Friday, December 28, 2012

Surfing the Ups and Downs of Business and Life

Navigating your dreams and goals is a lot like surfing. There will be ups and downs, there will be wipe-outs, and frustration. Motivating yourself and your team members will not only help you grow your business, but will fuel your desire to continue when the going gets tough!

Let me know what you think of this video blog, and comment below!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Footprints Wash Away, Creating Your Legacy

No one lives forever, yet most carry a growing list of things they will do "someday". Your "Someday List" may include things like spending more time with family, starting a new business, taking a trip with your spouse, volunteering for a charity, or an array of other dreams that have been put on hold until you had spare time.
footprints on beach, keynote motivational speaking, Dave Sheffield, speakermatch motivational speaker
I just returned from 8 days on the road speaking, and captured a photo of a perfect illustration of how temporary life is while walking along the beach in Santa Monica, CA. The footprints in the sand represent the mark that every one of us leaves on the world. This photo was taken during low tide, but within hours the tide came in, washing  the footprints away. Everyone will eventually die and our physical "footprints" will wash away. What will remain, however, is the impact  we had on those around us.

My friend, David A. Koop, wrote a fantastic book titled, Cancer-It's a Good Thing I Got It! It is filled with great stories of capturing the magic of today, and not living in tomorrow.

There are 3 things to consider when pursuing your "Someday" items:

1. It's now or never. Take some sort of action that moves you toward your goal. You can correct the course of a boat when it is moving, but not when it's parked.

2. You have the resources to make it happen. God does not plant a dream in our hearts without giving us the means to make it come true. (It may take you longer to accomplish your goal than you would prefer, but patience and who you become in the process is the real reward.)

3. Disconnect to reconnect. Whenever I'm speaking in the Los Angeles area, I always try to extend my trip for an extra day or two. The people on the beach are enjoying the experience of being on the beach. I never witnessed a surfer who was checking their text messages, or a volleyball player who was on a conference call with the office during the middle of the game. Being "Always on, Always accessible" puts us into a perpetual reactionary mode.
An example of "someday" items for me include eating dinner as a family at least twice per week, making time for friends, and running a Tough Mudder race in 2013.

What are some of your "Someday" items? Please comment and share!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412

Friday, December 7, 2012

Motivational Memories and Uncle Zig

I had an uncle named Zig Ziglar. Zig wasn't technically my uncle, but an uncle that I felt had adopted me when I began my career in direct sales at the age of 19. Millions of people around the globe called Zig "family" in some sense of the word. Zig proved to be a fountain of knowledge filled with an endless supply of ideas, stories, and a perspective that could pull anyone through the toughest of times.

Zig and I would cut through many cold Minnesota nights en route to my next sales call. His tinny Southern drawl booming through my car stereo would make me laugh, would nudge me out of the cab of my Chevy pickup truck to knock another door, and would always remind me that hard work, integrity, and consistent personal development would pave the way for my success in life. I find myself echoing several life lessons when I deliver motivational messages to audiences at conventions and meetings.
Here are my top 10 Ziglar nuggets of wisdom:
1. You can get anything in life that you want…if you just help enough other people get what they want.
2. You are the only person on Earth who can use your ability.
3. God gave you two ears and one mouth…use them accordingly.
4. Sometimes we all need a “Check up from the neck up.”
5. God created your body as a temple…how are you treating yours?
6. Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.
7. There has never been a statue erected to honor a critic.
8. I’m so optimistic that I’d go after Moby Dick in a rowboat with crackers and tarter sauce!
9. What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as who you become in the process.
10. Many salespeople call themselves sales professionals, but are really professional visitors because they never close a sale.
The true measure of one’s life is not everything that they have done personally, but rather how they have impacted the people who are around after they have gone. By that measure, Zig will be missed, but his impact will be timeless!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Your Gratitude GPS

The human mind is like a GPS system which guides us to any destination of our choosing. The challenge is that most people don't program their GPS for success, abundance, and happiness. Many people continue to chase happiness as if it is a location. Happiness is not a destination, it is a decision and attitude. A majority of people don't invest the time to choose what they want in life, then they are upset when they get nowhere.  
keynote motivational speaker, GPS, gratitude gps, The Shef
If I notice one common trait among people who are successful (no matter how you may define success) it is that they possess an attitude of gratitude. They often earn more money, have lower stress levels, and enjoy a more fulfilling life than many others. They do not become grateful after they became successful. They are successful because they are grateful.

I understand that life may have thrown you a curve-ball or two. Keep in mind that no one ever drowned from falling in water. They drown because they stayed in it. Gratitude is a universal life ring that will lift you from any situation.

Here are 3 things that you can do this Thanksgiving season, , to build your attitude of gratitude:
1. Begin and end the day with a gratitude list. The more thankful you are, the more you will have to be thankful for.(This is part of The Shef's 10 day Challenge. View it here)
2. Find 3 people to acknowledge and thank today. They could be a stranger in the grocery store, a cashier at the gas station, or a neighbor. Get creative!
3. Volunteer. Whether you serve food at a soup kitchen, read to the blind, or rake someone's lawn; "Thank you" takes on many forms.

For those of you who are interested in the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge, click here to find out more. We have impacted more than 4.8 million people since July. Check it out!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412

Friday, November 9, 2012

Paddle Your Way to Prosperity

Even the most successful people feel like they are totally out of control. Whether the election didn't go the way you wanted it to, a loved one dies, or failure comes knocking at your door; you are the only one who is in charge of creating your successful future. When I'm delivering keynote messages at sales conventions, there are always people who don't complain. Those people often times are the most successful people in their organization.

Watch this quick video that I just shot from my kayak this morning while enjoying a beautiful sunrise on the Mississippi River.

What are you doing in your world to chart your success journey?

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Monday, October 15, 2012

3 Lessons Felix Baumgartner Taught the World

Felix Baumgartner fell to Earth from a height of more than 24 miles during his death-defying daredevil skydive attempt, becoming the first human to ever break the sonic barrier without the benefit of an aircraft.  What possess some human beings to flirt with death on such a scale as Felix may never be known, but the there are 3 key leadership and life lessons  that anyone could apply to bring their life and business to new heights.

1. Why not me?  The vast majority of people quickly discount many dreams or  projects as being “impossible”. Truly successful people choose to ask a better set of questions when confronted with a problem or challenge. Instead of asking, “Why me?” ask, “Why not me?”. Successful people also quickly build up a list of success building blocks from their past, create a circle of trusted advisors to encourage and guide, and recognize that fear exists…but move forward anyway.
2. Everyone sells and buys with emotion. Regardless of their vocation, age, or situation in life. Everyone is in some form of sales. Felix Baumgartner successfully sold an inner-circle of advisors on his idea of skydiving from more than 24 miles above the Earth. He also sold a large team of scientists and engineer types who helped make the jump possible.  Red Bull signed on to support the project once they realized the passion, dedication, and plan of this young daredevil. Most people get mired down in the day to day tasks of life, rather than investing a few moments to plan and think about what gets their juices flowing, and how they could share their passion with others.
3. Make split second decisions in the heat of the moment. While Felix was free falling, he began to tumble end over end. The force of that tumbling could easily result in Baumgartner’s death via hemorrhaging. He made a few split second decisions to correct his course and successfully completed the flight. What is often branded as “luck” by the casual observer is often the result of relentless practice and planning.
Most people will never skydive from space, yet we are all presented with opportunities each day which give us the choice of either leaping forward or maintaining status quo. What risks are you dealing with currently in business and life?

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Shef Motivates a Global Audience

Vera from Ukraine Motivated by Dave "The Shef" Sheffield

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Power of the Short Game in Business

Building a business is all about building solid relationships with the people within the business. Keynote motivational speaker, Dave "The Shef" Sheffield shares a few tips from the golf course that will help you succeed!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Success, Spandex, and Dedication

Classic rock acts are amazing to watch...sometimes. Sometimes the original band is intact, other times the only original member is the triangle player.  Last weekend, we were blown away by  REO Speedwagon. The band took the stage and immediately electrified the air with excitement, nostalgia, and passion; sending the nearly 20,000 concert goers into a frenzy. As they flawlessly played through their musical catalog of more than four decades, they were making it very clear to the audience that their success in the music industry happened at a time when you actually had to possess great talent. When REO was formed in 1966, there were no “boy bands”, there was no correcting an off-key note with the click of a mouse, there was only hardcore dedication to their craft.

Here are 3 simple lessons that will help you grow your business, pursue your goals, and hone your craft:
1. Principles never change. While it is amusing to watch a person jump off their roof to squeeze into a spandex outfit that was in it’s prime twenty years ago, it is usually rather painful to look at. (Why do they make size 14 spandex anyway?) Fashion, technology, and marketing must remain flexible and relevant, but foundational principles of hard work, integrity, and dedication to success are cast in stone.

2. It ain’t always pretty. The two hours that a band spends onstage doing what they love, they endure countless hours of travel, practice, and sacrifice. Larry Winget wrote a brilliant blog on loving your job and paying the price.  I realize that we live in an era of instant gratification, but the true growth that occurs when someone achieves a goal is not the achievement of the goal, rather it is whom they become in the process.

3. Gotta love the fans! I love it when bands take a moment to share that they wouldn’t be anything without the fans. Your business is the same way. Far too many salespeople and entrepreneurs focus on gaining new customers while ignoring those people who already love doing business with them. I discussed this premise in a previous post titled Rock Star Customer Service. Invest in your fan base!
If your business was a band, which band would it most closely resemble?

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

3 Reasons Why Your Bank Is Losing Customers

Banks and Credit Unions are embroiled in a daily fight to gain new customers, we are struggling to keep them, and we also must realize 3 simple reasons why customers and members may stop doing business with us.

1. Your bank is behind the times. Nothing makes me shutter like hearing a client say, "We've always done it that way, and our customers don't like change." While tradition is fantastic, being obsolete is not.
Do your customers walk across the room to change the television channel? Do your customers still hand write letters? More than likely not. Even if your more senior customers prefer to do business the "old fashioned way", their Gen X and Gen Y children are becoming more influential with decisions as their parents age. (The greatest Generation X and Y book out there is Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose)
Also, your customers crave access. "Banker's Hours" in the 21st century are 24/7. Also, please invest in your technology. 45% of all website visits come via smart phone. If your website was last updated when Bill Clinton was in office, it may be time for a change.

2. Vague Vision. You may have 21 rules for great customer service, but no one knows them all! I recently met with a business owner recently who was very proud of his 17 pillars of great service for his business. "17 huh?", I mentioned, "God only came up with 10, but tell me about pillar number 12. How about 8?" You guessed it. He couldn't remember them.  The point is to make something simple and memorable.  No one ever forgot something because it was too simple.

3. Being an order taker. Any type of business is a relationship business. The deeper the relationship you have with a customer, the less pricing, interest, and fees matter. When my secret shoppers evaluate a new banking client, we normally find that 20% of tellers ask the visitor to become a customer. If you are a supervisor and thinking, "I'm going to scream at my tellers for not asking!!!" Take a good hard look in the mirror. These things are caught, not taught. It doesn't take much time to gain additional business.
What are some things you are doing to keep and gain new customers?

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Friday, June 22, 2012

Waiting to be Knighted

One of the most consistent comments I hear people mention is that they are not qualified to give advice to others, especially if the recipient of that advice has achieved notable success. While there are professions which require licensing those offering advice (financial planning, insurance, medical, etc.), most areas of life require no such licensing or anointing.

Since great ideas really don’t care where they come from, think about what you do insanely well.
-Are your co-workers telling you how much fun you are?
-Do others ask you what you do to stay in great shape?
-Are you great at planning events?
-Are you an awesome parent or spouse?

I love it when I hear of someone writing their life story to be passed on to their children. Most kids would love to read about the lives of their parents, but the parents pass on before they get around to writing. It is easier today to publish your memories than at any other time in history.

Many times people simply won’t get out of their own way so they can be successful. One of my good friends and early business mentors, Cleve Gaddis, cautioned his audience about the “Getting Ready to Get Ready Syndrome.” Don’t fall into this trap of waiting to take action on what you truly desire or dream about.

You can’t take your gifts with you when you are gone from this Earth. Take some action today to share your gifts with others! No one knows how much sand they have left in the hourglass. Live each moment to the fullest.

What dreams are you excited to take action on?

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flying Naked

Anyone who travels frequently winces when they discover that a non-frequent flier is ahead of them in the security line. Often times these passengers neglect the TSA rules for what can and can't go through security. (Personally, I think many of these rules are like a sick game of "Simon Says", except Simon happens to wield some serious power).

While I do travel quite frequently, I felt like an absolute amateur when I discovered that my wallet was missing once my flight was airborne. I began to frantically search all of my pockets, my briefcase, even under my seat to see if the one item which housed my ID, credit card, and cash had been misplaced. Nothing. I was now flying naked without any identification, cash, or credit cards en route to deliver a motivational program in Las Vegas.

I discovered three strong, yet simple lessons as a result of this ordeal:

1. Always  keep your valuables close to you! I was not the victim of a pickpocket, I was just wearing loose fitting shorts and couldn't feel the wallet in my pocket. What key assets do you or your business possess, and how frequently do you check on them? A regular checking of your belongings when traveling is a lot like monitoring daily activities of your sales team, just do it!

2. Create a "What if..." plan. The event planner who booked me to speak at their event had arranged for a car service and had also covered my hotel room. I decided to tell the front desk clerk of my dilemma, and discuss options with her. (I was starving and stressed out by this point, so I was quite grateful when she suggested that Shelly send her card information to the hotel so they could arrange a charge account for my incidentals). What if your computer crashes? What if a key player in your business is gone suddenly? Do you have a plan in place?

3. Gratitude will get you everywhere! I was delighted to discover that my wallet had been found and surprised upon my return when I discovered that my $350 in cash was still clipped to the wallet! The team at Delta Airlines found my wallet jammed in the jet way. Many people would have just pocketed the cash and said nothing. I'm impressed that whomever found my wallet behaved with integrity. When something happens to us, we can promote a belief that people are either good or bad. I choose to look on the bright side.
What are a few ways that you could "WOW" someone in your business today?

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

3 Ways to Date Your Customer

Bob walks into the dentist's office for his examination. He is greeted warmly by the office staff who quickly engages him in a conversation about his kids, interests, and what he likes to do when not...well... at the dentist. When he is ushered into the exam room, the hygienist happily turns the overhead television onto Sports Center while she is cleaning his teeth, and discovers that the Green Bay Packers are his favorite football team.

dental marketing teeth

The dentist enters the room and immediately mentions the two fantastic plays that the Packers made during the previous weekend's game and performs the examination. He recommends a couple of elective procedures that would enhance Bob's  smile, which could lead to a boosted self confidence, a better first impression with his customers, and a renewed spark in Bob's relationship with his wife.

Bob's phone rings shortly after he finishes dinner and it is someone from the dental office. Instead of telling him that he forgot something during his visit, they are just checking in to thank him for visiting, and asked how his mouth was feeling. The call is closed with a gentle reminder that they are available for whatever may pop up, no matter what the hour.

Bob is a customer for life. Let's look at how this business excelled in the customer experience:

1.  They were totally focused on the customer (or patient). Aside from the requisite health questions, they were interested in him. If you are dating someone (dating your spouse does not stop when they become your spouse!) and don't engage them in conversation about them, you won't go anywhere! The dentist also honed in on some key benefits to Bob's life if he elected to do the procedures. (He was selling the benefits, not just the features!)

2. The office culture and communication are a key focus area. It could have taken five seconds for the hygienist to mention Bob's favorite football team to the dentist, but that cemented a lasting impression! Remembering the little things like a favorite restaurant or song may endear your spouse to you, just as remembering little life details endears a customer to your business. Don't just hire people based upon what is on paper. Make sure that they are a good fit culturally for your organization. 

3. The fortune is in the follow up. Whether you send a personal thank you note, a phone call to thank your customer for their time, or perhaps send your new prospect a gift of some sort; the follow up reminds your customer that you are in this for more than a one time transaction.

Treating your customer as if you were courting someone will not only help you grow your business, it will build a solid foundation of customers who love to refer other people to your business!
What are some ways that you create successful customer relationships?

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591 or 563-343-5412.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Success In Superman Underwear

One of the reasons that Superman is such a hit with people of all ages is that it reminded us that a superhero could be hiding within everyone. When superpowers were needed, the "ordinary" shell of a nerdy Clark Kent would immediately give way to extraordinary powers.
superpower within
When you buy a child Superman pajamas, they will jump off furniture expecting to fly. That fire of belief and an expectation that anything is possible is placed within us by God but is often snuffed out by the wet blanket of society's desire to dumb people down, level the field of outcomes, and save people from failure. We can all learn from children! In a previous blog, I wrote about why kids are the greatest salespeople, and I will always maintain that belief. Everyone needs to get back in touch with their inner child!

Although someone's reality is true to them, it may not be reality in actuality. God doesn't save extra blessings for those who have watered down dreams. Quite the contrary, those who are willing to stretch and take action are those who realistically enjoy the most from life. Seth Godin writes in If Your Happiness Is Getting a Little More Than You've Got  that chasing small dreams will keep you on a treadmill of unhappiness, but being happy while staying hungry is important.

Today is a gift, make the most of it. Yesterday is gone, you can't do anything about it now. Now slip on your Superman Underoos and fly! What will you do today that will be extraordinary?

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

VHS or BETA? 10 Things That Have Become Extinct

Do you remember when you bought your first VCR? The first question that people were faced with was which format to buy. There was debate among the electronics professionals as to whether the public would embrace the technologically superior Betamax format, or the VHS format. When you purchased one of these suitcase sized machines for $800 or more, you were faced with another decision: which video rental store would I purchase a membership to? (yes, you had to buy a membership to rent videos in the 1980′s.) I realize that I just lost 100% of the people who are under the age of 30 with that title, but it got me to thinking about the evolution of change.

Here are a few things that have become extinct just in my lifetime:
1. Buying a video membership
2. Going to a record store to purchase music
3. Video tapes
4. AAA Trip Tik maps (offering members turn by turn directions from point A to point B)
5. Dial up modems
6. Book stores
7. Most video rental stores
8. Absolute values and discipline in the classroom
9. Standing in line and/or camping out to purchase concert tickets
10. Land line telephones (almost)

I realize that there are many more things that may come to your mind, but when I think of the ease and comfort afforded by innovation; the golden memories of yesterday are replaced by the anticipation of what may come next. There are always people who will fight change (Think SOPA and PIPA), people who long for things to stop evolving (manufacturing everything in the United States vs. overseas), and those who are fascinated and who decide to jump on and surf the wave of change instead of fighting it.

Whether you embrace change or fight it, change really doesn’t care. It will always continue to be a constant. You may as well get used to it!
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Yes I Am Crazy...Thank You for Asking!

Has anyone ever told you that your idea was crazy? I’m sure that you have endured the criticism of naysayers when sharing your hopes, dreams, and ideas. Some people may scoff, others may verbally tell you that you are nuts, yet others will simply walk away. Enjoy the following examples of “crazy” ideas listed below and realize that your dreams and “crazy ideas” may be normal.

If the year was 1402 and you had the idea that the Earth was round, not flat, you would have been labeled “Crazy.” In 1492, Christopher Columbus proved that the Earth was indeed round; which caused a huge decline in the Flat Earth Society’s membership.

If the year was 1750 and you tried to convince people that sound waves could be transmitted from point to point via radio signals, you would have been labeled as “Crazy.” Today everyone owns several radios.

If the year was 1890 and you and your brother had this crazy idea that man could create a machine that would fly, you would be “Crazy.” The Wright brothers toiled and persevered on that project, flying the first airplane on December 17, 1903.

People thought that space travel was impossible…Until the Soviets launched Yuri Gagarin into space on April 12, 1961.

When Bill Gates announced that he would have a computer in every home and in every office, people laughed. Right now you are reading this blog on some type of computer.

When I was growing up, we only dreamed of a telephone that could find us wherever we happened to be, today it is difficult to find someone who only has a land line telephone.

People used to visit record stores to buy their favorite music. When was the last time you even saw one of those?

People used to visit greeting card stores to purchase a card. Now there are services like Send Out Cards which allow you to create and send a real card…right from your computer.

When was the last time that you actually hand wrote a letter?

The great prophet Paul Stanley from KISS says, “The reason why most people will make fun of your goals and dreams is because they have given up on theirs. Don’t ever let them take your dream from you.” The next time someone doubts your abilities to accomplish your goals and dreams, realize that no one has ever erected a statue dedicated to a critic. Use their criticism to fuel your fire of desire for greatness!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591