Motivation for the Motivators

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Even motivational speakers need to be motivated every once in a while.

While most of my posts are about the art and business of motivational speaking, today’s post is about the heart of the motivational speaker. Most people assume that we are filled with confidence, running on eternal happiness, and always seeing the bright side of life. And while that may be true some times, we’re not perfect. Even we need encouraging every now and then. This is a tough and lonely business, and many of us do struggle with confidence and feeling worthy of our message. We worry if our audience will like us. We’re jealous of the other speakers and their place in the spotlight, wondering when it will be our turn. We feel overwhelmed and confused as to which path is meant for us. And sometimes we just get downright discouraged. And so today I just share with you some simple words of encouragement. Just in case this is you.

1.  The fact that you feel this way is a good thing. It says that you CARE about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. It says that you are using your platform for good and that you really do want to make a difference. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t be discouraged.

2. One changed life is one changed life.  Sometimes we get swept up in the numbers game, or the allure of a big audience. But one changed life is a BIG DEAL. And if you don’t believe that’s enough, go ask the one whose life was changed.

3. You’re not behind in the race. There is no race. That’s a myth – that we are all on this one track and we can see all the better athletes ahead of us, and we are always falling behind, feeling like a loser. We are all on our own web – at times intersecting – each of us hitting dark moments and victorious ones. Every speaker’s business is measured and valued in a different way – unique to their dreams and the path they are on.

4. What you see is not always what is.  You look out there and think you see speakers rolling in money, gobbling up all the opportunities, hogging the spotlight, commanding the big fees. That’s simply not true. What you see is just your perception. Don’t be jealous of what you think someone else has. You don’t know what they paid to get there – or even what their spotlight looks like.

5. Yes, you are good enough.  Stop wondering if you are good enough – worthy enough – smart enough. You. Are. Enough. Are you enough to get on Oprah? Maybe not. Are you enough to have a New York Times Best Seller? Maybe not. Who knows? But you are good enough to share your truth, tell your story, show the world that you are here. Stop waiting for perfect. We never get there.

6. Make it just about the music.  I love watching musicians of all genres get together and play – big names, small names, great talent, small talent – it doesn’t matter – because when they get together to play, it’s just about the music. In that moment they aren’t swept up in who is better, who sold more albums, or who got top billing. They are smiling and playing and feeling the notes and delighting in the song. For them, it’s just about the music.  I want to be that way in my industry. I don’t want to be looking around to see who gets a bigger stage or bigger fees or who sells the most. I want to be able to hold my instrument and play, while you hold your instrument and play, and we enjoy the beautiful music that we get the honor of experiencing.

To say there is one best speaker is like saying there is one best musician or one best song. And to try and say there is only one best…..well, it robs the world of a lot of beautiful music.   Your story matters to the one who needs to hear it.

7. Remember why you came.  I hit a point in my career, about seven years in, when I realized I had completely lost touch with why I did this in the first place. I realized that the joy I had was gone, replaced by a fierce determination and drive to succeed.  While I appreciate that drive, I want the joy back. So I always stop and remember why it is that I did this in the first place.

Don’t do this for the money. Or the applause. Or the chance to have your name in lights. Or you will never find it.  Do this because you love it. Do it because you can’t imagine doing anything else. Do it because you have to. Do it for them. And you will always find reward.

8. Much of the good you do goes unseen and unnoticed – but it didn’t go unfelt.  Just because nobody came up and told you, don’t assume that you aren’t making a difference. Your voice is being heard. Your story is being whispered to the world. Trust the wind to carry it.