“Oh! You’re a MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER!”
That’s often the response that I get when I tell people that I speak professionally. To be honest, I cringe inwardly because I’m not enamored of the term ‘motivational speaker’…and here’s why: I can’t motivate a soul. Sure…I’ve often WANTED to motivate a few individuals…especially my children, but I’m convinced it’s just not possible.
Over the years, I’ve heard, seen, read, and listened to motivational books, DVDs, CDs, videos, and even cassettes! I’ve heard of programs like ‘Motivational Minute!’, ‘Morning Motivation!’, ‘Motivational Monday’, ‘Motivation of the Month’ and on and on it goes. Please don’t misunderstand; I’m not ‘knocking’ any of these resources. They all sound great. They are accepted globally. And no doubt they contain some wonderful content. But…maybe I’m just a stickler for detail and the grammarian within me can’t escape one minute detail. Let me explain.
The Oxford Dictionary defines MOTIVATION as ‘A reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way’ and ‘Desire or willingness to do something.’ The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as ‘willingness to do something, or something that causes such willingness.’ These highly credible sources use the word WILLINGNESS in their definitions, and thereby make my point; motivation is clearly an object of one’s WILL…and I certainly have zero control over someone else’s will. I have a hard-enough time with my OWN will-power, let alone someone else’s! Quite frankly, I’d much rather be considered an INSPIRATIONAL speaker.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines INSPIRATION as ‘the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions’ and ‘the act of influencing or suggesting opinions.’ That is an infinitely more accurate representation of the work that I’ve been doing for over 20 years. It also describes MY MOTIVATION for having delivered close to 4,000 presentations, and for continuing to do so.
Here’s the cool part: I daresay that ALL of us are inspirational speakers in some way. You don’t have to stand on a platform, at a lectern, in a lecture hall, or in a stadium. You don’t have to use PowerPoint or Keynote. You don’t have to deliver a speech or present a noteworthy oration. You simply have to use your voice.
If you are a parent, no doubt you continually encourage your child to achieve. You are an inspirational speaker. If you are an educator, you lead your students along a path of knowledge and wisdom. You are an inspirational speaker. If you coach a team of any kind; from sports to dance to chess and anything in between, you promote excellence in the participants. You are an inspirational speaker. If you have friends and family…and chances are you do…you want the best for, and from, the ones you love. You are an inspirational speaker.
Maybe I’m talking myself out of a job here, but I firmly believe that we ALL have the means of inspiring others. How? By telling our stories. By offering words of encouragement. By being honest enough, open enough, authentic enough, and vulnerable enough to share our experiences. The lessons that we learn from our successes and failures, when shared with others, will offer inspiration that we may never fully comprehend or appreciate. Tell YOUR story.
I can’t MOTIVATE you to tell your story; I can only hope that you’re WILLING to so…perhaps because I’ve INSPIRED you.
Mark L Brown
World Champion of Public Speaking
MAKE THIS AN OUTSTANDING DAY!