Is There an Inspired Thought Leader Inside of You?

Sixteen years ago, as legend has it, I read a book in six days and everything in my life changed. Upon finishing it, I knew that I needed to leave my marriage and to change the course of my career–writing novels–which I had adored.  I woke up from that book knowing I needed to do something that was more real and substantial than creating fictional plots and characters had been for me. The words that I said–in the privacy of my own head—were, ” I want to change the world.”

For two years, all dressed up with no where to go, I searched for the venue that would help me to do that and finally came upon coaching. It was not what it is today: no one had heard of it, no one understood it (I think most still don’t) and so it was wide-open terrain. I was passionate about it because I knew its empowering methodology could indeed change the world.

accelerated learning mapFive years later, at a seminar, I was captivated by a method of working with audiences derived from education science called “accelerated learning.” It was another life-changing few days, as I decided to leave coaching and immerse myself in learning everything I could about accelerated learning and brain-based learning. Eighteen months later, passionate and convicted, I launched my second business—Inspired Leaders’ Academy—with a new kind of public speaking training just for entrepreneurs, using these technologies. I knew that when used properly, this “new paradigm of audience leadership” could change the world.

It’s been many years since that launch and many more since my realization that I wanted to change the world, but the drive is as real and fresh in me as it was when I closed the cover of that book.  I still believe coaching can change the world; I know that leading audiences with the technology of brain-based-learning will change the world—and now I work with coaches and other experts to help them change the world with a third element: Thought leadership.

Here’s my conviction: No business will make it now without leaving the pack and standing far apart from everyone else. And the way coaches, consultants and other experts will do that is with a fresh, provocative, even radical, message that shatters the status quo. A thought leader message. It’s essential for survival, and the only option for changing the world.

But a thought leader message isn’t enough. I named my business Inspired Leaders’ Academy years ago because I knew to stand out, and to change the world, you must lead with inspiration.  The fact is, inspiration sells as no data, evidence, or sound intellectual arguments ever will. My father was a minister and I adapted his natural ability to inspire, so when I began leading my public speaking trainings and free events, I saw that truth in action: inspiration is the ultimate call-to-action.ShieldHighResVersion

So, to be successful and change the world, you can’t just have a thought leader message that is intellectually satisfying; you need the fire and passion of inspiration to move an audience to truly “hear” that message and make it their own. On the other hand, you cannot just have an inspirational message—heat and heart—without a solid idea that confounds common understanding, fries brain circuits and destroys conformist thinking. You need them both.

I’ll be leading a virtual event in a couple of weeks: Is There an Inspired Thought Leader Inside of You?” It’s not an easy road; it requires rigorous thinking and a commitment to excellence beyond anything you’ll see around you–but if you are here to change the world, there will be only one answer for you, as there was for me sixteen years ago: Yes, and it’s ready to come out!

So…Is There an Inspired Thought Leader Inside of You?

A Successful Expert But Still Not Feeling Your Big Purpose? Reason #2

I’d like to round-out this discussion with the other reason you may not be feeling a BIG PURPOSE—though you’re successful. You may not be utilizing your skills and talents for a far-reach aspiration: both yours and your markets’. When I launched my 2nd business, Inspired Leadership Training, in 2006, I was teaching an incredible public speaking program, Secrets of Impact and Influence, based on the latest brain research in learning. What was I helping people do, initially? For a long time, it was “get more clients” by using public speaking as a marketing tool. Then, for an equally long time,  I was helping them to “be the best presenter in their field”—because this program really delivers that. Then, I was helping them be responsible experts, raising their standards so they were teaching with unparalleled excellence—a requirement, in my book, for giving paid presentations, seminars, trainings, etc.  But the problem was, these skills and talent of mine, which were able to produce these promises, were not connecting to a part of me that was alive and well outside of my business: a part that was becoming aware of and studying global human potential. I was watching the central institutions of our world collapse around us, and the rising up of populations demanding freedom and human rights. I knew that this activity was going to reach a climax—and that leaders with great wisdom would start coming out of the woodwork, as if suddenly “activated” or called to their purpose. And I knew my market—a subset of coaches, consultants, authors and speakers–were those up-and- coming leaders. Despite this, I was still promoting SII around more practical goals: getting more business and being one of the best presenters/teachers. Yet, the fact was, this particular public speaking model was tailor-made for the leaders.  For those who would be called to serve in the global human potential movement. Indeed, that’s why I had gravitated to learning neuroscience and applying it to public speaking in the first place!! I had known it could move mountains and mount movements—but I wasn’t talking about that in my promotion of the course, and not even in the course, with those seated before me! My skills and talents were not taking my market far enough, And they were not taking me far enough into things that mattered most to me. Finally, just a few months ago, I leapt off the cliff and made it clear that everything I do is specifically designed for those who want to change the world—who want to be true, inspired leaders. Not every coach, consultant, speaker or author wants my skills to take them there— they’re more attracted to my older, more pragmatic promises–but so many do! Many are being “called” to bigger stages every single day and the higher calling of my skills and talents (that extend beyond public speaking, by the way) is reaching out to them. So, if you’re not feeling your Big Purpose, look at how far you are taking your followers with your skills and talents. Where could you take them that’s bigger, higher, grander, more meaningful—more inspirational? If you’re one of the called—if you know you are an inspired leader—Big Purpose known or unknown—it is your time to lead. Be sure to experience my call Thursday, Feb. 23: A Time to Lead: Do You Dare?

Fear of Public Speaking–Part 2

I’m continuing yesterday’s post on this subject because it continues to be a one that brings otherwise powerful leaders and experts to their knees. Yesterday, I put forth the contention that the first step in getting over the fear of speaking is to stop saying you are afraid of public speaking–because that’s not accurate. What you are afraid of is being humiliated–and I outlined five contributors to this mind-gripping terror. Today, I am going into some depth with each one. I would love to hear which one you find has contributed most to your fears–and what solution you are committed to engaging so that you get out there with your message! The 5 Contributors to Fearing Being Humiliated When Public Speaking 1. We’ve been humiliated publicly. This first issue is a deep one. We have a primordial reaction to being shunned publicly—perhaps because throughout history it has so often meant being ostracized from our clan and facing life alone. And when it happens to us as a child, before we’ve learned to engage our reasoning mind to disengage from our emotionality, the stain of  humiliation can seem permanent. But only if we allow it to be. As Eleanor Roosevelt so aptly put it, No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. And no event defines who you are unless you let it. You can choose to allow an experience to define your fragility; you can choose to allow the past to define your future—but that’s a choice you’re making. Know that you don’t have to keep yourself safe anymore. You can handle anything. (See an up-coming post about my own humiliation years ago.) 2. We’re self-focused, rather than audience-focused. Rather than giving to the audience, we’re focused on getting approval from them—which leads to a strong need to be perfect. Here’s the rub: if we must be perfect, we’re going to fail because—sit down, if you need to— we’re not ever going to be perfect. If we feel we must be perfect but we never will be perfect, we’re in quite a spot, aren’t we? And ultimately,we know that, which is what a great deal of the fear is about. So how do you stop needing to be perfect before an audience? Adjust your purpose from“needing to get” to “needing to give.” In the New Paradigm, you are (among many things) involved with your audience in such a way that you are not the star, they are. I teach that you are a teacher, not a speaker, and that shift creates a significant change in how you view yourself. When you’re there to give (as teachers are), your self-importance vanishes, and it is self-importance that fuels fear. You aren’t important, they are. Another note on this: it’s also worth accepting that you’re never going to please everyone. Someone in the room won’t like you. The question is, Can that be okay with you? If it can’t be…why? Try this tack, too: ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen if I forget something—or everything? If the audience gets up and leaves after the first 10 minutes? Go through the process of questioning yourself with this. Answer it the first time. If I forget what I want to say, the worst thing is I won’t be asked back to speak. And what’s the worst thing that could happen from that? I’ll have to find a new group to speak to. And the worst thing from that? You’ll find, that “the worst”…isn’t. Finally—if you aren’t perfect? Be self-effacing right in the moment. People love when speakers acknowledge their own “mistakes.” Not doing so, however, allows the awkwardness to “sit in the room,” which isn’t good energy -management. So, make a joke about yourself and move on. Your audience will feel what you feel, so the more confidently and nonchalantly you handle an embarrassing moment, the more confident they will feel about what you did, as well. 3. We simply aren’t prepared. Needing to practice is Public Speaking 101, right? Not for many, many speakers (especially those who like being in front of groups; they think their comfort level makes them good, and often they don’t bother to practice at all.) But even those who fear speaking don’t realize the incredible power of knowing their material cold. The greatest fear comes from not knowing it; that your brain will go blank. So, practice! Practice in the shower, in the car, doing dishes— wherever you can. You will walk on the (proverbial) stage as if you own it when you know your stuff. 4. We’re mimicking “old school” speakers and presenters. The New Paradigm techniques I teach tend to mitigate fear because they are so much about creating energy in the room and being empowered and self-expressed. But let me share some Old Paradigm techniques that tend to perpetuate fear: 1) Opening with your name and a “thank you for coming”—the first puts an emphasis on you, which will only augment the fear you already have, and the second puts you in the weak position of appreciating the audience for taking the time to list to you—and that insecure stance can perpetuate fear; 2) “Pouring” information at your audience from a distance, while they listen quietly—again, this emphasizes you and your material, which will increase trepidation and the need to get it right; 3) Believing you must present yourself as serious and intellectual—“having to be” anything is going to rattle your nerves, but feeling you need to appear“important” is going to send you over the edge; and finally, 4) Standing behind a podium— physical blockades symbolize emotional  blockades; the more physical and emotional distance between you and your audience, the more nervous you are going to be. Get out from behind the block and close to your audience. 5. We’re unsure about the value of our message. Other than being unprepared, little can make us as nervous as being unsure if others want to hear our message. I’m not going to give you a pep-talk here; I’m going to be blunt: make sure it is something they want to hear. Know your audience. Then, make sure that you really are giving value. A lot of speakers don’t! They speak above or below their audiences; they provide cliché material; they don’t help the audience to see how it’s valuable in their lives. If you’re nervous about the value of your message—it may be worth a look. On the other hand, when you know that you’re giving extreme value to your audiences, you’ll be chomping on the bit to give it to them and your nerves will be jumping for other reasons! That goes back to the giving vs . getting issue: If you’ve got value to give but you’re still more focused on getting their approval, fear will nail you. But giving great value because you can’t wait to give it? You’ll be irrepressible! I truly hope these ideas have given you food for thought because you have a message to get out there!! You cannot give fear the power any longer. Take over, take control. Recognize, again, that it is humiliation you fear, not public speaking. So, what’s the worst thing that can happen to you if you’re humiliated? Really dig deep with yourself there and you’ll find that the “worst” is simply not worth being a slave to fear any longer, hiding away what you’ve got to say, and living a life far smaller than you were meant to live. Nothing is worth that.

Fear of Public Speaking–Part 1

According to public polls, the fear of public speaking trumps fear of death, thereby preventing hundreds of thousands of messages from being brought into the world every day. As far as I’m concerned, that death is worse than any other kind. At no time in history have messages been more important to deliver than right now. Nothing should keep them from being heard—least of all fear. So what is this fear, exactly, and why is it so paralyzing? Well, the truth is, we’re not afraid of speaking in public. We are terrified of being humiliated. It’s a subtle distinction, but a very important one because one thwarts transformation and the other aids it. What can you do if you’re “afraid of public speaking” except not speak in public? But when you speak the truth of it, that you’re afraid of being humiliated, you can do so much with it! Like, find out if that fear is true…and worth the silencing of your message. I tell my students all the time: your words inform your world, so watch the words that you use. So stop saying, “I’m afraid of speaking in public,” and begin saying, “I’m afraid of being humiliated.” When you recognize the difference, you’ll see that one does not equal the other. The number of times you will truly experience humiliation, out of all of the times you will actually speak, is infinitesimal—if it happens at all. This week, I’m going to write several posts on this subject, but for now, let’s look at what contributes to the paralyzing idea that you will be humiliated in public, and see if, by weeks’ end, you can turn that fear around. What Contributes to Our Fear of Being Humiliated In Public:
  1. It’s happened to us. Once upon time, bursting with excitement and genius, we bared our psyches only to have an adult cut us down, or an event happen, that brought our peers to laughter.
  2. We’re mimicking “old school” presenters whose techniques perpetuate awkwardness before a crowd, which in turn leads us to embarrass ourselves.
  3. We’re self-focused, making us self-important. Rather than focusing on giving to the audience, we’re focused on getting approval from them. We feel a strong need to be perfect and if we aren’t, we experience shame.
  4. We simply aren’t prepared. We don’t know our material well enough and we haven’t practiced delivering it.  Once in front of a room, we forget, lose our way, and feel deep embarrassment because of it.
  5. We’re unsure about the value of our message and so we under-deliver (or over-deliver), and that insecurity leads us, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, to do something we so wish we hadn’t, staining us with humiliation.
Tomorrow, I’ll say more about each of these, so stay tuned! In the meantime, start admitting to yourself that what you’re really afraid of is being embarrassed–not speaking in public. This will now put control back in your hands…as you prepare to share the message you are here to give!

Some Critical Details When Selling From Stage

Here are some important details about the logistics of making your offer, and some perspective on “limitations.” YouTube Preview Image

The 3 “Passion-Making” Questions for All Speakers!

Are you an introvert, quiet type, and think you can’t bring my level of passion to your “presentations”? Watch this and tell me that to my face. :-) YouTube Preview Image

Why Speakers Need to Understand This Brain Cell

YouTube Preview Image As the socially-dominant person in your live events (or teleclass, or meeting, or home), you have immense power…because you activate this neuron in the members of your audience, good or bad. Here’s a question for you:  what do you think has *more* power: YOU or that neuron in the person in the front row? When you’re done watching me, watch this!

VIDEO TRAINING 3 Live-Event Mistakes From an Internet Guru

YouTube Preview Image I won’t mention his name, but I went into the city last week to see a guy who traverses the country, giving seminars. Here are 3 mistakes he made that I want to make sure you don’t make yourself. When you’re done watching, make a comment or ask a question about the tips. This is a 5-minute video–but think of it as a “mini-training,” and look to see how you could change your own live events.

Leaders of Change: The Future of Entrepreneurship

In my last post, I cracked the moral whip, taking a zero-tolerance stance on “how-to experts” who earn a living sharing their expertise, without ever learning the expertise of teaching. I made it clear that I find doing so irresponsible and glaringly out of alignment with their professed intention of wanting to help others. No one is being helped by an expert who doesn’t know how to successfully transfer knowledge. And I ruffled a few (not many, but a few) feathers, clearly hitting a nerve. So, let’s leave morality behind and get practical. Teaching power- fully is the difference between a message sticking, and a message evaporating into thin air. Teaching effectively is the difference between your viewers, readers or listeners taking the action you want them to, and slipping away into oblivion. Teaching well is the difference between their buying on the spot, and procrastinating. Contributing, and making excuses. Participating full-on, and sitting on the bench. Telling others about you, and remaining silent. If you got triggered by my wrist-slapping the other day, you can certainly agree with the common sense fact that teaching well is good for your reputation, your business and your intention to stimulate action. But I believe there is a critical purpose to teaching effectively that is greater than the moral value and the benefits to your business—and it has to do with the historic times we find ourselves in, and what they mean for the future of entrepreneurs. Have you noticed the once-incomprehensible changes that are happening on the planet right now? Upheavals of almost every kind abound, and with them come growing fear and uncertainty. And whether you realize it or not, your role as a business owner is changing, too. Where once, you were in service to your individual markets—now, you’re in service to the planet. Your role as entrepreneur is being upgraded to “leader of change.” I met an 85-year-old woman the other night who was terribly excited about the GET ON YOUR FEET2011 movement I’ve launched, and she added a new word to my lexicon: world-citizen. In these times, we are being called to world-citizenship as businesses. Which means we will be called forward to lead–on platforms we’ve never stood on before. And we must be worthy of that leadership. We must communicate so potently and effectively, that our words of insight get through, and move people to change with these changing times. It is essential that we not waste a breath speaking, unless it impacts. As a leader of change, everything we convey must count. And that is the most important reason to teach with powerful effectiveness. Not just because it’s morally responsible (which it is), or because it will make you more money (which it will)—but because you are here to achieve something and become a part of something bigger than you, and its success is imperative. The “new world” we are so quickly inhabiting will require powerful new leaders with new-paradigm qualifications. Teaching with excellence will be just one. On Thursday, February 24 at 4pm EST, I am doing something I have never done. (You’ve heard that one before, right?) I’m serious, though. For years, I’ve taught a revolutionary public speaking training based on brain research in memory and learning. Secrets of Impact and Influence has been an enduring and highly acclaimed signature program—that I only give live. Outside that training, I have never so much as whispered to any- one the secrets I teach there—and all of my attendees have been sworn to the same code of honor.  But on Feb. 24, I am opening up the Secrets of Impact & Influence manual and teaching page 13: The 10 “Don’t-Bother -Teaching-Without-These” Factors of Deep and Rapid Learning. And because I’ll be using all 10 factors, The Inspired Speakers teleclass is going to be unlike ANY free call (or paid call!) you have EVER experienced. If you’re an expert, you cannot miss this. If you’re an entrepreneur, this is your future: leaders of change must know this information. So go now, read all about it and sign up!

Are Your Presentations Moving with the Times?

For the next few weeks, I’m focusing my posts on public speaking because it’s key to changing the world. Today, I want to send you over to an eye-opening video on YouTube that has, on the surface, nothing to do with speaking–and yet nothing we do in any part of our lives is exempt from the message contained in this video.  The video tell us “We are living in exponential times“–and it then proceeds to make its point: in 2006, there were 2.7 billion Google searchs. Two years later, there were 31 billion!! Did you read that right? In 1984 there were 1,000 internet devices. In ’92, there were 1 million. In ’08–1 trillion. Exponential times. A company in Japan is testing a fiber optic cable that can send  14 trillion bits of information per second down a single strand of fiber…this is equal to 210 millon phone calls per second. Ever heard for an exabyte? It’s (4 x10 ^19). Equal to 1 billion gigabytes. It looks like this: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. The video estimated that in ’08, 4 exabytes of unique information would be generated. More than in the previous 5,000 years. We are living in exponential times. The world is humming at  frequencies never known before. Obsolescence is occuring some- where every second. With this mind-boggling upsurge in speed, our brains are being rewired; we are thinking differently and  learning differently. The brain is plastic; it changes and grows and the way we integrated information twenty years ago in high school doesn’t apply. And it doesn’t apply for those we’re teaching and coaching. Are your current attempts at knowledge-transfer (ie. your pre- sentations) humming as fast as the rest of the world? Are they provocative enough to capture the attention of minds fractured by constant stumuli? Are they as new as the latest App? Are the ideas you’re presenting “escaping the wannabees” and gener- ating exponential growth? Maybe those are high standards for a single presentation. But I’m not one to wrap myself up in cozy excuses and I bet you aren’t either.  I believe if we are worth our salt as leaders and as conveyors of information, we must measure the quality of our content against the pace of the world–and that of course, begins  with the big-picture question, Is my business keeping up with the breath-stealing acceleration of the times we’re in? If not, what must I do? If so, how do I ensure my presentations do the same? I teach a “new paradigm” of audience leadership– but this video got me asking the question, How can it be even newer? How can I speed up what I’m teaching to meet the frequency of the world’s vibration? I’m giving a free 90-minute teleclass on the “old paradigm” of public speaking, and its replacement: the new paradigm based on the latest brain research. I’m sending you away to watch the YouTube video–but before you go, I invite you to sign up for the teleclass on April 7th. It’s provocative and will shift how you think about speaking in public You can read all about it here. Then go check out the video I’ve talked about today, Did You Know?
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