Shoot for the Moon


Moon Landing: July 20, 1969. This marvelous accomplishment of human exploration encourages all of us to take one small step toward some big goal today. Today. A reminder that anything is possible. 

Still doubting yourself? Consider this, you have more resources in your hand right now and at your disposal, than NASA did then, and I imagine your goal is somewhat less challenging than a moonshot. Get after it.

Here’s How to Launch Your Dream:

  • Define The Mission: What is it that you want to accomplish? What is your vision? Keep it short. Write it down. I recommend writing a sentence or two about what you want to accomplish and what it will mean to you and others if you succeed. Set a completion date. Don’t alter it. Keep moving forward. 

  • Outline the Plan: Define what steps need to be accomplished and by when. Outline all the resources you have at your disposal. Do everything you can not to create a list of resources you need as this is a trap and will delay you from your goal.
  • Build Your Team: Figure out who you have at your disposal that can help you. Reach out to them in a very brief email or phone call.  Explain what you want to do and ask them for their small contribution. 
  • Fuel Up: You need some rocket fuel. Become absolutely decided in this venture and create emotional leverage of what accomplishing this will mean for you and others. Don’t make this a hobby, make this a destination that you will travel to with daily intention and work.  Gather whatever you can immediately and begin knowing you will finish. 
  • Countdown: Have your date to be completed firmly established. Nothing will stand in the way of the launch. There will be no delays or setbacks. You need no funds or resources. Move forward. If you can set a countdown timer on your phone so you know the due date.  I have a countdown app for this. Work every single day regardless of location or circumstance. 
  • Launch: Begin the work. Work every day. Do not stop. Whatever you have when the due date is finished, ship and announce it. Publish, post, share, whatever you can when you hit your deadline. Be proud of your progress. 
  • Celebrate: You really must celebrate what you have accomplished. Do something for yourself with someone you love to celebrate the accomplishment. 
  • Reflect: You need time to think about all that went well, what didn’t, and all you learned. Apply these lessons to your next project. 
  • Set a new Goal: Do it all again. Begin a new project. 


Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and speed artist.


He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation


with his art and words. 


Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.



Declaring Your Independence!


We all know Independence Day is July 4th.  Other than our birthday and our mom’s, it’s the most important birthday to know. While celebrating our country’s freedom during the month of July, I challenge you to free yourself from something that is taxing you and holding you back. 

While any day is a great day to make yourself better, July does offer us that halfway point of the year to reflect. It is a great opportunity to declare “halftime” and see what we have accomplished and what we need to get after before the year ends. 

Have you worked hard this year? With six months to go it is indeed halftime. Celebrate your accomplishments, make needed adjustments, and win.  Ask yourself my favorite three questions: What do I need to keep doing? What do I need to stop doing? What do I need to start doing?

Whether you decide to live a healthier lifestyle, be a little more frugal, or work on a dream or bucket list, the fourth can be a day you look forward to for your personal independence. Give yourself this gift. Give your future self this gift. Each year, look back and celebrate the freedoms you have given yourself. 

Freedom from financial worry, a health crisis, stagnation are all possible with action.  In life there is always someplace to go. There is no summit.  Keep moving forward.  Movement is life itself. 

Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and speed artist.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

with his art and words. 

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.


What You Don’t Say


What you don’t say, says the most about you.

“Those who gossip to you, gossip about you,” is one of my favorite sayings. I remember it whenever anyone tries to entice me with a piece of gossip. I simply excuse myself. Usually, I say, “You’ll have to excuse me. I don’t know the whole story.”  And that’s really the point, isn’t it?  We never really know the whole story. So, why do people automatically want to jump on the less flattering and negative side? I guess we know why, and that tells us much about their character.

Our world has never had a greater ability to communicate than we do today. We communicate through social networking, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, texts, emails, and even video chatting, and more. Still, we find gossip and ill-will, more often than not, at the center of communication. Sad. It seems our ability to communicate has unfortunately improved our ability to gossip.

“Gossip is as hard to unspread as butter, ” another of my favorite quotes and it’s as accurate as it is funny. I see too many people’s lives being harmed by gossip and rumoring. Our digital age is adding a permanence to much of it and creating a so-called digital footprint.  Leaders must work to take care of their digital footprint and teach future generations to do the same.

Still, gossip is gossip no matter the form. We cannot allow a digital format to hold any more credence than word of mouth especially when its sole purpose is to harm. What we say and do behind others’ backs says more about our own character than it does about the person we are talking about. Gossiping is poison for any organization or leader. There is nothing but trouble to be gained by continuing a rumor or talking poorly about someone.

Parents and educators teach their children not to gossip and organizational leaders must teach it as well.

I encourage leaders to put an end to gossip in their personal lives and in their organization. Teach leadership that discourages all gossip and rumoring.  Address it outright by letting your people know, “we don’t talk like that here. That’s not what we’re about.”  Don’t assume that it is “understood” that gossiping is against our vision, make it clear.

“A man or woman should always be remembered by their best qualities,” another of my favorite quotes. When something negative comes up about someone else I choose to walk away or mention one of their endearing qualities. You can use a positive phrase to let someone know you’re uninterested in gossiping. For instance, when someone starts with a negative comment you can reply with some positive truth about the person, like, “Well, he sure knows a lot about marketing and gave a fantastic presentation last week.” They will get the idea.

We would think that adults would have a profound understanding about the dangers and improprieties of gossip,  but that is sadly not the case. Gossiping about others is bullying, a waste of creative energy, a cause of inefficiency and trouble in the workplace, and a count against a leader’s character.

Leaders make no room for gossip.

Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and speed artist.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

with his art and words. 

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.


Why You Must Build a Leadership Factory

Leadership Factory

The journey toward wisdom is an essential quality of leadership, and a big part of acquiring wisdom is surrounding yourself with quality people each and every day. Some of you may have a choice in who will be part of your team or inner circle, so make your decisions carefully. Others will not have a choice of whom they will work closely with and lead. Regardless, wisdom is gained by not only making good choices, but nurturing everyone you work with into becoming world-class leaders. Grow the realm of your wisdom and invest in cultivating leadership. Create a leadership factory within your organization and produce leaders.

Help others become leaders by giving them leadership roles or responsibilities. Let them know they are leading and give them a framework to work within.   Tell them, “You will be

 leading our organization on this area.  I know you can do it. I want to give you plenty of freedom on this, but I do need a report or update on where you are at at close of each day and we certainly want to have this project completed by this date.” I know so many micromanagers that need to control too much of the organization that they never give anyone the opportunity to lead, to fail, to grow. Then they wonder why they have no leadership. You have to grow leaders and nurture them.

Offer those around you mentors to help them become better leaders, and by all means be an excellent and available role model yourself. Surround them with books, audio recordings, video, and other resources to help them become leaders. Make all of these resources easily available.  Send them to conferences, invite speakers, leave them notes of encouragement and helpful tips to follow. I have spoken at many workshops and provided leadership training and the comments are always the same, “I wish we would have done this sooner.” Leadership is something you have to manufacture. Start your leadership factory today.

Invite those you lead to reflect on leadership by writing an article for the newsletter or blog. Consider asking the promising leader to organize and lead a presentation on something they are all doing well. Ask their opinion about leadership topics and books they are reading on the topic. Engaging in this dialogue will highlight the importance of the qualities you want.

By all means, recognize those who lead. This will encourage everyone. Make leadership important and something that is identified and recognized. When recognition is implemented correctly it can increase retention, decrease absence, raise production, improve quality, change attitudes, and in general create a momentum of success and positive energy.

What ideas do you have about building a leadership factory within your organization? How will you prepare, train, equip, and acknowledge leaders? How will you design and build your leadership factory?

Leave your ideas in the comments below.

Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and artist.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

with his art and words. 

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.


Book Review: Fred 2.0 by Mark Sanborn

9781414362205_p0_v2_s260x420Want to deliver extraordinary results?

Read Fred 2.0 by Mark Sanborn.

Fred 2.0 by Mark Sanborn is the followup to his New York Times Bestseller, The Fred Factor. The Fred Factor was about providing extraordinary service, inspired by Mark’s postal carrier, Fred. The book was incredibly successful and I recommended it in my review to be included on every leaders’ bookshelf. The archetype of leadership Sanborn created in Fred served as a role model for leaders of all ages.

Sanborn is back with Fred 2.0: New Ideas on How to Keep Delivering Extraordinary Results. I proud to recommend this book to all leaders and anyone wanting to make their life more successful. Fred 2.0 is not just an updated version of his original work, it is a standout work of its own with more lessons on how to create extraordinary experiences for those your work with and lead.

Mark expounds on the four original “Fred” principles:

• Everybody can make a difference.

• Relationships are vital.

• It’s possible to add value in every area.

• You can keep reinventing yourself.

I work with leaders in education, business, families and various organizations, and Fred 2.0 has inspiring ideas for all.

The archetype of service leadership depicted by Fred the mailman is timeless because we understand it is obtainable by all. Whether we are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a seventh grade English teacher, a high school athlete hoping to become the captain of the team, or a husband and father trying to better connect and serve with his family, Fred 2.0 provides wonderful ideas on making an extraordinary difference.

In my art presentations and talks I talk about turning a mess into a masterpiece and making experiences in the classroom and business meaningful and memorable. Mark takes this concept even further and I love the stories he uses to emphasis his point on why we want to make ordinary jobs extraordinary. Mark offers us so many wonderful take-aways!

Read Fred 2.0 and allow Mark Sanborn help you to find your passion, invigorate your creativity, and inspire you to add your personal and memorable touch to all that you do. As Sanborn reminds us, being a Fred is about what we do, but rather, how we do it, and the person who benefits most from being a Fred is you.

I would love to see a copy of Fred 2.0 in every classroom, home, and business office because everything in the book is doable and will really make a difference. I can only imagine what the world might be like if we were all striving to make meaningful connections and experiences for each other. When we are at our best, we are being a Fred.

If you want to make an impact in the lives of others and fully embrace and utilize all that you can as a leader, you will want to pick up and read a copy of Fred 2.0.

I found Fred 2.0 inspiring and full of great ideas to help me deliver extraordinary results in many areas of my life. Add this to your bookshelf and visit Mark Sanborn’s website.

You order a copy on Amazon here.

Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and artist.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

with his art and words. 

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.



We Need You! Creating a Culture of Engagement

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People need to hear the words, “We need you.”

If you want an engaged work force, they need to know they are valued!

Write a note. Make a call. Announce it in your newsletter.

Let your employees, family members, and teammates know you need them, and that they add value on a regular basis. Don’t wait until the yearly evaluation or exit interviews, or when there’s a problem to let them know. Let them know what their purpose is on your team, whether it’s business, sports, or home, regularly.

People Matter.

Everyone in your organization needs to be reminded of how they play a part. Remind them that they are a part of the team and a part of the vision.

Communication as a leader is crucial and one the most important messages you can deliver is reminding each member how they contribute to the overall vision and success.

Never let anyone feel like they aren’t a part of the big picture. Each member should personalize the organization’s vision with a specific emphasis on their role.

Many companies and programs struggle with retention. It’s a costly problem for organizations because they have to retrain and cover the absence.  This is true in sports programs, corporations, and everywhere people work together for a common goal. People leave because they no longer feel they have anything to contribute and that is primarily the fault of the leader. Take the time to review regularly with your team their role, responsibilities, and contributions. This vital step will eliminate most problems before they arise.

Most retention problems don’t occur because of salaries, playing time, bonuses, or awards.  People leave and become disengaged because they no longer feel they matter. They feel unwanted and have no purpose. Everyone wants to have a purpose.

A problem with retention isn’t just a financial concern, it also speaks volumes of your organization and your leadership. It grows and becomes a marketing problem, customer service problem, and more. Why do people keep leaving? Why can’t they keep people? Do I want to part of something where you feel undervalued and unappreciated?  No. No one does.

Good leaders communicate that purpose to each member regularly. They connect the member to the vision, and the vision to the member.  Making the connection doesn’t have to be all praise either. Sometimes the leader can make show the person’s value by correcting how they aren’t contributing to the vision fully. Express the words, “We need you.  You are an important part of our vision. You matter.”

If a member needs redirection well that becomes part of the regular informal evaluation process. You can identify an area for improvement in a positive way.  We have to do what our boss says, yet we want to do what the leader says. Big difference. Leaders are able to make everyone stand an inch taller, work a little harder, and on occasion do what shouldn’t even be possible. I’ve seen it happen, and it’s amazing. Maybe you have too. We remember these leaders, and we remember they didn’t accomplish it through fear. People wanted to give to the bigger vision.

As the leader you need to communicate the sentiment : As the leader, I acknowledge the contribution you make to our overall vision, and it is important.  Or even more simply: What you do matters. You matter.  This needs to be done with every person on the team. From the designer of the product to the person that delivers it.

Once that person feels (not just hears) that sentiment, you can help them grow in ways to make an even stronger contribution to what your organization is all about.


Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and artist.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

with his art and words. 

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.


How to Make Recognition Work!

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Recognition is an important part of leadership. It can do wonders for your corporation, school or family. When recognition is implemented correctly it can increase retention, decrease absence, raise production, improve quality, change attitudes, and in general create a momentum of success and positive energy.

It has been wisely stated that a great leader humbly accepts the failures of his organization as his own, and passes any praise and success on as the accomplishments of his colleagues. In addition,  I have always been reminded that a great leader criticizes in private and praises in public. Clearly, recognition is an essential act of leadership. Clearly recognition is important, but so many organizations get it wrong. Many in leadership positions just don’t know how to effectively implement a recognition program, acknowledge someone for their efforts, or how to reward employees.

It’s all about making it personal. 

Leaders have a responsibility to recognize the accomplishments of those within their organization. It is one of the most important duties of a leader. When it is handled well, it really is beautiful and people talk about it for a long time. When it is handled poorly, it is ugly, and people talk about that a long time too. More important is the impact both have on the people that make the magic happen within your organization.

How to Make Recognition Work!

Recognition is powerful. I believe, however, very few organizations get this right. While it is never a bad time to recognize the good works of others, there are some ideas to consider:

  • Let people know exactly what you want. If they know what you want they can work toward the goal. Don’t leave people guessing. Be direct. These are the results we reward.
  • Recognition should be meaningful. Everyone knows when someone deserves the recognition. Don’t reward people because it’s their turn. That’s a step backward. Don’t be afraid to recognize individuals. Sure teams need recognition, but individual recognition is the most powerful form possible.
  • Great recognition is most often inexpensive or free.  Everyone wants to hear praise. Write them a note. Send them a gift card. Tell others the story of why they were recognized.
  • Recognition shouldn’t be predictable. Mix it up. Keep everyone guessing and surprised.
  • Great recognition is memorable. When you tell their story, mention them by name, and make them feel deserving; they’ll remember it. You don’t need to send them to Hawaii. Unless of course, you can.
  • Don’t be afraid to reward the same person more than once, or in a row. Make it personal. You’re not just rewarding people, you’re rewarding the action you want replicated.
  • Encourage others to create their own recognition programs and awards. Let others partake in meaningful recognition. Encourage it. Support it. Participate.

One of my favorite presentations is when I am asked to share my art and words at an award’s banquet or recognition dinner. I love participating in the recognition of others and retelling an amazing story of achievement.  I can see it in the eyes of the recipient when I shake their hand and present them with a piece of customized art. They didn’t even know how awesome they were because they were just doing their best and giving their all. Now someone is telling an amazing story of accomplishment, and it’s about them! You can also tell they will pay forward whatever recognition they received, ten fold. They w will continue with even greater tenacity to innovate and make a difference.  They matter… therefore recognition matters.

Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and artist.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

with his art and words. 

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.


Book Review: The Encore Effect by Mark Sanborn

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I just finished Mark Sanborn’s book The Encore Effect: How to Achieve Remarkable Performance in Anything You Do. I highly recommend it to you, regardless of your occupation, because we should all be striving to improve, and The Encore Effect delivers.

Mark Sanborn is an amazing speaker, and his National Bestseller The Fred Factor is one of my favorite reads. I was excited to read The Encore Effect because I knew it would assist me on my quest to become a great speaker and performer, but like all good books, the lessons I learned applied to every aspect of my life. The Encore Effect improved not only my speaking, but helped be a better father, husband, educator, and artist. I highly recommend it not only for you, but for your entire team.

The Encore Effect highlights five areas for remarkable results: passion, preparation, practice, performance, and polish. In-depth explanations and engaging stories are aligned with each of the five points to hammer the lesson home in a fun and memorable way . This book really helped me reflect on some areas I really needed to improve on to raise my game and improve my life and career.

At 130 pages it makes a perfect traveling companion, and is loaded with take aways.  I’m adding The Encore Effect to my required reading list for those I mentor and coach, as well as my family. Everyone wants to raise their game, but not everyone knows how. The Encore Effect will offer you the edge you seek. Read and apply.

I encourage you to consider booking Mark Sanborn as a speaker for your next event, sign-up for his newsletter, or follow him on Twitter. He is an incredible guy, with some great advice.

To learn more about The Encore Effect visit Mark’s website: 

Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and artist.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

with his art and words.

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.


Leaders Never Blind Side

Leaders never blind side others.

right-way-wrong-way2.jpgA blind side is a cowardly attack that demonstrates an incapacity to communicate and an inability to make leadership decisions. It is an act committed out of fear, jealously, and anger. A blind side is a poor attempt to hide the inability to lead.

Those who choose the blind side willingly forgo the path of a leader. They would rather sneak behind-the-scenes, than sit down and have a discussion. They would rather plot, than plan. The higher the level of office, rank, title, or position, the more detrimental the act.

The world recognizes a blind side for what it is, wrong. Our history has been littered with them: the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the devastating destruction of The World Trade Towers in 2001 are known to all. Within the corporate world, the notorious ousting of Steve Jobs at Apple in 1985 has redefined leadership decisions and highlighted a return to ethical standards within the board room.  The facade of leadership behind these infamous blind sides are viewed with contempt and outrage by the world and history, and in time each wrong righted or avenged. Every. Single. Time.

A true leader can craft a thousand proposals to handle a situation, but a blind side is never one of them. A leader addresses challenges with communication, and a well-planned response. A leader creates options. A leader presides with dignity and honor.  A leader offers counsel, an assessment, or intervention. A leader demonstrates innovation.  A blind side is none of these.

Leaders are defined by their actions. What does a blind side convey? Not the qualities of leadership.  A blind side affirms a weakness in character, a desire to harm, belittle, and embarrass. A blind side is wrong.

Only low-brow reality television offers a nod to the immaturity of a well-played blind side. There is no place for it among leaders. It is indefensible.

As a speaker and writer I identify and highlight six essential elements of leadership: attitude, wisdom, communication, tenacity, vision, and authenticity. A blind side negates them all. Yes, each and every one. I cannot be clearer: forbid it from your management and leadership staff. Admonish and shun those who use it. Anyone and everyone with any common sense will no longer trust a leader who blind sides. No defense, scenario, or lie can be crafted well enough to convince others of its necessity.  Others will forever question, “How long will it be before he blind sides me?” Trust quickly fades, everyone questions the act, everyone watches their back, and a dark shadow of shame is cast on the organization.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

A leader never blindsides.

Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and artist.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

with his art and words. 

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.


Escaping the Gravitational Pull of Stress

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Escape velocity is described as the speed an object needs to be traveling in order break free of a planet’s gravitational force. On Earth, escape velocity is seven miles a second, or 25,000 miles an hour.  That’s fast. The good news is, that once an object reaches escape velocity it no longer requires further propulsion. If the object fails to reach this speed, consequently, it is pulled back.

For a long time the science community believed escape velocity was unobtainable. That nothing would ever leave Earth’s atmosphere. Now, you and I benefit from the thousands of man-made satellites orbiting our earth. They allow us to communicate, prepare for weather, direct our course and more.  Escape velocity achieved. Benefits obtained.

Right now you are sitting with a cold-blooded killer with a similar hold on you. Stress.

It’s real. It’s dangerous. It’s been identified as the number one killer of all Americans. At times, stress has a gravitational pull on our lives that is seemingly unescapable. Flares of panic. Pangs of anxiety. Stress drives some to madness, addiction, and others, sadly, even worse.

If you are having difficulty escaping your stress you are damaging both mind and body, your relationship, and your employment, but fortunately there is much we can do to obtain the ever-so-needed escape velocity over our stress and move forward with our lives.

The key to our overcoming the consequences of stress, however, is the identical solution of a rocket seeking to escape the planet’s strong gravitational pull.  Both require an incredible amount of explosive commitment to achieving the result. We are talking sheer brute force and power.  We can’t try; we must commit. We can dabble at it. We must go all in. Buckle-up buttercup, it’s time for liftoff.

Here are 12 stress-busting tips to help you achieve escape velocity:

1) Know in your heart and mind that “this too shall pass.” Faith and affirmation are your bodyguards.

2) Commit to some intense aerobic physical activity. Workout kids! Get the body moving.

3) Confide in a close friend or journal. Get it out of your system. Don’t bottle it up.

4) Prayer. Best anti-anxiety drug ever made. Find a private place to quiet yourself. Tell the Big Guy what’s on your mind. Then listen.

5) Laugh. It’s time for some ‘Three Stooges’ or some great comedy. Laughter is awesome medicine.

6) Face your fear. Go ahead and describe the worse-case scenario. Look your enemy in the eye. It will instantly shrink before your eyes.

7) To the War Room! Start developing a plan of attack if your worse fears were to come true. You will find comfort.  You’ll also find that there is always a solution. When one door closes, another opens.

8) Fellowship. Surround yourself with family, activities, and others. You need your tribe. Your tribe needs you.

9) Get away! Ever notice your problems shrink as you drive out of town? Put some miles between you and the location of your worry. (You will have to come back. Hawaii is not an option.)

10) Music. I have my stress-busting playlist ready.  How about you?

11) Comparison. You have stress. So does everyone.  Pick up a newspaper or go to CNN. Seeing the problems of the world tends to shrink our own. Can’t find anyone with a bigger problem? Turn to the obituaries. Oh, and count your blessings.

12) The Size of the Hero Depends on The Size of the Problem. Wanna be a hero? Conquer BIG problems. No one ever got a medal for tying their shoe.

In order to reach escape velocity you’ll need to apply all of these with passion and intensity. Doing one of them won’t work.

Hoping to see you in a stress free orbit soon.

Kelly Croy is a chalk artist and keynote speaker.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

including corporations, schools, churches, conferences,

and anywhere people come together to be entertained and inspired.

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.