I had the honor to speak at the Rotary Club of Northwest Austin this morning. They had asked me to create a new, fresh and different presentation. As a professional speaker who has addressed over 110 audiences in the last twenty months, I could not use the framework of one of the talks that I am hired to present around the country at law firms, corporations and association conferences (the topics of the power of business relationships, networking, "Integrated Visibility", personal branding, social media were off the table). While every talk I do is customized for the audience, they were not interested in hearing me speak on my regular subjects.
Instead, the person in charge of programs for the club wanted me to to create a motivational talk that utilized my eclectic career path and unique background of working for seven companies that closed down or experienced layoffs. Having seen the collapse (or reorganization) of so many companies over twenty years apparently gives me a close up and personal view of the realities of recessions.
"Never Quit The Journey" turned out to be a new and exciting presentation.
While I make no secret of my bumpy road to success.... I had never given a speech about my own life in this much detail. I wanted the story to be informative and motivational. Preparing the discussion was simultaneously fun and painful, as I recounted the fact that my first job, a busboy at the Big Yellow House Restaurant in Monrovia, California ended abruptly when the parent company (Great American Restaurants, Inc.) filed for bankruptcy. At 17 years old I had no idea of the foreshadowing occurring the day I drove up to find the place boarded up. Nobody could have predicted the commonality of that event throughout my career, but it was an important early lesson that life goes on.
Near the end of the talk I announced that "I am living my dream". I had experienced jobs that were equally as satisfying as self-employment, and the lesson is that once you have lived great joy in your career, you are never again satisfied with anything less. I encouraged the audience never to settle.
It was a bit scary to say out loud, with gusto, to a large audience... that "I am living my dream!!!". But I have learned from my experiences as a speaker that anything you share that is real and authentic should never be feared. It brought with it applause and approval from the crowd.
Afterward one person asked me if I thought everyone could "live their dream"? Yes, I do believe that people can live their dreams.
Each week I get to present to a variety of professional audiences from small local Rotary Clubs to company sales meetings to major industry conventions. I meet amazing people and hopefully motivate, educate and inspire those who sit and hear my talks. New Year Publishing and NYP Speakers continue to grow and provide valuable services to those with whom we work. My wife and kids are happy (and seem to like me most of the time!!!), and I even find a little time for myself to read a book or go to the gym (the full dream involves losing eight more pounds!).
A fulfilling career will have its share of surprises. There can be twists, turns and bumps in the road, but if you have a dream, keep working your way toward making it your reality. Never quit the journey!
Have A Great Day.