A Mission to Make A Difference
I have always been a man of duty, purpose, and devotion, and I have tried to be a man of honor and virtue. While, I have not always succeeded in these areas, I have tried very hard to do so. Throughout my life, I have strived to be a genuinely good and caring person and I have endeavored to do whatever I can—however meager—to help people and make this a better world in which to live. I have always had a passion for service to people, community, and country. Everything I have ever done has been focused on that mission, often at the expense of self-need and without personal gain. My mission has never been to enrich myself financially but rather with the gratification and fulfilment of purpose.
I spent the first 30-plus years of my working life in the aerospace domain focused on advancing the concept that an economically viable and sustainable access-to-space capability, if developed, could lead to the creation of a powerful space-based economic engine that would greatly benefit the world. I did this largely in the government, academic, and nonprofit sectors as an advocate for policies that advanced free enterprise space development ventures over government-controlled programs. I was no stranger to the halls of government, academia, and industry in this endeavor.
A large portion of my labors over the years in this effort were through giving countless public lectures and delivering countless public speeches on the possibilities and benefits of a robust space economy for the greater society and the means by which to get there. Public speaking is my utmost talent and passion. I thoroughly love speaking before an audience. I have jokingly said many times that God gave me only three talents: the ability to eat, the ability to talk, and the ability to parallel park. Out of these three, the only one I could remotely use that could possibly help to make this a better world is to talk. So, for over 30 years, I have done just that.
Now, in my 57th year of life, while I will always remain a strong advocate for space development and will give lectures and speeches on the subject when I can, I am turning all my energies and efforts and only real God-given talent to addressing an ever-increasing and quite alarming trend: the decline of civility in the public square, the widespread acceptance of questionable role models, and a systematic erosion in equitable leadership. Like so many others, I have become deeply disturbed and quite alarmed with how the state of public discourse has become very hostile. The inordinate lack of civility in public debate these days is quite disturbing.
It simply amazes me how so many people have become disrespectful and downright rude in how they debate the issues of the day with those whom they may disagree. By and large, I believe the driving culprit of this is the extent to which people are so woefully uninformed about the issues on which they speak. Yet they voice their opinions anyway, often without the willingness to even consider the facts, let alone the thoughts and positions, of others. Then, they tend to berate those who disagree with them, using inappropriate, demeaning, and often vulgar language. What is most disturbing to me is to the extend which our leadership promotes and encourages this.
Something must be done soon to reverse this destructive course before it becomes too late, leading to catastrophic results. Some say it is already too late; however, I do not believe so. I fervently believe that this dangerous course can be reversed. However, it is going to take a whole lot of work by a whole lot of people in order to do so.
To this end, I intend to do my part by first publishing a book I am close to completing that confronts this issue; not in an alarmist, negative or admonishing way, but rather in an inspiring, optimistic, passionate, and actionable one. The book, called Discovering Greatness: How to Become A Truly Great Person, is written from the standpoint of individuals pursuing their true inner greatness. It is not presented as a direct recipe for resolving the current crisis in civility. My approach being, if everyone strived to become truly great individuals, the problem will inherently take care of itself by extension. However, if I preach at people to stop “touching the stove,” my sense is they will resist the message and the book will have no measurable impact.
Second, I will embark on a nationwide tour presenting my message and inspiring people to action using passion, energy, and wit. I am quite confident in my ability to motivate and inspire people to action. In support of my abilities as a speaker, here is a statement from a recent letter of endorsement I receive from a past speaking event: “Tim is a seasoned and energetic motivationalist and powerful humorist/storyteller in the style of Lewis Gizzard, Jeanie Robertson, and Will Rogers. With his southern charm, he uses hilarious life stories to illustrate his points and get his message across. Tim’s performances are delivered with incredible energy and enthusiasm.”
Finally, I will introduce two projects directly aimed at combating the looming crisis. Each of these two projects will form the basis of what I hope to be the launch of a national movement to change the civility paradigm. One directly takes on the decline of civility and respect in this country, and the other addresses the need to transform our approach to leadership at all levels of society.
The following provides a little more specificity to my approach.
I will start this journey by publishing the book, Discovering Greatness: How to Become A Truly Great Person. This book, which is nearing completion, takes head-on the challenge of understanding true greatness. In the book, I seek to dispel the myths and misconceptions of what greatness really is and how people become truly great. To many, greatness is defined by the degree to which someone has obtained material wealth, fame, power, status, influence, or perceived success. While great people can achieve these things, achieving them does not necessarily make one great. Great athletes can do great feats of sport; great musicians can produce great music; great artists can create great works; great stars can give great performances; and great businesspersons can amass great wealth. However, this doesn’t automatically make any of them a great person; it only means that they did something great. So, what does make a person truly great? With this book, I strive to answer three fundamental questions:
- What is true greatness?
- Can anyone become a great person?
- How is true greatness achieved?
In this book, I will point out to the reader that greatness is not some mythical power or force that is achievable by only a few; indeed, anyone can become great. The potential of greatness resides within us all. I further point out that our greatness is not measured by material wealth, fame, power, status, influence, or perceived success. Rather, greatness is measured by the collective nature of our heart, mind, body, and soul. Greatness is governed by the characteristics one possesses, which are formed from the values, principles, and rules one lives by, along with the actions one undertakes.
Here is an excerpt of how the book will be described on its jacket: In this focused and thought-provoking book on discovering greatness within oneself, noted motivational speaker, humorist, leadership trainer, and professional development coach Tim Huddleston—with the help of many friends—takes us through an inspiring, motivating, challenging, and often humorous journey along the meticulous yet highly rewarding path of achieving personal greatness.
Once the book is published, I will embark on a nationwide speaking tour where I will promote the concept of true greatness as detailed in the book and I will seek to inspire people to both discover their inner greatness and strive to become truly great people. The centerpiece of this national campaign for greatness will feature a series of two-hour long Discovering Greatness shows, which I will perform throughout the country. These shows—which I will perform in a highly entertaining yet extremely inspirational format—will keep the audience laughing while introducing them to the powerful lifechanging thoughts, values, rules, and actions found in the book. As I state in the book, “laughter is an almighty and powerful tool for tearing down fear, warming the heart, and opening the mind to objectivity.”
I will dedicate the Discovering Greatness shows to those who, on a daily basis, risk their lives in pursuit of making our communities better and safer places to live—the unsung heroes of our communities who put their lives on the line for us every single day so that we may enjoy our freedom, security, safety, and peace—our nation’s first responders and first receivers. I am a firm believer that these first responders and first receivers—law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and others who work so diligently to keep us safe and free from violence—deserve our utmost admiration, respect, and praise. I just believe they rarely receive deserving praise and, in fact, are often the recipients of undeserved criticism and the targets of harm.
I will make each show a powerful and entertaining presentation of the lessons found within Discovering Greatness. The last 30 minutes of each show will be particularly moving as local first responders and first receivers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty through heroic deeds and significant actions, and selected by a local committee, receive very special recognition. Each show will end with a very patriotic and moving surprise twist.
These shows will be performed in venues (performing arts centers, auditoriums, and theaters) that have a seating capacity of at least 1,000. Attendees of each show will purchase tickets to attend, and 100% of the ticket proceeds will be used to establish a First Responders Benevolence Fund in that community. The fund, which will be controlled and administered by a local committee, will help first responders and first receivers and their families in that community who have met with adversity or tragedy while in the line of duty. I expect these shows will raise between $20,000 to $30,000 per community for their local fund.
While all the profit from ticket sells goes to the local First Responder Benevolence Fund, the cost of the venue, my travel, event promotion, and related expenses come from local sponsorships. I will be personally compensated through book sales and potentially a national sponsor.
As I travel around the country with the Discovering Greatness Tour, I will also be promoting a concept I present in the book called ThinkShare. ThinkShare is designed to be a unique approach to how people can learn, think about, share their thoughts on, and debate the issues of the day. The ThinkShare concept is based on promoting enlightened civil discourse through informed thinking and respectful dialog, instead of the derisive and toxic exchanges of present that are often filled with rude, insulting, and uncivil language, and fueled by uninformed and misleading rhetoric. The ultimate goal is to have ThinkShare community groups hosting meetups and town halls in every community throughout the country.
The central point in promoting the ThinkShare concept and launching ThinkShare community groups throughout the nation will be the thinkshare.org website. This website will allow people to engage one another on current issues in constructive and civil dialogue monitored by site moderators with strict rules of engagement. Each day on the site, current issues will be presented in an unbiased, nonpartisan, and completely balanced analysis of the issues with the aim of encouraging constructive, informed, and meaningful debate. People will read the analyses, see what others are saying, think about it, and then hopefully share their thoughts in an appropriate and respectful way. Users will be able to flag inappropriate comments, and the site will feature a huge number of volunteer moderators who will review any flagged comments for inappropriateness or violations of ThinkShare’s stringent code of conduct, and consequently remove anyone who is found to be in violation.
Developing truly great leaders at all levels of society—from the smallest of clubs all the way to the highest levels of government—is an essential prerequisite to reversing the destructive path of incivility and discontent we are currently experiencing. We are not just talking about political leaders here but leaders of anything and everything no matter how big, small, or seemingly insignificant. In Discovering Greatness, I discuss the importance of literally transforming leadership from the more self-centered, self-serving approach that has becoming prevalent, to a more principled-based leadership style. This is a concept of leadership that functions from a standpoint of doing what is morally and ethically right over what’s personally expedient.
In the book, I define the principled-based leadership concept and provide some foundational tenets to follow. I also call for the creation of a nationwide movement to literally revolutionize how leaders are trained and measured. I call this movement Leader365, and I envision Leader365 chapters all over the country where people come together to learn and grow as leaders at all levels of life. I further envision the moniker of being a Leader365 leader becoming so prestigious and recognized that people will fervently strive to obtain the designation and work hard to maintain it.
I began writing the book in July of this year and I anticipate completing it by this December. The book will be available for sale by the beginning of February 2020. I will begin booking the Discovering Greatness shows in November with shows beginning in March 2020. I plan to do 50 shows in 2020.
In addition to shows, throughout 2020, I will do many book signings, radio and TV appearances, and other related events across the country. Between the Discovering Greatness shows and other events, I anticipate that throughout 2020, I will directly reach over 100,000 people with my message on individual greatness, civility and leadership, and I will directly sell over 10,000 copies of the book.
I anticipate that my efforts throughout 2020 will lead to the creation of ThinkShare and Leader365 by the beginning in 2021. I will then shift my focus towards making these two programs an overwhelming success.
Need for Support
I am fully dedicated to this mission and this cause. As a single man with no children, I am free to fully invest myself in this lofty endeavor, and I have no doubt in my abilities to make this a reality. However, while I am a man of great energy, enthusiasm, and drive, I am not necessarily a man of financial means. Therefore, I must first enlist the support of people who can financially help this mission become a reality. The core of this mission is the book and the tour. The cost of publishing the book and launching the tour is quite extensive.
Publishing the book – Customarily, this type book is not picked up by traditional top-tier or trade publishers like Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and HarperCollins. In the very rare case where they might, there are two very compelling reasons why this would not be a good avenue in this case. First: while, they handle everything—from editing, book layout, and cover design, to distribution, ISBN registration, and publishing costs—the length of time to publication is very long. Second: the author generally loses all control and the rights to the book. Trade publishers require exclusive rights to everything, including eBook publication, and the author is not allowed to sale or distribute the book directly.
This book is best suited for the self-publishing route. With self-publishing, which is sometimes called vanity publishing, the author retains 100% control over the book. However, the author also has to do all of the work and pay all of the upfront costs, including the initial inventory run of book printing. Generally, the author will contract with what is known as a custom publisher who will handle much or all of this for the author. However, either way the author must front the costs of publishing and they are quite high. I have been soliciting quotes from various custom publishers and other publishing avenues and have determined that the upfront cost to publish this book, including providing an appropriate initial inventory level, is approximately $7,000.
Launching the Tour – For the first few shows, it will be necessary for me to travel to those communities in advance of the performance and meet with their first responder and first receiver groups and associations, and with community leaders, local media, and potential sponsors. Additionally, I will speak at civic club luncheons. All of this is in effort to enlist their participation and support. Working with these groups, a local volunteer committee will be established, which will promote the event, sell tickets, enlist local sponsorships, and help manage the ground details for the event. This initial process is necessary until the first couple of shows have occurred and people can see how powerful and beneficial the shows are. Once this happens, the process of booking and promoting future shows and enlisting sponsors will become much, much easier.
However, until then, I will have to initiate this process in at least 10 communities in advance of the first show. This is because—in order to give the local committee enough time to properly promote the show and sell tickets—the length of time from initially setting a show date until the actual show performance needs to be a minimum of four months. With such a time interval and the goal of performing 50 shows in 2020, this 10-city advanced booking requirement is essential. The cost to do this, which includes travel expenses, deposits for show venues, and related costs, is expected to be around $15,000.
All together I need to raise approximately $23,000 in order to make this mission happen. To reach this goal, I am turning to friends, family, colleagues, and anyone else I can reach to help me identify and get in front of individuals of means who might be willing to back me in this effort. Time is of the essence. I need to raise this money by November in order to meet the rather tight timeframe necessary to make this project both relevant and successful.
As I have previously stated, while this indeed appears to be a momentous task, I am quite confident in my abilities to do the things I have outlined here and do them quite well. I am also extremely eager, prepared, and capable of taking on this crucial initiative. However, as I have also stated, I cannot do this alone; thus, I appeal to you to support me in this all-important endeavor in any way you see capable.
I would like to thank you for taking time to read this narrative of my mission and plan, and for considering helping me make this a reality in any way you possibly can. Please feel free to share this with anyone you feel might have interest and who are possibly willing to help in any fashion. The following is my contact information. You are more than welcome to reach out to me at any time.
To help me make this mission a reality, please consider making a donation to the cause. Thanks!