Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tip#7: Believe In Earth Angels, Part 2 - It's A Wonderful Life

Sometimes unexpected blocks fall in front of you and your goals to test your belief in what you want. It's as if the universe is seeing how much you will fight for what you believe in or how hard you will work to make your dreams come true.

Here's another inspiring story I wanted to share about the launch of my 'Movies That Motivate' series that featured It's A Wonderful Life. Just 3 days before the event I got a call from the Royal Ontario Museum saying they may cancel the event because of low registration. I was in total shock. I didn't expect this at all.

This event launch was a dream come true and now it felt it was being taken away from me. I was, at least, able to convince them to give it until the next day at noon to see if the numbers would increase before canceling it. Just like George Bailey from the movie I really needed a miracle and fast.

So I prayed. Yes I really prayed right then and there for a miracle because I didn't know what went wrong and what to do next. And yes I was also aware I was doing what George Bailey did in the movie when he felt lost. Ultimately I had to surrender to the thought that maybe my motivational event concept using movies was not interesting enough to fill the 300 seat theatre. But somehow I kept believing in myself and my original idea.

Later that night I was able to talk to 2 friends who, synchronistically, were previous earth angels and also involved with organizing networking events. With their expert advice they helped me analyze the situation through fresh eyes. My friends also believed in earth angels and so highly recommended that I make sure this event is not cancelled because anything could happen in 3 days. I was beginning to see the lesson in this situation and it was to see how much I really believed in my event. How badly did I want my dream to come true?

The next morning I felt more confident and called the ROM to keep the event alive no matter what. Thankfully within 2 days the attendance did increase. On top of that another earth angel appeared to me. Let me add a preface before I share more about this new angel.

Part of my job is to promote my events and act as my own PR firm to send email media releases to the local newspapers. It's just like cold calling and I was new to the scene so it was a challenge to get anyone's attention. Over the year of sending out my email pitches no one, to my knowledge, had printed anything or responded to my email submissions or requests. That changed the night before my event.

I received an email from a columnist from 24 Hours, a widely distributed free newspaper in Toronto. She was giving me a heads up that 'Movies That Motivate' will be featured in her events column on the day of my event. I was amazed and a happy chill went up my spine. They have a circulation of over 235,000 so I imagined how many more people would now read about the event.

This became a timely testament to the motivational tips I'd share during the evening with my presentation about believing in yourself and in earth angels. And, of course, the event went ahead as planned!

So remember to keep believing in your dreams no matter what obstacles get in your way. Remember your blocks may be gifts in disguise. They may be testing you to see how much you will stand your ground and fight for what you believe in. Accepting these challenges will make your self-confidence stronger and take you one step closer to achieving your dreams.

And who knows, maybe your guardian angels sent those challenges to you in the first place.

"Cherish your visions and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements."
Napoleon Hill

Related Tips:
Tip#6: Believe In Earth Angels, Part 1 - It's A Wonderful Life
Tip#7: Believe In Earth Angels, Part 2 - It's A Wonderful Life
Tip#711: Believe in Earth Angels, Part 3 – Holiday Affairs

Emmanuel Lopez© Emmanuel Lopez 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Tip#6: Believe In Earth Angels, Part 1 - It's A Wonderful Life

Have you ever had a kind stranger help you when you were in need? Do you remember helpful individuals who made a difference in your life and then were never seen again? Do you think of these special angels years later and realized how special those encounters were?

I believe there are angels walking among us. I've had too many profound and magical experiences with unexpected, helpful strangers not to believe. I celebrated that belief recently at my 'Movies That Motivate' series launched at the Royal Ontario Museum.

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

Ironically, we screened the Frank Capra classic It's A Wonderful Lifethat featured a guardian angel. The beautifully restored edition was preceded with a motivational talk on the importance of believing in earth angels in the form of everyday people. As quoted in the movie, "No man is a failure who has friends."

This simple truth also reminds us that our true successes are measured by the friendships we cultivate rather than the size of our bank accounts.

It moved me to see several of my own earth angels in the audience. I hadn't seen some of them for awhile though it reminded me that helpful souls come into our lives for either brief periods of time or they become long term friends. In some way my success of standing on stage that night was assisted by their help in the past. It made the evening mean more to me because they were there.

At the end of the movie James Stewart's character, George Bailey, was able to see that his life had tremendous value to others. He didn't realize at first how much of a giving soul he was or how quick help would come if he only asked. His overflowing riches lay in the friends he had right under his nose. Becoming aware of all this lifted his spirits and renewed his joy for living.

So believe earth angels are already around you. And if you find it difficult to believe try being an earth angel first. Try thinking of others first when you are out in public. Offer your seat to someone who looks like they need it. Do your best to help a stranger if they ask for it wherever you go.

Be as giving as you can and you will soon cultivate authentic friendships. These are the people who will be there when you are down and out. Remember everyone has a little of George Bailey in them. Including you.

Related Tips:
Tip#6: Believe In Earth Angels, Part 1 - It's A Wonderful Life
Tip#7: Believe In Earth Angels, Part 2 - It's A Wonderful Life
Tip#711: Believe in Earth Angels, Part 3 – Holiday Affairs

Emmanuel Lopez
© Emmanuel Lopez 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tip#5: There's A Superhero Inside You - 3 Movie Tips

Can you imagine there's a superhero inside you waiting to be recognized by you? Can you picture that you have always had hidden strengths and special gifts wanting to be released? Wouldn't it be fantastic to reveal that we are all superheroes walking around either asleep or awake to our powers?

The hit TV series called Heroes is all about this concept. And based on its instant popularity a huge audience out there is hooked on a show featuring ordinary people discovering they have super powers.

Superhero Movies

The Heroesconcept is similar to the X-Menmovie series that explores having fantastic powers as well as what it is to be different from others. The movies and popular comic book features a ‘School For Gifted Youngsters’ which is home to kids of all ages with special powers. One called Ice-man can create ice with his hands while others can shoot laser beams from their eyes, control the weather or read people’s minds.

Unbreakable (2000)

The action film, Unbreakable is a superhero type movie reflecting our inner potentials for greatness. In Unbreakable, Bruce Willis is an ordinary father who begins to realize that he cannot get hurt. At the beginning of the film he is the only survivor of a devastating train wreck. He is later seen to be resisting the notion that he is different from other people. Can you relate in your own life?

The Matrix (1999)

In the science fiction action movie The Matrix, Keanu Reeves stars as Neo who slowly accepts his ability to control anything in his reality. When he starts believing in his gifts he is able to do incredible fighting moves, stop bullets in mid air and even fly at super sonic speeds. His full potential only came out when he surrendered to his true reality.

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

One of my favourite superhero movies is Spider-Man 2 which has been called a great self-help movie. Tobey Maguire plays Peter Parker who realizes that “With great power comes great responsibility”.

Superheroes like Spider-Manare a modern mythology in our pop culture that can inspire us all in many ways. They teach us about believing in our selves and the importance of standing our ground. Superheroes show us the basic values of right and wrong and good prevailing over evil. They can even inspire us visually by the heroic and amazing acts they perform.

I never realized how much my passion for comic book superheroes inspired my career as an illustrator until others commented that my figures looked like superheroes. One well-known illustration I created for the 1991 Toronto International Film Festival featured an Atlas style super man holding up a giant film reel in place of the world. Even now my new Motivatorman name and logo reflects my inner superhero.

Real-Life Superheroes

I believe everyone has a superhero inside them waiting to be discovered. Sometimes these special skills and talents are suppressed by others growing up or are unsupported in their adult lives. Real-life superheroes who are doing what they are born to do are the ones who've overcome the nemesis's in their lives.

They become heroes like Nobel prize winner John Nashfor dealing with severe mental illness; Oprah Winfreyfor overcoming sexual abuse; and actor, Christopher Reevewho played the definitive Supermanfor fighting to live despite a crippling spinal injury. Even in death Reeve continues to inspire because of the persistent spirit he radiated while confined to a wheelchair. He truly became a super man.

Let these super people, superhero TV shows and movies motivate you to look at your own hidden talents and skills. Here are some tips to identify your abilities:

1) Look at the things you love to do or come so naturally that you take them for granted
2) Become aware of activities that come easily to you
3) Ask your parents what they remember you doing that you loved as a child
4) Ask a friend what they think are your strengths
5) Ask an old teacher of yours what they remember about you that stood out
6) Look at all your past achievements growing up, as a child, high school, etc.

And who knows? Maybe you will discover what your life mission is all about. Explore the possibilities of making your hidden gifts a part of your work and your life. Wake up to your hidden potentials! Believe in your amazing potentials! The world is waiting to see what you can do!

Emmanuel Lopez
© Emmanuel Lopez 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Tip#4: Commit Random Acts of Booty Shaking - She's All That - Boys and Girls

When you can break out of your comfort zones real positive changes in your life can occur. However most people relax so much into their comfort zones that they forget they have to get off their butt and do things they are not comfortable doing. Fear can be a very high wall.

I love to dance. Though sometimes I still feel those first moment fears in front of any dance floor with people all around. But when I'm finally dancing and having fun I am amazed I almost kept myself from moving past that wall of fear.

I'm reminded again of the social mixer at the recent conference up at Blue Mountain Resort where I met Bunny (see Tip#2). I had heard so much about the conference's annual dances and I wasn't disappointed. Great music! Great buzz! Men and women of diverse age groups were out shaking their booties to an awesome DJ. It was exhilarating to see.

There was even one man in a wheelchair that came out spinning his wheels around with the biggest smile on his face making you smile too. I remember one woman in her 50's who was sitting quietly and we kept coaxing her to join us on the dance floor. She kept shaking her head no. But an hour later we suddenly noticed her dancing next to us. She had overcome her fear. And she could really move her caboose!

And then there was a group of girls in the centre of the dance floor radiating such fun. They were like an energy vortex of booty shaking drawing everyone in. One of the girls even got up on stage next to the DJ, grabbed a microphone and sang along to one of the songs with such passion. She was completely fearless, spontaneous and inspiring to watch. Witnessing spontaneous bursts of energy on a dance floor reminded me of the fantasy moments from two movies.

She's All That (1999)

The romantic comedy She's All That stars Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook and is about a high school jock who makes a bet that he can turn an unattractive girl into a beautiful prom queen. There is great dance scene that is choreographed so well to the music of Fat Boy Slim that it just looks super cool!

Boys and Girls (2000)

The romantic comedy Boys and Girlsboth stars Freddie Prinze Jr. and Claire Forlani and is about a friendship that is tested when two best friends end up in bed together. At one point they go to a dance club and it becomes an exciting dance routine to the music of Apollo 440.

It was thrilling to watch and you just wanted to get up and join in with the dance routine. It’s as if you are injected with positive energy and you just have to let it out. Whenever this happens do your best to not let fear keep you from expressing yourself.

So next time you find yourself at a dance somewhere remember at some point to push yourself onto the dance floor. Climb that wall of fear. Commit a random act of booty shaking! Surrender to the music and the moment. Let the music move you even if it starts with one body part at a time like tapping your foot to the beat.

Know that the wall of fear is only in your head and that the rewards for pushing your comfort zone will take your spirit to such heights of positive energy. You’ll be proud of yourself for taking a risk. And the positive buzz for getting off your butt will last you for days to come. You'll see!

Emmanuel Lopez
© Emmanuel Lopez 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tip#3: Get Strength From Your Passion - Cinderella Man

Knowing and living your passions can give you strength when you need it most. Passion is the fuel that empowers you to move forward when life looks hopeless. When you realize that the things you love is the key to achieving your goals nothing will ever keep you down and out.

I recently gave a talk at a Toronto employment resource centre for my popular topic 'How To Press Play When You're Stuck On Pause'. I was there to help individuals re-ignite passion in their careers. And because of my own passion for movies I always get excited showing slides of favourite movie heroes.

Cinderella Man (2005)

One of my favourite movie heroes is Jim Braddock in the biographical drama Cinderella Manbecause of how passionate he was supporting his family during the Great Depression. The movie is based on a true story of survival during years of poverty and how one man does whatever he can to help his family and still maintain his morals and dignity.

Crowe plays Braddock a boxer who also gets a second chance at his profession. It is his passion for boxing and love for his family that gives him strength. And it is his strength that profoundly connects hundreds of people starving for inspiration during a time of great distress and hopelessness. Braddock’s passion united people. He became a symbol of strength for other victims of the Great Depression.

After sharing this story at my seminar I recognized someone in the audience who had attended my 'How Movies Can Change Your Life' presentation at the Royal Ontario Museum. I remembered her because when we first met she shared her similar love for movies as well as the classic movie-going experience of a big theatre and the comforting aroma of hot, buttered popcorn.

To my delight she told me she had worked on set for the Cinderella Manmovie when it was filmed here in Toronto and shared some fascinating stories from the shoot. Like how the boxing ring seats in the old Maple Leaf Gardens were filled with highly realistic mannequins that were intensely eerie to be alone with. Even director Ron Howard told her he was creeped out by the figures.

Afterwards we planned to stay in touch and talk more in the future about our passion for cinema. She also expressed her enthusiasm for what I am doing using movies to motivate others. By sharing her passion she strengthened my journey to continue on this new career path I am on. Who knows where this new connection will lead? The important thing is we both took action to share a common interest with each other.

So whenever you get the chance, share what you are passionate about with others. It builds connections whether it is for business or personal reasons. And that could lead anywhere: recommendations for the job you want, necessities of life you are looking for, contacts you need and advice for any other goals you want to achieve. Sharing your passions is the fastest way of connecting with others.

Remember the true story of the Cinderella Manand let it inspire you to gather strength from whatever you are passionate about. Passion can give you the strength and fuel to travel on your journey no matter how challenging it gets.

Emmanuel Lopez
© Emmanuel Lopez 2006

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tip#2: Unleash Your Inner 'Energizer Bunny' - Pay It Forward

There are so many ways to get re-energized. The key is to recognize that energy can come in unexpected forms like paying someone a compliment or even just acknowledging what they've said or done. Energy can also come from people who are radiating a contagious, positive attitude.

When I posted this second blog tip I realized that I had 6 comments sent to me for my first blog entry of the introduction. I felt so excited like a kid getting a gift on Christmas! I was amazed someone took the time to send me their thoughts. More amazing to me was that around the world complete strangers had expressed positive feedback for my new blog tips. I felt such a jolt of energy that it made my day!

I had other energizing experiences at a 3 day conference up at Blue Mountain Resort I spoke at this past week. The conference was for OAYEC, Ontario Association of Youth Employment Centres. I met many new and vibrant people from all over Ontario whom I made great connections with. It made sense since the conference was for people in the business of helping youths.

One person who was an absolute standout was the conference's general manager named Bunny. She was the epitome of her name, brimming with positive energy and always hopping everywhere to make sure everyone was happy. She always had a smile on her face. On top of that she was always the first to dance up a storm at the evening mixers. She was truly the Energizer Bunny! (pun completely intended)

Her energy was infectious and gave everyone a boost of energy wherever she went. It's like the uplifting comments I received for my first blog posting that simply made me feel great and pumped. This reminded me of the movie Pay It Forward.

Pay It Forward (2000)

The drama film, Pay It Forwardstars Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment. It's all about creating a chain reaction of good and making a conscious change all around you. Haley's character is just a young boy and yet he had the vision to initiate a class project to change the world. His idea was about doing a good deed for three people and have them, in turn, pass on good deeds to another three people. In time the positive energy spreads like wildfire beyond the city he lives in. It just takes one person to start making a difference in the world.

So unleash your inner 'Energizer Bunny' today and pass on some positive energy. Do at least one good deed today. Pay someone a compliment. Say thank you when someone holds a door open for you. Smile to everyone you pass by.

Making someone's day will help them feel energized and you'll end up feeling energized as well!

Emmanuel Lopez
© Emmanuel Lopez 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tip#1: Movies Inspire Connections - Pleasantville

Sharing your passion for a favourite movie can help you make unexpected connections. Wherever you are someone overhearing another talk about a movie they love can draw them together like magnets. All you have to do is express yourself.

This magnetic connection happened to me after giving my dream come true presentation, 'How Movies Can Change Your Life' at the Royal Ontario Museum (see intro). From the packed auditorium a woman approached and thanked me for amazing insights she experienced from seeing my Pleasantvillefilm clip.

Pleasantville (1998)

The fantasy drama Pleasantvillestars Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon and is about two modern day teens who get magically sucked into a classic 50's TV show called, Pleasantville. To their surprise they physically transformed and blended in as black and white characters.

Over time they begin to influence the TV show characters into expressing their true inner feelings and passions. In doing so they begin to turn full colour one by one. The clip I showed was an emotional moment of the 50's father character turning full colour after being helped by Maguire’s character to express his inner feelings of love for his wife. This film has so many life lessons about transforming your reality and being true to yourself.

The woman who approached me explained the clip was a powerful mirror for her relationship with her unexpressive ex-husband and the main cause of their recent divorce. This scene brought her comfort knowing she was not alone in having been married to someone unable to articulate their feelings. I remember putting in a lot of thought into choosing that particular scene and though there were over 150 attendees that evening this one woman's story and epiphany made it all worthwhile.

Sharing my passion for this movie helped me make a connection with someone who made a meaningful connection within herself. Expressing one's interests brings colour and brightness to an otherwise black and white world. Keep that in mind about all the activities you love. Remember, your personal interests have value to someone somewhere.

You can also be inspiring to others without even trying. So don't be afraid to share your own inner feelings about something you care about deeply. Cultivate juicy dialogues! Sharing your thoughts and feelings is the glue of engaging communications. It's how meaningful bonds start and solid relationships build upon.

Emmanuel Lopez
© Emmanuel Lopez 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Introduction: Dreams Do Come True!

When dreams come true they become fantastic markers in your life that will be remembered forever. It validates all the hard work, struggles and pains it took to make your goals a tangible, satisfying reality. And yet in retrospect it is the journey that becomes the most important part of the process.

It was a dream come true on Friday, October 27, 2006 as I stood in front of over 150 people waiting to hear what I had to say. I was at the Royal Ontario Museum to give my presentation called 'How Movies Can Change Your Life' which marked the beginning of a new, exciting career for me.

In the presentation I shared how I survived a 7 year journey of self discovery after an early mid-life crisis hit me without warning. At the start of the year 2000 I found I couldn't do my job of over 10 years and felt a paralyzing loss of income, energy, enthusiasm and sense of purpose. Later that year my father would pass away unexpectedly. I felt utterly lost. But one thing got me through this dark year and that was my love for movies.

Three movie examples that changed my life are the following I discussed at the ROM:
Jerry Maguire:
Redefining who you are and your place in the world.
Groundhog Day:
Getting it right by doing it over and over again.
Expressing your true passions and authentic

Through the inspiration of movies such as these I was able to find hidden strengths within me to keep going one day at a time. Movies also helped me recognize the re-energizing value of my personal interests and how to utilize the 'feel good' feelings to fuel my search for a new, passion filled career. That led to the life skills and career development tools I created for myself that I now share with the world as a motivational speaker.

Thus, was born and with it this soon to be world famous blog! My goal is to share more of my survival stories, favourite movie heroes and other pop culture examples to help you enjoy your journey of a more fulfilling life and career.

So get ready to discover how to visualize and magnetize your dreams and goals!

Emmanuel Lopez
© Emmanuel Lopez 2006