A Blog is (Re)Born

Hello everyone!  It is hard to believe it has been almost six years since the last time I wrote a blog post.  What!?!?!

A lot has changed in those six years and especially in the past 12 months.  I plan to launch a couple of new projects in the next few months, but first I wanted to start with (re)launching this blog.  I have changed the name of the blog from the original “Steve’s Thinking Space” to “On the Road to Peace: People Helping People”.  With the name change comes a change in focus as well.  Steve’s Thinking Space was a blog intended to help bring light to positive things in life and therefore it had a fairly broad scope – more or less anything I interpreted to be positive.  “On the Road to Peace” will focus on people that I know, or will meet in the future that in one way, shape, or form are leading with their hearts to help other people.

The idea for the twist on this blog came to me while running yesterday (so many of my ideas come to me while running).  Years ago, I had an idea of writing a book about 100 peaceful people in NC – one person for each county,  My plan was to actively seek out what would possibly be the most peaceful person in each county, interview them, write up an article for each that would become a chapter in the book, and then somehow get the book published.  While running yesterday, I was thinking about what I could do that I would enjoy but that would also be in service to others, and this derivative of that idea was born.

black and white connected hands love

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There are people helping others all over the place.  I am fortunate to know a lot of people like this already.  My hope with this blog is to 1) bring attention to the acts of kindness that people are performing in the world, 2) bring attention to the heart centered change makers in this world, and 3) help people discover the resources that are available to them in this world that they might not have otherwise had the opportunity to discover.

My plan is to get started on publishing posts to this blog in January 2020.  I hope to be able to limit these posts to around 700 to 800 words (a challenge for me).  These will usually be interview style blog posts and I will have a set of standard questions that I ask each person.  I want to delve beyond the ordinary with these posts.  I want to not only focus on what each person is bringing into the world, but also dig into an honest discussion of the struggles they have faced (or are currently facing).  Two related things that I have learned in the past six years (especially recently) is that 1) the positive often comes with or through struggle and 2) it is important for us to recognize, feel, and honor all of our emotions.

man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography

Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

I want to explore the challenges, struggles, and the full emotional experience that is behind the work that each person is putting out into the world to help others in some way.

About the blog name:  One big way we overcome our differences is in getting to know people.  One way we get to know them is to reach out to them in some way.  One way to reach out to them is to offer assistance.  In my view, people that are out there in the world helping others are creating a bridge to peace in this world.  The “On the Road” part of the name refers to a couple of things.  One is, I used to travel for work A LOT, and there is a good possibility that travel will be involved with my future career as well.  I envision that eventually a lot of these posts will be about people that I meet while traveling – either intentionally or coincidentally through grace.

Happy Holidays everyone!  I look forward to getting started after the first of the year!!



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nature Word Association

Hello everyone!  It has been several months since I posted anything here at Steve’s Thinking Space but I am back.  You can expect several blog posts to follow – all related to nature and how, we as humans, can connect (or reconnect) with it.

Today’s post is actually my way of showing the results of a word association game that I played with my friends on Facebook.  In a Facebook post, I asked my friends to comment by leaving the first single word that came to their mind when they saw the word “nature”.  I received about 60 responses.  I then took those responses and used Wordle (www.wordle.net) to create a word cloud.  I also saved the results in a Word document so that I can add to it later and create new  and extended word clouds on the same topic in the future.

And here is the result.  Enjoy!!

Please click on the image below to view the “nature” word cloud in full size.  It might take a few seconds for Java to load the page.

Wordle: Nature Association

With Peace and Gratitude,

Steve Strother

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Rip it Up

Rip it up – To have a great time and live it up.  Definition from The Urban Dictionary.

Two weeks ago I was preparing for a run in beautiful and historic downtown New Bern, NC.  I was warming up with a short walk on Middle Street (the main street through the heart of downtown) when a stranger seated at an outdoor table at a coffee shop asked me if I was getting ready to rip it up.  The question caught me completely off guard and so I stopped, and noticing my perplexed look, he asked, “Are you walking or running today?”  the rest of the conversation went something like this.

2012 Charlotte Run for Peace at Home 5K

Me running in the 2012 Charlotte Run for Peace at Home 5K

Me:  “I am warming up with a walk but yes, I am going for a run.”

Stranger:  “Where are you running?”

Me:  “All through the downtown and historic part of New Bern.  It is a great place to run, especially on a beautiful spring day like this.”

Stranger (nodding his head in agreement regarding the beautiful day):  “How far are you going to go?”

Me:  “Somewhere between three and four miles.  Probably closer to four.  I will probably have to do a couple of loops around this section of town to get the distance in.”

Stranger: “Are you going to jog it or sprint it?”

Me:  (Laughing lightly at the idea of sprinting for four miles while I answer) “It will definitely be faster than a jog but slower than a sprint.  I plan to push it a little.”

Stranger:  “Awesome man.  Have fun.  Rip it up!”

Me:  “Thank you!  Take it easy.”

As I walked away my first thought was that given his use of the phrase “rip it up” and New Bern’s proximity to the coast that this man must have some surfing experience.

But his statement and the meaning behind it definitely stayed in my head.  A few minutes later I started my run, but I thought about this short conversation with a total stranger throughout.

You don’t hear the phrase “Rip it up” associated with running very often – at least I don’t.  I associate it more with activities like surfing, snow boarding, and skateboarding.  So his use of this term in association with running not only caught me off guard, it got me thinking.

I am a runner.  I like to run.  So why don’t I ever feel like I am ripping it up while I am running?  Why don’t I ever prepare for a run with the expectation of ripping it up?  I never say anything like, “I can’t wait to go rip it up” just prior to going for a run and after a run I might say “That was a good run” but I never feel like I really ripped it up.

So I focused on that term while I was running that day.  I focused on enjoying the fact that I was running and getting good exercise.  This simple statement by someone I had never met before helped me change my perspective on my run that day.

And it has stayed with me.  Not just related to running.

I actually found another definition for the term “rip it up” that I like much better than the one from Urban Dictionary.  I found it on WordReference.com (one of those question and answer forums).  Here it is:

Rip it Up – “Really getting into something or doing something really well.”

I really do like to run but I don’t think I allow myself to really rip up a run very often.  While I enjoy the exercise, the fresh air, and the challenge, I am usually just trying to get through with the run.  I am more focused on getting finished than actually enjoying what I am doing step by step and moment to moment.

Surfer - North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

Surfer – North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

I do the same thing with work.  There are many things about my job that I really like, but it is really challenging – mentally, sometimes emotionally, and because of the travel aspect even physically.  So I often find myself just trying to set up the meeting, just trying to get to the appointment on time, just trying to get through the presentation, just trying to make a sale, just trying to keep up with the email, and like so many others, just trying to get through the week.

But I have a choice.  With running.  With work.  With life.

I can choose to be lost in the drudgery or I can choose to really get into it.  Really enjoy it in the moment for what it is.

I think for most of us in today’s world, we reserve that feeling of really enjoying something for those adrenaline rush type activities – like surfing, or zip lining, or even enjoying a mountain view or a sunset.  But we all have the opportunity to enjoy so much more.  Think about more everyday activities – like running, working, playing with the kids, mowing the lawn, eating an apple.  We can get into them just as much if we choose to do so.  All it takes is a little creativity and awareness on our part.  Maybe we change things up a little.  Go for a run somewhere new.   Be fully present with your kids when you are playing with them.  Approach work from a moment to moment basis – email to email, presentation to presentation – doing the best you can at any given moment and not worrying so much about what you have already done or what you still have left to do.  Isn’t that what life is all about.  Living.  Now.  In the moment.  Isn’t that all we ever really have.

I have liked the phrase, “ripping it up” since the first time I heard it (I think it was while watching the movie Soul Surfer).  The message in this statement really resonates with me.  In short, ripping it up is a state of mind.  A positive state of mind.

Thank you to that stranger for sparking my thought process.  For helping me wake up – not only that day but in other aspects and times of my life.

So to celebrate this new awareness, yesterday I went for a run and decided to do something I had not done in a long time.  Hill sprints.  And you guessed it – I ripped them up!!

What areas of life are you rippin’ up right now? 

What areas of life would you like to rip up but you feel are currently a struggle?  What can you do to move from where you are to where you want to be?

Please feel free to leave a comment with any feelings, ideas, or suggestions that you might have.

With Peace and Gratitude,


Posted in joy, life lessons, Personal Growth, Running | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Men Moving Forward: Mike Hrostoski and The Conference for Men

Mike Hrostoski

The Conference For Men



Are you a man who wants more out of life?

Are you a woman who knows a man who wants more out of life?

If your answer to either of these questions is “yes” then you will want to read on to learn more about The Conference For Men.

First though, let me frame The Conference for Men with a personal story.

A few years ago I was on a business trip and chose to go out to dinner with a couple of colleagues.  Nothing unusual so far.  Soon after we were seated I noticed that there was a large group seated at a table nearby – a table of about 15 or so.  I noticed balloons and gifts on the table.  Obviously a birthday party so I did not think much of it at first.  But something about the group struck me as unusual.  I just couldn’t put my finger on exactly what.  About halfway through dinner I realized what it was.  All 15 of the people seated at the table were men.  How bizarre right – 15 men, across at least three generations all gathered together to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

Really?  Is that really so unusual?  In my experience it is – unusual enough to catch and hold my attention that night as well as for it to still be fresh in my memory three years later.  Adult men almost never get together to celebrate like that and if they do they do not do it publicly unless of course there is sports, poker, work, or some other distraction involved.

This group of 15 men were at that restaurant for the sole purpose of getting together to celebrate a friend’s birthday and they were doing so in a sober and quiet fashion without the vices of sports, cards, or large amounts of alcohol.  It was so refreshing to see!  Don’t get me wrong.  I like watching and talking about sports and I like to have a beer or glass of wine from time to time, but I want to have friendships with men that involve connection on another level – one that goes deeper than the traditional male bonding conversational topics.  In my experience, I see women naturally getting together in groups for all kinds of reasons – birthdays, to exercise, to talk, to support each other, but I never see or hear about men doing this.  I don’t currently have a group of  men in my life that I feel comfortable getting together with just for some type of mutual support but I have felt the need for something like this for several years.

Mike Hrostoski

Mike Hrostoski

So when I first heard about The Conference For Men I was immediately intrigued.  Mike Hrostoski, a life coach specializing in helping men, is hosting this new conference in San Diego, CA during the weekend of April 25 – 27.  I, unfortunately, am not in a position to attend but I can certainly help promote it by raising awareness around this awesome opportunity.

A key quote from The Conference For Men website, that really captures the force and focus of the event is:

“In 3 Days, Conquer Your Anxieties Around Women, Wealth, and Emotional Well-Being, While Uniting With a Community of Brothers Committed To Creating A Life On Your Own Terms”

It is the “Emotional Well-Being” and “Uniting With a Community of Brothers Committed to Creating A Life On Your Own Terms” pieces of that quote that resonate the most with me.  Where can I sign up?  Well, unfortunately, as I mentioned before, I cannot but maybe you can!  I encourage you to visit The Conference For Men website by clicking any of the hyperlinks  provided within the text of this email.

If you do attend please let us all know what the experience was like by coming back and leaving a comment on this post.

How can we support Mike Hrostoski’s vision in our own communities?

I am interested to hear from my male readers:

Do you have a group of male friends that get together to support each other emotionally?  By this I mean do you get together and talk honestly and candidly about the issues, challenges, successes, failures in your lives?

If so, please share your experiences by leaving a comment.

If not, what are some things you might be able to do to start a group like this in your neighborhood, community, city?  Please share these ideas with the group via a comment as well.

For my female readers, please feel free to share your experiences.  Do you have a group of female friends that support each other emotionally in some way?  Do you feel that it would help the men in your life to have the opportunity to get together with other men in this way?

As always, thank you for your readership and thank you for your help!

With Peace and Gratitude,

Steve Strother

Author’s Note:  To further frame how unusual it is to find/see men supporting other men really is, I offer another personal example.  I am a self-professed expert on positivity on Facebook.  For several years I have been following, via Facebook, numerous people, groups, and organizations that promote positive awareness.  The good news  is that I have found so many such sites (and the list continues to grow) that I truthfully cannot keep up with them all.  My finding, in following these positive focused Facebook pages, is that they all are either not gender specific in their audience or they cater specifically to women.  I have not found a single group on Facebook that focuses on positive oriented topics, emotional support, etc. that is designed for only men.  Likewise, there are many life coaches that do not specify a gender preference in their clientele and there are many female life coaches that specialize in working with women.  I only know of two life coaches (including Mike Hrostoski) that focus their work on men’s issues.  I state this here because I feel that it further supports the need for The Conference For Men and other events focused on the specific challenges that men face.

Posted in Men, Men's Issues, Personal Development, Personal Growth | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Steve’s Thinking Space Update

daffodils blooming in March

Signs of Spring

Hello again!  It has been a while.

I have been thinking a lot about posting.  I have even written two posts that I never published.  I just couldn’t get them where I wanted them.  No worries though.  The content from them will show up in other posts at some point.

Since it has been some time since I last published anything here I thought I would write a quick overview regarding what my plans for this blog are in the near to mid-term future.  My plans can be organized into three main categories.

Category 1 – Inspiring Business Series

Some of you may remember that just under two years ago I started publishing a series about North Carolina businesses that I found inspiring in some way – the Inspiring Business Series.  I highlighted four NC business in that series (via four separate posts) but I unofficially stopped publishing these articles about one year ago.  I am going to bring that series back and will expand it beyond NC businesses (though NC businesses will certainly continue to be highlighted from time to time).  Next up to be featured in this series is Gretchen Bee Ranch in Seguin, TX.

Category 2 – Highlighting Interesting Projects

Going forward, when I learn of an interesting project that I feel deserves to be highlighted for some reason I am going to write a post about it here.  I might highlight projects for any reason but will likely choose projects that are doing something out of the ordinary in some sort of positive way – demonstrating compassion, promoting peace, helping people learn and grow emotionally or spiritually, etc.  The first of these projects to be highlighted will be the Mike Hrostoski’s Conference For Men which is scheduled to take place in San Diego, CA this April.  Stay tuned for more details.

Category 3 – The Quest for Inner Peace

This is the most general of the three categories.  It is also in line with other things I have mentioned an interest in via other posts on this blog.  What I want to do is focus on general concepts and activities that can be used to help people achieve a higher level of personal peace.  At first anyway, I will focus on things that I have tried and had success with but I will eventually branch out into concepts that I have not personally tried but that others have found helpful.  Anything that can help break the cycle of stress, worry, and anxiety that so many of us feel on a regular basis, and that therefore can help me/you with being more relaxed, centered, present has the potential to be covered at some point in a future Steve’s Thinking Space blog post.

I anticipate increased activity in my posting now that I have organized my thoughts and plans into these three categories.  If you can think of anything that would fit into any of these three categories that you would like to learn more about or that you think would work well for me to consider please let me know by leaving a comment!

With Peace and Gratitude,

Steve Strother

Posted in announcement, inspiration, Inspiring Business, Peace | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Discovering Peace: Experiencing Life Like a Kid Again

Great Smokey Mountains National Park

View from overlook at Great Smoky Mountains National Park between Cherokee, NC and Gatlinburg, TN.

I have become very interested in the topic of inner peace lately.  My interest in this topic is due to my own inner exploration.  From that I have found that I have a desire to help others discover more peace in their lives as well.  So it is from that perspective, that I write this blog post today.

Lately I have been contemplating my thought processes as an adult as they compare to my thought processes as a child.  My focus on this topic is due mostly to some recent experiences I have had where, faced with a given situation, I was able to enjoy that scenario as I would have at a much younger age.  I found these situations to be very liberating and joyful experiences.  I write here about two specific situations.

Tree in Fall

Tree in Fall

A few weeks ago, we were enjoying a warm fall day in North Carolina.  I took advantage of the weather and went for a run in the neighborhood during my lunch hour.  While the fall color had passed its peak, there were still a lot of yellow, orange and red leaves on the trees.  It was a sunny day but clouds were rolling in.  The sun peering through the clouds gave the air a golden glow that made the tree colors more vibrant against the blue and white sky.  It reminded me of a couple very similar fall days while I was in college (Okay, so I was not exactly a kid – but close enough 🙂 ) when I would make the one hour drive to visit my grandmother.  I remember how free I felt on those trips, leaving the world of college behind for a day or two to visit my grandmother on her farm.  And I remember how in touch I felt with the beautiful nature around me on those drives.  Accessing that memory while I ran and comparing it to the scenery I was seeing in my neighborhood brought back those same feelings of freedom and wonder.  As an adult, I often feel like I miss out on a lot of the natural wonder around me because I am in a hurry to get to my next obligation or destination or because my mind is full of concern over some current issue involving my job, finances, family, etc.  At that moment I was very thankful that at least for a few minutes I was able to witness and appreciate the fall beauty that was all around me.

About a week later, we had a family movie outing.  We chose to see Thor: The Dark World.  It is safe to classify this movie as a science fiction, action thriller.  This is not the type of movie I usually enjoy anymore, mostly because I probably approach movies with too much adult rationality.  But as a kid, I loved science fiction movies.  Well, for some reason, I settled in for this movie, accepted it for what it was, and I actually really enjoyed it.  I did not over think the movie.  I did not try to rationalize everything.  I did not get lost in thoughts about other things that were going on in my life.  I just sat back, relaxed, and had a good time with the family.  I was aware of this while I was watching the movie – that I was enjoying this movie the way I would have as a kid – and I was very thankful for it.

Fall Leaves on Grass

Fall Leaves on Grass

I think very often as adults we get bogged down in all of our grown-up worries and because we do, we start missing a lot of the joy in life.  We start living too much in our heads – thinking about the grown-up things we have to do.  This leads to thoughts of worry, fear, regret, frustration – and all of these types of thoughts keep us from living in the present moment.  In the two instances I describe above I was able to access feelings that I used to feel all of the time as a kid (or as a college student), because at those two specific times I was present in the moment.  I was really running in the beauty of fall nature and I was really watching a sci-fi movie with the family rather than performing these two activities while letting myself be bogged down with all types of other worries.

I have heard several wise people say recently, that the things you loved to do when you were a kid (maybe 8, 9, or 10 years old) should be part of your life today.  I agree with this statement and think that it can be expanded further.  I think that the presence that we had as children should be part of our adult lives as well.  When we can look at the world around us with the fresher, more present and mindful eyes of children we give ourselves the opportunity to live with more joy and peace.

Have you had an experience like this recently – one where you found yourself in a situation that reminded you of a joyful experience you had as a child or young adult?  Please feel free to share by leaving a comment!

With Peace and Gratitude,

Steve Strother

*The photos in this post were taken by me via smart phone.  While they do not directly relate to the subject matter of this post, the photos are included as part of my goal to add visual appeal to my posts through the use of nature photography.

Posted in Gratitude, Peace, Thankfulness, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Claiming Spirituality

I mentioned on my new About page that defining what spirituality means is difficult.  I feel

Charleston, SC

Path at Marion Square

it is difficult mainly because it means something different to each of us.  The fact that spirituality is hard to define though, does not make it any less important.

For all of my life I have shied away from any conversation that involved discussing spirituality publicly, content to think about it personally and maybe talk about it with my closest friends and loved ones.  Anything more than that just seemed to scary.

So I took a major step last February when registering for the TEDxCharlotte event.  The theme of that event was “Unlimited” and as part of the online registration each person was asked to choose one word from a list.  The word each attendee chose was supposed to identify something that unlimits them and it was clear that this was going to be used as some type of ice breaker at TEDxCharlotte.  There were many things on the list that I could have chosen.  Several that would have been easy and comfortable.  But right there, in the middle of the list, was the word “spirituality”.  I came close to choosing something else but I decided to be fully honest with myself and others this time even if it meant some uncomfortable (though probably beneficial) conversations at the actual event.  Of all of the options, spirituality was definitely the one that unlimits me the most.  So I picked it.  It turns out that the word each person chose was printed on their name badge.  The intent was that people could see your word and ask you about it as an ice breaker to get conversations started.  Interestingly enough however, while I had many conversations with people at TEDxCharlotte, nobody asked me about spirituality and how it unlimits me!!

A few months later, I attended the World Domination Summit (WDS).  It was an incredible experience that I detail in two previous posts – Pushing Way Past My Comfort Zone and Perfecting My Anti-Elevator Pitch.  At WDS, there were many opportunities to sign-up for attendee led meet-ups.  One of the meet-ups was called “Accidental Seekers, Hippies and Spirituality Enthusiasts Unite! A Gathering for Conscious Living” and was sponsored by Huffington Post writers Karen Talavera and Beverley Golden.  In the past, while this type of meet-up would have interested me, I would have skipped it, for fear that I would not have anything of value to say to anyone or that I would have trouble defining spirituality.  Not this time.  I signed up and showed up.  And I met some great people and had some good conversations about spirituality and peace in the process.

After shunning my spiritual side publicly all of my life, I have finally begun to publicly

White clouds in fall afternoon sky

White clouds in fall afternoon sky

claim spirituality as important to me.   In addition to the two situations detailed above,  I am now publicly claiming spirituality as important to me here on this blog.  I have reached a point in my development where I feel I cannot fully move forward without discussing spiritual concepts with others and so making this move to claiming my spirituality is a big and important step.  I also have a strong feeling that there are a lot of people out there that have the same need.  By opening up to the universe with full realization that I am a spiritual being I hope to reach others that are looking for spiritual conversation and connections as well.  This cannot happen by just thinking about spiritual concepts.  It requires action – the types of action that I am starting to take.  I look forward to the journey!

Are there important areas in your life that you have kept hidden but that you are now stepping into fully and embracing in a more public way?  Spirituality, fitness, love, peace, public speaking, travel, it could be almost anything!  If so, I would love to hear more.  Please share by leaving a comment!

With Peace and Gratitude,

Steve Strother

Sunset Over Soccer Field

Sunset Over Soccer Field

*The photos in this post were taken on my iPhone.  While they do not directly relate to the subject matter of this post, the photos are included as part of my goal to add visual appeal to my posts through the use of nature photography.

Posted in life lessons, Spirituality | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Changes at Steve’s Thinking Space

Sunrise over Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado

Sunrise over the Rocky Mountains – Colorado

Hello everyone.  I hope you are all doing well.  It has been a while since I posted and  so I wanted to let you know I am still here :).  I am working on some new projects that are consuming quite a bit of my time, however I do plan to continue my writing here at Steve’s Thinking Space.  I wanted to take this opportunity to update everyone on a few minor changes that I have planned.

About Page:  I started Steve’s Thinking Space more than two years ago but never constructed a true About Page for the blog.  Well, that is, until last week!!  Last week I put together the About Page for this blog and published it.  Some of you have been asking for this for some time.  To take a look you can click here or you can simply click the “About” tab at the top of this page.  Some of my objectives for this blog have changed slightly over the past year so even those of you who feel like you have a good handle on my focus here might want to glance over it.  Please let me know what you think.

Inspiring Business Series:  Some of you will remember this series of blog posts I started about 1 1/2 years ago.   Well in early 2013 I unofficially discontinued the series because I was having a hard time devoting enough time to it.  In February of 2014 I plan to bring the series back but will do so in a way that will be more sustainable.  Stay tuned to learn more about my plans for this series.  I will post a more detailed description of what I want to do with this series in December.

Nature Photography:  You may have noticed that I like taking nature photos.  I have often incorporated some of these photos into my blog posts.  The sunrise photo above is a case in point :).  I have decided to incorporate nature photography into my blog posts more regularly.  Even when the topic of the post has nothing to do with nature.  I find nature helps me relax and feel more peaceful.  Per my About Page, a main topic of this blog going forward is going to be Peace (especially personal peace, spiritual peace, peace within – however you want to describe it).  Because I have noticed a link between my own peacefulness and nature I plan to highlight nature photography on my blog more often.  A lot of this will be photos taken by me and my wife (Kylie took the photo in this post.  I rarely get up early enough to see a sunrise 🙂 ) but I welcome photos from guest photographers as well.

Blog cleanup:  Over the next few months I will be performing some minor housekeeping here at Steve’s Thinking Space.  I will re-examine the widget area on the right of the page with the intent of reorganizing the layout and possibly replacing some of the widgets.  I will also revamp the suggested site links.  The links that are there now have been there since day 1 of this blog and some of them are no longer relevant.  In fact some of them may no longer work.  So you can expect the appearance of Steve’s Thinking Space to change gradually over the next few months.

Please let me know what you think of the new About page by leaving a comment either here or on the About Page itself.  Please also feel free to provide feedback as I make the other changes.

Thank you for your readership!

With Peace and Gratitude,

Steve Strother

Posted in announcement, Nature, Peace | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Perfecting My Anti-Elevator Pitch at World Domination Summit 2013

Last fall I read a blog post by Seth Godin titled No One Ever Bought Anything on an Elevator.  In that post, Seth emphasizes that when you are having a quick conversation with someone about what you do, what your dreams are, etc. you are going to lose them if you try to sell them right out of the gate with a long two or three-minute description.  Better to keep it short, simple, and to the point.  From there, if well crafted, they start asking the relevant questions and the conversation advances naturally.

World Domination Summit 2013, Portland, Oregon

Photo Credit: Armosa Studios

This resonated with me, but I have to admit I did not apply it to my own situation.  That became abundantly and even somewhat embarrassingly obvious when I attended the World Domination Summit 2013 (WDS) in early July.  As I described in my last blog post, Pushing Way Past My Comfort Zone, each year Chris Guillebeau hosts WDS with a focus on how to live a remarkable life in a conventional world.  The conference attracts a huge number of people (over 2800 this year) with big ideas, strong passions, and lots of creative energy.

Attending WDS reminded me a lot of my college days.  In college, I met a lot of enthusiastic people who were eager to learn, and had hopes of doing things to make the world a better place.  I had the same experience at WDS.  In college, when you met someone new, usually you asked them two questions.

1)  “Where are you from?”


2)  “What is your major?”

Mingling at WDS 2013

Photo Credit: Armosa Studios

At WDS when you met someone new, the first two standard questions were:

1)  “Where are you from?”


2)  some variation of “Why are you here?”

Before I even attended the WDS Opening Ceremony at the Portland Zoo I had probably already met close to 30 other WDS attendees.  I met 5 just riding from the airport to downtown Portland on the MAX Light Rail.  The others I met at unofficial meet-ups that were hosted by other WDS attendees and that were encouraged and even promoted by Chris Guillebeau and other WDS staff.  On the bus ride to the zoo I realized my description of what I wanted to do wasn’t working.  The disjointed description of how pointing to the positive and wanting to promote peace and compassion and joy and how I was planning to do all that was too much of a traditional elevator pitch.  It was too long-winded and generally lost the listener in the details.  It is safe to say that WDS attendees are generally supportive but I saw at least a few eyes glaze over during some of my initial conversations.

While at the zoo, I started to panic a little.  I needed to do something.  I needed a way to describe my passion in a nice concise statement.  I had no idea how to do that.  I had been formulating ideas for over two years and had not come up with such a statement.  How could I do it right away.  I took a deep breath, relaxed a bit, and kept talking to people.  Each conversation led to refinements in my description and by early Saturday morning (the 1st official day of the conference) I had developed what I call my Anti-Elevator Pitch.  And here it is:

I want to help people discover more peace in their lives.

Future blog posts will detail some of the things I want to do to help accomplish this and this blog is certainly a place for me to start.

World Domination Summit 2013, #WDS2013, Portland, Oregon

Photo Credit: Armosa Studios

If I had not attended World Domination Summit or some similar type of event, it might have taken me another two years (or more) to summarize my hopes, passions, and goals into that one simple statement.  In my regular life, prior to attending WDS, I just did not put myself in many situations where I had to answer that type of question.  At WDS, I was asked questions like “Why are you here?” or “What is your dream?” at least 100 times and answering those questions 100 times helped me really get a better understanding of the core of my passion.  With that understanding I was able to develop this simple statement to define my passion – I want to help people discover more peace in their lives.

Have you developed what I refer to as an anti-elevator pitch to describe your job, a dream you have, or a current project?

Please let me know your thoughts and dreams.  If you have an anti-elevator pitch please share that if you would like as well.  If you do not have one yet, I would love to help you with it!

With Peace and Gratitude,

Steve Strother

For those that would like to know more about World Domination Summit from the perspective of other bloggers, I have included a few links below to blog posts that I feel help capture some of the spirit of WDS.

Dreams, Doing Things, and Memories – Thoughts on Living a Remarkable Life – Ryan S.

#1 on the Bucket List: Give a Speech to More Than 500 People – Bo Cordle

52 Unconventional Ideas & Stories for Moving From Idea to Impact – Scott Dinsmore  (#31 really resonates with me.  I will explain in a future post.)

Leadership and The Art of Non-Domination (WDS review, Part 1) – Blair Glaser

And finally, Chris Guillebeau provides a recap of WDS 2013 as well as a sampling of about 40 attendee blog posts (at the bottom of the post below the images) titled WDS 2013: A Partial (And Impartial) Recap.

Bo Cordle on stage at WDS 2013

Photo Credit: Armosa Studios

Posted in B4Peace, life lessons, Peace | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pushing Way Past My Comfort Zone

World Domination Summit, Portland, Oregon

I am a runner and am therefore accustomed to pushing past my comfort zone from both a mental and physical perspective when training and racing.  When it comes to other areas in my life however, I am not proficient at all with leaving the easy, calming comfort of the known.  So this past weekend I took a risk and pushed the envelope.

I attended the World Domination Summit (WDS) In Portland, Oregon Friday, July 5 through Sunday, July 7.  For those that do not already know, each year Chris Guillebeau hosts WDS with a focus on how to live a remarkable life in a conventional world.    As you might guess, the conference attracts a huge number of people (over 2800 this year) with big ideas, strong passions, and lots of creative energy.  WDS is a blogger’s dream conference and so naturally I wanted to attend (see #10 on my New Year’s Resolutions post from last December).

It is safe to say that prior to attending WDS, I expected to be inspired by the speakers, workshops, and fellow attendees during my time there.  WDS easily met and surpassed my expectations.  I will leave the specific highlights of WDS for a future blog post however, because I want to focus on something different here – something that was less expected.

Opening Ceremony at the Portland Zoo

I signed up for World Domination Summit back in January.  My excitement grew as the conference approached.  About a week before the conference however I started having a degree of trepidation about attending.  Thoughts like, “What am I thinking,  I do not know anyone there” and “What if I do not fit in” started running through my mind.  But there was no backing out – tickets had already been purchased, travel arrangements had already been made.

So I made a deal with myself – to show up fully for the opportunities that presented themselves at WDS.  Attending WDS was a rare opportunity and I did not want to let my worries keep me from experiencing it completely.

When I arrived at WDS it did seem a little awkward at first.  I did not have anyone to tag along with or to help me break the ice with new people.  I had to rely completely on my own social skills to get the job done.  A scary thought for an introvert like me.  But what I found as I navigated through the crowd of the WDS weekend and attended a full schedule of talks, discussions, workshops, informal meet-ups, etc. was that the reality of it was actually quite liberating.  I met some awesome people at WDS and I hope to keep in touch with as many of them as possible going forward.  Because I was alone, I had complete World Domination Summit 2013, Portland, ORflexibility with how I planned my schedule. I could have chosen to take it easy by attending only the big sessions while skipping out on the smaller meet-ups and the larger celebrations that necessitated closer social interaction.  Instead, I chose to put myself out there and I met all of those great people.  World Domination Summit provided a number of great learning experiences for me – the most unexpected being that I found I can survive quite well in a big crowd of people who I do not know.  In fact, going somewhere you have never been, without anyone else around that you know, and really showing up by being open to the learning opportunities is an experience I recommend to everyone.

Have you pushed past your comfort zone in some way recently?  Please feel free to leave a comment to share your story.

With Peace and Gratitude,

Steve Strother

*Be looking for at least one more post about my experiences at World Domination Summit 2013 in the near future.

Posted in life lessons | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments