Welcome back, one and all, to the only series here on Associated Content that offers free gift wrapping for every purchase of 50 dollars or more. This is Experts and Clowns. For those of you who haven’t been following this series (and judging by the page views, that almost everybody), a group of four of the best (more bored) sportswriters here on Associated Content decided to (blatantly) rip off ESPN’s Around the Horn, except without that annoying Stat Boy. I miss I, Max.

I would group my team into A, B, and C players. The A’s are those who are succeeding today. The B’s are those that are close and feel like they can be brought along and the “C’s” are those that just don’t seem to get it.

Katrina’s second sports motivational speaker kick came months later when she robbed us of construction crews tradesmen and building supplies. Union pay scales in New Orleans lured our workers away. Special legislation for Katrina victims gave them tax breaks unavailable to hurricane victims in the 2004 or early 2005 season.

First, write your goals down on a piece of paper. Contemplate on these goals and see if they are specific, manageable, applicable, rational and time-bound. If they don’t follow these qualifications then you need to start tweaking your sets of goals.

When you have a mentor you will be able to work through the disappointment and confusion that comes with becoming a professional speaker. You may find that your mentor will be the difference in getting hired or being overlooked.

Spend time with people who motivate you! The great sports motivational speaker, Jim Rhone says that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time around. So, be in the presence of people you admire or aspire to be like. This will increase your awareness of what’s possible for you. If you don’t know anyone who motivates you – It’s time for a new posse. But, until then, you can at least follow inspirational people, entrepreneurs or people you admire on Twitter, Facebook, or read autobiographies about people you admire. Get in that positive mental conversation if you don’t have anyone directly in your life to have more motivational and inspirational conversations with.

To put it bluntly, if you think $5000 on a share trading course and a couple of (usually free) motivational talks on mindset is the right balance, think again. Or be ready to join the 80% of people – many of them trained in the skill set – who lose money on shares. The same applies when it comes to other ways to increase your wealth: business, career, multi-level marketing (where the success rate is 3%, apparently), poker even!

I must continue hiking even though I am still ascending into the wind. Worse yet, it is now late afternoon. Soon, the night will envelop the mountain and me. My wide-open world is now closing in. A powerful blast of wind and snow suddenly strikes me…then again, like the icy breath of an angry mountain god. I am now in true white-out conditions. Where is the next cairn? I desperately continue — five paces, then ten. No cairn. I retrace my steps to the last cairn. I find it. If only I had a hiking partner, we could take turns finding the next cairn, which are usually within 15 to 20 feet of each other. Together, we could leapfrog our way to the Auto Road and home. I start this process again…and again… I cannot find that next cairn.