Posts Tagged ‘communication

29
Oct
12

Berks Technical Institute Commencement Speech

Good evening graduating class of Berks Technical Institute. Thank you to President Reichard for allowing me to share this evening’s remarks. I want to welcome the family, friends and other supporters who are here to celebrate the remarkable achievement of these graduates.  Growing up, my father always taught me the importance of a continuing education and embracing a lifetime of learning. You see, he grew up in the Depression and only made it through the 8th grade. He used to tell me that whenever he graduated from anything it wasn’t magna cum laude, it was laude how cum.

Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” You are now about to put to use the innate talents you were born with and the learned skills you have acquired as you embark on the literal journey of a lifetime; the quest to find out why you were born.

And as you enter the workforce I have these words of encouragement for you. Yes, encouragement. Don’t fixate on the doom and gloom about the economy. Yes, this nation has a tough economic road ahead of it, but for workers who are not just able, but willing to give a job their all, the future will always be bright. The greatest employers hire for attitude and train for aptitude because you can’t teach someone responsibility, accountability, and integrity. By this stage in life, you either have it or you don’t.

The beauty of this graduating class is that you obviously have the aptitude, as evidenced by the technical classes you completed, as well as the certifications you earned. You are able. Now as you enter the work force of life, the key will be whether you are willing. Never, ever forget that your “I can” is infinitely more important than your IQ.

Back in 2006 I was approached about a project management position running a very large and diverse operations service contract on a classified facility in the Midwest. The problem was I did not possess the particular two years of contracting experience outlined in the job description.  But if there is one thing I had learned in working in four major,  yet very different, industries, it’s that the keys to success fit all doors regardless of the industry, so I applied.

I was brought into an interim position as a subcontracts manager and told to begin working on that two year requirement. I dug in with a vengeance. As I suspected, the acronyms were different, but the requirement for outstanding customer service, efficient use of resources, and ability to interact with a top-notch team was the same as when I served in the Air Force as well as the semiconductor field.

Six weeks into the job, the top government contracting officer called me in their office and said I was approved to fill the position as the project manager. When I asked about the two year requirement they said that due to my demonstrated energy and enthusiasm to get the job done, they felt comfortable waiving it. It was then I learned firsthand the power of enthusiasm and a “can do” attitude in the workplace.

The second lesson I want to share with you is that the people who do what needs to be done without being told draw the most wages. You determine your worth in the work place. In each of the jobs for which I was selected, no one inside the organization was willing to step up. Sure, some were able, but they were not willing. If you are willing to do the things that the majority of people do not want to do, I can guarantee your continued professional success. In fact, the common denominator of success is that a success does the things that failures don’t like to do. That’s it. It’s that simple. You don’t have to be a visionary, or a genius. You just have to be committed to getting the job done because so few people are. Elbert Hubbard said, “Do your work with all your heart and you will succeed—there’s so little competition.”

My father used to call these types of people thumb-suckers and he told me to steer clear of them. In fact he told me, “Hang around great people and you’ll be a greater person; hang around givers and you’ll be a better giver; hang around a bunch of thumb-sucking, complaining, griping, boneheads and you’ll be a better thumb-sucking, complaining, griping bonehead!”

When you enter the workforce you will function as a thermometer or a thermostat. A thermometer is stationary and only reflects what is happening around it. A thermostat, on the other hand, measures what the temperature is and then responds by changing the temperature to the conditions it desires. Some people are like a thermometer. If their environment is negative, they are negative. If bad things happen, they are sad. If good things happen, they are happy. Successful people, on the other hand, are more like a thermostat. Even if their environment is negative, they choose to be positive. In fact, these people are the ones that end up setting the atmosphere for the entire organization.

And lastly, I want to encourage you to make mistakes. A young accountant and recent graduate of Berks Technical Institute asked his seasoned CEO how he got so successful. The CEO replied, “Good judgment”. The young accountant then asked the CEO how he got good judgment, to which the CEO replied, “Experience”. The young accountant pressed on asking the CEO how he got experience, to which the CEO replied, “Poor Judgment”.

We are all born with an empty psychological key ring. Every experience, good, bad or ugly, gives us a key with which to open future doors. The more exposure to experience, the more keys we get to unlock life’s vast array of doors.

There is no greater teacher than adversity. And if you are stepping up to the plate while others are content to sit in the dugout, there is a chance you will strike out. But at least you made it to the plate and took a swing. My father told me that the secret to success is to cram 50 years of failure into 15. He was right. We learn from our mistakes, so don’t be afraid to make them.

And I wouldn’t be a publisher worth my salt if I didn’t bring you some tremendous reading material as a graduation gift. These two little pamphlets are the most powerful booklets I have ever read. If you can commit to the actions in these two books, I can guarantee you will live life at the 99th percentile.  The first, is Message to Garcia, the fourth most read writing in the history of mankind. It will take you ten minutes to read. The second, The New Common Denominator of Success, contains the principle we covered earlier that in order to be a success, you simply have to do the things that failures don’t like to do.

You’re going to be reading and studying material to teach you the know how for years to come. But don’t ever forget to read things that teach you the know why. Knowing how to do something let’s you drive it; Knowing why you are doing something lets it drive you. The greatest communicators, whether they are in the home, church, or work place, know how to speak not just to your ears, but to your heart as well.

In closing, I hope and pray for wisdom and strength for this graduating class to meet and surpass the challenges that will come its way. Always remember, life happens just outside your comfort zone so if things are scary and seem, at times, chaotic, you’re doing it right. Thank you for listening to my comments and for allowing me to share in this amazing milestone in your lives.

01
Feb
12

more human than human

I’ve gone through some tough times in my life, every single stressor imaginable: death, divorce, war, moving; I’ve been served, sued, betrayed, dumped, and even falsely accused. Because of where I’ve been professionally and personally, I have a pretty big world view. I can laugh at what life throws my way because I actually know from experience, and not theory, that that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. And stronger is the only way to go through life.

As a freshman, or Doolie, in the Air Force Academy we would have Saturday Morning Inspections. Our beds had to be tight enough to flip a quarter on with crisp, clean folded corners. We’d stretch the woolen blankets under the old coil spring mattress support with all our might. Many of us received a cut from tugging in the tight space and even now seeing it on my wrist brings back a fantastic sense of camaraderie.  When I was serving on various active duty deployments we’d get a campaign ribbon for each particular conflict in which we served. Others who wore the same ribbon were united with you in serving in the same location or conditions, against a common enemy, for a singular good.  

The more I experienced the more I was able to identify with other people and situations. Communication is about camaraderie. If I identify with you the odds we will be able to communicate are exponentially greater.  Charlie “Tremendous” Jones spoke a great deal about communication issues in his speech The Key to Excellence. “I’ve been learning over the years if I can identify with you we can say a great deal without saying very much. If I don’t, we can live in the same house and die strangers.”

People who identify with one another begin to think together rather than listen to and argue with one another. This is the highest form of communication and the only one capable of changing the hearts and minds of mankind. It’s also the only force able to produce change in the world. Words spoken from a heart that’s lived out the pain, the anguish, and the jubilation of life are the ones that make us more human than human.

28
Dec
11

the key to a tremendous 2012

The Key to Excellence, my favorite speech of my late father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, was recently transcribed into the latest volume of our Life-Changing Classics series. It was originally delivered back in the late ‘80s and is one of the funniest, yet most pragmatic, 42 minutes ever recorded on discovering that the key to excellence is all about thinking and realizing, not listening and memorizing.

Learn to laugh at your mistakes. As Mr. Jones said, “Laughing at your failures doesn’t mean you like to fail. It just means you’re learning to capitalize on what goes wrong.” No normal person likes to fail, he explains, but if you don’t learn to capitalize on what does go wrong you’ll never do as much as you could have. As Ethel Barrymore said, “You grow up the first day you have your first real laugh—at yourself.”

Get others to learn to laugh at their mistakes. One of the funniest moments is when Mr. Jones shares the result of his thirty-five years of experience distilled into two words. He claims this knowledge is experiential and not theoretical and then proclaims at the top of his lungs, “NOTHING WORKS!” much to the delight and roars of laughter from the audience. Learning to laugh when you hurt and things go wrong ensures you become better and not bitter.

Be learning that communication is not from your mouth to another’s ears, but from your heart to your mouth. When you speak from your heart you begin to identify with the other person and the barriers begin to come down. Even in today’s virtual world, communicating with people is a necessity and a tremendous therapy and one of the greatest keys to our success.

Being in the business of listening to, writing, publishing, and promoting personal-development material over the past three years has reinforced one critical lesson that I’ve been learning my entire life. Real help, real motivation, and real discipline are drawn out of only one source—you. You are the only architect of the greatest DIY project on planet earth: yourself. As Galileo Galilei said, “We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.” Reading great books and being around positive people to draw it out of you are proven keys, so start by getting your copy of The Key to Excellence and unlock a Tremendous 2012!

04
Aug
11

Are we living in a material world, or should I be a virtual girl?

I was on a conference call today with several tremendous individuals and the name Reid Hoffman came up. Reid is the founder of LinkedIn, which is the social-networking site for business connections. While researching Mr. Hoffman I came across an interesting quote. He recently said, “Social networks do best when they tap into one of the seven deadly sins. Facebook is ego. Zynga is sloth. LinkedIn is greed.”

As a social-networking genius, Mr. Hoffman’s honesty is refreshing. We get hammered by affiliate marketers and search-engine experts telling us these very sites are a necessity for survival in today’s marketplace. Without them, we’ll sink to the bottom of the rankings in a sea of virtuality, never to be seen again. But as a small business owner, is this all there is?

Are we simply the sum of our collective tweets, LinkedIn groups, and Facebook posts? If this is true, can businesses exist, let alone thrive, on virtual value alone? Are Facebook hugs as potent as physical hugs? Are my thousands of Twitter followers really listening to me? What’s organic and what’s synthetic in the world of all things social media?

A young boy climbed downstairs to tell his mother he was too scared to fall asleep alone in his dark room. His mother told him he had nothing to fear because God was with him. She told the little one to go upstairs and get to sleep. Thirty minutes later the little boy returned. His mother asked, “Didn’t I tell you God was with you?” He said, “Yes, but I’d prefer something with skin on.”

My father, the late Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, amassed a library of thousands of books throughout his lifetime, many of them priceless first editions and historical biographies. When he passed, those treasures made their way into countless hands to change their lives as they had his. What if he had accumulated all of these on Kindle? Could he have bequeathed his lifetime journey to others? Not until every book ever written is published in an electronic format and everyone on the planet has the same technological platforms readily available. Then, all we’ll have to worry about is sunspots, natural disasters, and world wars knocking everything off the grid.

Most people believe that the meaning of life is to leave the world a better place than they found it. Pass It On and Servant Leadership have become our mantras as we evaluate everything we do in both our professional and personal lives. Now I love social media, but I also love interacting one-on-one. I like to think I’m bilingual. I can communicate in both languages. They key, as with all things in life, is balance. As long as you walk among the material and virtual with balance, you’ll be able to get the best out of both worlds and speak to everyone in their native tongues.




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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