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What Happens When We Don’t Give 100%

By Adventure, Leadership No Comments

For the past year I have been working to get my P2 Pilots license for paragliding. There are so many parallels between paragliding and leadership and one hit me hard this week when my coach says, “When you jump off this cliff, if you don’t give 100% you will hurt yourself!” 

Running full speed ahead off a mountain when your entire body is screaming NO but your mind is saying YES is a wild thing! We have taken all the precautions, steps and have we have our contingency plan in place. But why can it be so hard to jump, when we know it is safe? 

What really happens if we don’t give 100% when we are going for our goals? Where are we not giving 100% and is it hurting us? Where is one place we can step up to give 100% this week? Watch how you start to fly when you give 100%! 

Why Leaders Should Be Adventure Seekers

By Adventure No Comments

I recently had the opportunity to go scuba diving at Ocean Park in Hong Kong. When you visit, I highly recommend you go and be prepared to spend the entire day there because it has a lot to offer!

I was giving a couple speeches in Hong Kong and instead of hopping from hotel to hotel I thought I would be adventurous in-between speeches.

You are 2 feet away from hammer head sharks and hundreds of other fish!

You are 2 feet away from hammer head sharks and hundreds of other fish!

I knew Ocean Park was one of the top rated tourist attractions in the world, so I reached out to the theme park’s PR department to ask if I could scuba dive with the hammerhead sharks, manta rays and more than 5,000 other fish they have in their 2.5 million gallon grand aquarium.

A week later, they said yes and granted me access to a behind-the-scene tour of how the aquarium works and an up close and personal experience with the animals.

Just in case you want to know what a manta ray eats.

Just in case you want to know what a manta ray eats.

Wherever I go, I enjoy doing adventurous things (skydiving, white water rafting or rock climbing) for a variety of reasons. When we as leaders and speakers become adventure seekers it allows us to:

Meet New People: As leaders, the more people we know, the more people we can help. Being a good leader means you are good at building relationships. I think if more people traveled, the world would be a better place because you learn that your way is not the right way or the only way, rather it is the way that works for you. As leaders we need to meet more people so we can make better decisions, expand our thinking and continue to learn.

Create New Stories: There are people who think that your life is what it is and you can’t do much to change it; you have to play the cards that you are dealt. Well I say, if you don’t like your cards, play a different card game. A card game that allows you to have the winning hand! We can create our own stories, we don’t have to wait for them to come to us! What story have you been waiting to create? Go out there and make it happen!

Enjoy New Experiences: Sometimes we get stuck in routine. That is where boredom can sink in. We as leaders need to be trying, exploring and having new experiences on a regular basis to keep our minds fresh, our perspective open and to see all the world has to offer outside of our own little bubble. What is one experience you can create for yourself this week that will let you grow as a leader?

My friends at D89 joined us on the adventure and they were so amazing. They showed Chelsea and I around the entire city after we got done. They hosted one of our events, took us to a party and were so gracious to host us while we were in Hong Kong (Thank you Derek)! All of D89 is amazing and I learned a lot from them.

So the next time you are feeling less than motivated or you feel like you are searching for something to do in life, instead of drowning in self doubt, build up the courage to ask, do and try! Who knows where it will take you?

Thank you to the team at Ocean Park for the awesome experience and to Donna for making it happen! I can’t wait to come back and visit and to see what my next adventure will be.

Remember it’s the dreamers who take action that change our world. Take advantage of today, plan for tomorrow and always…

Dream BIG,

Six Semi-Risky Ways to Land Your Dream Job

By Adventure 4 Comments

Most of the things on this list I have done myself. They have all worked for me in some capacity, especially the one regarding YouTube!

More competition exists now than ever before to get a job, let alone land your dream job. You need to take some risks, stand out, and show your future employer you can take the initiative. Here are six semi-risky ways to land your dream job:

Drive to their office. Sit and wait to talk to them in person. I have heard of leaders like Steve Jobs doing this and others! Demand to meet with them in person no matter how long it takes! I did this for a job once and waited for two hours until the manager came back. One week later I landed the job!

Make a YouTube video. Doing this got my foot in the door at Special Olympics and caught the CEO’s attention. I had little experience compared to the other candidates, but she saw it and liked it. They wanted someone in addition who was savvy with video and social media, so it played to my advantage. I have never shared this video publicly before, but if you want to see it, here it is!

Send them a handwritten letter. Handwritten letters in today’s hyper-communicated world are king! They get read and they create an emotional connection, thus providing an opportunity for you to stand out and shine. If you have poor handwriting, ask a friend to write a letter for you using your words.

Volunteer at one of their events Let them see your face! Show them you care by asking if they need help with anything from taking out the garbage to hanging up fliers in town. Anything you can do to show them you work hard, take initiative, and make things happen!

Ask to Intern. Go to a person in the office and ask if you can help them with the everyday tasks they don’t want to do. Offer to come in every other day, once a week, or as often as you can. Being seen at the office will get people wondering, “Who is the new guy/lady!” Consistency and familiarity will help you land your dream job!

Just start working. I read an article about this leader who wanted to work at Universal Studios; he just showed up and began asking what people needed help with, and if he could get anyone coffee. He did it for a week. Someone finally asked if he worked there and he said, “No, but I should would like to!” A few weeks later he was hired!

Take some risks. Your dream job is worth it! You already don’t have the job, so why not try! Regardless of what happens, you will have a good story, get your name out there, and possibly land yourself the career you have been wanting! As always…

Dream BIG,


17 Speeches in 17 Days with 17 Photos!

By Adventure 15 Comments

I spent 17 days delivering 17 speeches in China and Hong Kong these past few weeks.

I want to say thank you to D85 and D89 for hosting us and making these events happen. You were so gracious and kind. You and your teams could not have been better to us! Thank you also to McGraw-Hill, SAP and the IFC for hosting corporate events and Speaker Leader Champion talks!

Below are 17 photos from our adventures speaking in China!

Great Wall

Our first stop was Beijing! We ventured to the Great Wall and found it to be a life changing experience. We also were pretty much the only white people and this caused everyone to look at us. So several times we got stopped by people and they asked if we could take photos with them. It was hilarious. It made me think of how that would work in the United States if we saw someone that looked different than us and we went up to take their photo! Do you think people would be flattered or offended? Thank you Felix for an awesome time!


This was one of my favorite meals while we were in China. However, here is a tip: You see that bowl of dumplings to the left? Well when you bite into them you need to be carful! Why? Oh well you know, because they are filled with juice and if you want to have juice fly all over the table and everyone gets soaked in it, then it is a good idea! Again, sorry to everyone at the table for making a mess! I now know how to eat dumplings! Thank you Susan and Beautiful (That is her name translated into english) for a wonderful day in Shanghai!


This was one of the coolest “21-Century” speaking opportunities I have had so far. I spoke on top of the 68 floor at the IFC in Hong Kong while my speech was being live-streamed at their offices in China, Singapore and Australia. We interacted, they asked questions and I taught a workshop about how to deliver a winning presentation. Does this mean I have spoken in these countries now?

Ryan Avery speaking in China

The room fit 110 people according to the fire ordinance! No worries though, we fit 200+ students in this room while I delivered my talk at the Beijing Foreign Affairs lecture hall. Speaker Leader Champion just got picked up in Mandarin and will be available in China staring May 2015!


After getting done with almost a two-hour training to corporate managers at SAP headquarters in China, what else should you do besides a thumbs up selfie? Thank you Flat for making this one happen!


This was one of the nicest hotels I have stayed in. It was located in Shanghai with a view of the skyline, a rooftop deck and glass pool on the 28th floor! I spent every morning and night here looking out at the city. China has shown me that we in the United States do not know what it means to have a “BIG” city!

Scuba Diving

I went scuba diving indoor with three whales while I was in Qingdoa. What scared me the most was the size of their teeth! I didn’t know whales had teeth. Did you? I also learned a valuable lesson about the importance of communication as the Mandarin-Speaking instructor reminded me before I got in the water that “we must pee in the pool!” We had a long conversation about me not wanting to pee in the pool and after a while I realized he was trying to saying “we mustn’t pee in the pool” It really is the little things that make a BIG difference in communication! Ryan (was his name also), I had a blast diving with you and thank you for taking me here!


The food. Again the food was spectacular! We tried some items that I would usually never try in the United States like jelly fish, pig intestines and I saw more chicken heads on a plate than I would have liked to but other than that the Chinese know how to cook and cook well!


Master Your Stage! The D89 Fall Conference was spectacular! So many new friends and their leadership team is fantastic! They had one of the best conferences I have ever been to. They showed us a great time and I hope we can visit D85 again in the future! D85 also inspired me to learn another language and I am now committed to being fluent in Spanish by the end of 2015!


Sail Your Dream – The D85 Fall Conference! I have to give major props to the leadership team in D85 as they really set the stage for what Conferences are like in China. Full of fun, entertainment, education and did I mention fun? I had such a blast spending time with members and leaders in D85 and can’t wait to be back!

Emperail City

I am not going to lie, we may or may not have watched Mulan before we went to China! When we got to the Forbidden City that is all I could think about and that it was no longer a cartoon but real life! This was probably one of the best monuments we went to while in China as it always seemed fake to me but now I was actually getting to walk in the same place that more than 30 emperors walked over a 400+ year time period! Amazing!


Chelsea and I celebrated on top of the 118th floor at the Ritz Carleton in Hong Kong for our last night there! It was a bit cloudy/foggy but the view was still breathtaking! Thank you Cecelia for an amazing evening and day around Hong Kong!

The gifts

We now have so many amazing memories to take back with us and also so many amazing gifts. After each speech they gave us a gift that was either edible, usable or artistic! We have already enjoyed the treats and hung up the art! A huge thank you to Derek for getting us a suitcase to bring back home and to Yang for the wifi hotspot that saved us so many times!

The shopping

Oh the shopping! We shopped probably too much while we were there. You can get suits perfectly tailored to your body for $250 USD. You can get iPhone cases, scarfs, hats, bowls, art and anything you want on the streets of Hong Kong!

The translation

We saw a lot of funny English translations while we were there but this one had to be the funniest! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

My name in Mandarin

I may or many not have freaked out when I saw my name in Mandarin on this sign and a lot of people looked at me like I was crazy. This photo made me so happy even though I had no idea what it said, I felt like I was a real international speaker!

The pizza

I know I said I liked Chinese food, and I really do! But this pizza literally made me salivate when I opened the box! Derek asked me what I wanted to eat before I taught one of my last workshops and jokingly I said pizza. Well, he knew just the right spot and got me the best pizza I have ever tasted! It was amazing!

China and Hong Kong were a blast! Thank you again D85 and D89 for an unforgettable experience. During our time there I hope we inspired hundreds of Toastmasters to continue their journey in our wonderful organization and your fantastics Districts. I hope we inspired many more to use their voice to make a difference in the world. I hope we get to come back in the future and please know that you and your teams gave Chelsea and me memories that will last a lifetime!

As always…

Dream BIG,

10 Chinese Proverbs to Remember

By Adventure One Comment

We are having a blast in China. People are teaching us so much and I feel like everyone has a proverb, quote and profound answer for every question I ask. It is amazing!

After doing some research here are 10 of my favorite Chinese proverbs and quotes: 

1) When you drink the water, remember the spring.

2) A bad workman blames his tools.

3) A clever person turns great troubles into little ones and little ones into none at all.

4) Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream. – Lao Tzu

5) Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

6) By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius

7) Dig the well before you are thirsty.

8) Never hesitate to ask a lesser person.

9) Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment. – Lao Tzu

10) To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.

Do you have a favorite or one that is not on this list? Share one in the comments below! Hope you are having a great day and as always…

Dream BIG,

What Made Maya Angelou Successful?

By Adventure 2 Comments

She has been known as an author, actor, activist and a poet, prostitute and producer. Maya Angelou had many titles in her nine decades on this planet, my favorite being “speaker!”

She inspired many with her wisdom-filled words, her stories that within two lines can make your gut sink and your heart flutter and her ability to stand up for what was right when things were wrong.

Her ability to remain focused, to speak up for those who were suffering and feed her need to live her passion have helped me be a better speaker.

There are many things that so many can say about Maya Angelou but here are three actions she lived by that made her successful:

Work Hard
She worked everyday. She wrote, she re-wrote and edited and did not wait for things to happen, she made things happen! She stayed up late, woke up early. She had a fire inside of her to do something positive in this world and understood that hard work is what it would take to make a difference! Nothing will work unless you do.” – Maya Angelou

Stay Positive

Her life could have been that of a Lifetime movie plot with rape scenes, poverty, abuse, teenage pregnancy, prostitution and struggling to build a life from the ground up. Growing up, she had two ways to view her life and she decided to say positive and help others by sharing her story and living by example. “You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” – Maya Angelou

Speak Up
She shared her truth. She spoke up for civil rights, human rights and women’s rights! Since the 1990s, she made almost 80 speaking appearances a year and continued to do this until the very end. She spoke up, out and about to those who would listen so she could use her voice to make a difference in the lives of millions around the word. She motivated others by sharing her life story and speaking up when others were sitting down. She knew that speaking was an art and that it required time to master it. She used her voice, her story and her gift of writing to achieve so much and it was not granted to her overnight. All great achievements require time.” – Maya Angelou

The world lost a person of tremendous value but we are thankful for the value she added while she shared the planet with us. What are you working hard for? What are you doing to remain positive? When will you speak up for those who need a voice?

Maya Angelou is an inspiration and was successful because she lived by example and made things happen. Take the time to reflect on what you can do right now to make this world a better place when you leave it. Think of the possibilities when you work hard, stay positive and speak up! As always…

Dream BIG,

Question: What is your favorite Maya Angelou quote? (If you are a fan of Maya and thought she was an inspiration, share this article by clicking on one social media icons below). 

The Absolute 5 Worst Types of People to Sit Next to on a Plane

By Adventure 10 Comments

This week I have been on ten planes. I like to travel and every time we take off, I still enjoy the thrill of flying and being 30,000+ feet in the air!

However, whether you travel a little or a lot or whether you like planes or not, there are certain people that are horrible to sit next to.

These are the five worst types of people to sit next to on a plane and how to deal with them (yes, I have experienced them all):

The Bloody Nose
I am ready for my three-hour flight to the East Coast and as the first wheel leaves the ground, the guy’s nose next to me turns on like a bloody faucet. His blood starts splashing all over his shirt, legs and no one has a napkin! I am freaking out because I can’t stand blood but also trying not to make this guy feel embarrassed. This is the worst of them all for me!

How to deal with it: ALWAYS carry a napkin with you. Now in my computer bag, I have several napkins just in case this ever happens again I can assist the person sitting next to me and avoid any blood splatter on my pants!

The Electric Shaver
As I close my eyes to try to get some sleep during my red-eye flight, I hear that familiar “buzzzzzz” go right next to me and see my good ol’ seatmate is shaving his scruff on the plane! Are you serious? I kept finding little black hairs on my pants the entire trip! Not cool man, not cool.

How to deal with it: I wish I could tell you I said something, but truthfully I was so shocked and was processing what this guy was thinking that I couldn’t say anything. I literally was speechless. Next time this happens however, I will be ready to politely ask the man (or hairy lady) to wait to do that in the bathroom because I don’t wont their little hairs all over my bag and pants!

The Horrible Breath
I can take bad breath sometimes but not the constant flow of it in my face from the energetic person who wants to tell you their entire life story in two-hours. When you are sitting on a plane, you are pretty close to each other. Make sure you check your breath every now and again!

How to deal with it: Have a variety of mints and gum with you to offer them. Make it look like you want a piece first. I pop one into my mouth and then ask “would you like some gum or a mint?” this has worked 90% of the time because most people don’t like to say no and they enjoy the satisfaction of scoring a free piece of candy!

The One With BO
Oh you know what I am talking about. The one who you can smell two seats up and the one who smells like they shower using man sweat, sock juice and small bits of sewer water! The one who you try to avoid at all cost because you don’t want to get a headache from their bad odor body fumes!

How to deal with it: If it is a long flight and there are open seats, I asked to be moved. This might sound rude or mean, but this one I don’t deal with. I didn’t spend hundreds of dollars to sit next to someone who smells like they just worked out and rolled around in dirty laundry. Make sure to do it politely and go back to tell the flight attendant what is going on.

The Sick One
Whether they are throwing up their stomach or have a contagious cold, sick people should not be allowed on the plane. I am serious. You are risking infecting everyone else! If you know you are sick AND contagious, please don’t fly!

How to deal with it: Repeat the “How to” step under “The One with BO” plus make sure to carry a packet of E-mergency, travel sized Purell and wash your hands immediately when you step off the plane.

These are the five worst people that I have sat next to on the plane. What is your least favorite and are there other types of people I am forgetting? Let me know down in the comments below.

Enjoy your next flight and may you sit next to someone who does not have a bloody nose, already shaved before they got on the plane, who has minty fresh breath, smells well and is healthier than Popeye! As always…

Dream BIG,

The Shark Rule

By Adventure 2 Comments

My book this week is called “Selling The Invisible” by Harry Beckwith.

Packed with small chapters, powerful reminders and an insightful look into the way we can market the invisible, it is becoming one of my new favorite marketing books. I would highly recommend you

I am halfway through it when I read the “The Shark Rule.”

Ryan Avery's The Shark Rule“If a shark does not move, it cannot breath. And it Dies” What Beckwith says in this chapter, and the one before it, is if you keep planning and stay still while never putting your ideas into action, they will never live. You have to keep trying, you have to keep pushing yourself, and you must keep your ideas moving!

It’s like Guy Kawasaki’s “Ready. Fire. Aim.” model. Quit looking for your product/website/invention to be perfect before you get it out there.  Move! Keep moving or your idea will die!

When I launched this website last week, I had four people proof read every page and people are still emailing me to let me know there are a few typos here and there. We will add to this website every week with new blog posts, products and videos… but if you wait for things to be perfect and don’t get going or keep moving on your idea, message or invention- it will never live.

Do what Bill Gates did when he put his software out there for free and got feedback on how he could make it better. Do what J.K. Rowling did and keep looking for a publisher and you might get one after your twelfth rejection. Do what Abraham Lincoln did and become President after you lose close to a dozen elections.

Do what sharks do and keep moving because the idea you have needs to become a reality and we deserve to see it!

Happy Monday and as always…

Dream BIG,
Ryan Avery

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