How do I judge my program's success?


I have wanted to write this blog for awhile now, but thought it was appropriate to wait until my last school programs were finished, for this school year. As I question and deliberate how to decipher the success of my speaking programs it is clear to me that there are multiple ways to describe this. First, is the fact that my "H.U.G.S." program continues to grow every year, with more speaking opportunities. I never "cold call" a school or principal and try to sell my program. Word of mouth and personal recommendations are the two main ways my program continues to see success and grow. I also share my journey both personal and professional on social media and this helps with exposure and shows my impact in real time. A good example is that I have twice as many speaking programs scheduled for next year, compared to last year. Positive reference letters, emails and reviews from the scheduled speaking programs will lead to more opportunities throughout the year. Second, and maybe the most important, is the feedback I get from my audience both while I am at the venue and the letters I get detailing what the audience felt after my presentation. I have had  a letter telling me that I influenced this girl in a way that stopped her from committing suicide. She wrote me, that after reading my autobiography and talking with me personally she realized that through her darkness and pain their was an opportunity to be happy and impact the world in a positive way. I also had students tell me that they understood they were bullies and after my program they were going to make the choice and no longer bully others. The most common impact that I hear or read is the "feeling" of students (or adults) being inspired to be great and being willing to work hard to make their dreams a reality. I also hear and read that they now understand to not judge a book by it's cover. Third,and the most humbling is the support and generosity other professionals have shown me. I have had school teachers and administrators send me financial support, but not for their school, where I had already presented, but for a different school (of my choice). I also had teachers, parents, principals and parents purchase my books for schools and classes. These kind and supportive gestures were sent to me on their own and not solicited by me. Having a wife that teaches 2nd grade and myself substituting for over 10 years I understand the economics of teaching and what teachers and administrators give back to their students, in many different ways. So for them to think enough of my presentations to trust me and send me their hard earned money for future programs, tells me that I am doing something right! Lastly, multiple sponsors (much like the individuals who sent me their personal economic support) have stepped up to support future speaking opportunities. What makes these "sponsors" different than personal economic support is that they, sponsors, have committed to multiple program support. Both are greatly appreciated and mean so much to me because this support allows me to inspire more students and adults, who I otherwise my not ever get access to. These sponsors have already committed to speaking programs next year and I am so excited about this! My first multiple day school program is just around the corner, scheduled for mid August in Northern California. I also have multiple, unique speaking presentations scheduled. I will be the keynote speaker on the last day of an adaptive PE teachers conference in Newport Beach and I am also a panelist representing my children's book, sponsored by a southern California school (in January 2016). The following day I will be doing a book signing, with other authors, at a local book store in southern California. I want to thank Newport - Costa Mesa School District, Bakersfield City School District, Los Angeles School District, Long Beach School District, Golden Valley School District, Clovis School District, Los Alamitos School District, Modesto School District and I apologize for the school districts that I left out. These are the districts that I am already scheduled with. starting in August. For the districts that I left out and for the new districts coming ... thank you very much. I appreciate every opportunity I am trusted with. I will always give a 100% to everyone in my audience. I understand the impact my tragedies and triumphs can have on others because I have had my life inspired in the same way. Feel free to contact me anytime about anything that you have read or felt regarding my speaking, books or writings.