The problem with motivational speakers is that they generally don’t have the impact that we pay them for.
Many of the speakers I have seen and heard over the years have definitely had a short-term impact. They have a wonderful message, great stories that leave me laughing one moment, crying the next. I leave the auditorium feeling powerful, energised, excited and happy that I have attended their session. I feel fantastic and positive about the changes I can make in myself, my community and the world. LOOK OUT EVERYBODY, HERE I COME!!
Unfortunately, after a few days I am back to my normal self and life goes on as it always has. Does anything ever change?
When I think about the times there has been a major shift in my attitude or behaviour over the years it has rarely (if ever) come about because I was happy or excited about something.
Unfortunately, fear and dissatisfaction seem to be the greatest motivators. The biggest changes in my life have occurred when I have become so unhappy with the current situation, so dissatisfied with what I have been doing, that the pain of change becomes less than the pain of staying where I am. And that sense of pain has typically been values driven, from my core, that things need to be different.
Consequently, if I want to hear a great ‘motivational’ speaker, I want them to make me feel uncomfortable. I want them to create an impression on me that I feel so dissatisfied about the current situation that I am driven to change. However, not from self-loathing, but from self-respect.
These are the significant moments when I have improved my practice, business, habits, choices, life, whatever. My personal disappointment drives my need for change to overcome the inertia of the status quo.
My last piece of advice for your next conference is not to find the most entertaining speaker, but to find that One Idea. Life is such that changing a lot of things is just too difficult and unrealistic. But at most conferences you can find that one idea that you can adapt and bring into your life to create lasting change. It doesn’t always have to be a big idea, either. A small change, multiplied by 5, 10 or 20 years has enormous impact. What will your next great Idea be?