Istanbul Rotary Keynote Address

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I woke up a bit before 8 am this morning and got ready for Suleyman to pick me up again at 9 AM. He had a workshop at 10 and needed to be there early. I was under the impression that my speech would take place at 11:15 am and told Ilise and the kids to be there by 10:45. By 11 am Ilise and the kids were still not there and I was getting a bit nervous that they would miss my talk. In the meantime I spoke with Mehmet, the District Governor who runs the event and he told me that he still had another hour of talking before I would go on, so my talk wouldn’t start until 12:15 or 12:30. That was a big relief as the family arrived. Noah ran into the main room and jumped into my arms. He’s getting a bit big for that these days, but it was nice to see him so happy.

Before the talk started I was trying to figure out how to make sure that I stayed on time. I was give 30 minutes and I like to make sure my talks don’t go longer than they are supposed to. As the speech approached I realized that my iPad has a timer on it and gave Noah the responsibility of keeping time and letting me know how much time I had left. In addition, I asked Drew to take pictures while I was on stage. It turns out that they had a professional video and photography company there so they will be providing me with pictures and a copy of the video as well.

As for the talk itself, I’ve given this talk about a dozen times now in the US, Australia and this was my first international audience where English was not the main language. I don’t believe the language difference was a problem at all. I received so many positive comments after my talk, it felt great! Each of the talks I’ve given around this content have been different lengths and have had different audiences, many of them recently to Rotarians. I am getting more and more comfortable with the stories and I’m able to be much more animated and passionate in my delivery. Today I was comfortable and clear in the message and the delivery, I feel like I’m really starting to own the story.

As it relates to Rotary, I believe that I have figured out that there is a difference between joining Rotary and becoming a Rotarian. Mark Ealy, the President of my club in Carlsbad, said at a meeting before I left that most people join Rotary but there is a day that they become a Rotarian. Today I know what he means. Becoming a Rotarian means that they are more focused on giving then getting and they give without expectation of return. Many people join Rotary, but the ones that stick with it long-term become Rotarians. So many people join Rotary just for the networking but they eventually drop out, Rotarians build great relationships because of their desire to give back and the networking is a side benefit.

The content that I have been working on with Success Redefined explains why that way of life feels so good, it’s all about shared common purpose and spending time with others that want to make the world a better place. The more I talk with Rotary clubs and audiences the more I realize that this could be an excellent audience for this work. I enjoy the Rotary community and hope that I can help to keep it going strong. Every Rotary Club I have visited has been so generous and kind, I can’t imagine what this trip would be like without the Rotary events I have attended. Thank you Rotary, I’m so glad I joined back in September, and a big thank you to Janice Kurth and Mark Ealy for pushing me to make that decision.

To a life well lived!


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