Zimmerman You ever attend a conference presentation that quite literally changes your life?

They’re rare for sure, but I think I attended one in Pasadena recently. I mean, I learned to juggle there, for crying out loud.

Turns out juggling was just the start.

At the microphone was inspirational speaker, author and entertainer Curtis Zimmerman. He spent an hour and a half in front of a crowd of state CPA society folks at the 2010 Interchange Conference, and I could fill a dozen blog posts with his commentary on life and work. I just might, before all is said and done.

For now, though, I’ll focus on three words:

Change. Grow. Become.

Too many of us sleepwalk our way through life, robotically following the same tired routine hour after hour, day after day. Wake up. Eat. Work. Eat. Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. We do it day after day after day, and then we die.

If we’re not constantly changing, growing, becoming more than we were yesterday, says Zimmerman, we’re wasting our lives.

Try something new. Take risks. Learn something you never knew before. Stop living life as if it were a script and start writing your own script. As Zimmerman says, you are the star of your show. You’re the only person who will appear in every scene of your life. Stop reacting to your world and starting acting on it instead.

Don’t know how to do those things? Doesn’t matter. “Passion supersedes ability every time,” Zimmerman says. Get passionate about changing, growing, becoming, and you will.

“But my friends, my relatives, my co-workers will try to stop me,” you say. “They’re not doing these things, and they’ll be skeptical when I try.”

Shut ’em out, says Zimmerman.

“You’re the star of your show, but who’s going to be in your cast? Poisonous people who will suck the life out of you?” Zimmerman asks. “You’re going to have to write some people out of your show and move on.”

Don’t worry about perfection, either. Give yourself plenty of opportunties to fail. About 5,000 should do, Zimmerman says. Failure leads to success, after all.

That’s where the juggling came in.

Zimmerman, a mime and juggler in a former life, gave each person in attendance a set of juggling balls and, in three easy steps, against all odds, taught us all how to juggle. We dropped a lot of balls, picked ’em up and tried again … and again … and again. Finally, we got it.

And then, the kicker from Zimmerman: “I guarantee you I have failed at juggling way more than you have.”

That’s how he became so good at it.

Life is short, folks — too short to waste it embracing the status quo. Let’s make a pact to change, grow, become more than we are.

How are you going to do it?

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