Need Help With Self-Motivation?

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

This past weekend I attended the Toastmasters Conference.  If you don’t know what Toastmasters is –  NO, it’s not a secret recipe to make great toast!  Instead, it’s an international organization promoting and perfecting communication and leadership development.  Toastmasters is the reason I am a Professional Speaker today. 

When I entered my first meeting eight years ago, I had no intention of getting up in front of an audience to speak.  I went to the meeting because I was facing a very dark time of my life, and I had nowhere else to go.  As I walked in the door, I was greeted by so many smiling faces.  I felt like I was in an episode of Cheers where “everyone knows your name.”

With lots of encouragement, and a big nudge, from my club members, I began to enter contests.  As I won and advanced to the next level, then the next, I became more confident, developed a voice I didn’t even know I had, and found my way in a new world.

So recently I entered yet another contest, won at two levels, then came in second.  Just like that – it was over.  And I wondered: Why  do I keep doing this?  Why do I keep opening myself up to rejection and feeling crummy?

Then I took it one step further and wondered about life.  About my profession.  What about anyone’s daily dance with rejection?  Then I found this video by Mel Robbins.  I had actually never heard of her before, but her video touched me in a way that few ever do.  So I’d like to share it with you.  

If you’ve ever been scared; if you’ve ever faced life challenges that have brought you to your knees, this may help to put it all in perspective:

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Helping Children through Reach Dane

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Recently I was invited to speak at an all day staff meeting for Reach Dane. The more I learned about this organization and the more people I met, the more I was amazed at the work they do. The mission of Reach Dane is to “change the lives of underserved children and families through education and supportive services.”

And as I worked with this group, the more I realized they do far more than that. Before my presentation, I spoke to a woman in the audience who told me she was homeless until she started working at Reach Dane – they gave her a second chance. Another woman told me about a child who was able to get eye glasses because his teacher helped him get the care he needed.

Working with children who are homeless, and families who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, takes courage and commitment and a burning desire to help someone other than yourself. I can’t even begin to imagine the heartbreak they witness every single day; I can’t even begin to imagine the stress they must be under. Yet every morning they make the choice to get up and do it all over again. They are leaving their mark in this world and making it an easier place to live for so many others.

As a motivational speaker, I wanted to inspire them and help them realize the importance of their work each and every day. At the end of the meeting, I was the one who walked away inspired. A HUGE salute to Reach Dane and all the lives they have helped.

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Laugh ‘Till Your Sides Hurt

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I’m sure you’ve heard about this study – the one that says children laugh 300 times a day…and adults only 4!!!  Now there’s no real proof of this, but let’s be honest .  It is obvious that kids laugh a lot more than we do. 

I started thinking about this last Friday when I competed in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest.   The results??? I placed second.  I won’t lie – it was disappointing.  After all, I did want to win.  Why else would I be in a contest if I didn’t want to take first place?  But I learned a lot – I really did!

As I reflected on my speech, I couldn’t be happier with it.  During the seven minutes I spoke, the audience was captivated.  They were sitting on the edge of their seats, laughing out loud, certainly exceeding their quota of four laughs for the day.

Now, I don’t consider myself a funny person, but for some reason this speech hit a nerve.  That’s when I realized that even though I didn’t win the contest, I did win in the hearts of those who listened to me.  There could have been someone in the audience who was facing a challenge in their life, and for one brief moment, I helped them forget about their problem.  For one brief moment, I was able to ease their pain.  And for that I am totally grateful. 

So I’d like to give you a gift now.  I don’t have a video of my speech, but I do have a link to a comedy act that made me laugh out loud.  Of course, you may have to be a little older to identify with this, but I think it’s hysterical.  And maybe it will help to brighten your day.  Enjoy:

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When Purpose and Passion Collide

Professional Speaker-Professional Development-Positive Attitude

Have you heard of grit?  I recently saw an interview with Angela Duckworth who wrote a book titled Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.  It falls in line with my beliefs, so it really fascinated me.

Bottom line, grit is described as a desire to constantly get better.  Almost an obsession with practicing and practicing until you see improvement.  In the interview, Angela describes two sources of motivation for this:

First, you have to discover and identify what your real interest is.  That makes sense.  If you are going to spend a lot of time practicing, getting feedback and improving, it has to be something that brings you satisfaction.  Something you love to do.

Secondly, Angela says you need purpose.  In other words, what do you consider meaningful in your life.  She suggests that overlapping your interest with your purpose will bring you closer to your passion.  That being said, she does recognize that sometimes reality sets in and you need to consider something like money. 

My belief, though, is that you usually find a way.  When I first started my speaking career, I did need a full time job to pay the bills, so I found one that had a flexible schedule.  Working in retail, I was able to free up my schedule so I could attend Toastmasters meetings and give presentations.  It wasn’t the best situation, but I made it work.  Now I’m lucky enough to be a Professional Speaker full time.  However, my practicing and improving are never ending. 

If you have some time, you might really enjoy watching Angela’s interview:  She has a much shorter TED talk but I didn’t find that one nearly as informative.  So next time you’re driving or walking or getting ready for work, hit the play button on this link.  I think you’ll really enjoy it.

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