Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ted Simendinger: Five questions with...

Ted Simendinger (Class of ’76) is a JU Distinguished Alumni that has done everything from professional sales to standup comedy. During his recent visit to campus as a part of the Alumni Speakers Series, he entertained and informed throughout the day, including a session at the Davis College of Business and his talk at the Ross Theatre. Despite a full schedule, Ted gave more of his time to answer a few questions to share with his fellow Dolphins:

1. How did your time at Jacksonville University prepare you for your life immediately after college and beyond?

I worked my way through school as a full-time meat-cutter for Winn-Dixie and graduated on time in eight semesters. The time management processes and decision-making I was forced to embrace, plus a learned work ethic thanks to the fellows I worked with, especially a fellow with a grade-school education named Marvin Fisher, have carried forward with me every day since. I remain grateful the Davis family extended guys like me a chance to earn a diploma. The night before graduation I calculated that I had cut a quarter-million pork chops, over 13,000 t-bones, gotten 24 stitches (in both hands), and could completely dismember a whole chicken into nine pieces in 26 seconds. And all of it remains worthwhile.
2. You develop teaching strategies that are grounded in life skills . What are some of the key attributes that people need to have to be successful?

These five can change a life:

1. Time Management. Waking hours pass one of four ways: they are wasted, spent, invested, or cherished. Successful people minimize the first two and maximize the last two (investment time and cherish time).

2. Passion. Happy high-achievers also live and work with passion; achievement and personal growth can keep a person young forever. A sofa makes you old in a hurry.

3. A great work/life balance. I pity burnouts, but celebrate positive people who continue to great things over time because they’re wired to safely do it. There’s a big difference between being busy and being productive. It’s vital to respect those differences and make behavioral choices that enable you to produce meaningful results that you’re proud of.

4. It’s important to pursue what you want to be in life. Do you aspire to a role player or an impact player? A person who leaves footprints in the sands of time or buttprints? Someone who’s significant in the lives of others or not? Own it, chase it, and be proud of it.

5. Manage the Worry Circle. Forty percent of what people worry about doesn't belong in their heads at all. Manage this and life gets real easy, real fast. It takes about three hours to learn. Once you learn it, teach others you care about how to manage it, too.

3. You have given motivational speeches, workshops and presentations all over the country, what are your thoughts on motivating in the current economic climate? Has it become more difficult to motivate people to reach for the brass ring?

Yes and no. Yes because no one motivates you except you, and with so many technology portals filling heads with noise of blathering doom and gloom, it’s tough for a lot of people to sort, sift, or block out noise. The reason the answer is “no” is because “stinkin’ thinkin’”(a negative, downtrodden attitude) is easily fixable. People simply need to learn a few vital life skills — which colleges do not teach and companies rarely do — in order to regain a positive outlook and reenergize what’s possible in life rather than mope about what’s wrong. This is the essence of the global gratification I’ve received from coaching people around the world. These things are doable, they work, and then the folks go on and teach others, too. There is a relentless battle for mindshare going on in the media, juxtaposed against technology’s direct impact on shaping and reshaping habits and behaviors. People must stay in control of their minds. Just because someone has access to the mind does not mean that he or she has the right to be there. When people own and balance these things, and they’re passionate about their pursuits, self-motivation is easy.
4. A question we ask all participants in our “Five Question with….” series is when you were a college freshman, what did you think you would be doing when you were 30? What were you actually doing when you were 30?
Are you kidding? Thirty was six light years away from seventeen. When I was a freshman, all I worried about was paying for school, finding cheap beer, and maybe convincing a nice girl to pity me enough to go on a date. My aspirations didn’t stretch too far beyond that. I worried about 30 when I was 29. What was I doing at 30? Hawking Xerox machines in Tampa, Florida. Got stuck with a bum territory but I soon segued into standup comedy and found happiness that way.
5. What advice do you have for the JU class of 2010?
Chase what you love to do and the heck with everyone else. There are a lot more people in the world who know what they don’t want to do than what they truly do. Join the happy minority. If it works for you, chase it to the very best of your passionate ability. If money matters, you’ll figure out how to make it. If someone had told me on graduation day I’d have burnt through three passports, flown 2 million miles and shrunk the world to the size of a Superball, written ten books and had three stories optioned for movies, I’d have politely suggested they have me confused with someone who graduated in the top half of the class, not the midpoint. Life goes to those who persevere. So persevere and love every minute. Do that.....and you’re winning the game.

Learn more about what Ted at his website and follow him on his blog.

As part of the Dolphin Network blog, we will conduct interviews with distinguished guests and alumni that visit the JU campus.

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