Being a motivational speaker and coach, or deciding to become one, calls for dedication. Sharing what you know and inspiring others consistently cannot happen without commitment. However, behind the scenes, even speakers like me need our own inspiration. Whether it’s the people who influence us or simply our own inner passion, each of us needs something to drive us forward.
Let me share with you the journey I went through in becoming a motivational speaker.
How I Became A Motivational Speaker
A lot of people have asked what made me decide to become a speaker and coach. Some ask who influenced me or who the people are that I look up to in this business.
I thought about it, and I realized that I actually did not get my own inspiration from specific people. No public speaker was able to make me say, “Wow, that was such a riveting talk, and I want to do just that.”
Instead, I believe what drove me to become a coach and motivational speaker was a gut feeling. I just knew I wanted to be one.
Even as a child, I knew deep inside that I was meant to be in front of people, entertaining and inspiring them.
When I was a kid, I used to perform magic tricks in front of my parents. Then, in the fifth-grade, I had to give a speech about the men who first flew an airplane, the Wright brothers. I absolutely loved that class activity. I knew I wanted to keep on doing that.
However, I did not watch motivational speakers when I was in fifth grade. Based on my experience, I think we need to trust the fact that we just know. I knew what I wanted to pursue — and that was a huge thing.
My First Career
Speaking my truth and sharing my story gave me the ultimate freedom. pic.twitter.com/gI6aXbuGRp
— Ted McGrath (@ted_mcgrath) April 8, 2017
Though I knew what career I wanted, I still suppressed my ambition. I let other things, like drinking, get in the way. This caused me to feel guilt and shame. I thought I wasn’t good enough. I could have become a speaker or an actor earlier on in my life, but it wasn’t the right time for me.
Instead, I started my first career in the financial sector. I became a leader and manager in New York, and I was able to train and speak to our agents. Eventually, I realized that the only reason I was there was because I enjoyed teaching and speaking. It was not about finance at all.
How Films Played A Role
Believe it or not, my love for films had a hand in why I finally pursued motivational speaking. Before, when I watched action movie stars, I would always admire the passion and the rage that they exuded. I also aspired to be able to express myself like that — without inhibitions.
When I finally got up on stage, that’s when I fully realized that I had a gift. All of a sudden, the feeling of unworthiness, the inhibitions, all of those faded away as my gift shone through.
For me, it was more of an imaginary thing than a real person that influenced me as a speaker. It was the actors that inspired me, whom I loved watching. It was the feeling I had when I watched movies. Finally, it was me knowing that I belonged in front of people, inspiring them. Those were my influences.
My Inspiration for Theater
Without vulnerability, your message loses power. pic.twitter.com/NW0qrPWHXC
— Ted McGrath (@ted_mcgrath) March 21, 2017
For theater, I found inspiration to do my own show through a performer named Bo Eason. I had seen his one-man performance titled Runt of the Litter, and it just blew me away. Never had I seen a Broadway play that inspired me that much — that’s how good Eason was. He made me aspire to create and star in my own one-man theater show.
Initially, I did not have much experience in theater. I had only taken an Intro to Theater class in college. Without more experience, I really wasn’t much for getting in front of an audience to express myself and act. It petrified me.
As an actor, you have to be vulnerable and open. In speaking, you can mask your emotions. However, when you go into a theater, you need to have a full range of emotions, which is actually what I came to love about it. Bo Eason was a huge reason why I was able to realize my passion for theater acting.
When you look for your own role models or life pegs, choose people who have touched and inspired you. Consider the kind of impact they have made in your life. Though I became a motivational speaker without the explicit influence of other people, it’s never a bad thing to find inspiration in someone you admire. What is important is that you always have something that will drive you to keep moving forward.
Who or what do you consider to be your biggest motivation in pursuing your ambitions? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.