Having a Champion Mindset

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

With the creation of online coaching, nowadays it appears as if everybody has some secret to share about developing the best mindset in order 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 lack of desire. 

For several years, we have been exploring the approach to winning and many have spoken, taught or coached around the notion of getting going. 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 elementary as that we probably would not see so many failed business start ups.

As we analyse success, the actual true grit, bit between your teeth success we realize you will find some personality 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 1st step. 

Needless to say, regarding a mindset, we simply cannot end until we have begun, so stepping over the start line is paramount. But what about getting to the summit on the mountain? What about finishing the Ironman Ultramarathon? What about getting your business to profitability?

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

So perhaps, in looking at the deep secrets of success, the starting step pales in to insignificance as compared 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 battling with 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 usually the case we think that men and women are born lucky or with a champion mindset. 

If you ask me however despite the fact that genetics could have a small role to play, finding out how to win is only a mind set.

There exists a saying that you can’t stop a loser from losing and you can’t stop a winner from winning. I might say it is rather accurate. 

There are many individuals who I have delivered online coaching to who’ll listen, make notes, ask questions, participate in debates yet due to a quitting mindset, they fail to act on any of the information that’s 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 come back to the same conventions and seminars to get somebody make them feel good 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 especially like going to the gym. I know I personally dislike running. What I do like is the effects of running. The truth 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 want to take the good with the bad.

I would absolutely propose 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 1st step if you desire to be a motivational speaker is to initially make up your mind. Sounds simple right? Your choice will be the easiest part of your journey as you embark on 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 most important cliff jump in to the local lake. However until your feet have left the cliff, you are not committed.

The commitment to learning to be 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 consider why would people pay you to communicate with their organization? That answer will become the actual key to your success.

Making the last step count

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

Frankly, if we knew the runway to success we will plan for it and stick it out. More commonly we expect everything to happen quicker than it does and we quit in year five not understanding that we might 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. You can also find 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 help and support on your way to success. 

The networking you can do at these meetings with other successful keynote speakers is extremely important for your future direction. You will have the opportunity to hear what is working as well as, 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 need to know 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.


Top Five list of Keynote Speaking mistakes

Avoid These Costly Speaking Mistakes

If you’re an motivational speaker, then you certainly would like to avoid costly mistakes in the phase where you are seeking to secure a booking, but most importantly during the presentation.

The good news for aspiring speakers is that you have stories to share. The bad news is that many of us need coaching in order to share those stories.

Once you have found your inspirational speaking coach and invested time and money into learning to do a good presentation, you want to steer clear of 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 means the real difference between success and failure. Be sure you know what is at stake before you enter in the room. 

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

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

4.    Don’t use a lot 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 only a photo on a slide. Their point is to engage the audience with their talk not kill all of them with a slick power point presentation 

5.    Go out with a bang. You might have just delivered the best keynote an audience has had the pleasure of seeing, 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 developing 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 an art to read the audience from the stage. It is advisable to learn to think on your feet, understand how to wake an audience up and be dynamic.

Don’t structure your keynote in such a way that you can’t 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’re 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 audience immediately quietened and listened intently as I regaled some silly stories of mis-adventure. At the end of the night it was among the finest applause I have ever received!