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“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!

Posted in GritMindsetVision on July 11, 2017.

For more blogs from IPMA 2018 Conference Keynote Scott Burrows CLICK HERE

2017 In-Print Awards

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Blogs, News | 0 comments

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...

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Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in News | 0 comments

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....

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Posted by on Mar 8, 2017 in Blogs, News | 0 comments

The Brahney Scholarship presented annually by InPlant Printing and Mailing Association is in memory of James M. Brahney, a founder of IPMA and its first international president. This scholarship serves to promote education in the field of in-house print, mail, and management. Applications for the James M. Brahney Scholarship are now being accepted. The Scholarship is available to an IPMA member, child, or grandchild of a member who wants to advance his/her education related to Graphic Arts, Printing, Design or Mailing. A Scholarship is also available to help members defray a portion of the registration fee for IPMA 2017 Educational Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. You are encouraged to include any additional information/materials that may be helpful to the judges when making their decision. All entries must include the official entry form and...

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Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 in Blogs, News | 0 comments

Our team members are the “unsung heroes” at The World Bank. We’ve served behind the scenes and our contribution often goes unmentioned. In support of the institution’s mission of ending poverty and sharing prosperity, our function is vital in the transformation of the world. In that sense, the awareness month campaign is a self-driven initiative to look back on our past, to reinstate our position, and to remind our colleagues of our importance. As a first step, the team in Printing & Multimedia division conceptualized what our clients should know about us. As a central theme of the awareness campaign, we want to remind our colleagues that what we do best is storytelling. The message “we help tell your story” is concise, direct and clear. It is imprinted on various marketing materials that are strategically placed in high traffic areas of the World Bank Group headquarters. All available communication channels such as lobby posters, digital displays, cafeteria table tent cards, intranet, and internal social media sites are utilized to broadcast the message. In support of the campaign effort, we are publishing a series of stories, each from a different areas of the Printing & Multimedia unit. These stories inform and educate our colleagues about the services each team offers and are being published across our intranet websites. Our goal is to inspire our clients and provide over-all dialogue of a more effective and effortless communication. In the spirit of raising awareness, we are providing tours of our production facility in Landover Maryland. The tour will showcase our capabilities, entertain our clients and provide an opportunity for our clients to see actual printing production processes in action. Our services are indispensable for creating and sharing developmental knowledge in support of the Bank’s mission. Our efforts are remarkable and definitely worthy of notice. Collectively, we have engaged in a comprehensive awareness campaign to make our presence widely known during the IPMA awareness month. Our goal is bring awareness to the value our team provides and kindle mutual appreciation with our colleagues, inspire stakeholders, and always, foster our relationships. We would like to extend a big thanks to IPMA and its community for the mutual support and motivation! Diane Kim Business Development Officer...

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Posted by on Feb 20, 2017 in Blogs, News | 0 comments

Since becoming an IPMA member, Document Solutions has received 38 awards in 10 consecutive years. In addition to the 34 awards for printing excellence, we have received the In-House Promotional Excellence award in 2010 and 2011. Additionally, Document Solutions received the 2013 award for Mail Center of the Year and the 2015 award for Print Center of the Year. Trust is the single most important element in any relationship and the IPMA awards signify to our customers their orders are entrusted to the best craftsmen and craftswomen in our industry. These noteworthy awards represent the contributions, pride in ownership and hard work of our Document Solutions staff and you will find them celebrated on the web pages of Document Solutions and our Vice President. The awards themselves are prominently displayed in our lobby for visitors to see the recognition we have received for our demonstrated commitment to excellence. Additionally, the awards are a component of our marketing efforts to those potential customers who may not be otherwise aware of our talented employees.   Richard F. Beto Director of Document Services University of Texas at Austin For more...

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LA Roadshow Great Success!!

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in Blogs, News | 0 comments

Church of Scientology opened their doors Tuesday, February 7, 2017, to welcome near 100 in-plant managers and others in the printing industry. Church of Scientology’s Jud Posner, Pressroom Manager, along with Angela Furness, Production Manager, extended their hand of hospitality to all. They talked about the birth of their operation almost eight years ago. To read further please see article by Bob Neubauer of In-Plant Graphics   “2nd largest in-plant event of the year. Pittsburgh of course will be #1” – John Sarantakos, University of...

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Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in News, Video Slider | 0 comments

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Letter from IPMA President, Dwayne Magee

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 in Blogs | 0 comments

From: Dwayne Magee, President Elect, IPMA Date: January 31, 2017 Subject: IPMA Election Results Dear IPMA Member, Thank you for casting your votes with regards to the IPMA 2017 election for the two open board positions. Congratulations to Sherri Isbell, International President Elect and Linda Winn, Member-at-Large. This election serves as affirmation of the esteem your colleagues hold for you as leaders. Each candidate deserves credit for stepping up to take part in the work of serving our in-plant community and each candidate has clearly demonstrated a strong commitment to IPMA. As such, I am additionally glad to announce that Mike O’Hara has agreed to accept the board position of Member Representative which will be vacated as Sherri steps into her new role. With that, I hope to see you all in Pittsburgh in June or perhaps sooner at one of our 2 remaining Road Shows. Here now is your 2017 IPMA leadership team: Staff • Mike Loyd, Executive Director • Jennifer Chambers, Executive Assistant • Amy Banker, Membership Sales Coordinator Board of Directors • John Sarantakos, Director of Printing, Mailing and Document Services, University of Oklahoma, IPMA International Past President • Tammy Golden, Assistant Commissioner of Communication, Publishing and Distribution, Department of General Services for the State of Tennessee, IPMA Secretary/Treasurer • Tim Hendrix, State Printer, State Of Oregon Publishing & Distribution, IPMA Vendor Representative • Sherri Isbell, Assistant Director, University of Oklahoma, IPMA International President Elect • Mike O’Hara, Manager of the Central Services Department at Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators, Salt Lake City Utah, IPMA Membership Representative • Linda Winn, Manager of Document Services and Printing for Shelter Insurance Companies in Columbia Missouri, IPMA Member at Large • Dwayne Magee, Director of Messiah College Press and Postal Services, Messiah College, IPMA International President Sincerely, Dwayne A. Magee, CGCM President, Board of Directors, IPMA 103 North Jefferson Street Kearney, MO 64060 (816) 919 – 1691...

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“Take Me Out To The Ball Game!!!”

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 in Blogs, News | 1 comment

Let’s play ball!!! Are you going to be coming into Pittsburgh early and need something to do? We have a block of seats reserved for Saturday, June 10,2017 for us at PNC’s stadium to root on the Pittsburgh Pirates as they take on the Miami Marlins. The first pitch will be thrown at 4:05pm and we would love for you to join us for one big party! The cost is only $49 and we will be sitting along the 3rd base line. Space is limited so don’t delay and register today . If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Richard Silver...

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