One of the single best pieces of wisdom Bill Gove offered me in the early days of my speaking career was to select my speaking mentor on the basis of his/her track record, and then follow to that person and no one else. That was in 1996, when I had 6 professional speaking consultants on retainer and I was failing in the business. The day I returned from the Bill Gove Speech Workshop I fired all 6, none of which had ever earned a substantial income as a fee paid speaker. That day I made a decision that altered my destiny. I decided to follow Bill Gove and ignore everyone else. If I told you how many people gave me advice that contradicted what Bill told me over the 5 years he coached me, you would be shocked. Some of them laughed at me and said Bill was too old to coach because the business had changed since he was the king of the keynoters. Those same people were calling me for a job 5 years later. I was talking to professional speaking legend Jim Cathcart last week, who summed it up beautifully. Jim said, ” If you wanted to learn to be the best hockey player in the world, your coach would be Wayne Gretzy. If you wanted to be the best speaker, your coach would be Bill Gove.” All the major speakers encouraged me to folow Bill’s advice to the letter and block out everyone else, and I thank God I had the sense to listen. The point of this post is to suggest that you select your speaking coach very carefully, but once you choose, follow his/her advice and don’t look back. Randy Gage gave me the other piece of advice years ago I’ll pass on to you: Don’t listen to anyone in the speaking business who’s not earning at least a million dollars a year as a speaker. Randy said; ” If they’re not making at least a million, they don’t understand the business.” Thanks, Bill. Thanks, Randy. Those words of wisdom catapulted my career. And now in the spirit of gratitude, I pass them on to you. You can make it in this business if you’re smart enough to follow the right people and don’t buy into the B.S. and hype that surrounds our profession. It’s not an easy road, but it’s well worth it when you’re making an impact on other peoples lives. (8:59)  Steve Siebold, CSP, CPCS www.milliondollarspeakermarketing.com

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