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Motivational speakers and other life organisers

Why do adults need so many people to encourage and direct them these days – life coach, personal trainer, motivational speaker, wardrobe adviser, therapist etc.  It would seem that life is so hectic or so little time is spent reading and planning that we need someone else to do it for us. There are also hundreds of self-help books, DVDs and TV programmes to give advice and ideas. Being fully aware that I am well ‘over the hill’, I worked almost all my adult life while married with 2 children. but never needed any of these ‘essential’ assistant or life changing experts.

Now that I am retired and have more time, and not wanting to be bored or to allow my brain to degenerate, I am considering becoming a motivational speaker. From what I have learnt or read about this ‘career’ one is more likely to be successful if you have been through a traumatic experience or spent time in jail and been reformed. As I have neither of these qualifications I will have to find another method of making myself worthy to be a motivational speaker. The course is just 10 days and it teaches one how to choose a subject to motivate, how to market yourself, how to build a referral market and about a dozen other similar requirements to equip you to build a million-dollar business.

Hoping I am not alone in these concerns I looked at a number of websites and found many the same so from one  website where people were asked what they think of motivational speakers some of the answers were:

  1. These types of speakers tend to find the greatest success when audiences are most willing to hear what they have to say, and this typically happens during times of economic uncertainty, like the late 70s/early 80s and like today.
  2. There have been “motivational speakers” since way back, it is just they were not called that then: Julius Ceasar, David Lloyd George, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, King George VI, JF Kennedy etc.
  3. I have had positive experience with some motivational speakers, if business is not your goal see other fields in life. Different things work for different people but do not give up on all speakers. I tried this speaker and he saved my life.(check him out) http://www.teamak.co.za

What I also learnt from this web surfing exercise is that I would have to decide on a subject or theme on which to build so as to encourage others to reach their full potential. It can’t be too practical as then people won’t want to listen. It must have some of that airy-fairy stuff which sounds so amazing but actually is nothing.  Of course, the subject will have to be about something I have experienced so as to ensure that it comes across as plausible. I remember some years ago, in the 1990s when having recently been appointed as the Assistant Registrar of the local university, I was asked to give the opening address at a conference of university administrative staff. I considered this to be quite an honour but learnt that the real reason that I was asked to do so was because, as a woman, the first layer of the glass ceiling of university top management had finally been broken. I never did make it to the next level as it was decided that a man should continue to hold the post of Registrar when it became vacant.

Anyway, back to my first presentation as a senior administrator. So many people had commented on how much I knew about the university having only been on the staff for about 10 years so this gave me a theme for my speech. It had always surprised and, to an extent, irritated me how many people had the unionist attitude of, ‘it is not my job’. Interestingly many of these people did not get promoted and some are still in the same posts today, 25 years later!  The central theme then was to encourage staff to go the extra mile for people who enquired about things which were not really part of their job. This was the best way to learn more about the institution and to make contact with many more staff, especially on other campuses. It was so good to have a number of the staff come to me afterwards and tell me that what I said was really inspiring and had motivated them. See, I was a motivational speaker without even having been through a special experience or had any training. It is this simplicity about the whole hype that I do not understand.

From what I can make out, in many instances people become motivational speakers, life coaches, personal trainers and wardrobe advisers because they can make a lot of money from people who are too lazy to do things or think for themselves. Not sure on whom I might be being too harsh – those who do or those who are being ‘assisted’? All I do know is that, in my humble opinion, people are not being encouraged to think for themselves or to take responsibility for their lives. There are so many convenience appliances these days at home and at work, electrical and electronic. which are supposed to save us time and make life easier and yet we are more stressed and seem never to have enough time.  What is your opinion?

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