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Pumped up and truly inspired

The doors blew off last weekend’s Orlando Boat Show while I was getting inspired at 36,000 feet.

First, the success of the fall edition of the Orlando Boat Show just reconfirms my expectation that fall shows will see increased attendance and reflect our continued growth.

According to show manager David Ray, attendance was up a whopping 75 percent over last year’s fall edition at the Orange County Convention Center.

But if that wasn’t enough, the crowds were up 22 percent over last winter’s record-setting Orlando Boat Show, which has historically always been the bigger edition of the two annual events.

This indoor fall show features boats up to 35 feet, and literally all exhibitors reported good sales - many called it the best show in 10 years, Ray said in a phone interview. You’ve gotta really like the outlook for this fall.

Inspiration in the air

Southwest is my favorite airline. I fly with them exclusively. I like the service and, particularly, being treated like a valued customer instead of being nickel-and-dimed to death. Because they do it right, they get my repeat business. That’s a strong lesson for everyone in business.

But what I like most about Southwest is the in-flight magazine. Sure I appreciate that my bags fly free and I’m not penalized when I must change a reservation (unique business model), but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t find something of interest or value inside that magazine in the seat pocket. And this month’s issue is no exception.

I’m referring to a short story about John O’Leary, a speaker who has inspired more than 1,000 organizations as an incredible example of what the power of the human spirit can achieve.

At the age of 9, O’Leary was burned across almost 100 percent of his body. He’d lit a piece of cardboard on fire and proceeded to try to increase the flames by pouring from a 5-gallon gas can. An explosion resulted. He was given less than a 1 percent chance of surviving the night.

He obviously made it but, unfortunately, his fingers couldn’t be saved and had to be amputated. The night that happened, the surgeon came into his room to talk about some of the things O’Leary wouldn’t be able to do anymore. Enter inspiration.

The surgeon said: “Maybe you can’t be a court reporter, but you can be a judge. Maybe you can’t be a carpenter, but you can run a construction company. Maybe you can’t play pro baseball, but you can be a GM.”

O’Leary concludes: “It’s all about owning your struggles, accepting what you can’t change and pursuing what you can with all you’ve got.”

How often do all of us get bogged down by things that are, in reality, insignificant and undoable? When that happens to us, we get distracted from the success we can make happen. And we can all use some inspiration like this to get things back in focus again.

O’Leary’s first book, “On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life,” is due out next spring and I can’t wait to read it. Contact:



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