The real MVP

In a world smothered by scripted interviews, entitled stars and vanilla soundbites, Kevin Durant – the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player – delivers a slam dunk speech that pulls back the curtain, transcends sports and inspires leadership, humility and perspective.

These days, I don’t expect much from post-game press conferences, sideline reports, superstar interviews and other sports speeches. Why? Because we rarely get more than a quick thank you to God, followed by a litany of canned sports cliches.

If we expand the scope, the same low expectations can often be applied to other arenas, with force-fed agendas, rhetoric and scripted remarks clouding our glimpses at the true character and opinions of our leaders, influencers and role models.

But every now and then, we’re treated to something genuine, something thoughtful, something inspirational.

Kevin Durant’s exceptional acceptance speech for the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player Award was one of those times.

Judged in a vacuum (in my amateur opinion), the speech stands strong as an organized address with a heartfelt and well-delivered story.

However, in the vanilla, lay-up context we’ve grown accustomed to in sports speeches, Durant’s MVP remarks deliver a posterizing slam dunk.

In this post, I’m going to break down why the speech is so special, and list a some of the lessons I took away after watching it a few times.

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When a comment goes crazy

Four warning signs of an emotional commenter

We social media managers throw around the word “engagement” a ton.

So much in fact, that these days it’s lost much of its luster.

Despite its increasing ambiguity, and buzz-ness, I still think it’s the key value for any social media initiative. However, not all engagement is positive.

Negative comments, criticism and crazy people are inevitable. And how you respond to them says a lot about your social media strategy.

We often need to be reminded (or remind others) that you can’t stop the crazy – you can only hope to contain it.

So I jotted down some of the factors that help me spot crazy in social media discussions, and added some ideas to keep all this glorious engagement on the right track.

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Writing inspiration from Neil Strauss, Tim Ferris and the HBR IdeaCast

“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” – John Wooden

These days, the vast amount of content and information at the ready on the Internet gives us access to many smart people, from all industries and walks of life.

Personally, I really enjoy listening to quality interviews either on the radio, online or via podcasts. Not only do they usually feature smart people with interesting stories to tell, but the conversation allows multiple viewpoints, debate and an organic flow of ideas.

Today I’m going to share two inspiring interviews with you, and hope you find them as educational and thought-provoking as I did.

Continue reading Writing inspiration from Neil Strauss, Tim Ferris and the HBR IdeaCast

Tri for Les: Catching up

Rain, road, map

Six months ago, when I laid out the goals for my Awesome Bucket v2013, Ironman Arizona – and completing that triathlon race in 12 hours – was clearly defined as my one thing.

So it’ll come as no surprise that most of my free time lately has been spent cooking, eating, breathing, training, running, riding, swimming, planning and soaking up all things triathlon. My mind is almost always toiling about the race, and how I can best prepare myself so that come race day (November 17), I’ll be ready to go.

However, even though that one thing is all that matters, I incorporated writing into this journey to improve my writing skills, share the experience and help other triathletes dominate their own goals.

So, I’ve been doing my best to blog at least once a week on either Fuller Creative (this blog) or at Tri for Les (the triathlon blog that my sister and I run).

Continue reading Tri for Les: Catching up