A Recommended Read – Life in the Bonus Round

As I wrap 2012 with three final performances of “The Price is Right, Live!” at the Welk Resort in Branson, Missouri…I want to finish the year strong, with encouragement. This is as much a note to myself, as it is a note to the three others who’ll read this post…okay, two others.

That said, I need to start on the defensive. You see, I’ve now lived in the Ozarks for fifteen years. This area of the country is what I call “the Land of the Unimpressed” – a truth that makes life here so endearing…

The old saying, “the wise man has long ears and a short tongue” isn’t just a quotable quote around here, it’s a way of life. Regardless of your community role, ‘humility’ is always the name of the game; deflect praise and attention away from self and onto the neighbor, the friend, the fellow team member. That mentality has become part of my DNA: Inhale oxygen, exhale modesty.

Braggarts, fresh in town, saddled with swagger and ready to impress soon find themselves preaching to paint, alone in the corner, dumbfounded by the lack of interest. Look, in the Show-Me State, it’s okay to know you’re big stuff…but the more and more you emphasize your size, the smaller you’ll be in a neighbor’s eyes.

For example, in my world, success in radio typically goes to the loudest, self-promoters; however at KTTS, the exact opposite approach earned the station unrivaled success while I was there. It took me several years to figure this out because it goes against everything I learned while working in the business.

Okay. Disclaimer done.

Let me lay it out…Todd Newton is big stuff. Ask him! He has the self-confidence to agree. He’s bold, outspoken, traveled, polished – for crap’s sake, he just won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host with “Family Game Night” and he’s rockin’ it as a Keynote Kingpin — accomplishments and aspects of character that, here in the Ozarks, immediately unfurl the “Land of the Unimpressed” red flag.

The Ozarks: A modest code of life. Humility inspired by breathtaking surroundings.
The Ozarks: A modest code of life. Humility inspired by breathtaking surroundings.

Having become a genetic Baldknobber, you can imagine what went through my mind when “Captain Hollywood” pulled me aside one day before the show and gave me a copy of his autobiography “Life in the Bonus Round.” Seriously? Wow. How generous. Thanks for bestowing the gift of your self-penned life story. Enough about you, let’s talk a little more about…you!

Ozarks instinct told me to toss the book aside. My upbringing told me to grin and bear it, so I did…

…and reluctantly rediscovered that there is, in fact, a difference between confidence and arrogance. Unfortunately, when you only wear the ‘modest-at-all-cost’ prescription frames, there is no difference. Outspoken, bold confidence is almost always perceived as arrogance. Anyone who throws down the ‘here’s a little more about me’ card is, without question, arrogant – and not worth your time.

What a shame.

Because what if there is value in those words? What if Mr. Big Stuff is more intuitive than you think, and perhaps sees a struggle in you that he’s conquered in the past? What if he is actually boldly demonstrating compassion, hoping you’ll benefit from the experiences, inner-struggles and moments of reflection he’s endured and conquered? What if?

I adore the “land of the unimpressed,” but I’ve come to realize that the obdurate code of modesty can actually lead you to become what sends-up your red-flag: being self-centered, arrogant.

True modesty comes from listening without judgment, even if the ice-breaker sounds the arrogance alarm. Thank you to the bold, outspoken, traveled, polished and self-confident Todd Newton for unconsciously revealing that reality to me.

Thanks for sharing the gift of your road. “Life in the Bonus Round” has reawakened my optimism by reminding me to recognize and eliminate stealthy fear and self-doubt…through action; to be unapologetically bold.

If YOU need a kick in the pants to jump-start 2013, “Life in the Bonus Round” should be your first read.

My three favorite insights from Todd’s book:

“…once you turn on the light, your fear shifts to optimism. Optimism creates excitement. Excitement creates momentum. Momentum creates action. And action creates results!”

“It doesn’t matter who you know, when you know who you are.”

“Please don’t do yourself the disservice of going through life with blinders on. Don’t choose to take the shortest or safest route when it comes to career, romance or family. Don’t allow yourself to see the unknown as something that should be feared. Don’t lose the curiosity we all have as children. Accept each new day with the confidence and strength of knowing that falling on your face really doesn’t hurt that much.”