“The Power of Reflecting” by Scott Burrows
As a Motivational Keynote Speaker, I have been invited to speak to different industries, associations and Fortune 500 companies around the world sharing my success strategies that revolve around Vision-Mindset-Grit. Three simple yet powerful words that, when put into action, can absolutely help you conquer your goals and push the limits of what is possible regardless of the challenges standing before you today.
Vision helps you set manageable but far-reaching goals. Mindset allows you to stay focused on those goals by making adjustments as circumstances, personnel and other elements change. Grit is the everyday determination and willingness to persevere and be resilient in your pursuit especially when all else beckons you to throw in the towel, or worse, stay in your paralyzed state, your comfort zone while maintaining the status quo.
During a keynote, I typically use my own life-changing story as the backdrop to bring the concepts of Vision, Mindset and Grit to life. Lately, I’ve been encouraging my attendees to Reflect back on their own lives and experience self-awareness, to Reflect back on how far they have come, on the choices and decisions they have made, the challenges they have overcome, as well as the contributions they have made to their organization, other employees and members of their team. In doing so, I have found that Reflecting is a Mindset technique that can help you tap into your inner strength and be more productive while keeping your Vision clear and always in the forefront of your thinking.
Due to my physical handicap, I cannot ride a traditional bike; however, with new biking technologies and modifications I’m able to ride a hand-cycle, which is a 3-wheeled bike. It’s aerodynamic, sits a few inches off the ground and can now be seen by Paralympians using it to compete in distance runs at the Paralympics.
When I bike, I enjoy letting my mind wander. On one ride, I found myself Reflecting back on some of the choices and decisions I’ve made in my life. In doing so, the words leaders leading leaders kept speaking to me. My mind drifted back to 1983, when I was 18 years old and playing college football as a walk-on wide receiver at Florida State University under head coach Bobby Bowden. During that season, I noticed that Coach Bowden was a delegator who led from the bottom up as opposed to the traditional top down. He would encourage assistant coaches and frontline players like me to take charge and lead on and off the field and challenge each other, day after day, to perform to the best of our abilities. It proved effective and became a powerful life lesson that I teach and have incorporated into my everyday existence.
That reflection triggered another memory that I consider to be one of the most defining moments of my life. On November 3rd, 1984, while a sophomore in college, a bunch of us planned a weekend on those gorgeous white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, at a place known as St. George’s Island. We arrived around 8:00 PM, set up our camp, built a fire, started drinking (as the drinking age in Florida was 18 back then) and telling story after story with our best teenage hormonal sense of humor.
As the hours passed, my friend Ed challenged me to a foot race. Being competitive, like you, I stood up to the challenge and bent down into my running stance waiting to hear “GO!” Imagine right now hearing that word echoing in the air and the first thing you can feel is the cool night air blowing through your hair, and with each step you can feel sand Gritting between your toes, and as you lean across that imaginary finish line you can even taste salt in the ocean breeze. That run turned out to be the best, but I could have never imagined that it would be my last.
After that run, we walked back to camp. Waiting for us was another friend who said, “Do the two of you mind taking a ride down the beach to find some more firewood to keep our bonfire burning throughout the night.” We said, “Sure, why not!” And it wasn’t long thereafter that it happened. On our way back, in a car loaded with wood debris on a dark, otherwise empty road, Ed lost control of the wheel, ran off the road and crashed into a mound of sand. The impact sent the car hurtling into the air before tumbling back to earth end over end. In that one moment, everything about my life was forever changed.
Ed survived with minor bumps and bruises. I, unfortunately, broke cervical 6 & 7 vertebrates in my neck and suffered a serious spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed from my chest down and diagnosed a quadriplegic. As I was fighting the fight of my life in hopes to turning an impossible dream of walking again into a reality, the oxygen levels in my red blood cell count unexpectedly plummeted and were dangerously low.
My doctor said the only way to get those levels back up to normal was to get a large quantity of pure oxygen into my weakened system over the next 24 hours. “There are two ways to do it: Hook you up to a machine to breathe for you, but it would require surgery—we would need to drill a hole into your throat; or, we could put a mask over your face, pump oxygen through it, and you could do it on your own. But there’s a catch.” (Have you ever noticed there is always a catch when it comes to someone else’s ideas?) He said, “You would need to stay awake for the next 24 hours and monitor every single breath to ensure you are taking in as much pure oxygen as possible. I’ll be back in 10 minutes. Let me know what you decide.”
Sometimes in life we have to make quick decisions, don’t we? But why can’t we make more decisions quickly? Why do we have to think and worry so much? This goes back to Mindset. What is Mindset? If you think about it, it’s really your own philosophy of life. It’s how you see things through your own experiences. Most importantly, it’s how you respond to a new unexpected challenge, your next setback or perhaps the changing landscape of your industry or organization—or your competitors and the products and services they offer.
For me, I came to realize that this doctor was giving me the opportunity to stand up to the challenge, metaphorically speaking. If I was not willing to muster up every last ounce of Grit I had in this paralyzed body, I would be risking even more. So, I’ll have you know that those 24 hours fighting for every breath turned out to the longest hours of my life. When I crossed that imaginary finish line I came to believe you cannot always choose the precise outcomes of the choices you make, but you can take ownership over whatever results occur. Then and there, I made the decision to take ownership over what had happened to me as opposed to blaming Ed, especially considering that we were both drinking.
It’s really no different than anyone—perhaps you—accepting accountability and responsibility versus playing the victim and blaming someone else, like someone on your team, your competition or the markets or the economy, when things don’t go as you planned. This was not only a turning point in my life, it became my defining moment. It gave me the resiliency to stand up and fight to walk again.
I had another experience on that bike ride, this one about Sue Lopez, an HR Director who hosted a conference for her company in Fargo, North Dakota that I presented to. Afterwards, she mentioned that she wished I would have talked a little more about my girlfriend, Kim. She said she couldn’t help but notice how I consider Kim one of the best speaking coaches I’ve ever had even though that is not actually her profession. “She’s very astute,” I said, “and I consider myself coachable.”
Kim has heard me speak a dozen times. When I’m through, we often have a conversation about the organization I spoke to and, when prompted, she offers me her feedback. One day, she asked me to email her a copy of my latest keynote so she could go through it while the presentation was still fresh in her mind.
A few days later, we reconvened. Armed with notes and questions, she asked about my family, my upbringing, my involvement in sports and more details about the auto accident I was involved in that changed my life 32 years ago. She also wanted to know more about Ed, my friend who was driving the car at the time. This conversation continued for hours—and days. It was not the most pleasant experience, truth be told, and I found myself emotional and vulnerable at times. The more open and vulnerable I became, the more heart-wrenching the questions grew.
“After I read your book, Vision-Mindset-Grit,” Kim said, “I thought you could go even deeper with your feelings. I love writers who share their deepest thoughts, the places where the ego is shed and exposure is the greatest, and then bring the reader back to the surface. That’s how I learn that I, too, can overcome any challenge confronting me by digging deep and seeking the truth. It’s scary, but effective.”
Kim also suggested that I change some sentence structure in order to appeal to more women. “As you know, both men and women communicate differently,” Kim said. “Right now, you’re sharing your story from a male point of view. That’s fine, but with a few subtle changes, you might reach even more people in the room.”
After some Reflection, I made the necessary adjustments—just like back when I was working with speaking coach Lou Heckler, an expert in presentation and organization skills. It took time to digest everything, and it took courage and Grit to deliver it confidently on stage. As I did, however, I was happy to see that I was connecting with the audience on a deeper level than before. People were more engaged, laughed harder and became emotional in new places.
My presentation style is direct. I engage in a very intimate and candid conversation with an audience for one hour, articulated with emotional storytelling that captivates everyone’s attention. I’m proud to say that, when I’m speaking, no one reaches for their mobile devices. As Kim says, “That’s powerful storytelling!”
The Power of Reflecting has been a very useful tool to help me understand where I’ve been, what I’ve learned and what I can improve upon. It has allowed me to tap into my inner strength during times of adversity and push the limits of what is possible in both my personal and professional life while putting my concepts of Vision, Mindset and Grit into action.
So, remember to take the time to Reflect!
For more blogs from IPMA 2018 Conference Keynote Scott Burrows CLICK HERE
“The Future of the In-Plant” IPMA is proud to provide our membership with a 1-hour webinar looking toward the future of in-plants. Greg Cholmondeley, author of the study presented by IPMA and sponsored by Canon, will present the findings of the directions and plans of in-plants over the next five years. He will be joined by John Sarantakos, from the University of Oklahoma and Kris Tanner from Schneider Electric, who will share their perspectives as well. Attendees will come away with a good idea of what in-plants across the country see as the major upcoming changes, the challenges they’ll need to overcome, and the actions they are taking to increase their success. Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 1:30 PM Central time zone. If you would like to view his summary presentation CLICK HERE. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR WEBINAR SYSTEM REQUIREMENT PRESENTERS Greg Cholmondeley- President, Cholmonco, Inc. Greg Cholmondeley has 35 years of experience in the printing industry as a design engineer, a marketing manager, and as an industry analyst. He’s been the Worldwide K-12 Industry Marketing Manager for Xerox, the In-Plant Segment Marketing Manager for Ricoh, the Marketing Manager for the Book Production and Financial Services Sectors for Oce, and the Director the Caslon/PODi Workflow Practice. Mr. Cholmondeley is currently President of Cholmonco, Inc. which researches, analyzes and documents best practices and innovative solutions in the printing industry. He has written hundreds of case studies, blog articles, and trade magazine articles, and, most recently, has published the first of two novels. This vast array of experiences provides him with a broad collection of connections and perspectives to identify and interpret trends and opportunities within the in-plant and production printing marketplace. Robert Barbera – Senior Manager, Production Solutions Division, Canon USA, Inc. Robert Barbera is the Senior Manager, Solutions and Channel Marketing for Canon U.S.A. Inc., Production Solutions Division. Barbera is responsible for developing the solutions and services business, managing the outbound and channel marketing initiatives and liaison with industry associations. He brings over 20 years of hands-on involvement in business development, production printing workflows, and professional services associated with digital printing. Mr. Barbera has a long history of involvement with industry association and standard groups. He is a past-board member of PIA/GATF and has actively participated on numerous industry committees. In 2017 he was inducted into the Idealliane Soderstrom Society which honors professionals whose careers have advanced the visual communications and media industry. He is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology in Printing Management and has attended executive management training programs at the University of Notre Dame and Columbia Graduate School. PANELISTS John Sarantakos- Director, Oklahoma University Printing Services John Sarantakos has spent 40+ years in the printing profession as a manager, educator and craftsman. The past 18 years he has directed the OU operation to become the largest and most award winning University in-plant in the country. Kris Taner – Manager, Solutions Support Group, Schneider Electric Ask Kris Tanner what he does on most days and that’s likely the answer you’ll receive. Utilizing over a decade of experience in broadcasting and newspaper marketing, Kris joined Schneider Electric in 2005 to help launch a new multi-faceted team that moves quickly, gets results and slashes through the corporate red tape. As part...read more
“Learn How to ‘GREEN’ Your In-Plant with the Latest Environmental Innovation” IPMA in-plant members joined PrintReleaf Founder and CEO, Jordan Darragh, Wednesday, October 11th, at 1:30 PM CDT as he shared the latest environmental innovation to enter the commercial print market. Jordan was joined by IPMA President, Dwayne Magee, who has successfully implemented PrintReleaf at Messiah College and recently won an award for Outstanding Achievement in ‘Green Print Operations’ as a result of Messiah’s partnership with PrintReleaf. This webinar educated attendees on the inner workings of PrintReleaf, specifically: more efficient and cost-effective means for certifiably reforesting paper consumption in an effective workflow very marketable means of promoting your participation in certified global reforestation – to employees, students, customers, stakeholders, et al means of reducing conventional costs associated with green print operations new approach to integrating and automating sustainable paper certification This IPMA webinar presentation is available to IPMA members only. Not a member? CLICK HERE to learn more about IPMA and its in-plant member benefits program. You may also email Amy Banker , IPMA Membership Sales Coordinator or call 816/919-1691 ext. #102 for more information. PRESENTERS Jordan Darragh, Founder and CEO of PrintReleaf Jordan Darragh is a graduate of Michigan State University. He began his career in sales and marketing at LaserCycle Imaging—one of the largest direct providers of managed print services in the Western United States. Following a successful stint at LaserCycle Imaging, he held a senior business development position with EnerNOC, a company that develops virtual power plants providing demand response during peak demand on the electric grid. The EnerNOC focus is on energy efficiency, carbon accounting, and energy supply management. Having firmly established his printing and environmental credentials, in 2011 Jordan founded PrintReleaf, a company that helps businesses reduce their environmental impact by connecting them to the PrintReleaf Exchange [PRX], a patented software platform connecting enterprise printer environments to a network of global reforestation projects where customers can have trees planted to reforest (or “releaf”) their paper consumption. Under Jordan’s direction, PrintReleaf has enjoyed considerable success responding to demand for reforestation services in the managed print services area, including establishing relationships with partners such as Toshiba, Clover Imaging Group, EFI, Publication Printers, and hundreds more. The company recently broadened efforts into the commercial and quick printing areas, enabling print-for-pay businesses to offer reforestation services to their customers. Dwayne Magee, CGCM, Director Messiah College-College Press and Postal Services Currently serving as president of the In-Print Printing and Mailing Association, Dwayne is in his 13th year as director of College Press and Postal Services at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. His department was recipient of the 2015 IPMA Innovation Award, the 2017 ACUP Green Service Award, and the 2015 ACUP Collaborative Service Award. Prior to joining Messiah, Dwayne worked for 17 years at AlphaGraphics as an assistant manager and ISO coordinator. He began his career as a teenager with Perry Press Company in a rural part of central Pennsylvania. There, he composed type and operated a Heidelberg Windmill press. He also operated Linotype, served as offset press operator and bindery specialist, and developed skills as a graphic artist on the 9″ screen of an original Apple Macintosh computer. He is currently in his junior year as an English major with a concentration in writing at the college he works and...read more
I bet many of you thought this day would never come. Well it has. I was not only wrong, but dead wrong. I actually believed that within our industry there were vendor partners that cared and supported In-Plants even though these “partners” had divisions that are counter to our goals. Naïve, uninformed, blind, or stupid all fit. Never again will I fall into a false sense of security with any vendor. I will qualify this by saying that I have great relationships with folks from many of our vendors. I also believe those friends place our industry ahead of other corporate goals. Problem is when it comes down to it, they have no vote as to what happens. Therein lies the rub. My Grandfather used to tell me that the road to Hell was paved with good intentions. Too many of my friends have been sold out by said “good intentions”. An industry vendor’s good intentions recently caused an in-plant take over. To say I am disappointed by this vendors’ predatory actions would be a gross understatement. To say I was MAD would also be an understatement. I guess in a nut shell the “smile and sell practices” must be balanced by a “sneer and stick a knife in the back” tactic. Best of both worlds for our “partners”, not so much for us. A wise man told me to keep your numbers to yourself and never share them. They are the gold in the vault. Numbers are like statistics and can be made to say whatever you want and the FM jack wagons will do just that. Smoke and mirrors. Think of it like the news, edit and cut then spin till you get what you want. I have never been fearful of sharing information. My operation is strong, with great support and I can be a mean SOB when needed. Not anymore. I will still be a mean SOB, but all my data is now top secret. Not that I would not share with you my brothers and sisters fighting for the cause, but my vendors can make proposals till they are blue in the face, but not with my data. Next time you need to write an RFP, be elusive and force vendors to provide all their numbers. Then be ready to dissect those numbers and see how you can make them work to your advantage. Then put the screws to them and drive the costs down further. Never give them ammunition to use against you. The other thing I have learned is to get non-compete agreements from all service bidders. Let them know your operation is off limits to their FM hitmen. While the In-Plant model has not been this strong in many years, we can’t let our guards down for a second. With the help and support from IPMA, we can continue to promote and help defend our operations. It is quite humbling to be so very wrong. John Sarantakos, Oklahoma Printing Services Director and IPMA...read more
As a Motivational Keynote Speaker, I have been invited to speak to different industries, associations and Fortune 500 companies around the world sharing my success strategies that revolve around Vision-Mindset-Grit. Three simple yet powerful words that, when put into action, can absolutely help you conquer your goals and push the limits of what is possible regardless of the challenges standing before you today. Vision helps you set manageable but far-reaching goals. Mindset allows you to stay focused on those goals by making adjustments as circumstances, personnel and other elements change. Grit is the everyday determination and willingness to persevere and be resilient in your pursuit especially when all else beckons you to throw in the towel, or worse, stay in your paralyzed state, your comfort zone while maintaining the status quo. During a keynote, I typically use my own life-changing story as the backdrop to bring the concepts of Vision, Mindset and Grit to life. Lately, I’ve been encouraging my attendees to Reflect back on their own lives and experience self-awareness, to Reflect back on how far they have come, on the choices and decisions they have made, the challenges they have overcome, as well as the contributions they have made to their organization, other employees and members of their team. In doing so, I have found that Reflecting is a Mindset technique that can help you tap into your inner strength and be more productive while keeping your Vision clear and always in the forefront of your thinking. Due to my physical handicap, I cannot ride a traditional bike; however, with new biking technologies and modifications I’m able to ride a hand-cycle, which is a 3-wheeled bike. It’s aerodynamic, sits a few inches off the ground and can now be seen by Paralympians using it to compete in distance runs at the Paralympics. When I bike, I enjoy letting my mind wander. On one ride, I found myself Reflecting back on some of the choices and decisions I’ve made in my life. In doing so, the words leaders leading leaders kept speaking to me. My mind drifted back to 1983, when I was 18 years old and playing college football as a walk-on wide receiver at Florida State University under head coach Bobby Bowden. During that season, I noticed that Coach Bowden was a delegator who led from the bottom up as opposed to the traditional top down. He would encourage assistant coaches and frontline players like me to take charge and lead on and off the field and challenge each other, day after day, to perform to the best of our abilities. It proved effective and became a powerful life lesson that I teach and have incorporated into my everyday existence. That reflection triggered another memory that I consider to be one of the most defining moments of my life. On November 3rd, 1984, while a sophomore in college, a bunch of us planned a weekend on those gorgeous white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, at a place known as St. George’s Island. We arrived around 8:00 PM, set up our camp, built a fire, started drinking (as the drinking age in Florida was 18 back then) and telling story after story with our best teenage hormonal sense of humor. As the hours passed, my...read more
In May, I came across a news story involving Xerox and The Pennsylvania House of Representatives. According to the story, Xerox was over charging for its services there and a group called CopyWatch called them out. If you missed the story, CLICK HERE. It was not a happy ending for Xerox and this is not the first time I have heard of this kind of thing happening in our industry. It was however, the first time I had heard about this organization called CopyWatch. After doing a little digging, I learned that Copy Watch is a “contingent cost recovery service specializing in reducing copier and printer expenses.” In plain words, they claim to be experts on all matters related to managing in-house digital production equipment and our deployed, multi-functional convenience copiers. Their business model is simple. They come into an organization, plug into the network, and start gathering data. They assess printer types, printer volumes, and printer locations. They review contracts and leases. Then, once all of the information is collected, they evaluate it and return a report recommending cost saving measures. If they fail to identify any opportunities, there is no charge to you or your institution. If they do find a way to save on expenses and you choose to implement their recommendations, then they ask for 30% of the net savings. They make a little money, and they promise to save you a lot of money. Since there was no obligation, and CopyWatch was willing to sign a nondisclosure agreement, I thought it would be interesting to see if I was doing my job of managing these expenses as well as I should be or if this company I had never heard of knew more about my job than I did. I reached out to them in June and I was pleased to learn that the sales person who would be paying me a visit was an alum of Messiah College where I work. But that is where my experience with CopyWatch stopped being a positive one. For starters, we set an appointment for July 28 and my sales rep arrived one month early on June 28th, two days before the end of our fiscal year. At first, I thought it was an honest mistake but now I think it may have been intentional. I think this company was trying to catch me off guard to make me look incompetent. Unfortunately for them, I just happened to have all of my printer and copier data in front of me because I was reviewing it for an annual report to my VP. Questions from the vendor that were clearly designed to stump me or produce a hesitant response were answered quickly and accurately. My second issue with these folks was the manner in which they wanted to conduct our meeting. My sales rep, the Messiah graduate, wanted to sit in my office and conduct a conversation with me and his boss (via cell phone) who was sitting in traffic somewhere in New York City. So, I am at my desk rifling through excel spreadsheets and these guys both have me on poorly connected speaker phones. Our exchange went something like this: CopyWatch Guy: Do you own or lease your copiers? Dwayne: Our fleet is comprised of older...read more
Check back soon for details of the upcoming 2018 IPMA Annual Conference in beautiful Costa Mesa, California – City of the...read more
By: John Sarantakos, February 2017 This is an incredibly difficult topic to discuss and deal with inside your workplace. Let’s face it, people get sick and I’m not just talking about the flu. Real life, down and dirty, crappy kind of sick. Whether it is an employee, one of their family members or even yourself. It happens. The ripples created will affect everyone within your work group. If you have been a manager for any length of time, you have probably had to deal with this exact situation. It is personal and upsetting. Yet we must actively make decisions and take actions that will lead the “business” forward, while not marginalizing or minimizing the personal aspect. Compassion has to be the center piece. But what happens when we must choose a direction that is contrary to a person that is suffering? A perfect example would be a staff member that has been on FLMA for the allotted 12 weeks. They perform a critical job and their absence has put a huge stress on the operation. Overtime and missed deadlines are just a few of the issues. So, do you exercise your rights as an employer and fill the position? Do you limp along and hope the person returns soon? What if that person is you? I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Stage one, very treatable. Will it kill me? No, but only because I’m too damn mean. Can it be deadly? Sure it can. Does every man that has ever lived have or will have prostate cancer? Yes, it is just that most don’t know it and almost all die of something else before it ever shows up on a test. My doctor told me that if men lived to be 150, we would all eventually develop this type of cancer. This statement is not to minimize the disease because it can be deadly if left unchecked. I am telling you this not because I want sympathy. Although I will readily accept any prayers directed my direction. I wanted to emphasis a point; anyone’s life can change in an instant. Even your own and how will you “manage” it? There is no prescribed method or set of rules to follow. Each person must look deeply into themselves and choose a course of action that they can live with and still allow the work to continue. The reality is that sometime the two don’t mesh. Difficult decisions wouldn’t be called difficult if they were easy. Whether your work group is five or fifty strong, long term illnesses have an impact. At some point the “whole” begins to suffer and while it sounds heartless, you have to do what is best for your company and your employees. Can one person becoming ill jeopardize your operation? Maybe and maybe not. Everyone has a different situation. The only truth is that you can’t plan for anything like this. That, my friends, is called management. Postscript: As of May 4th I have completed my treatment. After 44 sessions and 3000 driving miles, I can rest easy and not worry, at least about this type of cancer. I want to thank my wonderful staff for handling my absences flawlessly and the administration for their complete support. I want to especially thank my family and...read more
Monday, March 20, 2017, IPMA & InPlant Graphics Magazine, represented by Bob Neubauer, came together for the judging of over 400 entries received for the 2017 InPrint Awards Contest. Judging began at 8:00 AM and continued throughout the day finishing at 6:00 PM. IPMA & IPG would like to thank the award judges for their time and expertise in printing for making this possible: Front left to right: Nathan Thole – Iowa State University, Marcia Doll – University of Missouri(retired), moderator Bob Neubauer – IPG, Paul Ackerman – Blue Valley USD#229. Back left to right: Ben Fowler – Shelter Insurance Companies, alternate judge/photographer, Larry Clements – Redlands Community College, Chris Donlon – Kohler Company Of the 415 entries received, 65 received Gold, Silver or Bronze awards. There were 33 different in-plant winners. University of Texas at Austin won seven awards making them the top winners of the day. University of Oklahoma received six awards coming in second. Congratulations to a new face in the top three, Bloomberg LP are receiving five awards in 2017. All of the 2017 IPMA / IPG InPrint Award Contest winners will be announced once we have checked, double checked and confirm our...read more
IPMA’s Certification Program includes The Certified Graphic Communications Manager and Certified Mail Manager programs. These tests will provide an opportunity to gauge your knowledge and provide you with an industry recognized certification. These types of certifications can help reinforce your position with in your organization and provide CEU credits for advancement. The CGCM and CMM tests are constantly being updated to stay current with technologies and processes. Join the elite group of the Franklin Stamp and Ink Society, whose 55 members have completed the exam. These are the industry leaders of today and tomorrow....read more