Creating a Champion Mindset

Ever since the creation of time we’ve witnessed a natural competitiveness which has driven mankind to do many bad things along with good things in their need to learn how to win.

With the advance of online coaching, nowadays it seems like everyone has some secret to share about developing the proper mindset as a way to win.

What separates a winner from a loser? Sometimes a fraction of a second, sometimes a tiny lapse in thought while others a very simple shortage of desire. 

For many years, we have been exploring the approach to winning and many have spoken, taught or coached around the understanding of getting started. Simply draw a line in the sand and move over the line. It is a great concept and something that certainly starts the journey – but if it were as simple as that we wouldn’t normally see so many failed business start ups.

As we analyse success, the actual true grit, bit between your teeth success we know that there’s some character traits that cause success.

In fact, as we study the concept more, what we see is that the desire to get to the finish line has more to do with success than the capability to take the first step. 

Not surprisingly, with regard to a mindset, we simply can’t end until we have begun, so stepping over the start line is very important. But what about getting to the summit on the mountain? What about finishing the Ironman Ultramarathon? What about getting your business to profitability?

All of these successes speak more to the finish line than they do the start line.

So perhaps, in going through the deep secrets of success, the starting step pales in to insignificance in comparison to the finishing step. The ultimate foot on the summit of Mount Everest.

If you study endurance athletes the concept often referenced is “don’t stop”. When your body is screaming that it is in pain and everything in your mind is fighting against your will to keep going, the most important aspect is to not stop.

Famed endurance runner Ray Zahab talks of this concept in his first ultra marathon event which he decided would be in the Arctic. 

Not being a runner and not being familiar with arctic conditions did not deter Ray but it did lead him to taking equipment that was inferior compared to his competitors. Ray became nervous on the start line and sure enough within the first several kilometres of what was to be a long event through the night, Ray quit. At least for a short while. He sat on a tree stump in frigid arctic temperatures and cried. His equipment was short of requirements, it was his first event and, as an amateur, he was lined up against pro ultra marathoners backed by major corporations. 

What Ray came to realize during the brief moment of pitying himself was his desire to succeed could get him the next 100m. After that he knew he could do another 100m. What he could not believe was that he could run the full distance in snow shoes. 

So gradually 100m by 100m Ray moved and didn’t stop. In the early morning hours, he arrived at the small warming hut by the finish line. It was deserted and while Ray was happy to have taken the last step on the finish line, he was disappointed that he missed the festivities and everyone had left. 

As he was recapping his adventure and how he could improve in future events, the custodian of the cabin came out to congratulate him on his first place finish. Ray had just won his first ever Ultramarathon – by not quitting when he wanted to.

He kept going to the last step.

Ray’s story is an analogy for all of us. 

  1. He started his journey
  2. He didn’t know the solutions but he knew he could figure it out.
  3. He never stopped once he realized the short goals were achievable
  4. He took the last step over the finish line and as a result – won.

champion mindset

What does it take to have a mindset to win

It is often the truth we think that men and women are born lucky or having a champion mindset. 

In my experience however despite the fact that genetics may have a small role to play, figuring out how to win is merely a mind set.

There’s a saying that you can’t stop a loser from losing and you can’t stop a winner from winning. I’d say it is actually accurate. 

There are lots of folks that I have delivered online coaching to who will listen, make notes, make inquiries, participate in debates yet due to a quitting mindset, they fail to act on any of the information that was delivered to them.

This may not be at all unusual. If it were, there would not be a profession for keynote speakers. Time and again people get back to the same conventions and seminars to have somebody make them feel much better when winning and succeeding has little to do with feeling good.

The individual that wants to feel good, the one that has a champion mindset, will do so despite the pain, discomfort and feelings along the way. Visiting the gym is a prime example for many individuals. If we were honest we would admit that we don’t like going to the gym. I know I personally dislike running. What I do like is the effects of running. The point that I shed pounds, feel healthier and can run faster all lead me to want to continue running.

Life is no different and business is no different. We wish to succeed but in many instances we don’t desire to take the good with the bad.

I would absolutely advise that the bad is what makes the good – “good”. Flowers don’t grow in the desert where the sun shines but the rain never comes. We need the good days to provide contrast for the bad.

So what it take in my mind to win, is to have a commitment to a system. We need to remove the notion that success happens overnight, it does not. The most important step in success may in fact be the last one. The one when we have already climbed several false summits believing the next one is the real one. The step we take to speak to one more investor after several refusals. The one more time we get up to run again and rounding a corner to see the finish line. These are the steps that define success from failure. 

Today there is a proliferation of protectionism with our children. There is a strong desire to protect them from losing. The truth is if we never have the option to lose, we never experience the joy of succeeding. 

It is a cruel juxtaposition that we are in. The pain of knowing we might lose if we try compared to the relative comfort we have of never trying.

I think if we polled people who were on their final few weeks of life and asked what they would have wished more in their lives, it would have been to accomplish more, to try harder, to have lived more courageously. I don’t believe you would find a person with an adventurous spirit saying they wished they had spent more time in their LayZ Boy recliner watching TV.

If you want to develop a winning mindset, trying yourself not to quit.

Breaking in to the keynote speaker industry

Learning to be a Keynote Speaker

The first step if you desire to be a motivational speaker will be to initially make up your mind. Sounds simple right? The choice would be the easiest part of your journey as you begin a career as an entertainer, trainer or speaker. 

Keynote speakers are not born, they are made. A decision to become a speaker or trainer is very straightforward. In a number of ways it is liking saying you are contemplating doing the greatest cliff jump in to the local lake. However until your feet have left the cliff, you are not committed.

The persistence for transforming into a keynote speaker is imperative. Canadian speakers work typically in a much smaller market than their cousins to the south and it is a competitive market. You must ask yourself why would people pay you to communicate with their organization? That answer can be the actual key to your success.

Making the very last step count

Surely, if the initial step is the decision, the last step comes after the decision not to quit the speaking industry. It is definitely not uncommon for speakers to be working away at the sidelines awaiting the career to take off and it takes several years to reach that point. If you knew it would take a few years to build your career, might you stick it out? 

Frankly, if we knew the runway to success we’d plan for it and stick it out. Typically we expect everything to happen quicker than it does and we quit in year five not knowing that we could have a very successful year if we had hung around for one more year. 

There are so many stories from keynote speakers of people who even had agency representation yet did not create a “career” in speaking for seven or eight years. Additionally, there are many stories of speakers making several hundred thousand dollars a years. Are you prepared to wait that long?

The steps to success

One of the first steps is to join your national speaking association which will have regional chapters that can provide a lot of support and help on your way to success. 

The networking you can do at these meetings with other successful keynote speakers is important for your future direction. You will have the opportunity to hear what is working and of course, what is not. 

The speaking industry is often challenged with organizations who are looking for free speakers. While it may be tempting to drop your fee to court a potential client who really has no budget, you must remember there is a big difference between a free speaker and a professional speaker. 

Once you have created industry ties and learned the ins and outs of a speaking career, it is time to promote yourself. While the digital side of things is very important and cost effective, nothing beats getting on the road and talking to clients directly. 

At the point where you have a few clients under your belt and have delivered some compelling talks, you can start talking to agents who may be willing to add you to their roster. 

The important point to remember with regard to agency representation is they will typically account for only a small percentage of your overall bookings. Be careful not to rely too much on agency representation and focus on carving out your own success.

In the end, the important take away is that there is no shortcut to success. Stick it out, learn and grow and don’t quit. That will become your story.


5 Top list of Keynote Speaking mistakes

Avoid These Costly Speaking Mistakes

If you are a motivational speaker, then you certainly would like to avoid costly mistakes over the phase where you are attempting to secure a booking, but most importantly during the presentation.

The excellent news for aspiring speakers is that everyone has stories to share. The not so good news is that some people need coaching in order to share those stories.

Once you have found your inspirational speaking coach and invested time and money into figuring out how to do a good presentation, you want to avoid the major pitfalls of being a speaker.

So in no particular order, listed here are the 5 key mistakes you should avoid if you are getting in to a speaking career.

1.    Not researching your audience.
Either gearing up your talk for a well educated audience in your area of expertise or dumbing it down often times will be the primary difference between success and failure. Be sure to know what is at stake before you go into the room. 

2.    An early connection is vital.
Frankly if you have not put the audience on the edge of their seat in the first minute they already responding to texts. More to the point the organizer just left the room! 

3.    Lead them to water…. I know we can’t make them drink. So you had a great point, and it may have worked in your own life, but how does it help your audience – tell them what and how it’ll make a difference in their lives. 

4.    Don’t use lots of slides and don’t read slides. Lets face it, people came to hear you not look at you reciting lives of drivel on a slide. Most speakers could have at most a photo on a slide. Their point is to engage the audience with their talk not kill them with a slick power point presentation 

5.    Go out with a bang. You may have just delivered the best keynote an audience has ever seen, but if you do not close leaving them gasping for more, you killed the proverbial goose.  

Positive Motivational Speaking Tips

Many canadian speakers that I know have the process of designing a keynote down to a fine art in order that they easily coverthe above points. 

The important take away is the an ounce or prevention is worth a pound of cure if you don’t get it right…

For  me, I like to at least have a conference call with the even organizers to get a read on their expectations for the speaker. 

Secondly I will arrive early and meet the delegates and again take the opportunity to interview them and find out what makes the difference between a good speaker and a bad one from their perspective.

Finally, it is deemed an art to read the audience from the stage. You have to learn to think on your feet, figure out how to wake an audience up and be dynamic.

Don’t structure your keynote in such a way that you cannot pivot when needed.
One of my events was a booking for an automobile club. The drivers had been out all day racing their cars and by the end of the day they simply wanted to socialize and drink. 

I was scheduled to be on stage at 7pm. By 9:30pm after many apologies the organizer asked me to take the stage. I looked at my wife and said “There is no way I can do my keynote, they are way too loud”. 

I took the stage and indicated I was simply going to share some stories of how I had nearly died 5 times on adventures. The viewers immediately quietened and listened intently as I regaled some silly stories of mis-adventure. At the end of the night it was probably the greatest applause I have ever received!

Motivational Speaking The Skill of Being A Successful Speaker

I normally wondered what it really could well be like to be a keynote speaker or entertainer.

We have heard it declared that the two biggest fears in your life are talking in front of a substantial audience and falling from a great height. Having said that, then standing at the front of a stage actually talking to a large audience probably makes this career one of the most scary.

Every person has memories of a childhood where sooner or later in time we had been put on the spot to deliver a message or speech at the class. Almost certainly we all remember that sudden dryness in the mouth, cold beads of sweat on our foreheads and a sudden rapid forgetfulness.

How do you overcome these negative attributes of speaking. If you’re a trainer, or a motivational speaker, then you have probably learned to overcome these situations already.   then how do you go about recovering from a point where everything seems to have gone south.

The initial thing I advise people to do is to talk to lots of successful speakers and enquire them what their biggest fear is or was and how did they overcome it. 

Keeps notes of what you learn and after that study the items that scare you and look through your resource of information to figure out how to solve the problem.

Many people actually enjoy that slightly nervous feeling before walking out on stage and others simply delight in the power from a good audience. Some people are very calm and collected although some appear a little less comfortable in the spotlight.

Like many careers there is an portion of excitement that you can find addictive. Even a chef in a busy kitchen does not always know how the evening is going to turn out and lives on adrenaline at some point during a busy evening. The same can be said to be true about a speaker.

  to understand and assist in reducing your fears is that everybody has come to see you. They did not come to see you attempting to be somebody else, simply you. If you are passionate about your topic then frankly you could probably improvise a speech on the spot and entertain a room full of people.

Often times, we are nervous about how will be received because we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves. In reality, we can all benefit from a dose of positive mental attitude which is probably one of the most common talks from speakers. 

There are many techniques that one can use to overcome fear. The most important is to focus on the goal. Keep that closing statement in your mind and remind yourself of what you need to finish. 

Sometimes the biggest thing we fear is fear itself. Our mind takes a simple and realistic fear and builds a mountain out of a molehill. Breaking down the fear in to component parts is a reasonable way to approach the problem. 

Fear is very much a mental game. The former SAS soldier Andy McNabb talks of his capture in Iran and subsequent torture saying that it was simply like a board game and he was not going to let his opponent win. IN his mind he developed the mental toughness and fortitude to not give in to his opponent. He knew they would not kill him but they might break his bones. Those, in time would heal and so Andy knew he would have to face suffering but never defeat. 

For us as speakers, we will never have to fear that kind of pressure. The worst case scenario is that we deliver a keynote that is not well received. We may have some damage limitation to do or a reduced fee, but we will never have broken bones or be locked in a horrible jail cell.

Another important area to focus on is getting started. Too many people make themselves uncomfortable by thinking about what could go wrong, yet, when you start you are working in your area of strength. You are a speaker, revel in the opportunity and let people see how good you are. The feedback from a group can be incredible for your conviction so give them the chance to learn from you.

The third area is that you would be greedy to not share your information. Your goal as a speaker is to inspire people or to help them learn. Because of this, your fears are not justified. They could be perceived to be self centred and greedy. Take your eyes off yourself for a moment and think of the people in the audience who’s lives might change because you overcame your fears and got the job done.

Finally – it is important to remember that the more keynotes you do the better you then become. Canada Speakers like Hugh Culver and Linda Edgecombe have been at the top of their game for years. That is because they are well practised. They have done a lot of talks and presentations and have benefitted from the fact that they became very comfortable in the role. 

Whatever your fear, you can take comfort from the fact that you will become more practised, more confident and you will be recognized at some point for your expert delivery.

Why is a Motivational Speaker Successful

  1. So you choose to be a keynote speaker or trainer because speaking is the passion? But you are not certain how you can do it…. follow this advice.

    The first step is to figure out what is your topic? What is your brand? Where would you add value to your audience? Of course, and very importantly, who is your audience?

    Among the best places to begin as a speaker is in your physical location. There are several service clubs and organizations who are always interested in a speaker to fill in some time on their agenda.

    Like this, whether you’re an entertainer, keynote speaker or motivational speaker, it will be easy to get some feedback in a friendly environment.

    Every speaker occasionally experiences the audience that really does not want to be there. Typically you can “break the ice with the audience very early in the talk but occasionally, it does not happen and you know the next Forty-five minutes might be torture.

    What you must understand and take from that lesson is it is not only just you as a speaker or trainer that has a painful 45 minute experience. It’s also the meeting planner who is struggling to confirm your validity for next years meeting!

    Who is your client?

    You must remember that the audience you are speaking to is not your client. It is the meeting or event planner that’s your client. They, typically are most tense in the first two to three minutes of a presentation to ascertain if you can get the listeners to “lean in”. If you fail to break the ice early with the audience the meeting planner knows they’ll be hearing negative comments.

    For that reason, the structure of a keynote is crucial. 

    There are various “recipes” that had been created and many very talented Canadian Speakers who use recipes to create their keynotes but generally, this is a fairly standard pattern to follow:

    Introduce the audience to a funny or emotional story, right off the start line. 
    Introduction to what you will teach them
    Take the first point – relate a story to them of how the first point is so important… some sort of crash and burn story which enables you suggest to them what you learned from the experience (or third party). Then point out the solution. In this manner, you get their attention with a relatable story and you allow them to have solution. Wrap up that phase of the discussion with a few ideas as to what benefits they’ll derive from using your unique solution in their lives.
    Rinse and repeat part 3 with your other points, summarizing the points to improve following each session.
    Sell yourself – books, other meetings etc
    Close with a summary of all they already have learned and then give them one amazing take away story that they can never forget you for. An unforgettable joke is additionally a good way to close a keynote.

    There you have it. A standard process to allow you as a keynote speaker to rock the world.

    Now you have read that you may have the question in your head “Can I really do this?” The answer certainly is YES.

    Too many people in the speaker coaching world will try and get you to be someone you are not.

    In truth you simply need to become a better “YOU”. The world should hear your story. If we really sit back and think about it we should all have a few important stories to tell from our lives that can impact others. If we do not, then we can arrange to go out and create some stories, which is the fun part!

    The important take away from the article is that the audience is a tool you can use to impress your meeting planner, your client. If you learn to use that audience correctly, you can make them laugh, make them cry, make them think or get them to react. The final outcome is the audience needs to take something valuable away from the meeting and they need to remember you. 

    If you succeed in that regard you will be an in demand trainer or speaker. You can make a career based on travel, fun and learning. 

Why constitutes a successful keynote speaker?

It is very often the case a lot of people believe keynote speaking is a deluxe and prestigious profession.

It is obvious as an entertainer or keynote speaker you can generate a significant amount of income and become very much sought after. However, most successful speakers or entertainers spend a long time in airports around the world or hotels in various cities.

In order to have a career in speaking or to become a motivational speaker, you need to first be or at least be perceived as being an expert in some subject.

What we most commonly see as a successful keynote speaker is somebody who has achieved a very high standing in their profession or sport. It is not however the only way to turn into a very successful motivational speaker.

The art of speaking or indeed being a trainer is centred around your capability to retain the focus of your audience. It is what most speakers refer to as the capability to get your audience to lean in.

Perhaps the revolution in the speaking industry has been the evolution of TED talks. While a great many keynote speakers and entertainers focus on delivering content over a 45 minute to one hour period, TED forces you to deliver an impactful message inside of 18 minutes.

The lesson for any speaker relates to the skills for the audience to focus over a longer period of time.

It must be noted that while each TED talk is of a shorter duration, the target is able to maintain focus over several sessions in the same evening.

The lesson therefore to anybody desiring to be a trainer or speaker essentially must learn to keep your audience engaged over larger spans of time using various tools like humour, audience participation or emotion. Essentially you’ll want to learn to be a number of different personalities in the same talk.

Many organizations which include toastmasters consentrate on training people to become speakers, however in most all cases the training is somewhat old school. While it is valuable to know the tools of the trade, as with many professions, times have changed and we haven’t necessarily responded to the change. 

A prime example is with the writing industry. Where books were once a minimum of 80,000 words, the evolution of the eBook industry has ended in a demand for 8000 word ebooks. 

The same holds true in speaking where today we worry less in regards to the “umm’s, err’s or “like’s” in a sentence plus much more concerning the ability for the speaker to entertain us and hold us captive to their narrative. 

Canada is one country that produces many top quality entertainers and speakers. Becoming a Canadian speaker you have access to not only the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (which has membership requirements in regards to your experience) but also several high quality speaker agencies.

Even though the desire to become a speaker may focus you on a path of writing a keynote and preparing yourself for the big day, you should also be prepared to be multi-talented.

Most motivational speakers derive a significant portion of their income from selling books at their events. Additionally they deliver workshops to the same audience to include value to their service.

In this circumstance the skills to create a book or host a workshop need to be acquired or purchased to assist you in your career progression.

If you are thinking about a career in speaking in North America, I would recommend you look to either the National Speakers Association in the USA or the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers in Canada. 

Once you have opened enough doors to start to get bookings, it is an extremely rewarding career and one that can be very profitable also.