I believe that each of us is making our way through life attempting to find our voice in this world. What I mean by voice is that we are trying to find what it is that we stand for, what our life means, and how we can share that with the world. Your voice has been your voice for your entire life. You just may not have known how to tap into it.
Think about what got you excited as a kid. What were you doing when you felt truly alive and inspired? I remember starting to do UIL impromptu speaking. It was awesome! I was given the chance to draw a topic out of a hat, take a few minutes to formulate what I wanted to say about it and then give a speech on the topic. I think the speeches were 5 minutes. I felt alive the moment I stepped in front of the judges. I was inspired when I saw them smiling and nodding in agreement with the things I was saying. I still even remember the first topic I drew. As fate would have it, my topic was "How To Start A Business." In hindsight, that was a funny topic for an 8th grader, but it was perfect for me.
You have always known what gave you life, but if you are like roughly 80% of Americans, you have not given yourself permission to follow your dreams. Most people get a job and do their job to make money. 82% of people also report that they can't stand their job (ADECCO). While working and being self-sufficient is the responsible thing to do, it often involves the person going home at the end of the day and pursuing nothing, thus giving up responsibility for their future. Success often requires us to be responsible in our job AND to pursue our dreams. Most of the truly successful people I have encountered in life have worked jobs and then gone home and worked at their dreams. They didn't have time for Netflix or Hulu because that was just a way to numb themselves and it took away from what mattered. They were alive with excitement about living into their purpose.
I have had no less than 100 people ask me for help in becoming a professional speaker over the last 20 years of business. My response is still the same today as it was 20 years ago. If you want to be a speaker, go speak. Most professional speakers presented in front of 200+ groups for free before they decided to charge for the service. I have been giving speeches since 8th grade. I have given at least 2 speeches a week after graduating college and I gave hundreds in college. I got a job doing training, which gave me the chance to speak for 8 hours a day for 3 days a week. I then got a job and found a way to speak in front of people as often as possible as a part of the job. I have always been a speaker as a part of my work, but I have always had the same voice, or message, as well. My message is that you have potential and you have the ability to summon it to the surface and live into it... if you choose to do the work.
When I went into business for myself in 1999, that was the decision to be in control of getting paid to speak. That year, I presented (sales presentation) to 500 potential customers which meant I made well over 2,000 phone calls to get appointments. The next year, I presented to over 200 potential customers and made roughly 800 phone calls to set those appointments up. So, I want to share the secret formula for success in the speaking business.
1. Speak as often as possible and accept criticism and feedback, then adjust accordingly.
2. To make it a business, work your A$$ off in finding people who will pay you to speak. It is likely that 4 out of 5 people will say no in the beginning. Get appointments. Try to solve a problem they want solved with your service. Ask for the business. If they say no, ask another person. If everyone says no in the beginning, keep asking anyway!
3. Be grateful for everything you get.
4. Learn something new every single day so that you have more to speak about.
5. Persist until you succeed and keep repeating.
Most people think following your dream is supposed to be easy and fun, but the reality is that following a dream is often more hours and more discipline than settling for what life is offering. Hard work has always been at the core of success. The difference is that if you truly believe in you being at the center of your dream, the work just feels like peeling back the layers of restriction to reveal your greatness. It is already there. The work purifies you and lets the universe know that you are serious.
To apply this formula to any endeavor, simply change out the word "speak" with the core activity at the center of your dream. I know you can succeed at whatever you truly commit to and are willing to work tirelessly to achieve. You have incredible potential. Following the right recipe for success lets both you and the world experience that potential.
You've Got This!