Friday, January 31, 2014



It’s been a week since I delivered my TEDx talk.  I needed a whole week to digest the experience and be able to discuss it somewhat objectively.  But make no mistake: the emotional high is still there.

TED is all about Ideas Worth Sharing and I was honored that they thought mine might reach that level.  And presenting with (and having watched) others who are lawyers, doctors, teachers and rocket scientists made me seriously question my credentials to talk among them.  But they were persuasive and I presented.

They wanted a 12-minute presentation and I’m not usually that disciplined; I’ve given lots of speeches but none that were going to be filmed and published on You Tube.  I’ve often told stories from my days as Steve Wynn’s HR guy but wasn’t sure they’d be of interest to this audience, and worried that my non-traditional style could prove awkward in such a high-profile setting. 

So I took the stage and told stories of some non-traditional recruitment strategies I dreamed up for the openings of Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio and Wynn, and the lessons learned.  The gist of it was that Wynn and his companies were so popular that we easily garnered more than 3 million applications during my tenure: while we were certainly flush with them, we never stopped looking.  We didn’t need more, but looked because it was the right thing to do.

At lunch, waiting to present, I sat with a 14 year old who gave a talk last year that’s gone viral and is now the 3rd most watched video on the TEDx You Tube Channel: he was cool, I started to get butterflies.  And then it was show time: all of the talks were great: some had Power Points - I had me; some had great theories - I had real-life experiences; all got applause - I got a standing ovation. 

Some things in life are notable because we’re at the right place at the right time; others are memorable because we get something from them; this was inspirational because I came away with a greater sense of awe at the power of thought. 

I’d tell you more but don’t want to spoil the ‘punch’ line.  I’ll let you know when the You Tube link is live.

My message this week is about getting out there and doing things:

“Life is for participating, not for spectating.”  Kathrine Switzer

We’re often reminded that people have to play in order to win.  Problem is we’re often not invited or made to feel that way, but that doesn’t relieve any of us of the right or responsibility to prep up, step up, and be ready to get actively involved when called. So no matter what the situation, you must remember that life is for participating and not for spectating.  That means you always have to be ready, which pre-supposes that you’re always preparing and keeping up to date, and that if  (not when) the opportunity arises, you’re ready.  Your friends, colleagues and career demand that you remain constantly ready and able; that’s how to make sure you’re in a position to win.  So stop watching and get involved in the things going on in your world today!

Stay well!

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