prepared for emergency situations; his voice was warm and relaxed like a Southern California breeze.

Robert also told me about writing his first book. The title, “Flying Thru Life,” perfectly explained his idea of applying spirituality in life and business in order to reach a higher altitude. That inner space—peaceful, beautiful, and sunny—is above the turbulence of fear and the clouds of uncertainties.

Five months later, that book, “Flying Thru Life: How to Grow your Business and Relationships with Applied Spirituality,” was published. It took me only a few hours to read my friend’s whole life story and the valuable lessons he has learned along his way.

Of the many amazing things I learned about Robert from his book, I have to joke about this one: only in California can you earn a degree in “Spiritual Psychology with emphasis in consciousness health and healing”—and make money practicing it!  On the East Coast, we (as Gary V. would say) hustle.

In the beginning of his career, Robert was a typical hustler, type “A” personality, and bully, who rightfully earned his nickname, “Bobby D. Steamroller,” because of his unique ability to “plow” through people’s lives, fighting both in and out of court, antagonizing nonpaying tenants with special vindictiveness and escalated rage, and screaming at the top of his lungs when he argued.

I never knew Bobby D. Steamroller. The Robert I know now is a warm, kind man with a calm and beautiful smile, who is grateful for every opportunity he’s got to help others, for every friend he makes, for every nautical mile he flies, for every dawn he witnesses, for every soul he touches.

So, what made this tough, stubborn Italian change from the way he lived before? A spiritual awakening? What triggered such an urgent need for change? I think the answer is simple: Robert got tired of being sick and tired. He needed to change, and he found his answer in spirituality and inner peace.

You have to read his book to learn the principles that helped him to find happiness and ease, and also tripled the revenue of his real estate business. From reading this book, everyone can find something that is totally unique to them, to their own business and social affairs.

The ideas in Robert’s book with which I most identified were:

You don’t have to serve a life sentence for making mistakes.
True. It’s never too late to say “I am sorry.”

The person you judge becomes a mirror, so you can see yourself.

I had to find the way of doing things that would let everyone win.
My favorite entrepreneurs of all times, Steve Jobs, once said, Apple didn’t have to win so that Microsoft would lose, Apple is not Microsoft.

Allowing myself to be vulnerable enabled me to connect with the divine soul in front of me, as my teacher.

And my favorite: Higher altitude brings clear sky and serenity.

              Fly higher! Namaste! ("The Spirit within Me salutes the Spirit in You")

P.S. To find out how Robert got out of his emergency situation in Malaysia and whether he completed his childhood dream of flying around the world, please visit his website.

Robert DeLaurentis’ second book, “Zen Pilot,” will be available on Amazon soon.
To follow his courageous journey and more adventurous trips, sign up for his newsletter here

Photos are courtesy and Robert DeLaurentis

You can find more blogs on my LinkedIn page , Follow me on Twitter @NatashaJuhasz 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Surpassing the Test of Time

What’s truly amazing about this quote is when it came from. Yes… when. It is credited to Epictetus, a philosopher who lived from 55AD to 135AD. He was a Greek-born slave in Rome who became a great philosopher and teacher, and was eventually granted his freedom. 

 “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”

There’s a lot of comfort to be found in knowing we aren’t the only ones who’ve struggled with trying to find our way in an increasingly complex world. As can be seen with these additional Epictetus quotes, people have been struggling with the same basic problems, situations, and issues throughout time. 

“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.” 

At the very least, these quotes are absolute evidence that we aren’t the only ones trying to do and be more. If people in Epictetus’s time needed to be reminded that there are other ways to approach life rather than being satisfied to live a life by default, then you gotta know that getting stuck is just part of the process of living. 

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”

It’s nice to know there have always been people thinking about how to live a life worth living—probably even before anyone listening to what those first teachers had to say was capable of writing down what they were saying. It’s a relief to know that even though they weren’t able to provide definitive answers either, they were able to provided approaches to life’s conundrums that have quite literally stood the test of time. Each of these ancient quotes (and the not-so-ancient quote at the end) is just as relevant today as it was over 2000 years ago... 

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”


                                                         -   Valerie Utton 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Are You Comfortably Numb

The first time I ever heard the words “comfortably numb” within a business context was when Larry Caizzi, the Director of Purchasing at Pacific Packaging said them. Over the years, I’ve realized how right he was, and how easy it is to become comfortably numb. Take sales people for instance. We put in all that time and effort to finally secure the account we’ve been pursuing for a long time. And then, once the ink is dry, we breathe in a big sigh of relief and relax, thinking about how great everything’s going to be now.
But we’re sales people, and that means looking for the next big account to bring on board. Over time, the account we just secured naturally starts drifting down our list of priorities. We know it’s still there. It’s a persistent noise in the background reminding us that there’s more to sales than just acquiring new accounts. We promise ourselves we’ll reach out to them just as soon as we can, but never seem to find the time to return their calls or schedule the much needed in-person sales call.
It might even get to the point where we start complaining to our manager that the account is becoming a real pain-in-the-ass. Yes, I said it. I’ve witnessed it too, the evolution of an account full of profit potential being relegated to nothing more than a pain in the… well… you know. From there, it’s just a quick hop to becoming numb to the account altogether.
Of course the greatest danger is not just being comfortably numb when it comes to our work, but in life as well because the reality is that if it’s happening at work, then it’s probably happening at home too—and vice-versa. Here are a few reminders that might expose areas in your life where the pressure to succeed might have nudged you into the comfortably numb zone:
  • Take responsibility for what you bring into your relationships. It can’t always be someone else’s fault.
  • Simple words like “Please” and “Thank You” are words that will help you build rapport. Once you start looking for opportunities to use them, opportunities will abound.
  • Treat every encounter like it’ll be the last time you’ll be able to meet with that person… because it just might be.
  • Let people know you value your relationship with them. Doing so will build bridges that will stand the test of time. 
  • Remind yourself of how much it meant to initially establish the relationship. If it was worth the effort then, isn’t it worth the effort now?
  • Remind yourself of what you stand to lose if you continue to ignore the relationship.
  • Shift your focus away from thinking solely about what’s in it for you. Think and act from the perspective of adding value, and your relationships will continue to blossom and grow.
  • Don’t just post an update on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ and think that will suffice. Don’t just send a tweet, or post on Pinterest, or send a group email. None of these adequately replaces the respect of picking up the phone and actually speaking with someone.

Now it’s time for you to stop and think about the areas in your life where you’ve become "comfortably numb". Decide what you need to do, do it, and let the results you get speak for themselves. 

Alan Luoma is a Sales Coach with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, new product development, sales and product training. He works part time with a national sustainable packaging company and their distributors to increase sales. Alan is an expert that speaks on eliminating behaviors that prevent you from being successful in sales and uncovering sales prevention departments that hinder your success. He is a member of the Hartford Springfield Speakers Network, The National Speakers Association and New England Speakers Association. You can view his profile on LinkedIn, or contact him at

Thursday, August 27, 2015

How do you thank the person/company that hired you

Thanking the person who hired you and keeping in touch in an appropriate manner can help to cultivate relationships and bring you more business.
After you speak send a hand written note via traditional mail, not e-mail, to the person who hired you. If you worked with multiple people be sure to include them all. In your note thank them for hiring you. Let them know that you enjoyed working with them, include any positive feedback you received and let them know that you look forward to the opportunity to work with them in the future. Include a list of a few other topics you are qualified to speak on that fit their audience.

Be sure your note is not too long. It should fit on one page or less. Mail the note within 3 days of the event.

Log all pertinent data into your data base to enable you to connect with them in the future.

About Nancy D. Butler
Nancy, a national motivational speaker, business coach and award-winning author, has been quoted in many local and national publications including USA Today, Money Magazine, Playboy magazine, The Chicago Tribune, AARP and The Day and has been a speaker for major corporations such as Pfizer, General Dynamics and Dow Chemical. Nancy has also been a guest on several television and radio shows.

Contact Nancy for a free consultation at