Award Winning Motivational Speaker, Author and Performance Artist and Lover of Popcorn
It was well over 15 years ago when I was waiting to board my flight at the Atlanta Airport. The gate agent had just announced that boarding would begin in 10 minutes. As I sat waiting, I began to smell a familiar and delightful aroma – POPCORN!
I have popcorn radar.
Some guy in a really nice suit walked into the gate area and what he held in his hand was the holy grail of snack foods - a freshly popped box of buttery and lightly salted popcorn. When he sat down, he leaned back, loosened his tie, opened the box of popcorn and before diving in, he smiled big. It was like he had a long day and now it was time to relax, chill and enjoy a taste of heaven. When I saw him smile at the popcorn, my thought was, “Yeah…that guy knows exactly what popcorn is all about!”
Then he did something very interesting. He unselfishly leaned over to people sitting on both sides of him and offered some of his popcorn. I even heard him say, “You need to try some of this…it will change your life!”
And then it hit me, he was sharing more than just popcorn. He was sharing something special to him, something positive, and something meaningful. And when you add up all the wonderful things that are meaningful to us, our positives, our stories, strengths, skills, heart and talents - you discover the sum total of our best. Some call it greatness, but I call it our POPCORN. That is what it means to share your popcorn – giving the best of who you are, where you are and with what you have.
Popcorn has a special meaning to me. I remember when I was growing up, Mom and Dad would make our family popcorn. It was always a big deal in our house. And my parents made popcorn the old fashion way. They would put a big kettle type pot on the stove, pour in some oil, add the popcorn kernels and begin shaking the pan over the heat. The reason you shake it is so the kernels don’t burn. Minutes later, you begin to hear the sweet sound of popcorn popping. The captivating smell would fill the house. Dad always over calculated the kernel count, so popcorn would spill out over kettle pot. Can you say dust buster?! Remember those? I don’t mean to sound gross, but there is no way I was giving the dust buster my popcorn. If the popcorn fell to the ground, I was the dust buster!
Mom would pour the popcorn from the pot into a big bowl, and as soon as she put it in the middle of our family room, it brought everyone together. That was one of my first lessons with popcorn, it brings people together. But, I also remember those being fun times – happy times. Popcorn moments create lasting memories and experiences. The same is true when we share our greatness in business, work or our personal life. When we share our gifts, we create beautiful stories that stay with others. When you share your popcorn in business or at work, you communicate better, lend a hand, give encouragement and bring a room to life with enthusiasm.
While I love to eat popcorn, the idea of sharing our popcorn
(the best of who we are – our greatness) can be exactly like what
the guy at the airport sharing his popcorn said, “LIFE CHANGING.”
I believe we all want to know that who we are and what we do makes a positive contribution. And I am telling you it does. Sharing your popcorn daily isn’t hard and you don’t need much to do it.
What is Your Popcorn?
Let me better clarify what your popcorn is and how incredibly awesome it is.
Your popcorn is the expression of your greatness. I love that word greatness, but I love calling it popcorn more. Sharing your popcorn is giving the best of who you are, where you are and with what you have. So many people complain about who they are not, or what they don’t have or that they are not gifted enough. That kind of thinking is rotten eggs. Don’t buy into that kind of thinking. You are better than that. Here is a little saying I came up with a long time ago, “If a tic tac can make a difference, than so can you.”
The little things we do matter. Sharing a smile, lending a hand, saying thank you, holding a door open – those are little things that are a big deal. Would you agree?
Your popcorn is your attitude, your strengths, your gifts, your spirit, your wisdom
and what makes you unique. Your popcorn is your own personal brand.
It’s your mission, purpose and passion.
Sharing your popcorn can create the elements of love, joy, time, patience, hope, encouragement, inspiration, enthusiasm, or happiness.
Your popcorn can be a unique strength, like listening, communication, empathy, integrity or being detailed and organized.
Your popcorn can be one word – inspirational, caring, compassionate, encouraging, loyal, kind, awesome, etc… (My inspirational one word used to be awesome. But, not any more. I bought myself a cape and now I am super awesome!)
Your popcorn can be a passion or expertise about a specific subject - health, fitness, food, positive thinking, leadership, parenting, art, music, sports – anything!
It can be a story about hitting rock bottom and how you turned your life around, and who you became in the process.
Your popcorn can be your education, talent or a developed skill.
Your popcorn is the culmination of meaningful stories, experiences and life lessons that make up the best of who you are today. Recognizing your popcorn is an opportunity to look within yourself and acknowledge what is great about you and what you have to offer.
If there is one thing I have learned about people who share their popcorn, they are the music makers, the problem solvers, the first responders and the superheroes who work hard to change the world and make it a better place. They accomplish this by doing the small things with a big heart. They care! The don’t keep all the popcorn to themselves, they share it.
I want to encourage you to share your popcorn because it makes a difference.
And, who knows, it may not change the world, but what if it changes one person’s life?
The other day I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I am not sharing that to start a pity party because they don’t serve popcorn at those parties. I am sharing it to be real with you, I was scared. I have struggled with my weight for years, because when you travel a lot like I do, you work all day and forget to eat. I would get to my hotel room at the end of the day, decompress and feel starved. So I would over eat before going to bed and after 10 years of that, it caught up with me.
My legs started going numb and I remembered my grandpa lost his leg because of diabetes. I started to feel faint and a laundry list of other things. I was scared and you could see it on my face and feel it sitting next to me. I am a dad with 3 little kids and I love being a dad and want to be around for them. So, I found a great doctor and a group of people who didn’t feed my fear, but rather they empowered me to change for the better. They shared their popcorn and instead of feeling helpless, alone and worried, I feel empowered, focused and willing to make better choices that reward my body and my relationships and work. Instead of feeding my fears, some great people shared their popcorn and it fed my courage. That is the power of sharing your popcorn. It really does change things and make a difference.
You have popcorn galore – greatness within you! I remember growing up listening to one of my favorite motivational speakers, Les Brown and I can hear him saying this as I write it, “THERE IS GREATNESS IN YOU!”
I am going to be like Les and say,
“THERE IS POPCORN IN YOU! SHARE IT!”
I hope these words encouraged you to see a greater value in who you are and what you have to offer. Sometimes we need so pause an inventory what we have instead of complaining about what we don’t have. Remember, use the best of who you are, where you are and with what you have and that is how you share you popcorn. All this talk of popcorn, I am going to go make some for myself and the family!
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