Our Program on Tuesday, July 19th was local Excelsior Author and Motivational Speaker Mike Lane.  His book “The Wisdom Yawdy Rum” (now out of print) gives a New Orleans Preservation Hall aging low down jazz musicians’ wisdom using musical metaphors about lessons on being successful in life.  Mike’s actual title of his presentation is ‘When You finally Start Paying Attention…Success!’  Mike started by crediting his father as a role model for his success in sales and marketing and the books that he read from an early age by Napoleon Hill and that he still has today.  Mike is a charismatic speaker with a little southern comfort mixed in.  Born in Kansas, he started out in the salt business working in the mines and worked his way up to being a senior executive over his 30 years in the salt business and retired from Cargill to serve as a turnaround CEO for two large Minnesota companies. 
At 58 years old he decided to become an author.  From an early age he had set his mind up to write a book someday and this is where “The Wisdom of Yawdy Rum” comes in.  Mike had played guitar since he was 14 years old and also spent a lot of time in New Orleans as it was in his sales territory and loved the jazz and especially low down jazz New Orleans style and historic jazz roots. So his book talks about a relationship that developed between himself and Yawdy and during a hurricane Yawdy imparts his wisdom that has seven musical metaphorical lessons on how to be successful.  If you read the book (and it is a good read!) you would swear that Yawdy Rum was real and not some mythical character.  The name Yawdy Rum came to Mike in an inspiration as he was standing in the rain in New Orleans waiting across the street from the famed Preservation Hall as the waiting line to get in trailed down the block.  In Mike’s presentation then turned to the seven points of Yawdy’s Wisdom: I. LARGO – Slow down. So that you can pay attention.  II. D.C. AL FINE – Go back to the beginning.  III. DYNAMICS + TEMPO - Pay attention to your senses.  IV. THE SCORE - Write out a description of a successful outcome.  V.  REPEAT - Repeat goal centered actions & behaviors.  VI. REST- Take time to rest. VII. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF - Don’t hesitate to ask the bandleader for help!
Then Mike turned the tables on us and asked, “What would you still like to do or achieve in your time on this earth?” It was rhetorical but clearly aimed at us as very mature adults and as Rotarians to continue to grow and take on new challenges.  And he ended by saying, “When you finally start paying attention, your life takes on new meaning!”  As always the Q&A from our club was great and Mike answered members’ questions using their first names having only heard their name as Steve introduced him to members when they came into the meeting. It was a great hybrid meeting with Padee looking on from England and Mike did a wonderful job!