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brad-horse-2What’s cooler than being a motivational speaker? Being a customer of the very same people that you motivated.

I had the excellent fortune of speaking to the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association a few months ago. It was a fun gig: we were in the Ritz Carlton in the Colorado Rockies. A great group of people shared motivational laughter and fun.

One thing I love about my job is I get to learn bits and pieces of many industries. In prepping for the Association keynote, I was coached on how ranches work, what the loves and stresses are, and where the industry is headed.

Normally this would be the end of a good story: I love my job and love speaking. But the story is just getting started…

northforkranchMy family and I recently returned from a stay with one of the member dude ranches of the Colorado association. We went to North Folk Ranch, in Shawnee, Colorado. It’s known for fishing and horse riding. And for full-on gourmet food. It was a TOTAL blast being able to see and experience the very same industry I spoke to. I think I would have enjoyed any ranch. But the North Fork in particular was total first-class, top-shelf joy.

Let me qualify the following story by saying that I had an outstanding time. The staff, the brad-on-horsefood, the views, the facilities, and Karen and Dean May (the owners) absolutely rocked. I recommend that all of you pick up your phone now and make a reservation at the North Fork Ranch.

I’d only offer one piece of advice for you, dear readers. Don’t get on a horse. Seriously. Don’t do it. They hurt.

They put me on a horse that was apparently large. (From my perspective, they are all flippin’ huge. I’m a city boy and I’m afraid of big dogs.) I had to get on some ladder thingy to mount my horse. (This is only slightly embarrassing…. none of the real horse people seem to need a boost.)

An hour and a half of bouncy excruciating horsing later, I was convinced that the fine folks at Guantanamo have it wrong: they don’t need water boarding. Just put terrorists on a horse for 90 minutes and bounce them though the Rockies and they will give up their best friend. Seriously, it’s a slow torture.

I couldn’t move. My legs were frozen. My butt hurt more than you can say, “Oh my gosh this saddle is huge.”

The wranglers practically needed a crane to get me off. (Getting off on my own was out of the question: The Abe Lincoln at the Wax Museum could move better than I could at that moment. After I got off I stood very, VERY still. I waited. Some blood came back. In 40 or 50 minutes I was able to walk again. (Ok, maybe not that long. But in Horse Time, it had to be forever.)

The wranglers were kind; they didn’t laugh even a little. (Until I left.) They told me the horse was too with-dude-signbig for me. I’m certain they lied to make me feel less like an idiot. (Nobody else seemed to be in agony. Every other guest seemed to jump right off, pat their horse and head in for lemonade. But try as I might, my legs wouldn’t budge.) My kids thought that the fact that I was stiffer than an I-Beam was hilarious.

dean-karen-mayStill, I had a total ball. Nobody made me go on another ride — though they did take me on a couple of shorter rides on a smaller horse. Yes, it did hurt less. The smaller horse was no longer like being drawn and quartered. It was more like being pulled like a wishbone.

We retreated to fabulous views, gourmet luxury, a wildly unique “Mountain Man,” wonderful company, and even a late night, after-hours-under-the-stars visit to the hot tub.

My wife loved it. My kids loved it. And I loved it. But please, don’t make me go on that big horse again— I’ll say anything. I’ll admit to any crime. I’ll give up any secrets you want. Just don’t make me ride.

Hey North Fork! You guys rock. You made our week. Thanks so much. Keep up the great work. It’s easy to see why you are so successful. Thanks for sharing the love!

Do YOU need a motivational speaker (and promise not to make me ride a horse afterwards?) Contact me now.

Yours,mountainman-ben
Brad Montgomery
Colorado Motivational Speaker, Urban Cowboy, Flexibility-Challenged Dude

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Check out this funny video where I break every rule in the book.  

Wearing skate shoes is a naughty nasty thing to do in a grocery store. And no, my kids and I didn’t play with them at any Denver, Colorado area Safeway’s or King Soopers. No. We didn’t.

I’ve wanted to try Heelys for some time, but was chicken. I was afraid that I’d be lousy at them. I was afraid I’d never use them and they would sit in my closet mocking me. I was afraid that even if I did wear them in public, I’d feel like too much of an idiot to actually “skate.”

But like so many things in my life recently, my kids influenced me. They looked like they were having fun… and I love playing with my kids… and … and … and…. hello Heelys!

I have used them. I learned them fairly quickly. I wear them a bunch. I notice that adults to gawk and gape when I skate, but (perhaps I’m a fool but) I think they admire me for having fun. I think they think, “That looks fun but I don’t know if I could ever do that in public.” I imagine that a few people must think, “Look at that rolling idiot!.” But I also imagine that more people think, “Cool… there’s another adult on those cool skate shoes.. I wish I had the guts to try that!”

And the cool bonus is that the skate shoes work right into my philosophy I share as a motivational speaker. Much of what I teach is mental / attitude. But I also talk about the importance of DOING things that help us ramp up the fun at work. I hate to mention the “P” word (play) but let’s face it, it makes sense. Of course the definition of “play” for a business audience is tricky, but the concept is solid.

There is NOTHING more playful than skating through a Wal-Mart. It is impossible to be bummed about the sale that didn’t happen, your over-full inbox crammed with emails, and the super-long To-Do list your fretting over. When you play, our stress goes down, our creativity goes up, and we are better able to tackle whatever comes at us.

My point? If you want to make your life — and your job — more fun, and if you believe that if you enjoy your work more you’ll be more productive, than you need to ACTIVELY search out activites that physically engage you in life. You need to find ways that appeal to you.

I’ve found one that works for me: Heelys. I don’t care if you buy these cool shoes or not, but if you don’t, I ask you this: What are you going to do today to actively ramp up the joy and fun in your life? Come on…. do something!

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Parent, Heely Wearer, Rule Breaker

 

PS.  Seriously, do not wear these shoes in public.  It is against the rules.  Seriously.  Don’t do it.  Really.  I’m not kidding.

I love halloween…. it’s about the only time of the year that we, as adults, can dress up and act weird and not get fired.  And we can do it sober.

Besides dressing up — this year I’m gonna dress as a rock star — I love to kid around with the little trick or treaters that come by the house: They say “trick or treat!”  I answer, “Ok, I pick Trick.”  They are dumbfounded.  I explain.  I’ll take the trick.   They are dumfounded.  

“Ok, here’s a treat for you.”  I get out a box of dental floss, and pull off a 7″ piece, cut it off, and give it to one kid in his plastic pumpkin.   “Here’s some floss for you.”   And again… “And here’s some for you.”  They never complain, but they are clearly confused.  I think it is hilarious.  (I’m also a tad sugared up by then on the candy I stole from my kids’ bags.)

Another fun idea is to get out a pack of (for example) Starbursts.  Instead of giving them the pack — which is what they expect — I open the pack and give ONE Starburst to each kiddo.   (This is more fun for us as adults than it is to them as kids.)

I eventually give all the kids real candy of course.  But this time of year is a great time to goof.

LaffyTaffy is a crappy, horrible, nasty candy. And I love it.

Let me explain:

I was goofing with my kids lately, and they were eating LaffyTaffy. (In case you don’t know it, this is a chewy candy that adults generally hate and kids generally love.)laffytaffy

The interesting thing about LaffyTaffy is that it makes my kids laugh. Really. They believe that when you eat it, you laugh. Seriously; they eat some, and they laugh.

So, what’s this got to do for the rest of us? My point is that sometimes laughter is a decision. Sometimes laughter is a choice. Sometimes being in a giggly, laughing mood is as simple as DECIDING that you’re gonna be in a good mood.

I know that it isn’t always that easy.  Simple yes.  Easy, no. I know that with the genuine and frequent stressors we face as adults it isn’t always EASY to just drop things and giggle. But kids and LaffyTaffy prove that laughter is a state of mind.

laffytaffy candyMy point? Next time you’re in a lousy mood see if you can talk yourself out of it intoand into a good mood. It’s possible, and kids prove it. And if that fails, and as a last resort, have some of that LaffyTaffy.

Hate LaffyTaffy and prefer to bring in a funny motivational comedian speaker to cheer up your troops? Click here for more info.

Cheers,

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Humorist, and Lover of LaffyTaffy

Not at my house. But recenlty I learned that the spoken word CAN be “Family Friendly!”

When I was younger (and not yet a motivational speaker– heck, I wasn’t even a fireman which was my first goal) I spent a great deal of time in a little house in Silver Plume, Colorado. There was no T.V. up there to distract me and my sister and brother. Instead, we found entertainment in four or five Bill Cosby comedy albums my mom and dad bought. We laughed tons and tons as we listened to the albums over and over again. We could have recited the entire albums– and probably did.

Years later, to my delight, my dad gave me the very albums that had been such an escape many years ago. After some trial and error, I finally figured out how to hook up the record player to my computer and copy these albums onto CD so they would last — with the same scratches and grooves for many, many years to come.

The best surprise I got out of doing this though was that my kids love these comedy albums just as much as I did as a kid. We can listen to it together and they love it! I love the comedy recordings now as much as ever for three reasons. 1. They are old friends and listening to them is like a hug from a friend you thought you lost. 2. They are hilarious! Cosby’s stuff really holds up. And 3. It’s a hoot to listen to them with my kids. It is really special to be able to share humor like this across the generations.

Even after all the years of being a comedian, I never thought it was truly possible to have family-appropriate humor that would really be enjoyed by everyone. Of course I had done many shows aimed toward the family that included magic, but Cosby serves as such a great example of how the spoken word alone can be very funny to audiences of all ages without being inappropriate. (Can you imagine encouraging your six year old kid to listen to Chris Rock?) Family Friendly comedy? How Cool is That?!

[Yup… I have a family friendly corporate comedian and magician show too! Learn more here.)

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“I’m the proud husband of woman who is both author and lawyer. And my three kids are easily the best “magic” I’ve ever done. (Aw shucks, ain’t that cute!) You need to meet these people, because in my keynotes and seminars I refer to them at least once. Turns out that often kids have the best business advice out there.” — Brad Montgomery

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