Why you should exercise SIX days a week

Why don’t we exercise? Is it because:

– We don’t like to exercise?

– We don’t have time?

– We aren’t aware of how it extends our life?

Or is it another reason?

Perhaps you don’t exercise because you can’t – that is the only reason why one should not. If that’s the case, you can stop reading this now.

But for the rest of us, we have no real excuse.

I will cover some other reasons why you should exercise below. One of the most important is that it challenges you. The picture above is from a half Olympic Triathlon that I did in 2013. But before I tell that story, I should explain something. Years earlier, when my wife was running a half marathon, I told her that I would only run that far if someone was chasing me with the intent to hurt my family or me! After I completed the triathlon, which included an 8-mile run after swimming a mile and biking 26 miles, I thought what’s 5 more miles?

So later that year I completed my first ½ marathon. The mental discipline it takes to complete a race that long has benefits that far exceed the health benefits. Of course, you already knew that! I have found I can complete “hard” tasks when I compare them to how I trained for and ran a race in which I never stopped running for one hour and twelve minutes – (Editor correction: one hour and 52 minutes actually).

If you do exercise regularly, I can imagine that you have set an alarm for dark thirty and reach over painfully to turn it off while thinking or even saying, “I really don’t want to do this!” Yet you persist, and you do exercise. My guess is that unless you injured yourself, you don’t later say, “I sure wish I hadn’t exercised this morning.” No, I feel pretty confident you felt better, you were glad you pushed through, and you enjoyed the benefits.

Here is why I find exercise beneficial:

– It clears my head

– It allows me to be with friends

-It extends my life

– It improves my mood

– It allows time to enjoy God’s creation

– It challenges me

This week as I was walking on the greenway near our home, I bumped into two sets of family friends. They were exercising together – two of them walking, the other two running. We all had a moment together and one of them said,

“This is my therapy and if I weren’t doing this, I would be on someone’s couch.” 

So, if you aren’t currently committed to a regular exercise plan, you might consider it as an alternative to sitting on a therapist’s couch!

Several years ago, I lived next door to Bruce Tuscher, who was the director of fitness for a start-up company associated with AT&T – AT&T Universal Card. Bruce and I occasionally biked together and one day I asked him this question: “What is the best exercise for you?” His reply was “the one you enjoy the most.”

Maybe you hate running but enjoy biking. Dust off the old trek and bike to the office. Perhaps there’s a racketball or pickleball group that meets after work. Join them. Take a hike, kayak, surf, swim, jog—there are many different ways to get your heart rate up and your muscles moving. And you can even have fun doing it too.

So, if you aren’t currently committed to a regular exercise plan, consider the following ways to get started:

  • Take a walk at lunch.
  • Park in the space as far away as possible from any store where you shop and walk briskly there and back.
  • Always Take the Stairs – (also a book title by my professional speaking colleague Rory Vaden)
  • Keep some exercise equipment near your workplace (dumbbells, jump rope, stretch bands, etc.) and do reps between calls.
  • Participate in a push-up, pull-up, sit-up, or couch to 5-K challenge.
  • Form or join an exercise community. I love biking every Tuesday morning with a local group of friends.

And be consistent. Be like the postal service with your exercise – “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

The important thing is to just do it. Make it a part of your routine and you won’t regret it.

Take it from Gabrielle Reese, a former professional volleyball player. She said that “Even on the days you just don’t feel like going to work, you still go, right? It’s the same with exercise.”

NOTE: This is part four of a six-part series. Read last week’s post on why a circle of six makes you successful.

The Office is “Over”

News Flash!

The office is over

AirBnB CEO Brian Chesky May 9, 2022

What does he know – he’s only a smart aleck millennial?

Last week, I was heading to a public speaking class I teach for homeschooled high school students. The building where we meet is less than a mile from my home so I have been walking to this bi-monthly class since January (a lot can be accomplished by walking). I left early as I had a 1:15 phone meeting that I planned to hold in the building where my 2:00 class was held. Of course, I could have accomplished the call while I walked but I guard my walking time with a passion – walking is where I draft articles like this, rehearse new speech material, clear my head, and often wear out my dog.

Fortunately, I arrived early at the building where I taught the class, but I had no phone service – zero. I happened to notice that I had it when I walked by my friends Scott and Shelby Shankland’s house. So, I walked the short distance from the class location to their house (where both work from home). Their entire company SweetRush does. The company went remote when the Global Financial Crisis hit in 2008.

When I knocked on the door, Shelby was on a conference call and Scott was working upstairs but they welcomed me to do what I needed to do there.

When I opened my computer from their kitchen table, I learned my 1:15 appointment was late. I politely declined their invitation to raid their fridge, but did use their microwave to heat up my lunch. Using their WIFI, I handled a few tasks, suggested an alternative time for the rescheduled 1:15 call so I would have breathing space, had a peaceful, slow lunch, and arrived to teach my class – with plenty of cushion time. 

After my class was over, I headed to Maryville Corner Market where I worked for the afternoon before walking back home. I also regularly work at Vienna Coffee House, Southern Grace Coffee, a lake house in Florida, and in the many parks in my town.

Hm…maybe we should consider listening to those young whipper snapper, wet-behind-the-ears millennials after all?

Your Circle of Six?

My speaking colleague Thom Singer, host of Speakernomics podcast, often starts his interviews with this statement: “If you don’t know _________ (fill in the blank with the name of the expert he is interviewing), and I don’t know how you couldn’t….“. Then he goes on to talk about why his guest is so well known. That’s the case with Mark Schaefer. I was fortunate enough to have lunch with Mark last week. Below I have listed some facts about Mark. Guess which of these statements is true and which are false:

Guess which of these statements is true and which are false:

  • He’s a major influencer in the marketing space.
  • He launched a highly successful creator crypto coin called $RISE and was invited to do so because of his reputation as an influencer.
  • He mentors economically challenged youth, including a D-I athlete.
  • Mark and I met early in his career when we were both speaking for a Medical Group Managers Association conference.
  • Once when my 12 year-old son was trout fishing in the pond by our local Greenway, he hooked Mark’s shirt as he was walking on the trail.
  • He’s one of the most humble, caring and unassuming speakers in the marketing space.

Each of these statements is true.

If I could pick the members of my mastermind group (or Circle of Six as I call it), Mark would be in the inner circle (aren’t you fortunate, Shep Hyken!).

4 smiling men standing on porch

Perhaps you’re already in a Circle of Six and didn’t even know it. Maybe you, like my grandmother, are in a sewing group that meets weekly to make clothes for Church World Service. Or maybe you’re in a spinning group or ride weekly with a group of friends as I do. Or perhaps you’re in a bowling league like my travel agent Janice Vanormer. Maybe you’re in a Bible study group, a book club, a supper club, a hiking group, a surfing club, or another special interest Circle of “Six.” Having a circle/mastermind/study group makes whatever you are doing more enjoyable and helps you experience greater success.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be in several different groups with some pretty amazing people. After speaking at a State Farm event in Jacksonville, FL many years ago the concept of a Circle of Six was born. I was inspired by Therese Quinn, one of the top 100 agents in State Farm Insurance for many years. She shared her 4 x 4 rule with me. I’ve added to it, changed it, and currently, it’s a signature part of every speech, workshop, or presentation I give.

Currently, I’m in a marketing/business growth mastermind group that started as a response to the pandemic loss of business. Ironically, I have not met everyone in this group as we meet by Zoom each week to hold each other accountable. Thank you to Mj CallawayRoger GrannisSteve HaffnerBen Lichtenwalner, and Scott Carley for the inspiration for this group.

Starting in 2000 at National Speakers Association convention, I hosted what I call a roving mastermind group. The players change each year by design and have included some of the best experts who speak professional Dr. Nido Qubein, President of High Point University, leadership expert New York Times and Wall Street Journal author Mark Sanborn, former radio host, speaker, and best-selling author of Create DistinctionScott McKain, futurist Dan Burrus, humorous and psychologist Dr. Terry Paulson, resiliency expert Eileen McDargh, comedic guitarist Mike Rayburn, entrepreneurs and speakers Jim and Naomi Rhode, inspirational singer Dr. Willie Jolley and the late great humorist Jeanne Robertson have all participated in this group.

My first true circle of six included inspirational speaker, singer, and guitar player Rosita Perez, leadership expert Phil Van Hooser, employee engagement expert Richard Hadden, and naturalist Dr. John Paling.

I’ve truly had a seat at the table with some of the world’s best-known and beloved speakers. I’ve been fortunate to have one-on-one conversations with experts, celebrities and best-selling authors like Suze OrmanDr. Norman Vincent PealeLes BrownZig Ziglar, Olympians Peter Vidmar, and Kristi YamaguchiLarry Winget – the pitbull of self-development, The Little _______ (name a color) Book series speaker Jeffrey Gitomer, former NBA player Mark Eaton, Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, and many, many others.

I’ve met rising speaker superstars like performer and speaker Jason Hewlett, actor/speaker/speech coach Victoria LaBalme, 50-time sports author and speaker extraordinary Ross Bernstein, the Go-Giver author Bob Burg and are all friends. I know industry legends like train-the-trainer expert Bob Pike, and Brian Lee, who owns a hospital service consulting firm. Brian was my first speaking mentor.

Branding expert Bruce Turkel is a close confidant. Bruce is a fantastic speaker with hundreds of major media interviews under his belt. He’s also one of the best harmonica players I’ve ever known. I have presented with Bruce on a few occasions, stayed at his home with his lovely wife Gloria and their children, and had wonderful dinners at hole-in-the-wall restaurants in the cities we’ve visited. We have run together on multiple occasions, gone boating in Key Biscayne Bay, and had many long conversations about politics, music, comedy, and the speaking business of course. He’s been one of my closest confidants in the speaking business since we met 20 years ago and has had more influence on me than any other speaking friend.

Yes, I have been fortunate to have built a career from the passion my dear mother inspired in me when I was in 8th grade. Part of the reason that I have been able to spend time with these superstar celebrity speakers, authors, entertainers, and media personalities is that I have been in the right place at the right time and have not been afraid to ask the best in the speaking business for advice. Successful people like to help others succeed.

Tag your ideal Circle of Six in the comment section below, and don’t be afraid to ask if you can take them to lunch, coffee, or even a virtual drink to learn from them.

Today is Cinco de Mayo. Consider gathering with your favorite amigos and think about whom you might need or want to meet. Ask how they could help advance your career or what you could do to help them expand their network, expertise, or volunteer platform.

After all, as the saying goes, when the student is willing – and when that student takes proactive action – the teacher will appear.

los amigos mexican restaurant

May the Fourth Be With You

July 4, 2014

Stan Phelps, CSP, a speaking colleague worth following, wrote a post today titled, “May the Fourth be With You”.

After I read it, I pondered what May Fourth means to me, which is very different from his excellent post referencing John Williams and the music he created for the movie Star Wars. This post is in addition to my weekly post coming tomorrow. I never planned to write it until I was inspired by Stan’s post.

Today, May Fourth or 4th, is the 5th anniversary of the passing of my mother – a major force in my life as well as the lives of many others.


She was a mentor, a youth counselor, den mother of my cub scout pack, and my very first speech coach.

When I was in 8th grade, she helped me memorize a humorous recitation of Eugene Field’s poem ” Jest ‘Fore Christmas”. I didn’t want to do it – read the story here. Boy, am I grateful she encouraged me. If it weren’t for her prodding, I might never have become a professional speaker. As I wrote five years ago – she birthed me twice.

When I was in 9th grade, she was a counselor at a weekend retreat held at the Warren Willis Camp and Conference Center called Christian Faith and Human Sexuality. We REALLY bonded after that weekend!

Shortly after that, I began treating her dishonorably. It was normal teenage behavior, but it continued much longer than my teen years. I didn’t mean to be unloving; we were so much alike that we butted heads. Despite her unconditional love for my four siblings and me, we could be a challenge, to say the least!

Her father, my granddaddy Bunton, taught my mother and me a lot of life lessons. One thing he didn’t teach her was how to communicate. Despite that, my mother was a master at it. She demonstrated care, empathy, and love as well as anyone I have ever known though she didn’t learn it from my grandfather. I don’t ever remember hearing him tell my mom that he loved her.

In some ways, my father was more like my mom’s father – Granddaddy Bunton. He didn’t show his emotions very well.

My parents, Rev. Don and Lois Richardson were civil rights advocates in the 1960s and took a lot of grief from more than one church in the United Methodist Church tradition where they (and yes the pastor’s spouse also serves in much more difficult ways than the pastor sometimes) served together. When a black man was told he wasn’t welcome at one of the churches my father served, Dad expressed rare outrage. Ministers, then and now, deal with an amazing amount of un-Christ-like behavior. Sometimes being a minister’s wife/spouse is even harder.

Particularly when their kids behaved as I did.

I expressed disapproval of my parents in many vocal ways. They weren’t hoarders, but they rarely threw anything away and weren’t particularly good housekeepers. My mom was only slightly more disorganized than I – yet I condemned.

Mom and Dad dressed way older than their years (despite my mother having mostly black hair and a beautiful complexion into her late 60s). She really was beautiful inside and out. She didn’t care that my dad drove cars for ten years or more or that he was extremely practical.

My parents weren’t cool like my best friend’s parents. They didn’t dance together. They never touched alcohol. They listened to music that was centuries old. They grew their own fruits and vegetables. They didn’t have fun vacations – unless you call camping in a pop-up camper cool.

How I would love to relive those camping trips to Washington, DC and on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

When the District Superintendent (my dad’s “boss”) reassigned my father from First United Methodist Church in Daytona Beach, FL to a church in the West Palm Beach, FL area halfway through my junior year, I was despondent.

In typical teenage fashion, I only thought of myself and wrote a letter to the D.S. telling him how he ruined my life.

I was invited to finish my high school experience living with my best friend – which I did after one semester in South Florida. I broke my mom’s heart.

In my 40s, I wrote a letter to my mother and basically told her how I disapproved of her lifestyle. I hurt her deeply – again.

I directed all this unkindness to the woman who gave me birth; the woman who launched my career, the woman who was unconditionally loved by many and loved freely.

I wish I had appreciated her when she was living as much as I do now after her death.


Mom, you were such a great gift to our family and all the communities where you and Dad served and volunteered. For 42 years, you lived not where you wanted to live but where God called your husband. I hope I can have half the impact you and Dad did.

I should have paused to think before I spoke unkindly, acted immaturely, and written hastily. And maybe you should too.

I love you, Mom. Please forgive me. Somehow I think you did long ago.