A career-changing moment or experience
Put Me In, Coach
When I decided to become a full-time professional speaker in 2001, I was con- fident that I would achieve immediate
success. After all, I had been speaking to top executive groups for over 20
years as part of a consulting practice.
Boy, was I in for a surprise!
It became apparent that my goal
would not be easily accomplished when
I joined the local NSA chapter and was
advised to participate in the speaker-mentor program. I really didn’t see a
need for this basic training but, fortunately, choice was not an option.
Mike Stewart, CSP, was my mentor,
and a more candid coach you couldn’t
find. We spent many hours identifying
goals and how I could reach them.
and cancelled the next day’s talk due to
poor audience evaluations.
After collecting my thoughts, I called
Mike for some moral support. He
said I shouldn’t be too hard on myself
because all speakers experience setbacks, and he urged me to continue
moving forward with the speaker-men-tor program. At the time, these words
were of little consolation.
Two days later, I was scheduled to
speak to another group of business
owners in Birmingham, Ala. Although
I wasn’t overly enthusiastic, I vigorously prepared.
During my presentation, I noticed
one gentleman nodding off in the
front row. To my surprise, he sent me
an email the next day explaining that
his business was in serious trouble. He
couldn’t sleep that night because he was
thinking about all the great ideas I had
given him for improving his situation.
He thanked me for making the two-hour drive to share my knowledge.
I have worked with five mentors,
and each has made a noticeable dif-
ference throughout my rapid business
career growth. If you don’t have a
mentor, get one. NSA mentors, like my
other business career mentors, will be
frank with you about your strengths
and weaknesses, and help you over-
come obstacles so you can realize your
We also discussed my speaking
skills—or lack thereof. I believed I was
a pretty darn good speaker already
and just needed a little bit of tweaking
to command high fees. Mike skillfully
begged to differ with me by saying,
“You need to know what you don’t
know and what your family and best
friends won’t tell you.”
I look back on those days and
wonder how Mike was so patient
Shortly after joining NSA, I
received an invitation to speak at two
local meetings of business owners. I
researched members’ backgrounds and
rehearsed over and over again. I felt
good about my content delivery and
the audience participation throughout
the three-hour session. I was devastated
when my sponsor called that evening
Rick Wemmers Jr. is a business and personal success speaker. His focus is on showing the short-cuts to desired success, which come from acquiring
new knowledge and changing one’s behavior.
His latest book, Silver Bullets for Quick
Revenue Growth, outlines the steps in his
business success process. For more information, visit http://wemmers.com.