Be a Sponge: What do you really, really, really want? | Darren LaCroix

Be a Sponge: What do you really, really, really want?

By Darren LaCroix | Master Public Speaking

Think about it. Seriously, reflect for a minute before you read on. What do you really, really, really want? It will help you have a frame of reference for helping stretch what becomes part of how you are…instead of who you wish to be. Getting it from dream to reality. I also think, when we start making progress, it fills us up; and we feel better about ourselves. Even if the progress is small. Small progress even helped me when I was exhausted and depressed.

Almost every presenter I know; if they are not already doing it, either dreams of earning ten thousand dollars per speech or truly cares about their message and wants to help people through telling their story. Most want both. How about you?

Insert your own dream here of what you really, really, really want. I’m going to use the following as an example: Be an in-demand $10,000 keynote speaker. By the way, this article is not for the squeamish or perpetual learner. This article is for the serious people who truly want to look back at their life and say, “Wow, I wasn’t sure if I had it in me, but I accomplished some pretty cool things.” Not for the person who will except wishing they had done more.

I get the “wanting to be paid big bucks” part. I also get the sheer pleasure of being at one with your audience. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being fully connected with your audience and loving on them as they love on you back. Finding out, after a presentation, that you deeply changed someone’s perspective in your one-hour program, rocks. Getting an email a year later from that same person who accomplished what they thought was impossible, thanks to your inspiration, gets you choked up. I have a shelf of books in my office, sent by my students; they sent those to me for just that reason. That shelf reminds me and my team that we are doing good work that produces results; and it helps keep me going during the frustrating times.

It’s also really cool to have an event planner shake my hand and look me in the eye with a smile as they hand me a big check. A check that would have taken months to earn in my old day job and say, “Thank you, that was just what we needed.” Both these end results are cool, but they didn’t just happen. It also wasn’t over night. So, how did I get what I really, really, really wanted and what do I have to keep in mind for my next goal?

Did you ever see a speaker on stage who you knew was getting paid and secretly thought, “I’m at least that good, maybe better. OK, definitely better.” Guess what? You may be one hundred percent correct. Unfortunately, the event planners don’t always choose the best speaker.  They choose the best speaker that is in their budget range. They knew about that speaker; they weren’t aware of you or your skills. That’s how it works. How can we expect to be booked if they don’t know us. Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE taught me that our job is to let people know what we do.

My brother has a great analogy using learning to ski. He says that one way or another you’re going to pay the mountain. Whether you take classes or try to figure it out on your own, you will pay the mountain. You’ll also be very sore the next day if you have not recently used those muscles. Getting what you really want doesn’t just happen.

Anyone can want; that is easy. It is our desire. I know of thousands upon thousands of speakers who want to earn big bucks. I know one speaker who got the shot at the big stage and the big bucks, but he delivered a below average speech. That can hurt a career. This will be a tough question. Do you want to be a $10,000 speaker, or do you earn the right to be a highly-paid speaker? Get serious about earning the right.

Break down your desire, whatever it may be, so that you can earn the right to get it. If you are not sure how to break it down, find someone who has achieved what you would like to achieve and ask them! Usually, successful people are happy to guide others who are serious about “earning the right” to achieve something worthwhile.

If being an in-demand $10,000 keynote speaker is your “really, really, really, want,” what does that take? Let’s break it down;

First, you need to find and deliver the true value of your speech to the audience. What problem do you solve? You need to create and deliver a $10,000 speech.

Second, have a $10,000 keynote description and demo video that clearly demonstrate what you can do. If you want to be a $10,000 speaker, you need $10,000 marketing tools. I’m working now to make my own better.

Third, create awareness about who you are and how you help people. If the people who can book you don’t know about you, you just haven’t earned the right yet. That’s OK, but it’s your mission.

Many highly-paid, in-demand speakers did pay the mountain. They earned the right. You may just not think they did, or do you know their whole story? For example, Mark Sanborn, Ed Tate, Craig Valentine, and Ford Saeks started their careers working for public seminar companies. They honed their skills and did many seminars teaching other people’s material to get started. Craig and Ed worked for public seminar companies after they won the World Championship, not before. I paid the mountain doing stand-up comedy and studying business. Even my sub shop failure was part of me paying the mountain and earning the right to be paid well now.  

It’s OK to want; but when you are serious about bringing a dream to reality, you have to earn the right. Before I wanted to be a speaker, I wanted to be an actor. I was “sold” on paying for an advertisement in a Hollywood casting magazine, believing I’d get discovered. Honestly, I was afraid to move to Hollywood and be a waiter and do the hard work to pay the mountain. I was trying to achieve my desire by buying an ad rather than earning the right. I remember skiing with my brother at the top of a trailhead in Colorado. When I told him what I was planning on doing, he pointed his ski pole to the Trail Ahead sign and said, “That’s you; that’s a pipe dream.” He was right. I thought I could just buy my way to my dream. It wasn’t until I did some growing up, I realized I had to “earn the right.” That’s when things changed in my life. When I realized it was up to me to pay the mountain to get what I wanted.

Get clear on what you really want and then earn the right to get it. Pay the mountain. If you are not willing to pay the mountain for that desire, it’s OK. Then, just find the dream that you really want where you are willing to earn the right.

What do you take from this?

(4) comments

Add Your Reply

​Are you making any of these Top 10 Speaking Mistakes?