Advice From an Extreme Couponing Ex-Stripper

Advice From an Extreme Couponing Ex-Stripper

I lean back in my blue leather seat ready for takeoff as the woman sitting next to me reaches over and introduces herself.

I quickly learn she is a real life extreme couponer! She goes into detail how she has gallons of laundry detergent, rolls of toilet paper and tubes of toothpaste in her garage because of her ability to find the best deals in town. “Why would I give people more money?”  she says.

I ask if I can share part of her story with my readers as long as I don’t use her name or the company she runs and she gave a simple “yea, of course!”

She grew up poor. So broke she drank watered down milk and there was a bread ration at her house. She moved out when she was 17 because her and the mom “could not get along” to say it nicely!

She needed money to pay bills and after six months of doing janitorial work she decided that wasn’t for her, “I don’t even like cleaning my own house,” she said.

She wanted to start stripping and got the job the day she walked in. She never made less than $3,000 a week and sometimes would walk away with $6K in cash. She was making money, supporting her children and worked the pole for six years until she met her recent husband.

Now she has four kids, has been happily married for seven years and runs a very successful business. She gives her time, resources and money away to good causes and has no plans of stopping anytime soon (She plans to make more than $250,000 this year).

I ask her many questions about her stripping days and here are her answers to two of them:

1)   What would you tell people that judge you for being a stripper?
“When I was a stripper I would have justified what I was doing by getting defensive, proving to people that I am doing this to make my own money and make my own things happen. Today, if people judge me on my past I would tell them to understand where some of these girls are coming from. Some of them came from bad families or are looking to make enough money to pay for the lawyers so they can get their kids back or are doing something to make a difference in their life.” The main message was related to Stephen Covey’s “Seek to understand before being understood.”

2)   What piece of advice would you give to the younger generation?
“I would say two things. First, be a better friend. You need to listen more than you speak. Ask your friends questions and be there for them. They might need your ears more than you know. Second, never give up. You might be going through a bad time or people will judge you for what you did. Keep going, you know who you are and do the things that make you happy. At that time stripping made me happy. I made good money, I got a free workout and I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t be who I am today without that experience. At this time, running a business and knowing that my husband can retire because of my income makes me happy. My kids don’t have to go without anything and I am making it happen.”

She is more than a couponer and an ex-stripper but some people may only see her as that. In an hour I learned she is also a mom, daughter, business woman and someone who gives a lot.  She is a woman who takes responsibility, works hard and has a bubbly personality.

She is a good example of not judging someone from their past but rather seeing them for what they have done well and where they are now. She was friendly, open and a perfect person to sit next to on the plane.

Remember to share your story and be proud of the experiences you have had. They make you who you are today and give life to your life. As always…

Dream BIG,

Saying More With Less

Saying More With Less

This is a Guest Article Written By Matt Goldberg!

During an interesting discussion with my “Grammar Geeks” online group (don’t ask, but I think it’s a term of endearment), the following quote from Thomas Jefferson was shared.

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”

Reacting to this quote from our immortal third President, a fellow Geek astutely noted, “He could have said, ‘The most valuable talent…’, thereby saving two words.” I daresay that he was correct.

My point is not to point out that even the greatest wordsmiths who ever lived are capable of minor errors (quite ironic in this case), but that there is great truth in Jefferson’s quote.

So, what does this have to do with us as speakers? Quite a lot, actually.

As I have learned from writing everything from articles to books to speeches, sometimes it’s much easier to write than to edit. There’s an old, borrowed quip that it takes a week or two to write a book, and a year or two to edit it. It’s hard to cut out words, especially if we feel some investment in them.  Yet, often it’s worth it to cut things close to the bone.

So, how do we know which is the meat, and which is the fat?

We don’t always, as this is more art than science, and the style of presentation and type of audience will help to dictate some guidelines. Still, I would offer these four quick rules of thumbs, so that we keep the meat – to connect with our audience – while leaving the fat behind.

  • Look to cut out words that don’t add any color, nuance or emotion to our stories.
  • Great communication is mostly about forging connections through resonant stories. Favor dialogue over narration; often, it’s more concise and more memorable.
  • Don’t try too hard to impress the audience. Also, avoid jargon, and any words that may actually create distance between you and your audience.
  • Don’t be afraid to use “fancy” words if they are descriptive. You don’t need to dumb your vocabulary down; just don’t rely upon a thesaurus to do your talking for you. In fact, I would argue that having a solid vocabulary may actually enable you to use fewer words.

Utilizing these four guidelines should help you craft presentations that really resonate with your audience. And, you may even feel a little more Jeffersonian in the process.

Lunch with a Billionaire

Lunch with a Billionaire

Today I ate lunch with my first billionaire and I asked him the question…

“Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your 25 year old self if you could go back and offer one piece of advice to him?”

Without a beat he replied, “There is no better time than now!” Throughout the lunch he proceed to give incredibly simple but valuable advice on ways to be successful and live a life worth living.

Here are the top five success lessons I learned from Red McCombs:

1)   Be a Team Player: Paraphrasing one of his stories Red said “If you can’t get along with the team, you can’t play on my team.” He talked about a time when he had to let go of one of his favorite players because he was acting up in the locker room after games and the other guys didn’t want to be around him. Be a team player and help out when and where you can. You contribute to the bigger picture.

2)   Best Time is Now: There is no better time to start something than right now. Just get in and do it. He said “It’s not about picking the right thing, its about picking something and doing it right. Do it better than the other guy does it and you will be successful in no time.” He is right, be better than the other person selling the same thing you are selling and word gets out.

3)   It’s Not Easy or Accidental: In a condensed version he said “Business is not easy or accidental. You need a plan and need to understand this is hard work. If you get those two things down early, you will have a fun ride and enjoy life. Plan and work.” Remember… you are the one who makes things happen in your life, no one else!

4)   Only Focus on One Thing at a Time: If you are at a meeting, focus on that meeting. If you are doing a deal with a future investor, only be present in that room. Focus on the here and now and don’t let your mind slip away to other tasks. If you stay focused you will accomplish more, have more and be more successful!

5)   Don’t Call Me at Home: Red is 86 years old and works six days a week and has for decades. But when he is at home, you don’t call him. That is his time with his family, with his wife and kids, it is not about work. He mentioned being with his family as a very important thing and was quoted for saying “I don’t care if the station is burning down, don’t call me at home, it can wait till tomorrow!”

What I like most about Red is he is a real guy who is genuine, down to earth and business savvy. He cares about his family more than anything, loves to do business with quality people and continues to take calculated risks. He speaks from the heart and knows where he stands on what he believes.

I would eat lunch with Red any day of the week and am thankful I had the opportunity to do so today! Go out there and make your dreams come true. They are waiting for you as long as you remain a team player, start now, plan, stay focused and care about the most important people in your life…. Your family!

Question: If you could ask an extremely successful person one question, what would you ask them? 

The Dog That Shed!

The Dog That Shed!

I land in San Antonio and my sister picks me up. I am dressed up wearing my favorite black sweater and my Russian winter coat with dress shoes. We hug, I say “hi” and “I love you” then she responds with, “I love you too, by the way, you are wearing way too nice of clothes because we are about to pick up a foster dog.”

Ryan Avery rescuing a DogMy sister fosters dogs and this little guy was two hours away from getting the needle. He needed to be picked up asap!

Now I am all for saving a life or two especially a puppy but at least let me know beforehand not to wear nice clothes! Especially my favorite sweater! One of my biggest pet peeves (no pun intended) is I can not stand animals that shed! I despise random hairs all over the place! I don’t want to own a lint roller and I like clothes too much.

We pick up the filthy little guy and he sheds so much my black coat is now shimmering with long strands of white and dirty dog hairs! He claws my arms, he snags my clothes and his breath is worse than mine in the morning!

Ryan Avery washing a dogHe is so excited to see someone and he can tell his life was just saved. We take him for a bath and of course we get him all soapy and wet and what does he do… he shakes… he shakes off all the water and soap off his body like he had fire ants biting him.

I am now soaking wet, smell like wet dog and these are my nicest clothes I brought with me.

I am a little annoyed at this time because I only have enough clothes for this trip and no lent roller! But then I look at the face of the puppy we just saved and you can tell he is smiling. He is so happy and if he could say sorry he would but he just can’t stop thinking about how much better it is to have a bath then be in the pound.

My sweater is almost ruined and I can’t stop smelling dog breath but my day was perfect. Even though I was surrounded by pets who added to my pet peeve, I got to spend time with my sister and save a puppy’s life. We are now sitting on the couch watching comedy central and about to go for a walk.

Ryan Avery and a few dogsI learned a valuable speaking lesson from my sister today. She fosters dogs because they need help. They need our support and for us to speak up for them. Without us, many of them would never be saved.

There are people, environments and animals out there that need you to stick up for them. They can’t use their voice. That need you to stand up and speak out on their behalf. You might have power or prestige or money or a following and if you use your voice to make a difference, think of the things you can change in the world?

Keep speaking up and doing nice things for those who need it most. Even though you might get a little dirty or some hair on you, it could save a life and make someone else’s even better!

Question: What is your favorite kind of dog and why?


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