Comedian-turned-speaker Steve Rizzo, CPAE, changed careers 15 years ago and never looked back.
Imagine you are at the pinna- cle of your career, with a list of HBO, Showtime comedy specials
and other TV shows to your credit.
Comics like Dennis Miller and Rosie
O’Donnell open for you, and you’re
sharing the stage with Eddie Murphy,
Rodney Dangerfield, Jerry Seinfeld
and Ellen DeGeneres.
After much soul searching, you
decide you want to do something more
profound. You tell your roommate,
comedian Drew Carey, “That’s it. I’m
going home.” Carey says, “You can’t
leave now. You’re too close.” That’s
when it hits you: “How can I be close to
something I don’t want anymore?”
This sounds like a fairy tale, but it
was the real deal for comic-turned-
motivational speaker Steve Rizzo,
CPAE. After 18 years as a sought-
after comedian, Rizzo realized things
inside him started changing. “I didn’t
like what I was becoming,” he says. “I
started having problems with who I
was, so I started reading every self-help
book, going to seminars, listening to
Tony Robbins and others. Something
inside me said, ‘You can do this.’ Then,
it shifted to ‘You should do this.’ And
finally, ‘You’re going to do this!’”
“This” was motivational speaking.
Rizzo’s reinvention started brewing
a few years before he made his decision. Not everyone was aware of his
inner frustration. His manager, agent
and publicist thought he was crazy.
When his agent begged him to see a
psychologist, Rizzo said, “I already
am.” Who in his right mind would
walk away from a success level many
aspired to reach? Apparently, Rizzo
would—and did— 15 years ago.