Last week I received a call from Scott, a childhood friend with whom I had not talked with in over 25 years. He sought me out because he has a desire for a career as professional speaker, but was unsure how to begin.
We had a great chat. For over an hour he answered questions and shared with me his life's journey, which is honestly inspirational. His personal history is a powerful story that will lend itself to motivate others. He has already been speaking to youth groups, churches and school,s but knows his message could have a strong impact on corporate audiences. His interest in this career path was genuine, and I gave him some advice on what steps to take (this is not a career that you can jump into quickly). I was happy to share and excited by his enthusiasm.
Six days later I sent him a follow up email asking "What steps have you taken since our conversation that would lead you closer to this dream?" The question is something a mentor of mine did years ago when I had been seeking similar advice. His point was that many people look for advice, but few take fast action (thankfully I had taken the actions he suggested!). If you really are serious you will do something.
I get a lot of calls from people who want to write a book, be a speaker, or make other career changes. Most have not taken any action in the week (or a month) after our discussion. They usually say they have "been thinking" or "gathering more information". Not this time. Scott's response was fast, to the point, and honestly amazing.
Here is what he said:
"I just got back from a local NSA (National Speakers Association) meeting. It was really good. I am going to print up some cards saying "Scott (insert last name), Professional Speaker" and write out my speech that I have been giving an see how I can get a powerful business message out of it. Thanks for the follow up. Are you going to the NSA convention in Orlando next month?"
Wow. After one phone call he hung up and took the actions necessary to move his life in a new direction immediately. He had obviously thought about this before our call, but once he received tangible advice, he took action.
If you want something, you have to take the action. Writers write and speakers speak. They do not think about it. A career change into a new industry requires information and participation. I recently heard Steven Tomlinson (Professor, Playwright, Pastor, Economist, and all around brilliant person) give the advice that "if you want to change careers you should seek out and make friends with people in your field of interest". I agree. Scott's attending a local NSA meeting does not make him a professional speaker, but it does expose him to more people in his city who are committed to this career. And it is proof that he is taking action to change his life.
My prediction is that Scott will be earning a fantastic living as a professional speaker faster than most who succeed in the business. I look forward to sharing the stage with him soon at a major corporate convention (and eventually adding him to the NYP Speaker's team!).
Have A Great Day!