The art of motivating friends, colleagues or big audiences doesn’t come naturally to most motivational speakers. It’s the turn of events in the speakers own life that they draw inspiration from.
It is this inspiration that they pass on to their audiences, one speech after another.
A Motivational Speaker is not Born a Speaker
Yes, it is true. None of the five well known inspirational people pictured above knew or planned their futures as motivational speakers.
It’s the LIFE and the various challenges that this person has dealt with that leads to the creation of a motivational speaker.
A person who has not failed many times, got up again and emerged victorious in his life can hardly be able to motivate himself, let alone those in an audience.
Good motivational speakers are able to take what they have done, whether it be winning an Olympic medal, overcoming significant adversity or building the next big thing and show how they did this. And most importantly that it’s possible for anyone to do something similar. Therefore to answer the question of ‘how people become motivational speakers’ (and earn a significant income)’ you’ll note 99.9% of them have done something special or significantly challenging that impresses and inspires people.
What makes a person a motivational speaker is being able to not just talk about how they did what they did, but communicate to their audience that they too can do it. It might not be easy, but it is possible.
There are exceptions to the rule that have become great motivational speakers without achieving something amazing on the way, but they are in the minority. Tony Robbins is the best example of someone who has developed his speaking skills based on learning what drives people to (using the title of his best selling book) ‘Awaken The Giant Within’. But these speakers are few in existence.
As an expert on motivational speakers I believe it’s better to be spoken to and easier to learn from someone who has been there and done it for themselves. Otherwise you end up like the CEO who hired a global consulting firm to evaluate its leadership team to find a bunch of bright 20 year old grads telling the 50 year old and invaluable COO how to do their job better.
It is also noteworthy that many people attend motivational talks as a result of trying to find a different way forwards in their lives. At some point in time, your speaker is highly likely to have dealt with severe distress. Then they managed to break free from the shackles of monotony and mediocrity. For most people mediocrity will be exactly how they feel sitting in front of their speaker so a strong reference to breaking this chain is highly effective.
A Motivational Speaker is Always Learning
No one in this world ever stops learning. Motivational speakers are no different. They give out messages that will become stale over time. They constantly need to seek out new challenges in order to face personal satisfaction. I can demonstrate many examples of speakers constantly reinventing themselves in order to retain popularity and bookings.
The UK’s leading inspirational speaker is world renowned adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes whom I work very closely with. Ran has been on over 40 expeditions and although turning 70 years old has recently climbed Everest and is always reinventing himself and seeking his next great challenge.
The people, who manage to touch the hidden corners of your heart where the inspiration lay dormant, are not always “winning” in their personal lives. They too have their own share of ongoing struggles. But, they are better equipped to handle them. The inspiration for Fiennes to summit Everest was the loss of his wife to cancer which devastated him and he raised millions for the Marie Curie Cancer Charity on this expedition.
Motivational Speakers need not be “Materialistically” Successful People
A person does not have to be a tycoon to be a speaker who can successfully motivate hundreds of professionals at a company. The most powerful motivational speakers are those that have successfully overcome significant adversity in their life. In fact looking at the images above Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Prize for his work on income redistribution to the poor and Sir Tim Berners-Lee didn’t create the world-wide web to profit from it.
Claire Lomas fell from a horse and was paralysed and Mark Pollock who already was a leading motivational speaker before he too fell and was paralysed to add to his blindness are incredibly inspirational to all who hear them speak. These people are physically limited through unfortunate circumstance but choose to get on with life and do things that as Pollock says ‘make the impossible, possible’.
Ireland’s Paul McNeive pictured above lost his limbs aged 19 in a horrific car accident. He rose to the top like inspirational speakers do and specialises now in helping others ‘take small steps’ to achieve their own objectives. Marc Woods a brilliant British motivational speaker lost his left leg through cancer at a similar age to Paul McNeive. Woods swam faster with one leg than he had done with two and went onto smash world records and win Paralympic medals.
Day to Day Life is Pretty Much Awesome
Off stage, a motivational speaker appears to be living a pretty much “ordinary life”. They wake up energised on most days and go to bed happy. They are grateful for all things that life has brought, be it the failures or successes. They take full responsibility for their own success and failure.
They are normally relaxed and steady and they know that deep down this calmness and self confidence is more important than all the money and adulation they get from speaking. More rewarding is helping people to follow in their steps and unlock their full potential and achieve what they can by taking small or giant steps.
Hope you enjoyed the article. Feel free and please add your thoughts in the comment section.
Founder or the Promotivate Speakers Agency Europe