What is an Acrostic?
a series of stories derived from each letter of a word.
In this case, each letter of Forrest Gump tells a story about Forrest’s character or the work that results from Steve’s speaking, hosting, or interpretation of the Gump character.
The movie Forrest Gump touched, moved and inspired millions of people worldwide. Why did people love this movie? Why do they still feel warm and fuzzy today when they think about this movie?
Of course there were great actors, cool visuals with historical scenes, great music from the 60s and 70s that we all know and love, and other favorite hooks… but there was something more. Steve calls that intangible something authenticity. Forrest Gump was authentic. He was true to himself, he was true to his family and friends, and he was true to all who he met. Forrest Gump was both genuine and authentic.
Steve has taken the common scenes we remember from the movie and turned them into inspirational messages. Deep down inside, we instinctively knew that Forrest Gump was happy and at peace with himself. Steve explains how we can all be a bit more Gump-like and enjoy the peace, love and success that came so naturally to Forrest.
Are you Gump-like? Does your organization behave genuinely and authentically? Do you believe the world would be a better place if each of us were more genuine and authentic?
“A promise is a promise”
– Forrest Gump
Opportunity is defined as an appropriate or favorable time for advancement or success. The story of Forrest Gump is certainly one of opportunity.
The American Dream can be similarly classified as opportunity. America has been viewed as a land in which a person’s prospects in life are defined by one’s talents and energy, rather than by one’s family wealth or political connections. Simply stated, if one works hard, does the right thing, then good things can and often do happen – just like the story of Forrest Gump.
At the beginning of the movie Forrest Gump, a feather floats down from the sky and ultimately lands at the foot of Forrest. Imagine the feather as an opportunity. What does Forrest do? He picks up the feather. What do you do when opportunities land at your feet? Do you pick them up? And what do you do during turbulent times when the feathers stop landing at your feet? Do you get up off your buttocks and chase them down?
Steve believes that opportunities are constantly swirling all around us and speaks about them in his presentations. Sometimes they land in our lap or at our feet, but mostly they need to be chased down. Additionally, Steve believes that opportunities are missed because we don’t know where or how to look for them.
Steve’s presentations teach how to recognize, track down, and pick up the opportunities that can be bountiful in this fantastic country that we live. The American Dream lives!
“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.”
When Forrest went to his mailbox and discovered a letter from Apple Computer – or “some kinda fruit company” as he called it, it was obvious that Lt. Dan had invested wisely. This is an easy-to-understand example of a good Return On Investment or ROI. Dollars were invested and in time, the original investment plus a significant return are realized – a good ROI!
In the world of speakers and training, ROI is not as simple as looking at the initial investment and then measuring an immediate, significant return. To further complicate the quantification of ROI in training, measurements are soft or vague. Soft skills such as morale and employee motivation can certainly lead to long-term improvements to profits, but measuring morale or employee motivation by hard indicators (i.e. profits) in the short-term is difficult. Profits & productivity may increase in the long-term, but was it a result of an earlier training or changing market conditions?
When Forrest remained motivated to keep shrimpin’ despite his initial failures in the shrimpin’ business, was it his optimism and motivation that made the difference between failure and his ultimate long-term success? Or was it just dumb-luck? We’ll never know for certain… but routinely gambling on dumb-luck would most likely prove to be a bad bet and a poor ROI.
Steve believes that an individual’s optimism and motivation directly affect an organization’s long-term success. Steve’s goal of inspiring Personal Responsibility for all individuals in their business, social and personal lives is the foundation and unifying theme in all of his presentations. All training needs to be supportive and complimentary towards the corporate goals. Is your company or organization doing all it can to maximize profits by investing in your employees’ morale and motivation? How much would it be worth to have happier, more optimistic and motivated business colleagues?
Tobin’s Law: “If you start and end all of your learning efforts by focusing on your organization’s goals, you will never be asked to do an ROI analysis to justify your budget.”
– Dan Tobin
In the business world and our free-market capital system, results are measured by profits. Profits are obtained by providing desired goods or services to others for a fair price. Profits or results are the bottom-line measurement of business efforts. To achieve these business results, we first need a goal and action. When Forrest became a gazillionaire from shrimpin’, it occurred because of three steps:
- Goal – To Be a Shrimp Boat Captain
- Action – Catching & marketing shrimp
- Result – People buying lots of good-tasting shrimp – Profits – Gazillionaire
Steve teaches that results (profits) should not be the focus of everyday activities for each individual. Rather, goals and actions are the more appropriate focal point. If the goal is plainly stated and understood, then the action will ensue and the results will happen. Conversely, if one starts and focuses solely on the end result, then actions and goals will be inauthentic and perceived by others as non-genuine.
Steve’s training gets results by focusing on goals and actions. Being is the most important ingredient – the goal. Actions are derived from the goal. Results are what naturally occur from actions derived from well-defined goals.
Does your group have clearly stated goals? Are the actions of the individual and groups within your organization consistent with the goals? Are you getting the results you ultimately desire? Are your goals and actions consistent with the results that you desire?
“Often we place too much emphasis on the desired results, and not enough on the person we need to be to achieve and support those results.”
– Larry Hehn
Extraordinary is defined as beyond what is usual, regular or established. Extraordinary can be illustrated as exceptional in character and/or remarkable.
When Forrest started to play ping-pong, he was ordinary, or just a beginner. But the simple advice from a fellow soldier, “never, ever take your eye off the ball” seemed to be exactly what was required for him to become a remarkable or extraordinary ping-pong player.
Is your organization “keeping its eye on the ball?” Do the individuals in your organization routinely “keep their eye on the ball?” Do they know what ball they’re supposed to be watching? Having a clearly defined and simply stated goal is the same as “keeping your eye on the ball.”
Steve long ago realized that achieving personal success required routinely stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. Complacency produces average results.
Are your employees encouraged to step outside of their comfort zone? Or is the opposite true – and are they frightened into remaining within your comfort zone? Does your group or organization routinely go beyond what is usual, regular or established? Or are they satisfied with average or ordinary? Are they encouraged to be extraordinary?
To be extraordinary in today’s world and marketplace, organizations need to be willing to transform themselves from ordinary to extraordinary. Steve uses common sense business principles of goals, actions and results to help individuals, groups and organizations transform from regular and complacent to remarkable and extraordinary.
“Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.”
– Cherie Carter-Scott
Straightforward is characterized as simple and easy to understand. Straightforward does not use elaborate, grand or complicated designs. It is free of pretentiousness and deceit. Straightforward is sincere and humble.
Forrest Gump demonstrated and lived these characteristics with grace and ease. He learned from his mother that “a promise is a promise”. He told Jenny “I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.” And finally, “that’s all I have to say about that!” was his signature closing remark on any given subject. Now that is straightforward!
Like Forrest, Steve believes that simple ideas are more easily understood and remembered than complicated schemes. Straightforward, genuine and authentic communication is the key to effective communication. Steve uses simple themes and messages to teach and motivate individuals to take Personal Responsibility.
Steve uses straightforward language to shine light on an organization’s goals and team-work. Steve uses sincere, personal examples of overcoming adversity and helping others overcome their own challenges and dealing with the uncertainty of today’s world.
Does your organization believe in straightforward, direct communication? Do you personally walk the talk? Or do you and your organization play games? Are you secretive and engaged in hiding information which ultimately breeds distrust? Do others perceive you as manipulative? If the answer is yes, then you need a dose of straightforwardness Gump-style… and that’s all I’ve got to say about that!
“The best business plans are straightforward documents that spell out the “who, what, where, why, and how much…”
– Paula Nelson
Transformation can be described as changing in condition, nature, or character. It is the metamorphous from one form to another.
Hasbro’s popular child’s toy Transformers is based on the concept that first it’s one thing, then, it’s another. The simple toy transformed or evolved into a TV show and transformed again into several popular movies.
Forrest Gump transformed, or re-invented himself, many times throughout his lifetime. First he was football player, then a soldier, then a shrimp-boat captain and finally a father. While the exterior appearance and actions of each of Forrest’s re-incarnations is significant – his inner character remained unchanged. Forrest’s inner core was rock-solid.
In business and language, we historically focus on improving, fixing, increasing, making better, greater. The limitation inherent in this language and thinking is that it focuses on what already exists, and only seeks improvement. The failure to envision and imagine what could be – to truly transform – is lacking. Steve helps organizations step outside of the normal constraints of everyday-language and business-as-usual thinking into actively seeking new possibilities for themselves and their organizations. Steve believes that fixing and improving are yesterday’s solution attempts – Transformation is tomorrow’s possibility.
How well is your organization dealing with change? Are you effectively dealing with today’s challenges in today’s changing marketplace? Are you stuck trying to fix or improve old methods instead of creating new possibilities? Are you willing to transform? To re-invent yourself? To be and become something new?
“We might hypothetically possess ourselves of every technological resource on the North American continent, but as long as our language is inadequate, our vision remains formless, our thinking and feeling are still running in the old cycles, our process may be “revolutionary” but not transformative.”
– Adrienne Rich
Talk is cheap – action is always required to achieve results. Results follow from action. Steve calls the act of getting up off your buttocks and taking action Gumption. The dictionary defines gumption as boldness of enterprise; initiative or aggressiveness; guts, spunk; common sense. Steve defines Gumption as the action required to achieve results. Gumption derives from and follows a well-formulated and simply articulated goal.
When Forrest Gump was in Vietnam, he demonstrated gumption when he single-handedly retrieved 5 wounded soldiers from the battlefield. He did this against a direct order from Lt. Dan while putting his own life and safety in great danger. He was even wounded himself – shot in the buttocks. Sometimes we just have to do what is right – as opposed to considering all of the ramifications.
In business, actions are ultimately required and produce the results. Taking action boldly and with initiative and aggressiveness will produce extraordinary results. Steve believes in the power of Gumption! Steve teaches others how to Live their Lives with Gumption!
Are you and your staff boldly taking initiative in your enterprise? Do you blame others or do you embrace Personal Responsibility? Does common sense trump the tired, worn habits from the past? Is guts and spunk a good way of describing the actions you take? Do you have Gumption?
“What I like about Brooks is his gumption. By that I mean that he saw the chance to do something that most people would say couldn’t be done and accomplished it. He put it on the line and took a chance …”
– Bob Wengel
“Gumption is the action required to achieve results. Gumption derives from straightforward, well-articulated plans”
– Steve Weber
Unexpected is defined as surprising or unforeseen. With a little linguistic liberty, we can say unexpected is unpredictable, astonishing and even fortuitous!
Surprising or unforeseen was how the movie Forrest Gump captured the world’s imagination back in 1994. It was simply unexpected! And the many amazing feats that Forrest accomplished were certainly astonishing. His run across America, his ping-pong prowess, his ability to “run like the wind blows,” his capacity to be loving and kind even in the face of disappointment and the inhumanity of others – are all examples of unexpected actions. These actions were unpredictable, astonishing and fortuitous.
In business, as in life, there are many twists and turns. Static conditions and measurements are valid only for a singular moment and are obsolete instantaneously. Change and uncertainty are the norm and predictable. While planning is necessary and ongoing, predicting the future is fruitless – we never know what is around the next corner. Or as Forrest’s mother said, “Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get.”
Steve fully understands the unpredictability of business and life – but he believes preparation and choice can go a long way to managing the unexpected. If you plan properly and make powerful choices, Steve boldly states “Life is like a box of chocolates, you get to choose the one you want!”
How do you deal with uncertainty? Are you preparing with clarity and determination for life’s uncertainties? Are you willing to admit that life is uncertain? And takes constant unexpected twists and turns? Do you believe individuals and organizations can powerfully choose the future? Do you actively embrace the unexpected?
“None of us knows what the next change is going to be, what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner, waiting to change all the tenor of our lives.”
– Kathleen Norris
One of the definitions of magnetic is exerting a strong attractive power or charm as in a magnetic personality. The movie, Forrest Gump, did exert a strong attractive power or charm – It was magnetic. The movie ran continuously in theatres for 42 straight weeks. At the time, the movie Forrest Gump was the 4th highest grossing film ever behind ET, Star Wars IV, and Jurassic Park. People sometimes dismiss a fictitious work as trivial. Not Steve, he agrees with the multitude that found Forrest Gump both inspirational and magnetic.
Steve has created many unique presentations based on timely and current business topics. He uses the magnetic charm of Forrest Gump to persuade and teach. Whether it’s Positive Thinking or Dealing with Uncertainty or Overcoming Your Fear of Failure or Team Building or Communication, there are life-lessons and opportunities-for-learning that are easily recognized and utilized from this powerful story. Steve brings them alive and wants to use them to positively influence you and your organization.
Just as Forrest connected with those he met in the story and with the movie audience – connecting with others is the key to effective communication. Do you routinely connect well with others? Are you regularly taking chances or are you staying safely cocooned in your corner? Do you actively embrace others or do you fight them? Are you using the power of your personality to attract others or repel them? Is your magnetic force both positive and attractive?
“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”
– Karl Menninger
Productive is having the power to produce, generate or create readily and abundantly. Forrest Gump seemed to be productive in all his endeavors whether it was football, ping-pong, shrimpin’, being in the army, or just “cutting the lawn for free because it was fun.”
Let’s face it, as humans, we’re expected and required to be productive in our lives. It’s true in our work scene just as it’s true in our personal and community lives. AND, we’re ultimately happier and more satisfied when we are contributing and producing – so productive is a good thing. Just ask the boss if you don’t believe Steve.
Steve teaches people how to both enjoy being productive and how to be more productive. Once again, the common denominator in all our life’s activities is Personal Responsibility. When individuals stop focusing outwards for help and start looking inwards, productivity increases exponentially. By hiring Steve, you get more than entertainment and content – you get productivity.
Are you doing what is necessary and avoiding what wastes time? Do you manage yourself first and foremost and accept others for who they are? Do you focus on the important? Do you choose your battles wisely? Do you accept that time-management is the best opportunity you have towards being productive?
“People are going to be most creative and productive when they’re doing something they’re really interested in. So having fun isn’t an outrageous idea at all. It’s a very sensible one.”
– John Sculley