“After the initial buzz, the effort to make a difference must begin.” – Kenneth Kwan
Last month, I wrote about the definition of success, expanding on John Maxwell’s version. It had resonated so much with me that I had to share it with my faithful readers. All those who commented seemed to have enjoyed reading, some even connected with it on a deeper level. Nevertheless, a regular reader raised caution about ‘so-called motivational speakers’ who have mastered the use of words and have easily captivated the hearts of gullible readers and followers. Of course, he was quick to also state that he was not referring to me; and I have only paraphrased him here too. That particular comment made me reason further and ask myself – why do we even write these things; is there really any new thing to write about; since many readers have most probably read about what I write, why do I need to still write about what others already know about, even much more than I could even comprehend? Perhaps, these are some of the reasons why I easily shy away from writing self-help articles. Everybody seems to keep repeating the same “6 essential principles for …bla bla bla”, “12 steps to recognising your career of best fit…” I digress, but you get the gist?
At some point in time, motivational talks and motivational speakers were ‘rubbished’ and stigmatized so much that most of them soon refused to be referred to by that tag anymore. They acquired new designations – “Inspirational Speaker/Preacher”, and became better accepted, even by the bigots. Even in the corporate world, the involvement of inspirational speakers in stimulating organisational change and improving productivity has been controversial. So, who is a motivational/inspirational speaker and how relevant can they be?
Simply, a motivational speaker is someone who has the special gift to inspire and motivate an audience to succeed, usually through speaking and/or writing. This person often taps into the power of storytelling in order to cause someone else to act for their own good. Usually, just like everyday advice and even church sermons, the listener has the power of choice – to listen or not to, to agree or disagree, to take action or not. Nevertheless, in more technical situations, like in the corporate world, it important to note that you don’t motivate people to change; oftentimes, you just need to involve them as participants. They most likely need to be involved in the process of executing change, beyond just being talked to. It is difficult to measure the impact of motivational talks, but when the speaker has some background in your area of expertise, as in software engineering or computer programming, it is easier to connect with them and hence be strongly impacted.
To summarise the long story: I think that motivational talks are good, but both the speakers and the listeners have a role to play. Motivational speakers and writers have the responsibility to skillfully paint clear pictures and tell their audience what they can do (not just the exceptional things that the speakers/writers themselves have done). Listeners and readers should also come to the table with clearly defined goals and with open minds to sieve the content for what is applicable and truly useful as opposed to what amounts to building castles in the air or just getting only a temporary high. What do you think about this? Do you subscribe to motivationals talks and to what extent, if yes?
P.S: I recently discovered Daniel Pink, the author of four provocative bestselling books about the changing world of work. His latest offering, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” explores what truly motivates human beings and submits that “The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.” I immediately added it to my reading list in January. I later found a lengthy review by Ikhide Ikheloa. Have you seen or read the book? I hope to lay my hands on it soon.
Photo credits: www.deepimpactonline.com
Gbenga Awomodu is an Editorial Assistant at Bainstone Ltd./BellaNaija.com. When he is not reading or writing, Gbenga is listening to good music or playing the piano. Follow him on Twitter: @gbengaawomodu | Gbenga’s Notebook: www.gbengaawomodu.com | Facebook Page: Gbenga Awomodu
Thinking of 50,000 people gathering in one area with one purpose seems like a pretty wild idea. But every year, FFA chapters send delegates to the 84th annual National FFA Convention. At the National FFA Convention, delegates are able to listen to inspiring speakers, discover jobs in the agricultural industry, compete in contests, and receive education from the agricultural community.
The Theme of National Convention this year was “I Believe.” The Bureau Valley chapter members left Manlius early morning for Indianapolis, Ind. They arrived in time to attend the opening meeting, where the national president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and advisor were introduced. After the National Officer Team was introduced, the delegates had an opportunity to listen to Dave Roever.
Roever was an inspirational speaker selected because of struggles he has overcome in his life. Roever was fighting in the Vietnam War when a grenade had deployed in his face. This had resulted in flesh being torn from his face. He conversed on the importance of believing in yourself and to stay away from drugs.
The next day, the group had the pleasure of attending a career workshop. It had a great deal of stations that were not limited to agribusiness, farming and various colleges with agricultural majors. Informational meetings were offered that covered topics form veterinary studies to cattle nutrition and from agricultural jobs to military positions.
The week continued with sessions presented by the National FFA officers, motivational speakers and speakers who elaborated on the traditions of Native Americans in the FFA. A concert, concluding the week, by Steel Magnolia, Little Big Town and Blake Shelton offered encouragement of a promising life through the secure pathways offered by the FFA.
Candidates for president typically don’t charge money for giving motivational speeches, but that hasn’t stopped former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain from racking up some $250,000 in speaking fees this year.
“I’m still doing paid speeches,” Cain told Bloomberg’s Joshua Green earlier this week. “But I have not raised my prices. This economy’s on life support, so I’m very mindful of those companies that would like to have me come and speak. But I’m not gonna take advantage of my newfound popularity just to put more dollars in my pocket.”
According to Green, Cain charges $25,000 per speech. He began his career as an “inspirational speaker” in 1995 as part of a series of motivational lectures, workshops and videos he called “The Herminator Experience,” or T.H.E.
Although polls show he is clearly a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, Cain has been criticized for running an operation that looks more like a book tour than a traditional campaign. While his rivals scramble to meet with voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, Cain has been plugging his new book, “This Is Herman Cain!,” in late primary states like Tennessee. His staff is tiny compared to the campaign juggernauts behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and so are his fundraising numbers: Cain raised only $1.3 million last quarter, while Romney and Perry took in more than $30 million between them. Cain also spent $65,000 of the money buying copies of his own book.
Cain dismisses the idea that he isn’t seriously running for president. “People who criticize me for our strategy, they don’t know what our strategy is,” Cain says. “I have an unconventional campaign.”
Winchester – Jul. 25, 2011 – Nancy Horton is the author of two books, a wife and mother, survivor of breast cancer, and she is also an inspirational speaker. Horton wrote “Hope in the Midst of Darkness” and “The Big, Fat, Bald Head”. She is passionate about story telling and the spoken word. Nancy Horton enjoys speaking to women’s groups, hospice and support groups, youth groups and schools about the importance of self-esteem, words and thoughts, dealing with fear, perseverance, forgiveness, true beauty and more. Horton also publishes a blog called “Hope in Darkness”, and she is a member of the Ottawa Valley Writer’s Guild.
Her literary works are getting some critical acclaim too. Her book “Hope in the Midst of Darkness” was awarded “Honourable Mention” in the July 2010 Free Publishing Word Alive Press Writing Contest. Both her books were also chosen to be part of the elite Great Canadian Author Program.
According to a Canadian Cancer Society report, “In 2011, Canada will continue to see an increase in the number of individuals diagnosed with cancer. Every hour of every day, an average of 20 people will be diagnosed with some type of cancer and eight people will die from cancer.” Statistically just about everyone knows someone who has cancer or who will one day have cancer. So books and motivational speeches can give us inspiration and remind us that we are not alone, and they can be a beacon of hope through otherwise dark clouds of despair.
Horton’s book “Hope in the Midst of Darkness” is a very personal account of her battle with cancer. According to the author, “Hope In The Midst Of Darkness is an engaging, honest, and uplifting account of my struggle with cancer. I speak candidly about my life and share the stark reality of the effects of the disease. It is written from my perspective as a Christ-follower, the book is infused with spiritual wisdom and shines with faith and hope to help others struggling with any type of dark situation.”
Her second book “The Big, Fat, Bald Head” looks at a child’s perspective having a parent with cancer. Horton explains, “The Big, Fat, Bald Head!” is a story about a child dealing with the reality of his mother enduring chemotherapy, this delightful little narrative is a light-hearted portrayal of a very serious situation. “The colourful, whimsical illustrations, created by my son, Carter, add a poignant and vivid element to this precious little book. A wonderful tool to open the lines of communication between a child and parent about cancer. Although this book is considered fiction, it is completely taken from my life experience, but told from Carter’s perspective.”
The writing process is different for every author. For Nancy Horton it began with journal writing. “After six months of journaling about my experience, I decided to write “Hope in the Midst of Darkness”, taking four years to complete it”. Horton sites religion as an inspiration to write her first book, and her son inspired her to write the second book.
“After experiencing an encounter with God, I felt I needed to share my story with others. I had a very mixed up view about what God was like because of the abandonment and abuse I experienced as a child. Two nights before I went for a mammogram, I dreamt that I had a mastectomy and was restored in the same dream. When I awoke, I had a scripture come to my mind that I didn’t know. It said, “Lord even though there is trouble all around me I will keep you alive.” (Psalm 139:7;NCV). Later, I got a Bible and checked its existence.
The night I was diagnosed, I awoke, crying at 3:00 am, I cried out to God and I asked Him to comfort me. I felt a warmth and peace cover me like a soft blanket and I rolled over and went right back to sleep. I experienced the same situation two nights in a row. This was the beginning of my healing journey.”
Horton reflects on her son’s reaction about losing her hair because of cancer treatment. “Carter, my middle son, became hysterical when he found out I was going to lose my hair. He loved my hair and would often ask me to put my hair in pigtails to play. After his third outburst, I asked him if he would still love me with my big, fat, bald head, he laughed, and was fine from then on.
Everyone is touched by cancer in one way or another. I felt parents needed a tool like The Big, Fat, Bald Head! to help open up the lines of communication with them about cancer, to give them understanding of what it’s like for someone to go through treatment and help answer any questions they may have in a positive way.”
Three is a charm! Nancy Horton, who’s favourite books include Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and The Bible, is working on a third book. “I’ve started writing a joke book for breast cancer survivors,” said Horton.
If you would like to buy a book, Nancy Horton’s books are available locally at Winchester Video Store, IDA, Shirley Fawcett Book Store, Hot Cup Cafe in Russell as well as River Rat Treasures in Iroquois. Nancy Horton can be contacted at email@example.com
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