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Hindsight is 20-20

Kelly Swanson Celebrity Motivational Speaker and Storyteller I’ve been a motivational speaker for 14 years now, and a storyteller for years before that. That’s a lot of years. I’m taking this moment to look back and reflect on what I wish I knew then.

If the expression is true, that hindsight is 20-20, then I’m hoping today my advice will truly be spot on.  It is so easy to look back on my career with clarity, and see what mattered most.

  1. Stay two steps ahead of yourself.  You should always be working on the business you want tomorrow.
  2. It doesn’t matter how much you make. What matters is how much you KEEP.
  3. Don’t get buried in spin.  Be very clear in your marketing about what you help your clients fix, and how you do it. At the end of the day, they just want their problems solved, and are looking for the best person to do it. Success doesn’t come to the one with the best website. It may give that person an edge. But when all is said and done, this is a word-of-mouth business. Your work will stand for itself.
  4. Stop looking around. It doesn’t matter what everybody else is doing. Focusing on them is a distraction. Learn from them, honor them, and stay focused on your goals.  Too much focus on others just doesn’t serve you well. This isn’t a race. Nobody wins at the end.
  5. Motivational Speaker at one of her Storytelling WorkshopsPerfect is impossible.  Just do it.   They will buy your book even if it’s not the masterpiece you hoped it would be.  You will always find parts of your speech you wish were better – but they will still love it.  Don’t wait for perfect to jump.
  6. There is nobody out there you can pay to get bookings. Period. Doesn’t exist.  They may promise. They may try. But it never really works out in the end. Hard work and diligent persistence is all that gets you there. And sometimes even that isn’t enough.
  7. See your work as service, not a performance.  When you’re worried about how you look, what you know, and whether they like you, you’re focused on performance. When you go the soup kitchen to serve, you don’t worry about whether you look okay. You just serve.  Work on your craft. Perfect it. Practice it.  And then as you step on that stage, step into the role of serving them. You won’t be as nervous, and the impact will be greater.
  8. Stay excited about your work and the party your client has invited you to. That excitement is contagious. The moment you start getting bored, they do too.
  9. Remember why you do this. You may think it’s about money, success, achievements, and goals reached. But it’s not. Not really. At the end of the day, it’s about those people waiting at home for you.  It’s about the family who doesn’t care whether you get a standing ovation. It’s about the friends who liked you before you became a big deal.
  10. Motivational Speaker with Friends and FamilyDon’t stop loving this.  Life is short. Don’t be so focused that you script out the joy.  You only get one turn at this life. Make it a fun one.

There was one BIG THING I did not put on the list because I DID know it back then. So let’s call it number 11.

11.  Treat your speech like a masterpiece.  Dedicate the time, energy, and devotion to the one thing that every single person is paying you to do: Create An Experience for their audience.  That was the one thing I knew to do back then and it made ALL the difference.

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