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Lonely Is The New Smoking

Lonely Is The New Smoking

As a society we are still feeling the aftershock from the earth-shaking experience that was the pandemic. Like the 1812 New Madrid earthquake rang church bells in Boston, the pandemic recently rang a bell in the office of the United States Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy.

The problem, loneliness...

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People Always Ask.

Yes, I Swallow Swords.

Here’s the Point!

The audience is seated, the stage lights up, everyone is prepared and yet not entirely sure what to expect...

There I am, standing on the stage, wearing a sport coat over an unusually colorful shirt, poised and focused, a sword in my hand.

I position my body, raising the hilt high, I bring the sword to my lips.

It is at this point an audience member might exclaim, “Don’t do it!”

There is very real tension in these moments. Tension that I soon break when I look into the audience and say, “I had a desperate need for attention as a child.”...

josh routh professional workshops, circus skills for professionals

It's Alright To Be All Wrong

Over 20 years ago, I was inspired by something that happened so quickly, it seems impossible that I still think about it so frequently.

It was summer in San Francisco, 2002 and I was driving away from Golden Gate Park towards the Presidio. At the corner of Park Presidio Blvd and Lake St, there was a man, sitting on a bench, with a long beard, even longer hair, scruffy clothes, holding above his head...

josh routh professional workshops, circus skills for professionals

Time For A Workplace Renaissance

The latest Gallup Report on the 2023 State of the Global Workplace is full of insights. Many of the revelations are not shocking, but are definitely important. In the past few years we have learned these things from conversations, the news and our own experiences. The long and short, an increasing number of our fellow workers in the United States are not feeling the love in their jobs and the state of employee engagement is begging for attention.

The fact that many of us have known this for a while and are seeing it now, officially, in black and white shows that nothing has changed. It reminds me of one of my favorite adages, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”...

josh routh professional workshops, circus skills for professionals

Thoughts On Martin Short's Nine Categories

Martin Short is one of the rare breed of comedy legends who's wisdom, humanity and depth sometimes eclipses the funny man persona. Also, he is one of my personal favorite entertainers. My youth was spent enjoying Ed Grimley sketches on Saturday Night Live, wearing out the VHS copy of The Three Amigos and even renting Inner Space more times than I would like to admit. More recently, my wife and I are tremendous Only Murders In the Building fans.

Recently, I listened to him read his book, 'I Must Say - My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend'. It is a wonderful book, sweet, insightful and of course funny. In Chapter 9 he reveals his self-evaluation system, called "The Nine Categories". As a person who loves debrief and taking stock, it resonated deeply with me...

josh routh professional workshops, circus skills for professionals

Tossing Watermelons To The Hippocampus


A few years back I gained a brilliant new friend and mentor named Paul. Since he, like me, is an early riser, we meet up at a breakfast joint before even the regulars have hit their snooze button.

It is always the same. Paul is there first, and when I walk up to our booth, he rises, we hug and I say, “How are you Paul?”

Paul never fails to respond with, “I’m Awesome But Getting Better!”

He says this every, single, time. It is less a phrase, and more like his mantra. He lives his life by it. It is his way of connecting to the person he is, and who he would like to be...

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The Smell Of Dead Clowns

Dominique Jando, the acclaimed circus historian, would often walk into our training space when I was in the Clown Conservatory, with his nose held high, chin thrust forward and say in his strong French accent, “Eh, it smells like dead clowns in here.”

It wouldn’t matter what you were working on, whether it was something you thought would be brilliant, or a piece where you were struggling to find the funny; when he said those words, you did indeed die.

What was worse, was when he would walk among us, like some circus Severus Snape and say, “Make me laugh, clown.” Inevitably there would be no making him laugh. I got close once, but I also almost received a concussion from taking a folding chair to the head. It was more stadium wresting than it was circus...

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The One Time I met the President And Shook His Hand Twice.

In the insightful book ‘Luxury Sales Force Management’, by Michaela Merk, the author refers to a study in The International Journal of Human Resource Management titled ‘An Analysis Of Employee Recognition’. From this work she created what she calls the “Three Pillars of Sales Force Recognition”. Listed in order of motivational importance they are:

1. Recognition Expressed By Customers

2. Recognition Expressed By Management

3. Recognition Expressed By Colleagues

I find the idea that people feel and appreciate a greater sense of gratitude from customers most of all interesting and true. I would amend the word customers for a broader definition...

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