Online Absence

ATTENTION TEENS OF CYBERSPACE (aka those on my Facebook page) AND ADVISORS OF THE WORLD (again, those on my Facebook page and twitter account…. Don’t judge me.)

I have a confession to make…

I’ve been a little lazy lately.

No. That’s an understatement. Let’s try again. Ahem…

I’ve been slacking off on writing these during the last few months.


Wait, ok. That’s still not cutting it. One last time…

I have been totally failing you in terms of online content.


Much better.

As of late, I’ve been holding down the fort by supplying you with haiku-like status updates, quote-driven status posts, and to top it all off, random statuses to make you giggle (which, by the way, if you’re keeping tabs, are all the same thing). Sadly, I’ve been a lame “supplier of wisdom” who fits everything in 140 characters or less (which isn’t fair to you or anyone else).

Recently, it took an amazing friend and fellow speaker (hi Patrick) to metaphorically beat me over the head with a 2X4 to realize my downfall and get back on track.

And the best part is…I’m loving it (queue McDonalds jingle…

Helping you from the stage as a “youth motivational speaker” (I have to put it in quotes because it still sounds weird to me) is great, but getting the opportunity to slam down thoughts in writing that will (hopefully) instill some sort of excitement or inspiration is equally important.

And at the same time, writing is something I truly enjoy doing. Whether it is answering your questions during the Formspring run we did last year (which, for the hundred or-so of you who were a part of it…thank you) to writing down content that your educators can pass on to you in the classroom, my true joy from “working” (if you can even call it that) is helping you with life as it hits.

But instead of simply proclaiming that I’m back, I have something I want to say directly to you this week.

Look hard at the computer….Ready? Ok…

I want you to pick something back up this week you’ve recently dropped.

I’m talking about something you love doing. That hobby you started doing less of recently. That activity you don’t seem to have time for.

Yep. I want you to add another thing to your plate.

Btw–don’t you dare click off of this page right now…You have not received any notifications in the last 2 minutes. If you click the “back”, I will sick my hamster on you.

I completely understand the fall crunch you’re most likely experiencing. School has started, fall sports are beginning once again, you’re overloaded with homework, and you have that one teacher who refuses to let you do anything with your life but write Cornell Notes.

What am I getting at then? Simple—In order to have the energy, motivation, and will to do the things you have to do, you need to spend more time doing the things that you want to do.

I’m not saying that you need to cut the amount of sleep you get at night or anything like that, but taking just 10 minutes away from Facebook and diving into that book, calling up that old friend, or learning to play that new song might just be the thing you need to get through the early part of the school year.

And while you’re at it, share the joy you experience with others. It wasn’t until a friend beat me over the head with this that I was able to experience it for myself.  If nothing else, spend some time doing these things with friends so that they can enjoy life a little more as well.

In doing so, I promise that your mind, your body your friend, and my hamster will thank you.

It’s Back

September is well underway which can only mean one thing: that’s right, school is back in session (stop making that sad face).

Oh yes, the time of year where you pull your dusty backpack out of your closet, buy some new clothes to look fresh on your first day, and hope that you have an easier schedule than last year. PLUS, you can’t forget to complain every couple of hours and make sure to reflect on how much better summer was compared to your coming school year. Sound about right?

If you’ve never read this blog before or have just forgot the usual contents after a summer hiatus (which is definitely my fault, so I apologize), you know what’s coming. Ready? Let’s do this.

Could you decide to think that way? Sure, if you want to have a mediocre year. Want to switch things up and completely ROCK OUT in your school for the next 9 months? If you do, I would love to help make it happen. =]

I get it. You probably got to sleep in this summer. Maybe you spent some time out in the sun with friends. If you went on a family trip or two, that’s fantastic! I would love for you to drop me a line and tell me how it went.

Here’s something you DIDN’T have this summer though: the chance to be surrounded by hundreds of your peers every day. What’s more? You have the chance to help those students before next summer. With that being said, here are a few things to help you completely crush it this school year:

1. Bring it back to May—Remember what you had to say this spring as finals were wrapping up? Things like “next year is going to be different.” “Next year I’ll finally be able to _______.” “Next fall will be amazing!” Start thinking of the few things that you specifically wanted to accomplish this year. Whether it’s getting better grades, making that sports team you’ve been training for, or raising your level of self esteem and confidence, bring your focus back on the few big goals you set for yourself. By refocusing that drive on what is most important to you, you can make this school year truly memorable.

2. Like what you dislike- We all have things in our schools which we are unsatisfied with. Whether it’s our level of school spirit, a lack of caring for standardized testing, or another issue, there are always things that can be improved on. Find one thing within your school that you are generally unsatisfied with. How can you work to fix this issue? Are there others who feel the same way? If so, begin thinking of ways to collaborate and improve these aspects of your campus.

3. Be inclusive- know that there are younger students that are JUST getting used to the ins and outs of your campus. Regardless of how you choose to serve your fellow students this year, try to think of ways to include everyone. Also, gaining insight from younger students brings a fresh dynamic to any group.

4. Ask for help- Teachers at your school aren’t just there to help you with your homework. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of staff members that would love to help you with your project. Have something huge in mind? Reach out to those around you. Activities directors, English teachers, even those in the administration office are there to serve you. By working with everyone on your campus, you can create something HUGE that everyone can benefit from.

Going back to school can be a downer for anyone if you decide to think negatively. Instead, let’s plan on starting this year with a drive and enthusiasm to make things better.

***Have questions about your project! Drop me a line at or as a question on my official youth speaker site***

Formspring Fun

If you’ve recently been on my website, Facebook fan page, or have just listened to the new CADA leadership podcast (which can be found on iTunes), you know that I’ve had a massive cyber crush on Formspring as of late. Seeing as I’ve been busy on the road this month speaking at schools and conferences, I’ve had a lot of layover breaks at airports to sit down and answer a lot of your questions about leadership, school, and life in general. You’ve taken the time to think of quality questions, so I’ve set some time aside to answer.

Overall, the response has been GREAT! We’ve covered topics like as how to approach a guy or girl, how to be a standout leader while still having an awesome social life, and how to deal with defeat.  At the same time, there has been some epic back and forth on everything from my favorite Sesame Street character (Elmo, of course) to the pros and cons of almighty Justin Beiber (I’m anti hair flip). Regardless of how serious or goofy the questions, I hope that you have been able to get some great information from my online resources. Furthermore, I hope that you will continue to utilize the site to answer any other questions you may have. As I’ve repeatedly said, I’m here to help!

Like with any online resource that I use, I want to be able to make it applicable for activities directors and teachers to utilize in their classrooms. Like I mentioned above, I recently appeared as a featured guest on the CADA leadership podcast. Whether you listened to it or have yet to press the download button (by the way, it’s totally free for you), here are a few of the points that I touched on.

What is this site good for?

-Formspring allows you to answer questions that A LOT of your students have and post it to public forums such as Facebook, Twitter, or even WordPress. These can be questions regarding scheduled events, student activities, community service projects, etc.

  • On a side note, BE CREATIVE! As activities directors and teachers, you get questions on the most random topics known to mankind. The real task when utilizing new technology becomes figuring out how it can be used to best aid your student population.

-This online tool allows your group to enhance their presence on already popular sites is a POSITIVE MANNER.

  • Let’s face it…Teens are ALL OVER these websites. As a leadership group, you have the opportunity to provide a positive place for students to go while not tending to their crops on Farmville. Most importantly, linking your Formspring with a Facebook page makes it SUPER EASY for students to access valuable information. You are literally a click away!

- Anonymous Asking

  • Your students DO NOT need an account to ask you any questions. Also, the site allows for students to ask questions without providing ANY personal information (such as their name). As an administrator, YOU then have the power to choose which questions you find suitable for answering. Yay for ease of use!

I hope that these brief points give you a good overview of how this site can be used within your leadership group or organization. As always, I would love to answer any questions you may have! Feel free to go to MY Formspring ( or email me at

Oh, and students, don’t worry! I will back within days to post a blog JUST for you! In the meantime, you know the drill…Ask away!

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UPDATE– Since writing this post, I have stopped utilizing Formspring to answer questions for students. As a youth motivational speaker, my goal is to provide the safest outlets possible for my students. Unfortunately, formspring has stopped updating privacy features that would make the site safe for teens. My Facebook page is still available for this purpose, and even has a new messaging feature.