Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Glenford Smith | Good start for aspiring motivational speaker

Published:Sunday | December 13, 2015 | 12:00 AM

QUESTION: I just read your November 22 article titled 'Bringing out the millionaire in you: Did Les Brown deliver?' Based on what was written, Mr Brown did deliver. I listen to Les Brown's YouTube videos most mornings while preparing for work. I was therefore highly disappointed not hearing him in person as he has been a motivator to me for many years. I would also like to be a motivational speaker, so it would have been an honour. Being a motivational speaker yourself, Mr Smith, how did you get started?

- Claudia T.

SMITH: Thank you for reading The Gleaner Careers column, Claudia. Your email had to be edited for length.

I welcome your question. I believe the answer will benefit other readers, even if they have different career aspirations from motivational speaking, hence the purpose for writing this article.

You mentioned your disappointment at not attending the Les Brown conference, put on by Internet Income Jamaica. That's understandable, considering he has been a long-time motivator and mentor to you. You wouldn't have been disappointed.

You also mentioned that not even the $10,000 entry fee would have deterred you from attending, had you known about Mr Brown's Jamaican visit. That's noteworthy and commendable. It would have been a great investment.

There's a tendency among many Jamaicans not to invest in such personal-development events, unless their companies are paying.

Many wouldn't even invest a few dollars to buy a self-help book, or invest the time to read it, even if they got it for free. I don't believe enough compatriots are spending time listening to or watching empowering programmes daily, as you're doing.

In fact, you mentioned that you regularly listen to not just Les Brown, but also Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn and Earl Nightingale. That's excellent, and I urge you to keep up this practice!

INVESTINGINYOURSELF

Other Jamaicans who haven't yet cultivated this and related habits may be forgetting something crucial.

What they forget is that it's not the money or time they spend in attending personal development seminars, watching motivational videos or buying and reading self-help books that's most critical. Often, these are mistakenly considered as unaffordable costs.

Instead, they are valuable investments in one's personal and professional development. And what matters most in any investment decision is not how much money or time you're investing, but what your return on investment is. For instance, if you invest $100,000 in a programme which helps you to earn $500,000, that's a great deal.

The advice Jim Rohn got from his mentor, Earl Shoaff, is still relevant: "Work on your job and you earn a living; work on yourself and you earn a fortune. Work on yourself more than you work on your job." So, keep working on yourself.

How I got started in motivational speaking was by doing precisely what you are doing: listening to and learning from the world's greatest speakers. I also spoke for free at churches, schools, civil society groups - anywhere I could get an audience. That's a good place to start.

Finally, Les Brown may return to Jamaica soon, so you might yet get a chance to see him live. My best wishes to you.

n Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'. glenfordsmith@yahoo.com