Stage Time: Please, Don't Buy My Programs! | Darren LaCroix

Stage Time: Please, Don’t Buy My Programs!

By Darren LaCroix | Stage Time Articles

Darren's early speaking days... I love seeing serious people come to our boot camps again and again. They remind me of the hunger I had when I started my speaking career in the early 90’s. Whenever we are pursuing a dream or making a change in our lives, it takes qualified knowledge and the application of that knowledge. Without the “application” in the real-life world, your desired results may never be achieved.

At a recent boot camp that I was holding in Las Vegas, a participant came up to me and asked, “Should I invest in your new online university?” I immediately replied, “No.” She seemed somewhat relieved and went on to tell me that she had one of my big programs still in shrink-wrap. Yikes!  I thought, “Please, don’t buy my programs!”

I get that. Often, in the moment, investing in a new learning tool seems like a solid idea. Many times it is. However, if you are in the habit of buying and listening without applying it to the real world, you are wasting time and money. This participant, I’ll call her Barbara, is like many people who sometimes are professional students. Learning can be exciting and fun. We laugh a lot at our Champ Camps. The real-life application of learning can be much more challenging and not as much fun. We can often feel alone; it can be scary. That is why we now have private Facebook support groups for participants once they start applying what they learned in the real world.

I also understand that some people who produce programs are in it for the money. They create content-light (if any) programs that are just good enough, so that you don’t send them back. This is horrible. In that case, send them back to the producer. That sends them a strong message, and maybe they will get out of the business and not “sell” anything to anyone else.

Where it all began...Content-rich learning programs can give us a new perspective, but in order to internalize a new perspective, we need real-life application. We need the struggle. You may have heard about the first Champ Camp that Craig Valentine and I did together in Dallas, Texas. I had attended a boot camp myself about holding your own seminar and “how to fill a room.” I took copious notes and thought I had all I needed to know.

Only three people showed up at our first one. This year, at our annual Lady & the Champs Speakers’ Conference, we had 392. Invaluable lessons were learned in the real-life application that I could never have learned by just attending that seminar.

If you think another program might be what you need, first ask yourself, “What did I do with my last one? Did I get out and apply it in real life?” If you ever learned a new speaking technique and actually tried it in your next presentation, congratulations! That’s awesome. That is rare. Keep it up! Remain hungry, keep doing that, and nothing can stop you.

I remember an amazing speaker who came to all of our Champ Camps and was personally coached by Patricia Fripp and me. She wanted to come to another Champ Camp, and we “fired” her as a student. We told her, “You can’t come to another Champ Camp until you go tell your story in the real-world ten times.” That real-life application would be a better teacher, and the student would gain more growth than any Champ Camp could ever give. With that real-life experience under her belt, additional perspective might be very helpful to keep her from reinforcing bad habits.

I remember Dave Fitzgerald, my comedy mentor, wanting to get his driver’s license and learning to drive late in his life. He was in his thirties before he got his license. He said the first thing he had to do was “get the book.” He got the driver’s handbook. Then he had to go drive. It is pretty simple.

Do you remember when you first learned to drive? I can still see the hot, steamy Auburn Mall parking lot and my patient father sitting next to me. I proceeded to give him whiplash as I learned to drive my manual transmission Volkswagen Rabbit. It was not fun and yet necessary to get the result I wanted.

I personally love creating new content and learning programs. It is a passion of mine. I get excited when people invest in them. I love getting the feedback when I hear how much it helped someone. I don’t, however, want you to invest in my programs if you aren’t going to do anything differently after you buy it, or worse, if you don’t even open them!

If you don’t even open the program, each time you see it, you may start resenting me. I had one customer do just that. It was too funny. He was literally upset with me, because I was offering a program which he had bought six months prior and had still not opened! If you have not opened a program, ask yourself, “Why?” Maybe you want the “golden pill” that gives you the cure without the work. Not many dreams happen that way.

“I can shorten your learning curve; I can’t eliminate it.”

Maybe I should start charging to come break the shrink-wrap? I’m thinking about asking $5,000 for that service. I’ll do whatever it takes to motivate people to do it themselves. If you find yourself as a perpetual student and not applying any info in real life, please don’t buy my programs. I don’t need or want the money.

If you see that you love to invest in new programs and you never open them, might I suggest you find a new dream. If you look at your desk and you see more than one program “un-opened,” let go of that dream, and find one that will get you excited enough to get you to move. Let’s say you have programs on how to start your speaking business that you have never opened. Donate them to someone who will use them. You’ll actually feel better for two reasons. First, you will help someone else who might not be able to afford them. Second, you’ll feel better if you are not looking at them over and over again. Stop reminding yourself that you are not making progress.

If you secretly always wanted to be a game show host, go talk to one! Get the book on how to be a game show host. Life is short, and your life’s progress bar is moving forward to complete, whether you are moving forward or not.

I love seeing serious people come to our boot camps. Before you invest in a program consider what end result you are looking for. What is the crucial lesson you need to learn that will only be given to you through real-life application? If you want to get a driver’s license, Dave Fitzgerald would tell you, “The first step is to get the driver’s manual.” If you already have the book, then it is time to go drive! Drive in the real-world before you buy another book.

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