Trying vs. Training: How to Win at Anything!

Kelly Croy Speaker Train

I don’t know what to say when someone tells me they’ve quit. It’s one of those rare moments when I’m speechless.

I grew up in a house where you either succeeded, or you weren’t finished yet.  There was no happy middle ground.  Homework was either completed or I was working on it.  The option of not completing it never entered my mind.

Sports further emphasized this point.  I could not imagine telling my coach, “Well, I tried, but I just couldn’t get the job done, so I’m gonna stop now.”

Nope. No way! I’d never say that! I’d rather walk into a bear’s den beating a pot with a metal spoon with a raw piece of meat tied around my neck than do that.  It’s just not happening.

So, now in life I feel similarly.  I am either achieving what I set out to do, or I am not finished. It’s that simple. I think it can be best summed up in the idea of trying vs. training.

Trying sounds okay when you first say.  “Sure, I’ll give it a try.”  It’s innocent.  You’ll do your best.  The problem with trying though is that it leaves that other option out in the open. The other option being you can walk away if it doesn’t work out.

Training on the other hand takes that other option right off the table. Training is an entirely different matter.  For starters, there is a plan.  You know what you are going to do to make it happen.  No wild swings.  No shooting from the hip.  When you train you measure your progress, make sure you’re on track, and you use every resource you can to achieve success.  When you train you discipline yourself and follow a set of rules or guidelines. If you experience a setback, you get up and begin, again.

See the difference? Training and trying are not the same.  Trying is a half-hearted effort.  Training is focused on a result.  Those who try sometimes get lucky and make it.  Those who train make it every time.  It might take awhile, but they will get there.

Imagine you are given the amazing opportunity to win a million dollars during an NBA halftime show by shooting three foul shots.  Make three in a row and you win a million dollars. The contest will be televised live in three weeks. Would you try to make the shots or would you train to make the shots?  I’d train! You’d find me out on the playground basketball court late at night, even if it was raining, practicing those shots. I’d read books about the psychology of performing under pressure. I’d watch video. I’d consult coaches. And let me tell you this… I’d win.

Our journey in life is no different.  Do you have a plan? An accountability partner? Are you focused? Do you miss practices? Are you disciplining yourself?

You do know you’re playing for more than a million dollars, right?

So, how do you win a million dollars shooting a basketball free throw? How do you win at life?

Simple. You train.

(For even more help with personal and professional leadership, 
please check out Kelly’s book, Along Came a Leader, or invite Kelly to speak at your next event.)

Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and speed artist. 

He entertains and amazes audiences across the nation

with his art and words. The art is brought to life with computer animation.

 Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.


The Thirteen Best Productivity Apps for Your iPhone

Businessman working at his workplaceThe iPhone is an amazing productivity tool or an amazing distraction depending on the apps you use. I have my share of apps for distractions, but I also accomplish a lot of work on my iPhone too.  It surprises me that more people don’t know about how the iPhone can help you accomplish more wherever you are at.  You can waste a lot of time and money trying to find the best productivity apps, so let me save you a little of both.

In this post I will share thirteen of my top productivity apps and annotate them with suggestions on how they can be put to best use.  I will elaborate on some of the apps in separate, individual posts later.

I would love to read what apps you would include on this list and how you use them in the comments below.


Icon175x175 Day One: I have kept a daily journal now for over sixteen years. I credit most of my accomplishments to journaling, and up until the last couple of years my journals have always been paper journals, like Moleskine. (I still use Moleskine for projects.)  I made the leap the Day One app, and I have no regrets.  The best journal is the one you have in your pocket. It has a beautiful user interface, looks great, and you can search your journal for the information you are looking for.  The search feature is key! So often I tried to find information in my written journals by flipping pages.  Most of the time I never found what I was looking for, and when I did I lost huge amounts of time. Day One is simple to use, is password protected, and has some great advanced features.  I highly recommend this app for your iPhone.

SCOI0091 summary icon 100x100 Evernote: Evernote is my secure electronic filing cabinet.  While I don’t keep a daily journal in Evernote, all of my notes from meetings, conferences, upcoming events, and projects go here.  Evernote is secure and searchable.  I can find whatever I am looking for.  When I want to remember something I use Evernote. It includes audio, picture, web clippings, and so much more.  I keep finding more and more uses for it. You can start using Evernote for free at this link forever; it only costs money when you out grow the free amount of space. Also, and most importantly, it is safe and secure.
(Please click the ‘continue reading’ below in red on the right to read about eleven more great apps.)


ImagesNozbe: I have tried just about every single ‘to-do’ app in the App Store in an attempt to replace my index card for my daily to-do list. I finally found the solution, and it’s Nozbe. It is clean and simple, like my index card, and well, it just simply works. I can access my to-do list and projects via any device easily, and it appears in the notification screen on my iPhone. I’m finally done losing my to-do list. I can’t believe I finally found the replacement to my index card. Nozbe also works off your MacBook too, which is a joy to sync the two. Nozbe is an absolute joy to use and I am really utilizing the Projects functions too, which I can share with others.  Plays well with Evernote too.
Unknown Drafts: Drafts is a nice little writing program that if perfect for taking notes and writing posts for social media that you will repost again and again. It gives you a character count and allows you to publish to any social media account and works with many other apps. A couple of uses I enjoy are keeping of lists that I will send to people when they ask, like what books do you recommend.  I also use Drafts for rough drafts of future tweets and posts.  Yes, I actually do that. For instance I occasionally ask readers to purchase my book or leave a review.  I have this post stored in Drafts. Handy.
Images use to be called Lift and it is great for creating daily habits with reminders.  Add habits you wish to create into this app and you can opt to collaborate with others working on the same habit, get props, reminders, and so much more. You check off the habit you complete and the app keeps track of your progress.  I really like this app for keeping track of my writing goals, practicing Spanish on DuoLingo, workouts, and so much more.
Dropbox 2012Dropbox: It’s just a great online storage center to store lots and lots of files. I backup writing projects here, some photos, and projects I am working on. I can create a folder to share with others so they can collaborate on a project of keep it private for myself. You can sign up FREE for Dropbox here.
Screen Shot 2015 01 19 at 10 08 10 Dictionary & Thesuarus: I’m surprised how many smartphone users don’t have a dictionary installed. This one is free and works offline too.  I still find myself needing a dictionary regularly on my phone and I wish the iPhone had one built in like Spotlight on the Mac. I don’t always have access to the internet believe it or not and I need a dictionary.
Screeny ios app iconScreeny: This little app does one thing really well.  It finds all the screenshots you’ve taken on your phone and gives you the option to delete all of them or pick the ones you want to keep.  I take a lot of screenshots for reference and it fills up my phone. I like this simple little utility app.
Screen Shot 2015 01 19 at 10 10 38 PM30/30: This is a unique timer that nearly makes ‘getting things done’ into a game. The concept is simple, you set the timer for whatever amount of you want to focus on a task distraction free, then when the timer is up you work on another tasks. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.  That’s what this app does… it takes a big task and breaks it up into bite sized time allotments. You will love the user interface. You can keep things simple or explore its more diverse and enriching features.
Screen Shot 2015 01 19 at 10 22 29 PMSkitch: This is a great app that works with Evernote that allows you to annotate and mark up photos. I use it all the time to explain things visually to others, from problem-solving an issue on their phone or computer to annotating a picture or a piece of writing.  Works great.
Images  Mail+: I am still in shock that even the latest iOS does not allow me to create and name groups of people to email. If I have a group of people that meet regularly like my investment club Mail+ does the trick. I use this on my iPhone and my iPad.
App store 5122x365 Countdown: I like to know how many minutes, hours, and seconds it is to my next 5K, speaking event, or family trip.  This app handles that for me. There are several on the app store.  The one I use is no longer listed but is still on my phone.  I recommend one that you like.
Unknown Scannable: I have downloaded many scanning apps for my iPhone to get documents into Evernote and other utilities. Now, Scannable, by Evernote has conquered them all.  It easily scans and manages at the same time. Great for business cards, kids artwork, to contracts and anything else that needs to be scanned and filed. Great app and free.
I have a lot of other great apps that I use for productivity that I’ll share later, but this is a powerful list to get you more productive right away.  I plan to cover a few of these in greater detail in individual posts.
If you would like to learn more ways to be more productive and build your personal and professional leadership skills I hope you’ll sign up for my monthly newsletter by clicking here, and you’ll also receive a free eBook titled, The Greatest Year of Your Life.
Two other quick productivity tips I recommend include the following. First, have an extra charge for your devices when you are on the go and I recommend Gembonics Portable Charger for your iPhone and iPad for only $22.99 it’s a bargain if you only use it once.  Best yet, it is elegant and powerful. I also recommend the Mophie Heilum case charger.  I am waiting for it to come out for my iPhone 6.Second, if you’re not backing up your Mac with Time Machine, you are way past time to start doing so.  Grab a nice hard drive and start backing up. It is easy and important.  No excuses. My favorite is Lacie’s Rugged 2 TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive for $169, but there are good hard drives available for half the price too.
Productivity is in the palm of your hand. Good luck.
For even more help with personal and professional leadership, please check out Kelly’s book, Along Came a Leader.

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.


How to Stay Focused on Your Goals and a Special Offer


Setting goals has always been a part of my life.  It is something my parents taught me, scouting taught me, school taught me, and sports taught me, and— it works! I have been setting goals my entire life and I finally developed a system that serves me well.  

In this post I will share the method I have developed that keeps me on-track with my goals. It’s easy and it really works. I know it well help you as your prepare to set goals for the upcoming New Year, but first I want to tell you about a special opportunity that someone I really admiring is offering: It is a program called: Five Days to Your Best Year Ever! The creator of this powerful tool is Michael Hyatt, a man I have been gleaning advice from for several years. I highly recommend you check out his video listen to Michael share with you how you can create the most successful year of your life, regardless of your age or current situation.  It is really worth the investment of your time: 

Here’s the link to Michael Hyatt’s video for: Five Days to Your Best Year Ever!

Now, here’s how I stay focused on my goals: 

My recent natural gas bill arrived. While bills are my least favorite piece of correspondence each month, I have to admit the helpfulness of the statement. It included a nice graph of my usage over the last year.  It let me know how much I have paid and what I owe. Interestingly enough, it even predicted my usage for the following month. Each statement serves as a reminder and holds us to a certain level of accountability of what we owe. It lets us know where we are.

Wouldn’t it be great if we received a similar billing statement each month for our goals?

Seriously! Most people never know where they are with the goals they wish to accomplish. It would be awesome to receive a statement each month telling us how much time we’ve put into our dream, what we owe, where we are at, and what we need to finally finish it.

Well, we can. My billing statement each month is in my journal. I choose the 28th of each month as the due date for my dream statements because I was born on the 28th of July and that’s easiest day for me to remember.  It’s like a private monthly celebration of my life and what I plan to do with it.

You can do the same.

You see, if we don’t review our life goals regularly we get behind, just like we would with a real bill. Unlike the natural gas company, we won’t receive any late notices, but what we owe starts piling up. (Most of the time to a level that makes it appear impossible to accomplish. That’s why people quit.)  Can you imagine how hard it would be if you tried to pay two months at a time, or your entire bill all at once? Ouch! The same is true of our goals and dreams.

Just like our billing statements from our utilities we need to make monthly contributions and track our progress.

So, bust out that journal daily or weekly if you can, but especially on the date of your birth each month. Create a reminder or alert on your phone or calendar if needed.

Write down the big three questions that will drive you toward success:

  1. What do I need to continue doing?
  2. What do I need to start doing?
  3. What do I need to stop doing?

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.


How to Stop Junk Mail

Junk Mail art 400 20080813173823

Tired of receiving paper junk mail at home?

The average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail a year. Many of the pieces I receive are so thick my shredder cannot handle it, unless I open it the junk mail up.  (That has to be by design!) Think about the catalogs, credit card applications, coupon books, and other wasteful nuisances you receive every day in the mail.

There are some steps you can take to reduce this environmental and personal nuisance.

Here’s how to reduce physical junk mail: 

1) Make a Phone Call: Stop the two biggest offenders of junk mail, insurance & credit card companies. To eliminate credit card offers: Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).  This is a free service that will eliminate credit card offers permanently, or for two years, determining on the option you select.  This is a service provided by the main consumer credit reporting agencies like TransUnion, Equifax, etc.  They maintain a mailing list and this list is often used by credit card and insurance companies who send out tons of junk mail. You do have to provide your social security number, which may scare away some, but these agencies already have that info. This website offers to do the same.

2) Use an Online Service: There is an online service called that can help reduce your junk mail for five years for a $35 fee. They promise to cut 90% of your physical junk mail.  That’s two cents a day.  They will contact companies for you after you fill out one short form. They donate $10 of the $35 fee to a tree planting initiative to offset the paper used in annual junk mail.

Catalog Choice: Trusted ID Mail Preference Service is another online service that offers two options. You can select a free service that helps to eliminate the junk mail you are currently receiving, or you can sign-up for a premium service that eliminates current junk mail and is also engineered to stop data brokers from collecting your info for future mailings.

3) Use a Smartphone App: the free app PaperKarma allows you to take a picture of the junk mail you receive and it will contact the company on your behalf to end the junk mail. You are given four free “credits” for submissions and after those are used an in-app purchase offers to provide more.

4) Write a letter: Yes, fight paper with paper.

You can write a letter asking that your address be removed from future mailings and to junk mail brokers to:

Direct Marketing Association, Mail Preference Service

PO Box 9008

Farmingdale, NY 11735


Equifax Option

PO Box 740123

Atlanta, GA  30374-0123

I can’t recommend wasting the time of contacting each sender individually, though you could with a letter or make a phone call, unless that sender sends a high percentage of the junk mail, then of course, it would be worth the free call to the 800 number or a letter. Maybe. If you do make the call be sure to use your speaker phone or headphones and get some other projects completed while you are on hold, because you will be on hold.

Good luck.


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.



Tipping the Dishwasher: A Lesson in Recognition

Lesson in Recognition Speaker Artist

My teenage daughter found herself a job on her own at a local diner. Part of the time she was a waitress and part of the time she was a dishwasher. Her mother and I were incredibly proud. A great learning experience in so many areas.

Both of the jobs were hard work, but as a waitress she immediately noted that not only did she receive monetary rewards for her hard work and leadership skills, she also received verbal praise from the customers. On the nights she worked as a dishwasher there were no tips or praise from the customers. Naturally, she enjoyed being a waitress more, but was happy to have any work. (Fortunately the owner of the diner is a skilled leader, and knew how to compensate for both with her workers keeping everyone happy and working hard.)

My wife and I were incredibly pleased with the excitement our daughter had with working and we never heard a single criticism. (Now if only we could instill that at home.) One night after working as the dishwasher, my daughter received a tip and a note of kindness from a customer. Someone had actually tipped the dishwasher!  While the tip was little in comparison to the tips she made as a waitress, her excitement was the greatest I had seen her return from work. She was so surprised by this unexpected act of generosity. I imagine she scrubbed those dishes with greater attention the rest of the evening.

In life there are positions in workplaces like the waitresses in diners that are naturally in the public eye and receive regular attention when they excel. There are also many jobs like the dishwasher that seldom if ever receive praise or recognition.

When we receive recognition our attitudes change. We change.

Let’s seek out the dishwashers in life from time to time and reward them with some recognition.

Remember to tip the dishwasher.

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.



Four Reasons to Start Something!


Finishing a project is obviously crucial to success, but I am always amazed at how many people don’t even make a start toward their dreams.

You don’t have to wait to flip the calendar to a new month, in fact you shouldn’t wait a moment longer. You need to take some action toward one of your dormant dreams now.

Here are four reasons to start something right now:

You have all the resources you need. Never before in history have we had so much information at our disposal to start any venture. The resources available are simply amazing. Google, YouTube, Social Networks, Blogs, books, videos, programs, and more.  It’s also amazingly sad how few make use of these great, free tools. C’mon.

It get’s easier. The first steps of anything are the hardest. As you keep moving you learn and build momentum. Take the steps. You will look back in a few months and wonder why you waited so long. Go!

No better time than now!  Saying you don’t have the time or money is ridiculous. You can always take some type of action toward your goal. Quit stalling. Start today. Right now!

Mentors are easy to find. With social networks, free tutorials on YouTube, and great apps like Lift, you can find encouragement, a plan, and a mentor easily. Get going!

It’s a proverbial clean slate. Everyone will be starting something on January 1st. There is something to a fresh new start on a year, a month, a week, and even a day that you can capitalize on, but any time is a good time to start.

So, what will it be? A novel? An investment club? A 5K? A new revenue stream? It doesn’t matter what you undertake, as long as you are constantly looking for ways to improve.

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.



How to Introduce Someone: Make it Memorable


I’ve been in awkward situations when someone didn’t properly introduce me to someone in the room. It happens. I’m not shy, so I stick my hand out and introduce myself.

Introductions don’t have to be complicated, but there are some tricks to giving a good one. 

When it’s our turn to introduce someone, let’s agree to do it the right way. In fact, let’s create a memorable introduction.

Here’s a short excerpt from my book, Along Came a Leader: A Guide to Personal and Professional Leadership at Any Age:

How to Introduce Someone: There are three types of introductions: good, bad, and memorable. In order to create a memorable introduction you must complete six important steps:

1) Say their name and often. Say their whole name clearly and slowly. Say it several times in conversation.

2) Put your hand on the shoulder of the person you are talking about.

3) Look into the eyes of the person you are speaking to, not about.

4) State how you know the person.

5) State something they do incredibly well professionally.

6) State something else about the person that is positive and engaging.

Then you do the same for the other person.

The result is amazing. The two will learn each other’s name, have some admiration for each other, realize how they can network, and have something to talk about. Also, each will admire you for speaking so highly of them. That’s a memorable introduction.

Ideally your introduction looks like you are showcasing a dear friend and presenting them to someone else to have in their life. The hand on the shoulder, the eye contact, the three statements you make about the person, all combine into a memorable introduction. You can now walk away and rest assured the two will be able continue on without you.

Example: “Tom, this is my good friend Mark. Mark and I met when I worked in Watertown, Massachusetts at Perkins School for the blind. Mark is an amazing physical therapist. He works with physically challenged children and helps them better engage with their world. Amazing guy. Mark also plays a guitar pretty well too.”

When you are introduced, you extend your hand and say your name, and something nice like, “A pleasure to meet you, Mark.”  Yes, say their name.

Also note in the example how many times I said “Mark” so that the listener would ‘get’ the name.  Once is never enough.

If you are going to speak somewhere it is always best to write out an introduction. You can’t imagine how important this is for speaking in front of an audience of any size. If you have asked someone to speak, remember to ask them for a short introduction. It really matters.

Keep your introductions short, but memorable.

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.


Becoming an Authentic Leader

Kelly Croy Speaker Leadership

If you assembled all of the people you know, together in one room, would they describe the same person?

Authenticity isn’t about being perfect, but it has everything to do with integrity and reliability. Living an authentic life is paramount to maintaing your credibility as a leader and leaving a lasting impact on others. We trust and admire those who live authentic lives. Leaders are people who live by a set of core values regardless of the circumstances, and regardless who is around. 

We can’t follow someone who is hypocritical or a charlatan. 

Authenticity is about who you say you are, who people say you are, and who you really are. Tell me what you truly value, not what you say you value, or pretend you value, and I’ll tell you what kind of person you will become. 

Authenticity is the glue that holds leadership together. Without authenticity a leader falls apart. Nothing will weaken your impact more, or destroy your accomplishments faster than a breach of trust or a lapse in your integrity. 

Be quick to correct a lapse in authenticity.  Do not assume others didn’t notice.  Don’t think you can cover it up. You aren’t correcting it for them anyway, you are correcting it for yourself. 

A friend of mine graduated from the Naval Academy, where authenticity is ingrained into each and every graduate. We went out to eat with some friends once and he was given the incorrect change. He was calculating the error as we were leaving the restaurant. He told us he had to go back in and fix the error. A buddy of ours pointed out that the error was in his favor. He was given too much money back! He replied, “I know! I have to get back in there.” The overpayment was for thirty cents, but he explained that someone at some point was going to have to account for that thirty cents and that doing the right thing, every time, is without equal. 

A person with integrity doesn’t do the right once in awhile, not most of the time, and not just when others see it. The authentic leader does the right thing every single time. Sure, he will make mistakes, but once he knows he has, he will immediately move to correct it.

During my college football practices the team had to run warm-up laps around the field. While running those laps a few of the guys would round off the corners of the field. They didn’t go all the way around the corner, and shaved off a few feet and some time and energy. They didn’t stay outside the white line like we were told. It was easier to round the corner off.

Well, our line coach would yell. “Hey! You cheat on these laps and you’ll cheat on your wife! You cheat on these laps and you’ll cheat your whole life.” It had a nice rhyme and by midway through camp we’d all repeat it once he started and no one ever rounded a corner again.

I still remember that lesson today. There is a lot of truth to it. To cheat in life you have to start somewhere. I’m pretty certain that the guy with a gun robbing a bank probably started smaller, and this isn’t his first time. Did he take a nickel off his brother’s dresser when he was little? Did he steal a paperclip from a teacher’s desk growing up? Graduate to taking classmates’ lunch money? It had to start somewhere!

You aren’t born with integrity. Sure we’re innocent enough when we are little. Integrity, trustworthiness, and loyalty are qualities you build upon your entire life. They’re like bank accounts. Every time you keep your word, and do the right thing you make a deposit. When you lie and cheat, well… you make withdraws from your authenticity and you put yourself at risk to become potentially bankrupt in authenticity. Work at being authentic.

Leaders don’t just look the part; they live it. 

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.




Do Hard Things

Screen Shot 2013 10 27 at 5 39 00 PM

I visited a friend’s office recently and was inspired to write this post by what he had painted on the wall in huge letters:


This challenge wasn’t painted there with little letters. These were huge letters. It would be impossible to miss this challenge upon entering. Not only were the letters huge, the color choice of red, white, and black made them stand out.

I love quotes and have quite a collection, but something about this three word imperative struck a chord with me. It really is a call to action. It’s telling me to put the phone down and get something worthwhile accomplished. I need this.  Maybe you do too.


What a great challenge and reminder for us all! It really made me think about where I spend my time, and what I accomplish.  I think most of us choose not to do hard things, but to do things that are easiest and most convenient. We save the hard things for when we have ‘more’ time, the ‘right’ resources, or ‘enough” funds. We seldom start the hard things, and therefore the hard things never get finished.

The typical person spends way too much time watching television, checking twitter, texting, Instagram, Facebook, gaming, and more. Even if we aren’t digital junkies there are always areas, for most people, where they can better manage their time and accomplish meaningful tasks. Nothing wrong with a distraction, but don’t waste your day.

I am willing to bet most people reading this post right now have several hard things they need to do but have put aside.  In fact, I’ll wager that each of you have several hard things on your list that have been there for awhile. May I ask when they’ll be finished?

Doing the hard things is about completing the tasks that make a difference and get results. They are the activities that aren’t routine.

We must become more than ‘aware’ that we spend to much time looking at our mobile screens, updating our status, and staring mindlessly at a screen. We must become proactive about how we choose to spend our time. Prioritize some of this precious time we are given each day to complete tasks that aren’t easy but move us forward.

So, I implore you to do the following:

1) Evaluate Your Time & Yourself: Where are you wasting some time now that you could fill with an action to get some of the hard things finished? Take a hard look at some yourself and journal about areas where you are weak. This would make a good area for some hard things.

2) List Them: Make a list of some “hard things” you need to finish or start.

3) Do it: Once you have identified your “hard things” just go. Go! Don’t wait until tomorrow. Start.

4) Find Accountability: If you find you can’t get going on these “hard things” find some ways to make yourself accountable. Perhaps it’s a mentor, a journal, a check-up from a friend.

5) Repeat: Get yourself in the habit of taking care of the hard things rather than moving them to the bottom of you list.

The wording and idea of the challenge, “Do Hard Things” comes from a book my friend, Chris Soltis, had given me, and really is painted on his office wall.  The book was Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. The book is great and I recommend it. The concepts written here are my own and inspired by the title alone. 

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.



Find the Hero in You: October is Bullying Prevention Month

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I have been speaking to different organizations for many years.  While the majority of my presentations are for corporations and professional organizations, one of my favorite presentations is my “Find the Hero in You” which is about the difficulty yet importance of dealing with bullies. During the presentation I share some of my experiences being teased and bullied. There is a takeaway in the presentation for everyone: the recipient, the bully, the bystander, and the adults. Everyone has much to learn about bullying and leadership.

I would love to share the “Find the Hero in You” with your school or organization, but there are only a few dates each year that I am available, so I am making some of the important information available to you in this post. (Minus all the jokes, artwork, and animation.) Share it with everyone you know; it really can make a difference.

You can download the actual PDF here:


Below you will find the contents of a revised, free PDF I send out each year about What Everyone Needs to Know About Bullying. Some of the information is from my presentation and some is from an earlier post titled What Everyone Needs to Know about Bullying.

Thank you for sharing.

Here’s what I want you to know about bullying:



1) It’s wrong and it isn’t just a part of growing up. While I have encountered bullying at each place in my life that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.  Bullying is wrong.  Don’t accept it as a part of life.  It needs to be dealt with immediately.

2) Confront a bully. I researched this and didn’t like what I read.  Nearly every article said ignore the bully, change your lifestyle to avoid attention from the bully.  Well, I’m no psychologist, so you might want a second opinion here, but confronting the bully always worked for me.  Involve your family, teachers, friends, coaches, and everyone you can, but confront the bully right away.  Always stand up for what is right.

3) Don’t encourage a bully. If you are laughing along with a bully making fun of someone else, you’re a bully too.  If you see bullying going on, and you do nothing to stop it, you’re part of the problem.  You have a responsibility as a bystander. The bully wants your attention and thinks you approve if you do nothing.  Repeat these words, “What you’re doing is wrong! Stop it!  Don’t do it again or I will report it to someone who will do something about it.”  Your behavior will be repeated by others. (Both the good, bad, and the indifferent.) We have all, at times, been guilty of taking a joke too far, and perhaps bullied someone. If so, we need to correct that mistake and make it right.

4) Invite everyone in on it. Don’t keep the bullying to yourself.  Tell everyone you know what  is going on.  Kids! I’m talking to you now.  You must let your parents know. Don’t keep it to yourself! It’s nothing to be ashamed about.  The bully should be ashamed. If you tell someone and they do nothing about it, keep talking until someone does.  Heck, email me, I’ll get involved.

5) Use the buddy system. Navy SEALS are the toughest warriors on the planet, but they don’t go into the water or anywhere without a buddy.  Why?  Because it’s dangerous.  If you are being bullied take a friend.  What if you don’t have a buddy?  Make one. I knew a teacher that was being bullied by a parent.  She went some places by herself and wanted the verbal abuse to stop.  She carried a digital recorder with her.  Once she played it back the bullying stopped. Surround yourself with positive people.

6) Bullying ends when confidence begins. If you really want bullying to end you must work on confidence.  I don’t mean work on it a little bit; I mean work on it a lot!  You can’t be bullied if you have confidence.  Confidence doesn’t allow you to second guess yourself. Confidence will encourage you to inform others about the problem. Confidence will give you the courage as a bystander to get involved. Confidence will help you in so many ways.

The Opposite of Bullying is Leadership.  Become a leader. 

It’s wasn’t easy for me growing up with what many considered a girl’s name.  A boy named ‘Kelly” was often a regular target for bullies.  I wouldn’t change my name for the world though. It’s not only my identity, it has helped me become the person I am today.  My name forced me to stand up to the mean-spirited and helped forge a much-needed self-confidence at an early age.

While I’m what many consider a ‘big guy’ today, that wasn’t always the case. I was one of the smallest boys in my class until my eighth grade year.  I was shy too.  My first interests weren’t sports but rather art and writing. The combination of all of these qualities that made me, well ‘me’ often made me different, out of place, and teased.  I was not, however, a victim. I guess somewhere deep within my genetic code, my Irish DNA stepped up and helped me confront what I knew was wrong. When I found out that my name ‘Kelly’ was Irish for ‘warrior’ that sealed the deal. When others were being teased I would get involved.

I drank my milk, worked out with the football team, and graduated a ‘big guy’ with big plans. I was always on the lookout for people unable to speak up to bullies themselves. I understand where they’re coming from, because it isn’t easy.  As a teacher there is nothing that I enjoy more than correcting a bully, and helping the recipient of the abuse feel more confident and loved.  Even out in public, far from home, I walk into situations where someone is being victimized.  It’s just my nature. I’m still the Eagle Scout trying to be helpful, trying to make a difference.

Oddly, the bullying never ended.  It didn’t matter how old I was, where I was, how big I became, or what accomplishments I had achieved.  There has been a bully at each stage in my life.  Perhaps others don’t call them that, but I do.  Anyone that finds enjoyment at the suffering of another is a bully. (Here is a great webpage that highlights warning signs and characteristics of the typical bully.) It may be a coworker, a neighbor, or even that mean clerk in the checkout line. Regardless, there is no shortage to negative thinking, mean-spirited bullies.  I have even read about cyber-bullying that uses texting, blogs, and social networks to harass and victimize. (Many states are considering more laws about bullying and greater punishments.)

To conclude, I want to emphasize that there are clearly more good people in this world than bad, despite how the media portrays it. Ninety-nine percent of our interactions are good and wholesome, and our focus should be there.  If you have been bullied then you also know how powerful that one percent can be, and how it can alter a life.  Don’t let it.  Be heard. Find a buddy. Confront it. The greatest gift we can give in life is a second chance; in time please try to extend that gift to the person you once considered a bully.


Can Bullying be Stopped?

That is a great question and one that has no simple answer. Bullying stops when the bully matures and learns to have empathy for others or when the recipient learns to build up enough confidence in himself or herself that the actions of others are less hurtful. Neither of these are easily learned and implemented, however, some relief can occur immediately through the interaction of trained professionals. 

As parents, we must understand that the recipient of bullying is injured.  Like all injuries it will take time to heal. Just as a person goes through physical therapy for an injured shoulder, the recipient of bullying may need some parental counseling to improve or counseling from trained professionals at the school or elsewhere. It is nothing to be ashamed or worried. If we could afford it, we would all have physical trainer, a nutritionist.  Why not a coach to help you sort out your problems, concerns, and improve your attitude? Think of counseling, whether in the house or outside the home as a life skills class teaching us lessons on how live life to the fullest. 


Notify the School. There really is a lot the school can do to help, and schools really want to help. Even if they can’t help in your situation now, they will be aware of the situation and make adjustments for the future. They can keep their eye out for future situations. Don’t expect an immediate solution. It just doesn’t work that way.  

Most parents become most upset because they find out about bullying after it has been going on for awhile.  Typically parents don’t find out about bullying, unfortunately, until it has really taken an emotional toll on their child. 

Parents often want to lash out at the school or someone because of the emotional toll it has on a family, but the focus needs to be on the child, and letting the child know that everything is going to get better.  More attention needs to be placed on the victim then the bully. When parents focus entirely on the actions of the bully the victim continues to feel inferior, insignificant, and worthless. 

Talk with Your child often about bullying whether you think they are a victim of bullying or not. 

Do you know anyone that is a victim of bullying?

What would you do if you did know?

Do you know anyone bullying someone?

What would you do if you did know?

Do you know anyone that is a bystander in a bullying situation?

What would you do if you did know?

Do you know anyone who has been a hero, and helped the victim of a bully in some way?

What would you do if you did know?

Victims of Bully Need the Follow:

1) They need to know things are going to get better and they are going to be safe.

2) They need to know that they are helping others by talking about it. 

3) They need to know that what they tell you will not hurt them.

4) They need to know they are loved and that they matter.

5) They need to know that you cannot respond to bullying with bullying.

6) They need confidence and a boost in self esteem.

  1. They need to be mentored in leadership.
  2. Most importantly, they need to know that life gets better.

How to you build self esteem:

1) Praise, especially in public.

  1. Regular conversations and involvement in activities.
  2. Surrounding them with positive role models and peers. Build these sessions.
  3. Giving them some options and tools on what to do when bullying occurs. 


Cyberbullying happens when children or teenagers bully each other using technology. It could be texts, status updates on FaceBook, tweets on Twitter, a photo on Instagram, or any method that bullies someone using technology. 

We must teach young people to be good digital citizens. Schools are a great place to teach digital citizenship, but they have a lot on their plate already. As parents, we too must teach our children about the proper ways to use technology and most importantly we must model good behavior. 

A growing trend among recent reports of cyberbullying is that these technology-driven assaults on a person’s character or emotions is quite often modeled by the bully’s parents or an older sibling.  That’s right, they witnessed an adult, or older role model use technology to embarrass, poke fun at, insult, or demean another individual. Much like other forms of bullying, cyberbullying is most often an imitated act.

One of the biggest dangers of cyberbullying is that the images and words posted can be potentially around forever. Once a photo or words are posted they are difficult to have removed from the web. They are even more difficult to remove from someone’s memory and emotions.