Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Friend of Simplicity - Phil Gerbyshak

It is my pleasure to publish my latest "Friend of Simplicity" interview with Phil Gerbyshak. Phil and I have been in touch for about 4 years from our respective sides of the pond.

Phil is passionate and enthusiastic about all that he does and has optimism to burn. I hope you enjoy hearing Phil’s advice about how to “Make it Great!”

Trevor - Hi Phil - tell us a little bit about your career to date and where you are based in the US

Phil - Hi Trevor - thanks for the opportunity to share a bit about me. I've done a little bit about everything, from teacher, to stock broker, to IT guy, to manager, and now to author, speaker and trainer. I run the Make It Great! Institute from Milwaukee, WI, dedicated to helping folks create an amazing life.

Trevor - You are always optimistic - how much is optimism a key management tool?

Phil - Optimism is a critical management tool. You have to believe that the impossible is possible every day to be an effective manager. Belief isn't enough though; you must KNOW it can be done, in your heart of hearts.
I am optimistic about people, and I believe in them. This helps me be a better manager because it helps me focus on behaviours that I know my team can do better instead of believing the people who work for me are all messed up. It's a small shift for some, a greater shift for others, but a necessary shift for all of us.

Trevor - I read and enjoyed your first book 10 Ways to Make it Great - how has it been received and can we expect more book from you?

Phil - My first book "10 Ways to Make It Great!" was the culmination of my work to date, and it proved if I set my mind to something, I could do anything. I've told my stories many times and in many different ways, and I think it really helps folks see themselves succeeding thanks to the adversity I've overcome in my life.

It's been received very well, though of course, I would love for it to do better. Right now I am offering the book for just $9.99 at http://makeitgreatbook.com because I want it to be available for more people to use it as the workbook it's intended to be. It's not just a story book, it's a work it book, with 22 action steps you can do to improve your life.

My next book is called "Help Desk Manager Crash Course." It's all about how to be a better help desk manager, focusing on getting your help desk together quickly, and then offering the tools you need to keep it running smoothly.

You can learn more about that at http://helpdeskcrashcourse.com

Trevor - What is your latest project?

Phil - Latest projects is more like it Trevor :)

I have a few I'd like to share with your readers.

I recently moved Make It Great! to http://philgerbyshak.com to take advantage of all the great stuff WordPress has to offer. It was a long time coming, as I'd been hosted at Blogspot and TypePad for 4 years. The change is as good for me mentally as it will be for me from a 1 stop shop point of view.

As I mentioned, my new book "Help Desk Manager Crash Course" is out and I am VERY excited about that.

I'm planning to do more ebooks and such on Phil Gerbyshak.com as well, because many of my best worked is hidden in my archives, and getting these into ebook form will help a whole new audience make it great!

Trevor - I know you have an ambition to become a full time speaker. Can you share few tips on how to improving confidence on speaking?

Phil - Happy to do so.

First, practice getting in front of folks as often as you can. Whether it's a meeting of 2 people, or a congregation at a 50,000 seat church, you need to practice. No matter how good you are (or aren't), you need to practice.

Second, write out what you want to say and practice reading it. Not every point, but the high points need to be written down.
Next, ask for help from friends and non-friends. See what they say is consistently your area of opportunity for improvement, and work on that. Remember though: Some people are afraid to be critical, and others are overly critical, so unless there is a pattern, don't make any drastic changes.

Last but not least: find a mentor. Find someone you can trust, and work with them to improve your skills.

A great way to do all of this is Toastmasters. You can learn more about them at http://toastmasters.org

Trevor - You always seem to be ahead of the game when it comes to the use of technology. What excites you at the moment about communicating in our modern technological world?

Phil - Thanks Trevor. I sure try to stay ahead. What I love best is I can connect with a friend like you in England completely asynchronously via email, Twitter, Facebook and my blog...for FREE (except for the time investment of course).

Or I can communicate synchronously using Skype, GTalk, Yahoo Instant Messenger, or whatever, FREE, and do it using video or just voice.

The possibilities for connection are endless, and they are only going to get easier and more fun as time goes by!

The one tip I would give folks is to try everything, but stick to what works best for you. Pick a few things every week to try, but don't invest too much time. Just because it's free doesn't mean it doesn't cost you anything. You can't make or buy more time!

Trevor - Finally Phil, when can we expect to see you over on this side of the pond?

Phil - Boy Trevor, I wish I knew the answer to that question. Hopefully 2010 or 2011, but I honestly don't know. It won't be soon enough, I'll tell you that. You can bet when I do, I'll definitely look you up. Fair enough?

Trevor – Absolutely Phil – the first pint of English beer will be on me!


Dan Gunter said...


Nice! No, "Excellent." ;-)

Trevor Gay said...

Cheers Dan - Phil is a good man.

My "Friend of Simplicity" interviews have proved popular over the last 2 years (this is around the 20th)because we learn about people and links are made.

I would like to publish an interview with you some time if your are up for that Sir!

Dan Gunter said...

That might be interesting to do. I'm usually the one doing the interviewing, so it would be different.

Trevor Gay said...

We'll fix it up Dan :-)

Scott Peters said...


I enjoy reading your interviews as it's almost like "coffee talk" with some friends. Phil's emphasis on Toastmasters is very important to forming great leadership skills. His suggestions about studying the main topics and doing some prep work is key to great speaking and staying within specific time frames for hosts.

In agreement with Phil, optimism may be the most important leadership trait. I was watching Deadliest Catch a couple days ago and the show was interviewing the only survivor of a crab ship that sunk. After hanging on for close to an hour in a survival suit, the fisherman told an interesting tale of survival.

He stated that while every single cell in his body was telling him to go to sleep, he fought the urge to give in. He hung on and was waiting for one of two things to happen: death or rescue. He lived to tell his tale. That's optimism in my book. He was totally dependent on others and didn't give up!

Great interview and thanks Phil!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks for that Scott - always good to her your views my friend! Love the story of the fisherman.

Optimism can take us a long way in life - pessimism has the opposite effect of course.

Phil is optimism personified!

Phil Gerbyshak said...

Thanks for the comments Dan. I appreciate the fact you weighed in. I look forward to reading your interview.

Scott - I appreciate your comment too. Optimism is a key component in my success...and in so many I know.

And Trevor - you are a gem! Thanks for sharing me with your readers...and for being a good pal!

Dan Gunter said...

Phil, I appreciate your thoughts. I am thankful to my great friend and colleague, Trevor, for making this connection. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Great interview Trevor.
Phil is an absolutely great person. he is the best testimony I know of to show how a person can truly Make it Great. He has overcome a lot circumstances to become one of the top contibutors to the blogosphere. He has achieved his dreams through persistence and caring about other people. I really enjoy this aspect of your blog and look forward to your publishing your friends of simplicity. Another great choice in high lighting Phil.

rocky said...

Sorry trevor my post listed me as anonymous

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Rocky or should I say Mr Anonymous :-)

Phil walks his own talk. One of the things I like most about Phil is how he promotes others.

No ego problem with Phil - he is genuinely one of life's good guys.

Phil Gerbyshak said...

Dan - I look forward to our next opportunity to connect. Stop by http://philgerbyshak.com and say hey anytime.

Rocky - Thanks for your kind words my friend. I've achieved many of my dreams, yet there's so much more to achieve and more importantly, so many more people to meet. Yourself, Trevor, so many others. It's one of the reasons I look forward to breaking out and doing my own thing...so I will have the time to travel where I want to go to learn what I need to learn from those who've taken a different path from me, and who have enjoyed life's journeys.

Here's to you friend! Until we meet in person, all I can offer you is a big virtual hug...and a smile :)