I had an event that I was scheduled to speak at on the 19th of March. I had another one scheduled for this April. They were both postponed due to the Pandemic. I have to say that I was a bit relieved. Not because I didn’t want to do the events. It was more about an internal struggle that I have been having for some time now with regards to being a Motivational Speaker…
I started speaking and writing because I felt like I had some important lessons to share about life. I feel like my story is diverse and that there are some nuggets of inspiration there for lots of people. However, I’m not in the business of pumping up the sales team or helping businesses hit their 4th quarter revenue targets or motivating a team of athletes to win their next championship. Now, it’s not that I think those things don’t matter but they are not my top priority…
What’s your version of Freedom?
What’s your definition of Success?
What problems do you need to solve in your own life?
Who do you believe you are today and are you expressing that honestly to yourself and others?
I’m more focused on an individual’s experience in life:
What if the successful sales person actually hates life right now and really wants to take a year long sabbatical to work on family issues?
What if the top performing manager at a company took the job because their parents wanted them to do something stable but they have realized that they want to explore a totally different career track?
What if the star quarterback at a Division 1 program wants nothing more to do with the game of football?
The further I go, the more feel like my main mission is to help other people find the courage to be the person they believe they are… whatever that looks like. The questions I ask are oriented towards the individual. The goal is to get myself and the reader to be in the regular habit of asking deep introspective questions to self.
When I was a personal trainer I would often ask people what their goal was physically. Often people wanted to lose weight or get toned. The problem with those goals is that they are too general. you can lose weight and get toned doing a lot of different things. However, if you want to run a marathon, there is a very specific journey you will take your body through. If you’re like me and you want to compete in Mixed Martial Arts, there is a very specific journey you will take your body through. Both can help you lose weight and tone, but the specifics are very different.
Why are our notions of freedom and success so generally prescribed and undefined at the individual level? Is having a lot of money the definition of success? Is being in a romantic relationship the definition of success? Is driving a nice car freedom? Is being able to run 5 miles, freedom? The answer is: It depends on who you think you are and what you think you want. Emphasis on the word think… because I believe life is a process of self discovery.
For instance, many people are very positive about the idea of home ownership. Having a large space to host/nest and being able to customize is very attractive to some people. It might give those individuals a deep sense of accomplishment and success. As for myself, I don’t see it as a financial investment and I don’t want the responsibility of taking care of a house. For a long time I believed that owning a home was something that I really wanted. After becoming debt free and beginning to educate myself on financial investing, I became more skeptical of the idea that home ownership is always better. If it’s worth it to you, by all means go ahead, but everything has trade-offs. Your definition of success is not necessarily mine, and vice versa.
My theory (I could be totally wrong) is that much of the mental illness, anxiety, fear, and persistent stress people are experiencing in America may be due to the fact that:
- Many of us don’t know ourselves well, because we’re afraid to face ourselves (talked about this in the last post).
- If you do know who you are and how you want to present yourself to the world, you may be afraid of the criticism that potentially comes with that choice.
Of course, it’s not about eliminating the fear, it’s about growing the courage. With every challenge that I have dealt with in my life the primary thing I had to overcome was my own fear:
- “If I quit my job what will people say?”
- “What if all this effort I’m putting into losing weight never pays off?”
- “What will happen to my social connections if I admit that I don’t believe The Bible is the Word of God? And, Maybe I don’t believe in God?”
- “If I talk openly about experiencing sexual abuse and using pornography, will people think I’m weird?”
Look folks I don’t have some magic remedy for courage but I do think it might start with small wins over big fears. In 2007 when I was sitting in an apartment in Houston, jobless, and being evicted for failure to pay rent, it was scary as hell. I had $60,000 dollars of debt hanging over my head. The first step for me was getting the exact dollar figure together and listing each company I owed by name and amount, with the date of the next payment. Step 1 – I got the problem organized (fundamentals).
Strangely, the number didn’t get any smaller but I felt as though I had better command of the issue. I was more confident in my ability to solve the problem from there. I was also more willing to admit to myself that I had made some less than intelligent decisions with my money. Straight up… It was stupid to get a $500 per month for 60 months, car loan when I hated the job I was at. But when I bought the car, I wasn’t ready to admit to myself that the Engineering Degree that I had worked so hard to get was actually not who I wanted to be. After all, I met all the general archetypes of success – high paying job, nice apartment, handsome guy, pretty girlfriend, and a new car because that’s what people do right? General definitions of success and freedom, but not my own.
And maybe that’s the key to courage in the immediate moment… the idea that we might reach the end of our lives and realize we never actually lived as the person we truly felt we were. That is truly terrifying to me.
And that’s why being a ‘Motivational Speaker’ just isn’t quite complete. If you’re reading my blog our listening to me talk during a speech, I consider it my job to encourage you, to be you. Figuring out who you are at any phase of life is only something you can do. I hope to provide some ideas to facilitate the process.
PS – Please share my content as you feel the urge. More opportunities come with more eyes and I appreciate everyone’s support in that. Also, if you have questions/comments, feel free to email me at Travis@TravisDaigle.com .