Category Archives: Writing

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

This was a hard blog post to write… but was necessary for me.  Over Thursday and Friday, December 8 and 9, I attended a course on Interpersonal Communications in Las Vegas.  The course is designed for auction professionals to become more effective communicators by breaking bad habits, learning new methods of communication and finding personal pitfalls.  Through discussion in the course and interaction with classmates I discovered some of the things I already knew and discovered a few others than need addressing.

Outside of what I already knew before the class, I learned that internal struggle can be the catalyst for outward appearance and communication with others… meaning (from a general level), what is going on inside is going to show on your face.  One of my issues is I am constantly competing with myself… never being content with who I am, what I am and what I have.  I am not speaking from a material standpoint because that has never really been a motivating factor with me. I am speaking from a success standpoint – I have never allowed myself to accept a level of success – I keep moving the measuring stick.  You read that right… I keep moving my own measuring stick.  Let that hang out for a moment…

This morning, our message in church was another in series of messages leading up to Christmas.  It was focused on the materialism of Christmas – STUFF, if you will.  My toes were stepped on as I thought through this from my point-of-view.  It spoke to me and I feverously typed notes to construct this blog post… some of which I have included here.


We can’t really appreciate what we DO have until we stop focusing on what we DON’T have. Contentment is hard for people in the United States because we are constantly bombarded by new, better, faster… there are magazines, TV shows, books that constantly show what others have – materialism is an antagonist in the story of contentment.

Contentment doesn’t just deal with materialism… it also affects our level of perceived success. We constantly compare ourselves to our peers and this skews our vision of WHO we really are. We lose focus of what we have and what we have achieved. This skewed vision does not allow us to see what we HAVE attained in our lives… this leads to missing deadlines, putting things off, not following through or not performing 100% in the present.

For example, Mick Jagger is the front man for The Rolling Stones and has always been remembered for their hit song, I can’t get no satisfaction. Few people know that he also led a solo career that ran parallel to the tours and album releases of The Stones and none of his individual hits were ever as successful as those of The Stones.  His net worth is over $300 million and he still felt that he needed to prove something else.

Peer Pressure:

“Peer pressure” has been the catchphrase of parents and teachers for years… from a fear standpoint, it has led children to the ‘dark side’. It is the perennial excuse when a boy or girl goes astray – “they succumbed to peer pressure”.

So… peer pressure goes away when you hit a certain age?

Oh, that’s a joke!  It feeds itself, lives and breathes into a larger monster… shadow… cloud over us… it is right there in front of us, but so transparent that we see right through it.

Adult peer pressure is as evident as the air we breathe. It pushes us into situations that pull us off our chosen path… adults have the mechanism to reject peer pressure because the adult brain is fully developed with an arsenal of thinking skills, rationalization skills and need/want-based analysis… but yet, when someone lands a big deal, achieves a new position, pulls in a huge bonus peer pressure kicks in and takes our eyes off of OUR prize. OUR prize is the finish line we have established for ourselves – that goal we have set to let us know we have accomplished something.

The Finish Line:

A finish line is established with clear-cut goals.  “I am going to do XXX by XXXX”.  You know in your heart the goal is not complete until you cross the finish line… whether this is a date, a success point or some other measurable item you establish when you set the goal.  Point-of-reference:  I said ‘clear-cut’ for a reason – if you are setting a goal, you need to establish some type of measure to make yourself accountable to complete the goal.  This is essential for both short-term and long-term goals.

The finish line is important because it gives you something to look forward to… not just ‘look forward to accomplishing’ but also to actually MAKE you look forward… this keeps you from backsliding and getting off track.

Until, of course, WE move our own finish line… WE get in our own way and decide to dangle a larger carrot further from our reach because WE cannot be happy with any measure of success.  WE don’t believe it when others congratulate us, tell us how awesome we are… or tell us they want to be where WE are.  (There are many of US out there with this same issue – which is why I highlighted we in those sentences).

That last paragraph is what I have been analyzing since Friday.  I know I have to get out of my own way… and it is going to take baby steps to make it happen.  I have to fight the resistance.

The Lizard Brain/Monkey Brain/Resistance:

You’re not good enough. You can’t do that. Why do you think you can do that?

You’ve heard every one of these… and the other iterations.  Adults have a fully developed brain – capable of multiple thoughts at once, capable of huge computations, capable of beautiful feelings, capable of rationalization… until the resistance kicks in!  The resistance has also been labeled Lizard Brain or Monkey Brain.  Whichever name you use, it is still the same deal… it is there to make you second-guess yourself.  It holds you back.  It makes you backslide.  It keeps you from being the most you can be.

The resistance causes you to say one thing and do another… We want to be successful then we sabotage the process… The resistance is the voice in the back of your head that tells us to go slow, back off, be careful, compromise.  It is in all of us – the amygdala isn’t going away – it is the prehistoric lump on your brain stem responsible for fear and rage and reproduction.

The only way to be your true self is to learn to quiet the lizard brain… ignore the resistance!

So… now you know a little of my personal struggles.  Hopefully you have seen some of your own internal issues in this post. From the time we discussed my issues in class this week, I have come to realize I have so much to offer – RIGHT NOW.  Beginning with throwing the business hat to the side, ripping off the armor and discussing these issues in the open… so I can help others become their better self.

You have seen my hashtag #GSD (get shit done) on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts for years… now you are going to see a new one:  #ownit.  Too many people DON’T own what they do or say.  If I write it, I’m going to own it… good or bad.

FYI:  I am posting this without edits… I am kicking the resistance in the ass and, as Seth Godin says, SHIPPING this to you!

Feel free to post your comments below!


Posted by on December 11, 2016 in Just Me, Motivation, Writing


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Woodmont High School Commencement Keynote 2015

Woodmont High School Commencement Keynote 2015

June 2015 – I was chosen by Woodmont High School‘s Student Government to deliver the graduation commencement speech to the 2015 graduating class.  I am a public speaker and auctioneer, so I am usually calm when speaking in front on audiences… I am paid to be the calmest person in the room.  This was a little different because I was speaking to a graduating class and their parents and relatives.  I had to make each word count.

Here is the speech – in it’s entirety.  There are points in the speech for my reference… places to pause, point, laugh, etcetera.  I made sure to put these in so I could break my normal serious tone.  Enjoy…

The Journey Begins with You…

Mr Imperati, Dr Peake, members of the faculty, family, friends and most importantly…

Congratulations on your achievement!

This is your night and we are all here to celebrate you!

Before I begin… you have parents and guardians that have coddled you, fed you, wiped your nose, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, coached you, held you, encouraged you… sacrificed time and again to get you here…

Keep your seats, but take a moment to give them a round of applause…

Parents and guardians…

Feel free to take as many selfies with me in the background as you want because it’s all about them for the next 20-30 minutes!

(Point to graduates and laugh)

I’m kidding… I’ll be brief… But, with the selfies – make sure I am in focus and tagged correctly online!

(HUGE GRIN) “Follow me and I’ll follow back!”

Each year, the Student Council chooses an alumnus to speak to the graduating class… someone who graduated from Woodmont and has gone on to do great things… lead armies… cure diseases… win major awards…

Well, he wasn’t available… so you’ve got me!


You’ve heard magna cum laude and summa cum laude…

When I graduated in 1990, all you heard was ‘Oh Lawdy’


It’s been almost 25 years to the day since I graduated from Woodmont High School. That was back in the olden days of the school… in the old building… with teachers like Abrams, Candler, Snipes, McCuen and some guy named Alan Russell.


I remember a lot of things about that day.

I remember sitting in the Memorial Auditorium sweating my tail off making sure I didn’t get the line out of alphabetical order…

I remember that I was stoked because I was leaving for Senior Week the next day…

I was heading to college in the fall… and my future was set!


But times changed… the future did not roll on as planned and my college life was “one and done”. Fraternity life and the grading policy of Francis Marion College didn’t gel and we parted ways after only one year.

I failed.

I took a job after college to make ends meet and moved back home to live with my dad.

I failed.

I was floundering around blaming the world… I had failed myself… I had failed my family…

I had failed my so-called friends – not that they cared… because they were right there with me!

Here’s a hint: Everybody that’s riding with you isn’t riding FOR you. Let the gas run out and see who helps you push!

After a few years of being sick and tired of being sick and tired, I realized that the potential was inside of me but I was too busy blaming everyone else for my shortcomings…

I want you to know that you have people all around you that are truly pulling for you…

I am one of them.

I would not have accepted this opportunity to speak to you if I was not rallying right behind each and every one of you!


In the short amount of time I have tonight I’d like to share a few points of success… these points have never failed me… I just had to find them and begin using them!

These are points to think about, quickly forget but years from now kick yourself for not having listened to!

Before I begin, I want to tell you the core secret of my success – small prayers throughout the day to God. He and I have small 3-4 sentence conversations at various times throughout the day…

All of my success I owe to God.

Today, I hold three college degrees…

Even though I have shared the stage with celebrities and raised money for lots of important causes, I feel tonight’s opportunity to speak to you is one of my highest honors… and I thank you for that!

On to the points…

Parents… I’ll warn you… go ahead and tune out – you may not like some of what I am going to say!

Graduates… Point #1… TRUST YOURSELF

You are getting so much advice from parents, teachers and friends…

Even old guys like me…

There is way too much distortion to filter through…

You have to dig down deep and decide WHO you want to be – not WHAT – but WHO.

Figure out what makes YOU happy… not your parents or friends… listen to your heart…

And do not let other people cloud the process.

One of my favorite authors, Seth Godin, talks about this notion called The Resistance – The resistance is the voice in the back of our heads telling us to back off… to be careful… to go slow… to compromise.

We spend so much time letting The Resistance take over that we lose sight about WHO we want to be.

I’ve heard the Resistance… It sounds like this…

“No, I am not good enough”. (pause)

“No… they won’t like me”. (pause)

“They would never hire me.” (pause)

“I am too young.” (pause)

Even when I was about to make a decision… prepared and ready… the naysayers joined The Resistance and helped beat down the idea.

These naysayers are never happy…

…they are the ones Bob Marley talked about when he said,

“some people feel the rain… others just get wet.”

DON’T LISTEN TO THE NAYSAYERS… that’s my 2nd point

I found a quote on Instagram that fits them…

I used to care what people thought about me, until one day, I tried to pay my bills with their opinions


You have to turn away from the people that say, “it can’t be done” or “no, I don’t think it will work” or “why are THEY doing THAT?”

They are wasting your time because they are afraid to make a move.

What if Steve Jobs had stopped when they told him the Macintosh was not feasible? What if he stopped designing the iPod when the world was hooked on CDs?

Your generation has SO many advantages mine didn’t… Millennials make up the second largest population group in the United States and you literally have the world at your fingertips.

(show typing thumbs)

But you are going to run into people who are afraid to make the next move… the ones that are afraid of making the wrong choice… the ones who are afraid of stepping outside the box…

I’m telling you now… step outside of that box and stomp it to pieces!


That leads to the next point…

Don’t. Be. Afraid. To. Fail.

People are so cautious because they never experience life… they never experience life because they are afraid to fail. Fear creeps in.

Get this… fear is normal… it keeps you alive. But it should not rule your life!

Go back to my first point… dig down deep and figure out who YOU want to be. You can’t let friends and family dictate your every move…

If I was afraid to fail, do you think I would be standing up here tonight?

Public speaking is the #1 fear in America… right in front of death (most people don’t like either)

I do this for a living and I have stressed more over this talk than any other I have put together… that’s life… suck it up and make it happen!

See if you recognize these famous failures…

  1. A guy was fired from a newspaper for “lacking imagination” and “having no original ideas”. (Walt Disney)
  2. A man was a high school dropout whose personal struggles with drugs and poverty led to an unsuccessful suicide attempt. (Eminem)

These two didn’t let life keep them down… they took the punch, got up, dusted off and made it happen!

I have a poster in my office that says:

Experiment. Fail. Learn. Repeat.

You cannot let fear of failure paralyze your decision-making. In this world, the ones that can make decisions are the ones that are rewarded the most.

So… the next point…

BREAK SOME RULES… not laws, mind you… rules.

Take some chances and live your life!

I love Steve Jobs’ quote: Here’s to the crazy ones… the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones that see things differently. THEY ARE NOT FOND OF RULES… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is IGNORE them. Because they change things.

What is the point to being here if all you want to do is be liked by everybody and avoid trouble? You cannot be an original if you are afraid to break a rule or two.

Do you REALLY think the faculty sitting here tonight never broke rules?


I remember when I was starting my fundraising company… The naysayers constantly told me that I couldn’t get paid for fundraising and consulting. It was not the norm… people didn’t do it.

Those were their rules… not mine.

I was convinced that if I put my heart and soul into it and learned everything I could about the business, the rules could be rewritten.

And they were…

Which leads me to my last point…

You have to WORK YOUR A… (sorry, I got carried away)

You have to work your butt off.

Edison said – opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Don’t be afraid of hard work… while you are out partying, sleeping late, messing around and wasting time someone else is hard at work and PASSING YOU BY.

I cannot stress this point enough!

Leave no stone unturned and when you feel you have done enough… THAT is your starting point. That is the point where the sweat beads on your forehead…

That is the point where your muscles ache and your head starts to throb.

So… why am I telling you this?

The world has already labeled your generation…

Yep – the NINJA generation… no income, no jobs, no assets.

You’re the hands-off generation because you are dependent on technology to make things happen for you.

People say you are being dumbed down by not having to lift a finger for anything.

Is this WHAT you want to be remembered for?

Is this WHO you want to be?

Absolutely not… you have just finished 12 years of education to get you here tonight.

But guess what…


Like it or not, life starts over tomorrow when you step foot outside as a graduate of Woodmont High School.

Whether you go to work, college, military or whatever… you are starting at zero.

Remember when your parents used to tell you you were one in a million… well, today that means there are 319 like you in the United States, 1252 in India and 1357 in China.

You are NOT special… your one in a million in the US could fill about the same number of seats your class is using tonight. Think about it… 319 YOUs

I think I just heard a parent feint in the stands!

That means that you have to fight for everything!

That means it is time to chart your own path…

That means tomorrow you take charge and find a way out of this NINJA definition and represent your school, your community, your family and YOURSELF!


I leave you tonight with a note that has been a driving force for me… it is from a poem by Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.


Woodmont High School class of 2015…

I leave you with this final point:

Carpe freakin’ diem… Go out and make it happen!


Thank you for reading… Feel free to leave comments by clicking the ‘Leave a comment’ link!

Darron Meares, MBA, CAI, MPPA, BAS
Founder – Meares and Associates, LLC

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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Motivation, Writing


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You’re NOT in Control

Why do we let things bother us when God is in control? Of course, there are things that we feel are out of all control… like the flight I am on this morning. (I’m typing on the iPhone as we fly)

There is a line of thunderstorms moving across the country and they are meeting my flight near the Atlanta airport. Air Traffic Control (ATC) still has the skies open, so there has to be some not-so-rough air around. Hopefully the pilots, their navigation and their skills can find it.

Nervous? Yes. I am. I travel a lot and it never gets easier. You have the smooth flights but they don’t make up for the ones where weather is not on your side. I trust the system that they would not put planes in the air if it were an unsafe situation. However, that doesn’t help my heart and breathing rates!

My life is about short prayers. My longest prayers are right before bedtime and they are not that long. Those are the ones where I thank God for the day and everything He provided. Most of my other prayers are quick thank-yous.

These thank yous are for the things God has given me (or got me out of in some cases!). They are thank yous for blessings he has bestowed upon me and my family. They are, at times, personal. I believe in short prayers because I am not a professional at this, by any means. Add to that a good dose of ADD where my mind starts to wander… eh, you get the picture!

Right about now my legs are glued to the floor and my CrossFit squatting muscles are pushing against the seatbelt and I try to counteract the forces of nature and a multi-ton MD88 aircraft. This must be the line of storms the pilot said we had to cross!

I can honestly say that I have been through some harrowing situations… another flight that was 10x worse when we hit a snowstorm at 30,000 feet… emergency landings due to fires in the cockpit… gear lights not indicating if we have landing gear. But through it all I knew that God was in control.

He gives us these instances to knock us back down so we will realize it’s not about us. He also gives us these instances to kick me in the behind for not writing blog posts as often as I should! (I write on airplanes to pass the time and to alleviate stress from the unknown).

Funny… literally, as I wrap this up, the lights of western Atlanta appear below.

No one said you had to be a pastor, reverend or preacher… say short prayers for what you have been given! If nothing else it will keep the lines of communication open with the Man upstairs!

Post your thoughts below…

Darron Meares, MBA, CAI, MPPA, BAS
Asset Appraiser/Auctioneer/Speaker

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Posted by on October 14, 2014 in Just Me, Motivation, Travel, Writing


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Labor Day is always surreal to me…

Labor Day is always surreal to me…

Living close to the coast gives me the ability to go whenever I have the time.  I actually should go more than I do, but sometimes life gets in the way.  You never can get enough of the coastal air, the sand, the waves, the water… it’s a cleansing for the soul.

Labor Day always feels surreal to me… you know it is the official end of summer.  You stand on the beach and watch the crowds begin to thin out as they pack up and start their travel back to reality.  They’ll have to wait in eager anticipation for school to end and vacation time to being anew.

It’s always given me a sad feeling, like it’s hard to breathe when you think about the scene unfolding.  Not sure why. It’s like you don’t even want to see it happen… It’s funny, I get the same feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear Don Henley’s Boys of Summer. I guess I am one of those that wishes summer would never end.  Nostalgic even.

Jimmy Buffett sums it up quite well here:

When The Coast Is Clear

Lyrics to When The Coast Is Clear :They’re closin’ down the hangout
The air is turnin’ cool
They’er shuttin’ off the superslide
The kids are back in school

The tourist traps are empty
Vacancy abounds
Almost like it used to be
Before the circus came to town

That’s when it always happens
Same time every year
I come down to talk to me
When the coast is clear

Hello mister other me
It’s been a long time
We hardly get to have these chats
That in itself’s a crime

So tell me all your troubles
I’ll surely tell you mine
We’ll laugh and smoke and cuss and joke
And have a glass of wine

That’s where it always happens
Same place every year
I come down and talk to me
When the coast is clear

It’s the only place he knows
Where it always happens
Same place every year
I come down and talk to me
When the coast is clear
They’re closin’ down the hangout
The air is turnin’ cool
They’er shuttin’ off the superslide”
The kids are back in school

The tourist traps are empty
Vacancy abounds
Almost like it used to be
Before the circus came to town

That’s when it always happens
Same time every year
I come down to talk to me
When the coast is clear

Hello mister other me
It’s been a long time
We hardly get to have these chats
That in itself’s a crime

So tell me all your troubles
I’ll surely tell you mine
We’ll laugh and smoke and cuss and joke
And have a glass of wine

That’s where it always happens
Same place every year
I come down and talk to me
When the coast is clear

It’s the only place he knows
Where it always happens
Same place every year
I come down and talk to me
When the coast is clear

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Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Just Me, Travel, Writing


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I ate breakfast off of a Christmas plate… on Memorial Day

I ate breakfast off of a Christmas plate… on Memorial Day

Yeah, weird title for a blog post, but I’ll get to that… first off, happy Memorial Day and a HUGE thank you to our veterans and active-duty military across the world!

This morning I looked down at my plate and realized I’d been given the green Christmas plate adorned with snowflakes.  This, like most random things, got me thinking… why didn’t this plate get stored away in the attic with the rest of the Christmas decorations and what kind of Mrs Manners rule are we breaking by not climbing the steps and shoving it into a box with it’s kin folk?

Actually, I could care less.  From reading my other posts I’m sure most of you realize I am a free spirit.  Yes, I’ve had the $300 dinners served with precision and enough utensils surrounding the plate for a small family… I’ve also had the meals on cheap Styrofoam plates with matching paper cups.  Does any of it matter?  Not really.

If you looked above the microwave in our kitchen you’d find our fine china.  I’d estimate there is around $3500 worth of it just sitting in two sections of cabinet… why?  Because someone, somewhere said that you had to register for fine china when you got married.  Probably the same person that said, “hmmm, I know they want this awesome grill, but I’m going to buy them a plate.  They’ll love it!”

Why is this reality?  We have used the ‘fine’ china with the platinum rim exactly FOUR times in 14 years.  On the flip side, the Christmas plate is constantly in rotation when, in reality, it should only be used between December 21-25 each year.  I think it had a price tag of $2.99.

Fine china is a leftover virus of a bygone era.  Like herpes and luggage, you keep it forever…

Walk through any store that sells china and you’ll see less and less of it on display.  This is because younger generations are not buying it – that is, unless their parents tell them, “register for it.   You know grandma Johnson will want to buy you a piece of your pattern.”  Seriously?!?  Why not have grandma Johnson buy something on the wedding registry the couple really wants?

From an auctioneer standpoint (which is my occupation) china does not sell well on the resale market.  Some patterns do hold their value, but most do not.  You can always check with Replacements Ltd in Greensboro, NC to see if they will buy your china, but their stock is usually full.  Why?  Because fewer and fewer families are buying/replacing/selling china.

We use Fiesta dinnerware for everyday use.  Very colorful dinnerware that matches my personality… which is probably how the green Christmas plate got mixed in unnoticed.



Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Just Me, Writing


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So you’re running a mud run? Not exactly…



Yes, there is a mud in the photo above… lots of it, in fact.  When I tell people that I am running a Spartan Race or, in this case, the Warrior Dash, a lot of them say it’s a mud run.  There are a lot of misconceptions between mud runs and OCR (obstacle course racing).  I will do my best to define the two and maybe help some of you differentiate them.

A mud run is typically set up by a group as a fundraiser or another type of run instead of the traditional 5k or 10k road race.  Mud runs may or may not contain obstacles, because the events tend to focus more on muddiness. These events also tend to be less competitive. It’s more of the ‘weekend warrior’ type event where the participants are having a good time getting dirty – usually taking a clean before and a dirty after picture to commemorate the run.  Many times, OCR competitors use mud runs as a training run for more competitive events as the mud runs are closer to home in many cases.

Obstacle course races are different because they are usually set up as timed events with a strict performance standard for the obstacles. In addition, at some races there are penalties when an obstacle is skipped or not completed to standard.  Obstacle races will have tougher obstacles than a typical mud run, such as rope climbs, stone carries or water traverses.  These obstacles require more physically fit competitors.

Mud runs and obstacle course races are fun for those that are tired of the one foot in front of the other road races that have been around for ages.  These runs take participants off the beaten path (literally) and out of the person’s normal comfort zone.

For more information about these races, click one of the links below or Google the terms ‘mud run’ or ‘obstacle course race’ with your state or area to see what is available for you.

Spartan Race – several levels of competition.  Some courses have a Biggest Loser heat…

Tough Mudder – check out the Arctic Enema.  Not for the feint of heart.

Warrior Dash – good entry level racing.  Climbing and mud obstacles on the courses.

Zombie Run – you can run as the survivor or the zombie.  Includes night racing opportunities.

Ultimate Challenge Mud Run – a South Carolina run that has grown from a mud run to a full-fledged OCR event.

GoRuck Challenge – one of the ultimate tests of your fitness… you never know what you’ll get!

There are tons more of these races popping up around the country.  A quick Google search will give you a list of them in your area, state or other parts of the world.  My biggest piece of advice – TRAIN.  Many of the series have emailed workouts where you can get yourself into race-ready shape.  Advice part #2 – eat right.  Nutrition is key to completing the race – you are using your entire body instead of just the movements involved with road racing.  Advice part #3 – hydrate.  Water is your friend and you will see a lot of racers using hydration packs (Geigerrig or Camelbak) on the longer runs.

Enjoy the races… get out of your comfort zone and enjoy the world around you.  Even if you have to get dirty to do it!

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Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Writing


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Spartan Race vs Warrior Dash

Spartan Race vs Warrior Dash

Yesterday, my wife and I ran the Warrior Dash in Huntersville, North Carolina. The reason? I needed something to train for and it was a good entry-level race that she could run… it would be her first run of any kind off-road since cross country in high school (she’s likes to run on the road).  We registered and ran the race… had fun doing so… and will definitely do it again in the future.

Now, you may be wondering why I titled this post as I did.

Well, I am a veteran Spartan racer with four races under my belt including the 2013 Trifecta. For the trifecta I ran the Sprint in Atlanta, the Super in Virginia and the Beast in my home state of South Carolina. In total, for non-Spartan fans, I ran around 24+ miles of obstacle courses in three states.

Websites for reference: Spartan Race Warrior Dash

Now, the comparisons/differences:

Length: about the same. The Warrior Dash was 3.08 miles and the Sprint-level Spartan is 3-4.

Registration: about the same. Warrior is now utilizing iPad checkins and, in the future, will allow you to sign liability waivers on the iPad.

Timing: Spartan is ahead here… you get the timing chip to attach to your shoe. Warrior does not – they have clocks at the start and at various points along the trail (about every mile). The clocks are actual clocks noting the time of day – not elapsed time. Bring a watch (they tell you to do so on their website).

Obstacles: easier on Warrior Dash. For starters, Warrior tells you all of the obstacles in advance (not that you can really train for them). You can view videos and photos of each obstacle so you know what you will encounter in advance. Spartan, on the other hand, does not. After the Spartan pledge and three loud AROOs, you’re off. Literally.

(One note: since Reebok has begun sponsoring the Spartan races, I have noticed there are mile markers on the course. Prior to this the volunteers at water stations couldn’t accurately tell you where you were.)

Level of fitness required for Warrior:  Warrior is entry-level plus (you can get by with a minimal level of fitness – many of the participants were walking from the start). Most of the obstacles were climbing-oriented… walls with boards to assist, inclines with ropes, cargo nets. I didn’t see any real strength obstacles that had to be mastered.  You do need to be able to climb and crawl on your hands and knees, at times.  The course in North Carolina was rolling but there were some places where you had to traverse the wooded areas (with mud).

Level of fitness required for Spartan:  Spartan takes a little more training. In this series you have penalties when you do not complete an obstacle or choose not to attempt one (30 burpees per obstacle). In addition, you may be required to carry objects (atlas stones, logs, sand bags), flip articles (logs, tires), pull objects behind you (concrete blocks on chains), pull objects up (5 gallon bucket of concrete) and climb a 20-30 foot knotted rope.

(side note – on some Spartan Races there is a Biggest Loser heat where anyone of any fitness level can run a shortened version of the race.  No burpee penalties if you decide to skip an obstacle as well).

I will definitely run the Warrior Dash again. We had a blast running the race and actually running a race together! I would like to give you some advice – raise money for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital (information is on the Warrior Dash site)… if you raise the minimum amount you get a hot shower, food, drinks and a separate area to leave your goods during the race! The alternative is the hose… sticking out of a water truck… spraying everyone underneath!

Based on my personality, the Spartan race fits my profile… I really don’t want to know what is next.  I want to know that I have to come up with the ways to make it happen – whether that is me climbing a wall on my own or working with others to build a base for each of us to us as we make the ascent.  I feel Spartan models the challenges we face in life.

OCR – obstacle course racing – is taking off and more and more groups are getting in on the action. I was at Dick’s Sporting Goods and saw where Under Armour is sponsoring Tough Mudder races. I REALLY hope people are not buying new clothes to run these races! There is advice part 2 – where old, comfortable shoes. You get a chance to donate them at the end of the run!

Whatever you do, get out there and get out of your comfort zone! It is no fun being normal.

For those of you that have run OCR, add your thoughts below…

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Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Motivation, Running, Writing


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Change your circumstances

“Successful people are 100% convinced that they are masters of their own destiny , they’re not creatures of circumstance, they create circumstance, if the circumstances around them suck they change them.” – Jordan Belfort

The decisions you make today are the defining factor in what your circumstances will be down the road. Even though it is not easy, no one is going to do it except YOU.

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw

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Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Motivation, Writing


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Comfort Zone? HA… CrossFit here I come!

Ok, last year I vowed to complete the Spartan Race Trifecta… this entailed running a Sprint, Super and Beast all within the 12 month window of opportunity.  Well… I did it, starting with the 2012 Spartan Beast (all 13+ miles of it in South Carolina), followed by the Georgia Spartan Sprint (3+ miles) and ending with the Super Spartan at Wintergreen Resort in Virginia.

This year I am stepping WAY out of the comfort zone and heading for the CrossFit Open beginning in February… it is going to take a LOT of work and a lot of dedication to make up for some of the exercises I have not completed yet.  You know, double unders, muscle ups and many pull-ups.

This is my goal this year… for a glimpse of the 2013 Open workouts click here.  Here’s the deal – we don’t know what is coming!  Just like the Spartan Race courses, there is no roadmap.  You get the workout at 5:00 pm PST on Thursday and you have until Monday at 5:00 PST to complete it to your liking (oh yeah, and videotape it!).

Oh the fun I get myself into!  You can’t stand on the sidelines and Monday morning quarterback everything… 

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the cornfield.”  Dwight D Eisenhower




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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in Writing


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Two presentation faux pas and how to fix them

I viewed some very lackluster presenters at a conference this morning. Many of them were trying to sell their business to potential customers, meaning they were giving a 15-20 minute “this is why you should love us” talk.

The reason I say lackluster is based on the presenter and not the information being presented. Actually, the information being presented could have been honed down in a few of them. But that is secondary.

Two things I noticed… don’t talk to the screen and don’t read your notes.

Issue #1 – PowerPoint type shows – Talk. To. The. Audience.

One presenter used a PowerPoint presentation with slides about new innovations on their web platform. All well and good as many of us present with PowerPoint, Prezi or Keynote. But even if you rely on this type of presentation you should always learn to mirror your computer screen and the information on the screen. It is very annoying when you are talking to the screen instead of your audience.

One exception – if you are standing in the audience and you turn to laser point a graph, photo or fact.

Practice your presentation. This means you don’t slap 25 slides together and hope for the best. The slides WILL NOT save you! You will look ill prepared and will lose the attention of the audience very quickly. Also – obnoxious fly-ins, fly outs, dissolves and other magician-worthy animations are distracting. Stick to the mouse click to appear your bullet points… it’s all you need to effectively make your point.

Issue #2

Don’t read your notes verbatim. Know. Your. Material.

If you are an expert in your product – which you dang-well should be – go from your memory. Use the notes sparingly as a backup in the event you lose your place or have a mental faux pas and need a crutch. Every speaker worth his or her weight has a backup plan… look at newscasters – if the TelePrompTer goes out, they have the notes on the desk as a backup… and they aren’t even looking their audience in the eye!

Ok, since I am on a roll, I’ll give you another piece of advice. Know. Your. Time.

It is particularly annoying when you are listening to a speaker and they start speeding up their voice. Then they say something like, “for the sake of time we are going to skip these two slides”. How do you know those aren’t the two slides I came to hear about? How do you pick and choose which material to present and what to exclude?

You are cheating your audience by not being prepared. If you have 30 minutes, stop at 23-25 and allow time for audience interaction. Unless, that is, you have not prepared and are afraid of what they may ask.

But, that is another subject for another day!

Five Ps of success: prior preparation prevents pisspoor performance.

Tell me your thoughts on this…. leave your comments below

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Posted by on November 23, 2013 in Writing