You can read more about Gary Montgomery and his interview with Tony Rossi, as well as his new book, “It’s Fun To Be Catholic” here.
Listen to the full interview
You can read more about Gary Montgomery and his interview with Tony Rossi, as well as his new book, “It’s Fun To Be Catholic” here.
Listen to the full interview
It’s a scary place, the unknown. We all think about it and some of us go there. Of course it’s no longer the unknown when we go there, that’s how we get rid of the unknown, take a risk and step in.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
Not long ago I had a medical scare. I woke up in the middle of the night and knew something was wrong. I discovered a bump which was causing some pain. Never noticed that bump before. I wondered what that’s all about. Is it just a swollen muscle? Did I do something to cause it? What is this all about?
The darkness and loneliness just made it worse. I had too much time to think about it and most of the thinking was negative. I started asking myself the negative questions and thinking negative thoughts …. because I didn’t have answers. I was in the unknown and when you don’t know it’s easy to think the worst.
Fortunately when the light of dawn came and Judy was awake we discussed options. Judy suggested we focus on the problem immediately so we went to an emergency medical center and discovered the nodule was something that could easily be taken care of. I got out of the unknown and got answers and discovered how to treat the problem. Turns out the unknown, the monster under the bed, was not as bad as the fear I created in my mind.
I speak and train in an industry where the unknown has halted opportunities at success. Head Start is a federally funded program that helps low incomes families get a “Head Start” and enroll their children in a program to help them prepare for kindergarten. Many of the families who enroll are challenged financially and consequently they are challenged in many areas of life; education, career and self-esteem just to name a few. The Head Start program is meant to help the children and families of these children grow to success and self-sufficiency. However the more I learn about the children and families the more I see them stuck in the unknown. Not the unknown of wondering about a nodule showing up somewhere on the body, but the unknown of having no idea of where to go to discover success.
Some of these families grew up in families where the unknown invaded their atmosphere and they never learned how to get out. They felt stuck. They lived in neighborhoods where young men and women did not graduate from high school, much less college. In fact college wasn’t even a thought. And they did not know anyone to help them see a path that would lead them to success, an improved lifestyle.
But the unknown doesn’t just reside with the economically challenged. Doubt and low self esteem can cause individuals to curl up and cower in the corner, never walking down the hall to see what is in the next room, or turn the corner to see another way. It’s not just darkness that keeps us from seeing success sometimes it’s the unknown that has built the wall around us or tied a weight around us to hold us down. And we are unable to solve the predicament. So we accept it because the solution is unknown … to us.
Face it, take a risk and step in. That’s how we get rid of the unknown.
There’s a guy in the gym, nice guy, but he keeps to himself. At least he did not talk with me. He trains people and he keeps an intense look on his face. Better do what he says!
One day a young lady was next to me on the treadmills. She shouted down to the ‘intense’ trainer on the workout fl0or below. “Is that a new shirt?” She got an intense head nod in the affirmative. ” I like it!” she shouted above the noise of the TV. Mr. Intense smiled. He smiled at her! Didn’t know he could do that. So I yelled out “I like it too!” It was a nice purple. He looked at me like he wanted to take my head off. No smile. Intense!
A couple of days later I was in one of the workout rooms talking to a friend. Mr. Intense stepped into the large room and asked if he and his client could use some equipment in the room. When he came in I said “Mr. Intense”, (not his real name), “the other day a pretty young lady said she liked your new shirt. You smiled at her. I said I also liked the shirt and you looked upset that I talked to you. What’s up?”
Mr. Intense smiled. Second time I’ve see that. Looked good! But no verbal response.
In future encounters Mr. Intense and I would pass each other and say hello. It escalated to “How’s it going today?” Then we moved to sentences and paragraphs. Truth be told, I enjoyed Mr. Intense quite a bit. So then I asked him. Why the intense look all the time? “It’s the persona,” he said. “I want people to know I’m serious.”
Mr. Intense was a college football player. He was a talented defensive end and there is no doubt in my mind that it was serious business when he mixed it up on the football field. Intense. But he didn’t have to frown for someone to understand he was serious. He just knocked them on their butt! He got results!
With that understanding as a guideline I attempted an analogy between what he did and what he is doing.
” Mr. Intense, the gym is not the football field and you don’t have to frown for someone to understand you mean business in helping them develop their body. Just share your skills with them, give them value and make them better. Get the results!” He was still looking pretty serious. “And you can smile while you do it. In fact they might like you more and that would make it easier for them to follow your intense workout. Encourage them with positive reinforcement and work in a smile and a ‘way to go!’ now and then.”
He didn’t hit me after I called him out. Instead he sat back and looked at me like he was thinking about what I shared. That’s what great players do. They listen to the coach and then figure out how they are going to incorporate this new information into a game plan and then results. Mr. Intense is a smart guy.
The next time we were in the gym together Mr. Intense walked up and said “Hey you got it!”
“Got what ?” I asked. “You got the juice, ” he said.
“The juice?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “You got the energy … the excitement.” He smiled.
Mr. Intense knows what he’s doing making people better in the gym. And now he’s sharing the energy, excitement, and the smile to add even more value to the value he brings. He’s bringing the Juice! And when you bring the Juice, it’s easier to get to the results! It becomes your persona… it becomes who you are, and clients, and everyone else, will listen and respond to your suggestions when you add a little juice along with the instruction.
Just finished speaking at a youth leadership conference in Texas. Over three-hundred high school seniors learning life skills. It is a powerful experience to be a part of! I cherish the opportunity to work with them.
Texas Farm Bureau sponsors the event each year and I am honored to work with the young women and men on their presentation skills and then speak to them at their closing banquet. If you have read my blogs in the past you know I want them to live life with an I CAN PLAY attitude. It’s a simple process to step into self- belief and start living successfully instead of looking for success.
Each morning of the conference the leaders and counselors hosted a motivation session. It gets the young people fired up and energized. I like it! What a great idea for everyone to start the day fired up and energized! The counselors took the lead with upbeat music, line dancing hosted by a different youth team each day, beach balls batted all over the auditorium, and the counselors patrolling to encourage everyone to participate.
I thought about you and me. What do we do to start the day? I bet we don’t plan our day with motivation being the first event. Perhaps if something good happens we get a little excited and the day starts off pretty good, but we wait for it to happen. What I’m talking about is to plan for a great day and start it off with energy…with motivation.
Some of you do. Your first event of the day is going to the gym. You get the blood flowing and the energy level moving up. Good idea. Some of you hit the outdoors for a walk. I like it! Physical activity and an opportunity to start generating the positive ideas for the day .. get the brain working!! Others step into prayer and devotion. A great motivator to put life and everything about it in order and perspective. Thank God for the people in our lives and the gifts and opportunities He has for us. Some read inspirational book in addition to the bible. Get the juices going!
Even if you already begin your day with prayer, a walk, inspirational reading or hitting the gym, make your first thought before you leave the house …MOTIVATION. Like the young leaders I met. Turn the music up, and then up a little more. Put some energy in your step, dance your way to the car or the bus stop! Hit that ball into the air, and take a smile with you.
Here’s my final thought. Bring energy and motivation with you wherever you go. If you don’t bring it with you might not find it when you get there. There’s a lot of negativity floating around. Put motivation at the top of your list. First thing! Everyday!
Some of life’s lessons are more difficult to learn than others. The ones that add to your value, that make you feel better about yourself are welcome and motivating. But there are other life lessons. The ones where you don’t look so good. The lesson that shows you that you need to change and get rid of a negative behavior. The lesson where you see yourself as others see you … and you don’t like what you see.
Happened to me recently. I was involved in an episode with a friend who sometimes rubs me the wrong way. His behavior triggers something within me that causes me to judge him and his actions. We were together at an event and he stepped up and did something which was offensive to me. He did it purposefully to ridicule me.
I thought about it for a couple of days and felt it needed to be confronted. I did. I asked him about his previous behavior and shared that I thought it was unacceptable. I thought we could handle this like grown-ups. (thinking it was he who needed to act more mature.) However once I brought the matter to the forefront I was the one who felt child-like.
He mentioned two words that went straight to my soul. “Gary”, he said, “you act like you need confidence when you are around me by the way you treat me and what you say.” He wasn’t finished. “We don’t need to judge each other.” I wasn’t ready for him to take the offensive. I though I was going to be the one straightening everything out and facilitating the conversation.
My first thought was get back on the offensive. Explain the situation and how he prompted the actions and the irritation. That’s what I did. But he kept saying things that made me think differently. Things that made me think I was wrong.
He was right. I needed to listen.
The truth is, we talked and although we said we forgive and we will start over in the relationship, we walked away with that awkward feeling like it’s not really resolved. It was only later, when I could not get rid of the discomfort and the pain in my gut that I started being honest with myself.
I did treat him poorly in this relationship and have been doing it for years. For whatever reason, a need for superiority, lack of confidence in myself, a dis-like of his behavior, whatever the reason I did not treat him the way I treat others. The basic truth is I need to just love the guy for who he is.
Life lessons are tough! Especially when someone holds a mirror up for you and you don’t like what you see. I am going to work to adjust that image I saw and experienced recently. The first step for this most recent lesson is to allow people to be who they are and quit judging them.
I was working with my eight grade Sunday School class. We have stepped into trust. That’s a big step.
They believe what they can see and they are challenged to trust what they can not see or touch. They are asked to have faith. But then that’s the reason we gather each Sunday. It’s all about faith. We are discussing faith in God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It would be so much easier if we could just show up with something they can touch or hold or examine with their hands. It’s not that easy and that is why it’s called FAITH … or trust.
What we are called to do as individuals of Faith is to trust in something we cannot see or touch but only understand through experience. And then we are called to share that experienced faith so that others will see it acted out and begin to believe.
A church asked me to speak at their services. A witness talk about stewardship. Stewardship is about giving but first it’s about a relationship. A relationship based on faith lived out in experiences. The only way I know to witness my faith is to share the experiences that made the faith I have grow.
When I have presented witness talks in the past I am deeply concerned that me talking about me (my experiences) will turn people off. “He’s just talking about himself,” I imagine the individuals in the pews will say. They are right. I am talking about my stories and the people in my life. That’s how my faith is played out … in real life … my real life experience and actions while living life!
Once I start thinking this way I realize what I need. I need trust! Trust in God and trust in me. Only when I share my story and my experiences will God come alive in my life. I need to have Faith. The very same Faith, and trust, that I am trying to get my 8th grade Sunday School class to understand. Here’s what I have come up with. Faith and Trust must be lived to be understood. We experience these qualities, we don’t necessarily explain them. That’s why they are difficult to explain. They have to be experienced; experienced in challenges, in trials, in doubts, in success, in joy, in hope and in love. Wait a minute how do you explain hope and love?
Something else you have to experience … but that’s another subject for another class.
It’s simple, it really is! Believe in yourself, in your success, and in your ability to get there. Sure it helps you but it can also influence others. The individuals you target along with everyone else you encounter!
OK, you’ve heard it before. But have you started working on it, the self-belief part? Let me give you a formula for this self-belief.
1) Vision. See it of course, but go beyond seeing your success to feeling it. Goal setting is necessary in this development. Writing out goals is a challenging process for many. So challenging that few do it. Have you done it? Put on paper what you want to achieve. Be specific about what it is you want. Be exact about what day you want it to happen and most importantly create the feeling you will have as you live your goals. Some call it dreaming… but do it while you are awake. Decide what it will feel like, decide how you will act, decide what you will say. It will help you in your visioning, your goal-setting. Become what you want to be. Act the way you want to act. Think the way you will think when you become what you want to be. See it happening! You are transforming yourself into what you want to be. And here’s a key word for the journey — FOCUS! Focus on the goal (that’s visioning) and the picture will trigger the goal reaching process inside you, and what is inside causes you to take the actions necessary for you to become what you want to be. It starts when you make your dreams real in your mind so you can call on them at any time. You can feel it –Focus! That’s Vision!
2) Positive Atmosphere. Positive people see success, negative people see obstacles. Do you believe dthat? Individuals in my audiences say they do. In fact I’ve never had an argument about it. Now I do know negative individuals who have success but they fight it more because they focus on the “I Can’t” before deciding on the “I Can.” Why not focus on the positive? The path to achievement, to success, is quicker. Will you have to overcome obstacles? Probably. But if you travel with a positive atmosphere you create a positive environment. It’s what you bring to the issues, to the meeting, to the committee, to the challenge; you bring a positive approach to the issue and make it easier to see and create success. What do you see when you view your success? Do you see why you can’t achieve or do you see the prize. Do you focus on your talents and what you can do or the obstacles and the difficultly in thinking differently? It’s up to you, no one else. Do you focus on creating a positive atmosphere — and then living in it — and sharing it? It’s a choice. Get positive about how you think, how you act, and how you talk to yourself. Start now to live in a positive atmosphere. It’s your choice!
3) Risk. The truth is we must take risk as we travel to success. If we stay where we are, do not risk, then we stay where we are. It’s safe but there’s no development or growth. It’s easy to pick out the individuals who have failed to risk in their lives. They are all around you. Doing what they have always done and remaining where they have always been. Sometimes they might tell you what they could have been or what they could have done. Ask they why they didn’t reach what they could have done. In some way they will get to the fact that they didn’t go after it. Perhaps they had a challenge, or a tragedy, or perhaps they were just comfortable. The reason is not important but the fact is they didn’t risk something new, something different. To go somewhere you’ve never been you have to do something you’ve never done. We need to attempt new feats to reach new heights! And the exciting part of being a risk taker is that we learn and climb as we discover new processes and ideas. Risk-taking becomes a way of life and moves us forward, we become comfortable taking risk. When we become risk takers we grow. Focus on growing, getting better- become a risk taker.
When we combine Vision, with Positive Atmosphere and Risk taking we start to trust ourselves and we start to believe in our talents, possibilities, opportunities, goals, and actions. We believe in our selves and what we can accomplish. We become comfortable reaching out and trying new things. Failure does not scare us. We understand we will stumble at times but we believe enough in ourselves not to worry about a temporary setback. That’s living life with an I CAN PLAY attitude. When you get there your Focus will change. You will stay focused on success. It’s a way of life.
Once you get this I CAN PLAY attitude, you will give it to others. You can’t help it. Your actions will influence others — the ones you target and the individuals you will never know that you’ve helped. You can change the way people think about themselves and success!
Just returned from a Mission with Precious Blood Parish in Owensboro, KY. I met and prayed with some wonderful people who are letting their Light shine in the Parish and beyond!
We discussed a couple of communication processes using questions … asking others, but more importantly asking ourselves. Here are some of the questions and ideas we explored during the three day Mission.
Who am I? This digs to our very core. Who am I? What a question! But instead of just ignoring the question start writing down answers. Explore yourself, the deeper you explore the more you will understand. And if you don’t like some of the answers…adjust!
What do I believe? If you were required to stand on a roof top and shout out what you believe , for everyone to hear–What would you say? Similar to what does your sign say or what is your message. What do you believe?
What are my values? This one is similar to what do I believe but with a twist. What values to you adhere to. Truth, is that important? Honesty, commitment, service to others… what values drive you to be who you are. Write them down so you know who you are and what you are committed to.
What are my talents? This a little easier but still difficult to address. The best way to discover talents is to use your talents. List your talents — it helps define who you are.
What am I doing with my talents? Do I give my talents away, that is, do I use them. The only way they come alive is to put them to action. If you are an artist but haven’t put a brush on a canvas, you aren’t using your talents. If you are a great communicator but don’t greet people, or look them in the eye when you speak, you aren’t doing much with your talent. Use you talents, all of them, use them often, and you will discover there’s more in there. Keep looking!
What holds me back? Let’s face it you are a unique individual, unique talents, skills but sometimes things hold you back from being the best you can be. Explore what holds you back. Name it, tame it and move forward … get past the obstacle. You first have to identify what holds you back.
Questions are wonderful tools to use for growth. Grow yourself, grow your family, your church, and your workplace.
Here is the Gary Montgomery process when using questions with others … Q-L-C.
Of course the Q stand for quetions. Open conversation with others with questions about them.
The L stands for Listen and for Learn. And learning about others is most important. Listening is the process we use to Learn about others. Pay close attention about them because the more we learn about others, the deeper we can go in building a relationship.
The C stands for Contribute. Once we learn what individuals like and dis-like we can Contribute to them and help them grow by feeling better about themselves. When they feel better about who they are, because they were around and with us, well that’s leadership. They will want to be around you, listen to you and be influenced by you more and more because you help them feel better about who they are. That’s the process … how to use questions to help others grow.
At the three-day Mission we focused on using the questions in our life to grow, to discover the Light, to become the Light, and then to give the Light of Christ away.
Be specific and go deep when questioning yourself. You can take it because you want to be the best you can be.
Be gentle when using the question technique with others. They don’t yet know how good they can be. They need you to guide them.
The friendly people at Precious Blood were an inspiration for me to continue questioning and working to grow and share the Light! Thanks for the kindness and hospitality!
A few years ago Notre Dame beat Michigan. My son is a Notre Dame grad and we are Irish football fans. The teem had been struggling so victories were valuable. This particular win was against a sub-par Michigan team. The Wolverines had a new coach and they were struggling. Nonetheless, Notre Dame had a victory.
My son called after the win, “Dad, we’re back!”
“Troy,” I said, “Did you watch the game? Michigan turned it over three times in the first quarter and Notre Dame couldn’t take advantage. Notre Dame was kicking field goals when they should have been scoring touchdowns from close range. Notre Dame didn’t put on a very good display against a pretty bad opponent.”
“Dad,” came the reply from the phone. “Don’t be negative, you gotta be a fan.”
That’s what he said. What he meant was — are you in or are you on the sidelines? Real fans buy in!
It made me think about commitment. There are things I am really committed to in life and those commitments show up in everything I think and do. As I look back at my past I can see where I was truly committed, and I see where I was partly committed, and I can see where I merely went through the motions, when I was on the sidelines. It made a difference in the results.
Today I know what I believe and that belief guides my commitment in all parts of life; faith, family and profession.
At a breakfast with a new friend this morning I shared that self-belief, self-trust, makes life easier. It becomes easier because you know what to ‘jump into’ … what to ‘just do’ … what to commit to … and what to buy into.
In my broadcasting years it was called, bury the lead, and I was guilty of it more than once. The most important part of the story was written in the second or third paragraph. Sometime I thought it needed a set up, other time I was concerned it had to be told chronologically. No matter the reason the most important part of the story was ‘buried,” not intentionally but it happened.
The same happens in speeches. The presenter, you or me, think we have to start at the beginning. Eventually we get to the most important part … the part that we came to tell them … later in the speech.
Here’s a different way of speech writing or speech thinking. Bring the middle to the front, or start in the middle. Start with the part that is going to WOW the audience, start with the part that always works! But Gary, you might say, we have to give them the background. Right! Of course you do! But I bet you can write around that with a simple phrase like…”let me back up to the beginning,” or” let me share how we arrived at that magical moment.”
I recently watched a video of a very influential person giving a presentation. He has written three best selling books, has a wealth of knowledge and stories and commands attention when he speaks. But while I was watching him he was moving nervously, not sure of what he was saying, he looked at the floor, head down and filling space with ums and ahs! He was horribly uncomfortable.
After about 7 minutes of this he got into the meat of his presentation. The Ahs and Ums disappeared. He stopped moving nervously and stood with a strong foundation. He looked at the audience while telling his powerful stories. No longer was I thinking this guy is nervous or uncomfortable. I was listing to the stories he was sharing, no he was re-living! He was a powerful presenter because he was sharing the part of the presentation where he was comfortable. I thought out loud while watching “OH YEAH!” He had buried the lead.
Well, not actually but it’s a similar concept. As presenters we should start with something that allows us to be most comfortable. Move your best stuff up to the top. Start with the stuff you used to put in the middle. You will start more comfortably and the audience will feed off your lead. They feel comfortable.
Try it sometime. either in a formal presentation or a casual conversation. When telling that story that is funny or feeling, try to start with the most important part or the most important line. It will get the attention of your audience and they will eagerly listen for more. Start in the middle!