How Humor Can Save the World

Friday night was a big milestone for me. After 9 weeks of blood, sweat, and tears, I got on stage and delivered what’s considered “The First 5”. It was the first 5 minutes of my comedy act. Even though I’m on stage all the time as a professional speaker, I was super nervous. I wanted to stretch myself a bit. Push the envelope. Get out of my comfort zone.

Click on the image to watch my comedic debut!

It was nerve-wracking, to say the least. I wanted to call in sick. I thought to myself, “What if nobody laughs? What if I bomb?”

In spite of it all, I danced with the fear. People actually laughed. And it wasn’t at me, it was with me. 🙂

That 5 minutes demonstrated more than getting out of my comfort box, it was about the power of humor.

Humor brings people together. Humor breaks down barriers. Humor helps you cope through bad times. Laughter has been shown to reduce stress, boost the immune system and enhance brain chemistry through the release of endorphins.

I can’t do this research justice. Check out the TED Talk from my mentor and friend, neuro-humorist Karyn Buxman. During this outstanding clip, she dives into just how powerful humor can be in our daily lives and how it may even be able to change the world.

How Humor can Change the World



What Adventure Will You Take?

Have you ever started out on an adventure that seemed like a good idea at the time?  

Then later you found out that you should have turned back before you started?

I felt this way a few months back. I was in Phoenix, AZ for a conference. I was sharing a room with Lila, who is a health and fitness guru. She knew that I wanted to get into shape and start my fitness journey. Lila is an avid and experienced hiker.

For the longest, I’ve heard Lila rave about the high she received from climbing Camelback Mountain. When you make it to the summit, 2,704 feet above sea level, the payoff is a picturesque view of the valley.

Click on the photo to watch a fun video that Lila and I made about our adventure on Camelback Mountain

After doing a little research online, I learned that Camelback Mountain is regularly ranked one of the nation’s top hiking destinations for avid hikers. The range consists of two main trails, Echo Canyon Trail and Cholla Trail; both of which are rated Extremely Difficult and subject hikers to steep elevation gains, very rugged terrain, and the harsh elements associated with the Sonoran Desert. Only experienced hikers with adequate preparation, during optimal weather,  should attempt to hike to the summit. So I brought up that last point to Lila. And she said, in only the way, Lila can: “ You can do! Just give it a try.”  So I decided to jump in with both feet.

At 5:00am, long before the sun was up, we were at the start of the trail. Knowing that I would be super slow, I told Lila to run up ahead of me.  Within 15 minutes, I realized I had met my match. Lila was nowhere in sight. It was one of the toughest physical activities I’ve ever done. The terrain was rocky and rough. As I made my way up the mountain, it seemed like everyone was passing me including this fragile old lady. After about 30 minutes, I came to a clearing in the mountain and could watch the sunrise. I received a text from Lila, who was almost to the summit. She recommended that I stop at the point that I made it to. It was a good stop and the degree of difficulty would only increase.

Sounds like good advice. Right? Right.

Do you think I took it? Wrong.

My ego got in the way. And I proceeded to move to the next step up the mountain.

I thought I met my match before but that was nothing compared to the next section of the mountain. I wasn’t wearing the right shoes. Before I knew it, I started slipping off the trail.  I thought I was going to tumble down the mountain backward. All I could think to myself was, “ I have to make it back home to Mr. Brown”. After that, I talked some sense into myself and started to come back the steepest part of the mountain on my butt.

At first, I was really disappointed that I didn’t make it to the summit. But after making it back to the base, I realized that it wasn’t about making to the summit. It was about getting started.

Here are the lessons from that experience:

  1. Just do it.
  2. Go with a buddy.
  3. Know your limits.
  4. Have the right equipment for the job.
  5. Don’t let your ego get in the way.

What is trust, really?

I was kicking back watching one of my new guilty pleasures, Soul School on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). She has some fascinating guests who are “life experts” on her show. Everyone from Michael Beckwith, star of the movie “The Secret” to Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love”.

One expert particularly peaked my attention, the extraordinary Brene Brown. I know what you’re thinking, and no we are not cousins.

Brene Brown is a research professor, author and celebrated orator of one of the most viewed TED Talks in history.

During her time on the Soul School stage, she talked about the true essence of trust.  

Glued to the screen—I couldn’t peel my eyes away because she asked some very key questions:

  • What does it mean to trust someone?
  • What does it mean to trust yourself?

She broke down her world-renowned research.

Brene opens with a story about her daughter and how her trust was breached as a 3rd grader by a group of school friends.

As she consoled her daughter, she struggled with giving a definition of what it means to trust. The analogy she used was great: “Trust is like a marble jar”. You share those hard stories or situations with those friends and you fill up your marble jar. You’ve shared thing after thing with them and you know you can trust them.

Do you have marble jar friends?

Trust is often thought associated with a big grand gesture at a pivotal time in our lives. Brene’s research argues the opposite. Trust is built in small ways with micro-actions over time.

We trust those family and friends whose jars are full—people who have formed “trust” moments with us.

In her description of trust, she used a great acronym, she calls B.R.A.V.I.N.G.

B..R.A.V.I.N.G. is the anatomy of trust. It stands for:  Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Non-Judgment and Generosity.

Boundaries — Trust does not exist without boundaries. I know where you stand. You know where I stand. We respect those lines.

Reliability — Trust can only be present when you hold fast to your word I can count on you doing what you say you will do, over and over again.

Accountability — I trust you when you make a mistake and you’re willing to own it, apologize for it and make amends and in return you will allow me to do the same.

Vault —  Keeping confidences. What I share with you, you will hold in confidence and what you share with me, I will hold in confidence.

Integrity — Brene’s defines integrity as choosing courage over comfort; choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy; and putting those values to practice, not just professing your values aka giving lip service.

Non-Judgment — We can both struggle and ask for help. I can fall apart ask for help and not be judged.

Generosity — Our relationship is only a trust relationship if we can assume the most generous thing about each others’ words, intentions and behaviors without checking in with each other. 

Using and understanding this framework, we can better identify and communicate when we are in need of more trust or when we are hurt. This creates a healthy conversation with our loved ones.  Even better, this could provide a common understanding and lingo.  

Yet, the most important trust relationship is with ourselves. We must trust ourselves.

BRAVING is about connection. Self-trust is BRAVING self-love, self respect, the wildest connection we will ever take in our entire lives.

Do you truly trust yourself?  Trust starts with ourselves. Our own marble jar must be full.  Essentially, we can’t give to others what we don’t have, and others can’t give us what they don’t have.

This totally shifted my perspective and challenged me on what it means to truly trust.

I’d love to hear you weigh in on this.  Leave your thoughts below.

Building Wealth Has Nothing To Do With Money

During a recent dinner out with my fellow speaker and copywriter buddy Maureen, the subject of money came up. 

I said to her, “Did you know that most people have a money set point?” She replied with a question in her voice, “We do? What is a money set point?”

I went on to say that your money set point is the amount of money you believe you deserve to earn or to make. Interestingly enough– it doesn’t matter if you’re a regular Joe or Joann working a 9 to 5 job or a seasoned business owner– we all have them. Let’s be clear– this isn’t a conscious decision. This limitation resides in our subconscious mind.

It’s not like we go around with a bubble over our heads– that screams “ HEY! I only believe that I am worth $100 for my services.” Or I only deserve to make $40,000 per year.

What’s interesting to note is that our money set-point is usually determined by what we see in our childhood or learn from our parents.

Can you remember your first “money” conversation? How did that conversation shape your experience with money? Did it take you to a place of lack or abundance? Did you tie your worth to that amount of money? What unspoken lessons did you learn around money and its value?

For as long as I can remember, my money set-point was $50,000. That’s because growing up I would hear my parents say, “ If you make $50,000, you can live high off the hog.” or “Man you’re making $50K, you are in there like swimwear.” (Hey– don’t judge my family has colorful sayings)

Having grown up hearing them say that, my value was tied to $50K. Having “arrived” meant earning 50K.

My very first job out of college, I made $46,500. For the life of me, I couldn’t get pass that elusive $50K mark.

Not soon after– I lost that job. And it would take me years to get back to anything close to that level. In retrospect, I’m not sure that I believed I deserved to earn that amount.

There is a book called, the Energy of Money. In the book, the author recounts her first “money” experience. She was 7 years old and her Uncle came over to visit. During his visit, he was telling his family about a new job. With a curious and inquisitive tone, the author asked, “Well, Uncle, how much do you make at this job?”

A hush fell over the room. She’d crossed a taboo line that she wasn’t aware existed. Before another word could be uttered, the author’s mother swooped in like an eagle pouncing on prey and said, “Oh, we don’t talk about those kind of things at the dinner table, dear. That isn’t polite.”

Polite. Polite? What does being polite have to do with money?  That was her first introduction to money. It was already a taboo subject.

Money is energy. Plain and simple. The actual paper that it’s printed on is worthless. It’s the value that we attach to it that makes it worth something.

What’s interesting is how we tie our worth to money. For many, the amount of money someone earns is automatically tied to their worth as a person.

We all have limiting beliefs around money that hold us back. Inner limitations that keep us stuck.

For example, My friend Mary can tie her “stuck” point back to childhood. When she was a little girl, her Dad worked a W-2 gig. In the evenings, he had a side handyman business, repairing odds and ends for people around the neighborhood. Mary came from a big family and she was the youngest and only girl. Often times, she would tag along with her Dad as he completed the side jobs. He offered hired Mary and her brothers as his gophers. They were responsible for carrying tools, setting up and cleaning up the site. He said to Mary and her brothers, “I will pay you 10 cents per hour for your work, and you must complete and turn in a time card in order to get paid.” Each time Mary would meticulously complete her time card outlining her duties and the amount of hours that she worked. And each time her father would “forget” to pay her. Yet, each time that one of her brothers went out he always remembered to pay them. This series of events shaped the way that Mary viewed money.

She felt that, as a woman, her time was not valued and she didn’t deserve to be paid. In her eyes, men were viewed as superior and their work, time, and efforts were more highly regarded. This subconscious belief worked in the background. She wasn’t aware of these beliefs until she saw the same patterns showing up in other places.

Mary owns a successful business. But it wasn’t always this way.

As a business owner, she had to really work on getting past this set-point. This mentality about her worth and value around money spilled over into her business. She would invoice clients and never receive payment. She never followed up. She wasn’t charging what she was truly worth and essentially would accept whatever people would give her.

Once she started working on inner talk around money things started to shift in her life and business in a BIG and positive way. She started working with more clients. She’d confidently give the price of her services without a sheepish look of anxiety. She learned how to unapologetically demand that she be paid for what she is worth.

Do you struggle in this area? Here is one tip to get you over that money set-point hump.

Start a new practice each day of spending 5-10 minutes just imagining how it would feel to earn a bigger income and have a bigger savings account. Keep increasing the amounts every couple of weeks. Within a few weeks. you should notice that you’re feeling much more comfortable with the idea of larger sums of money – to the point where they even seem quite small!

And over time you should notice that your own income and/or savings start increasing along with your money set-point. Again, it’s a gradual process, so take your time and enjoy it rather than trying to hurry anything to happen.

Keep me posted. I am always eager to hear how my tips are working for you. Comment below.