My great motivational speech: you're going to die

I'm not your typical motivational speaker.

I'm not Tony Robbins (the big guy with the teeth and the headset) and I don't try to be (not least because I'm over a foot shorter than him). And yet I often get asked to speak.

Earlier this year one of those invitations was from the lovely, wise, and somewhat mischievous author of "Fuck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way", John Parkin. John asked me to speak at his weekend event in London.

On the day, I talk for about 40 minutes to a room full of people on how to do what you love, and then John asks me "Do you have some final rousing words to leave people with?"

I think for a while and when no snappy feel-good messages come to me, I simply say,

"You're going to die"

John looks at me a little surprised and with his cheeky grin, says,

"You're going to lift them up from here, right?"

And I said "Well, yes. This is my motivational message. Because the fact that you're going to die (and you don't know when) is the most powerful motivation I can think of for starting to do something you really care about as soon as possible."

When we put this reality out of our mind, then we think we can put off our dreams for the week, or for the month, or for the year - or even until retirement. But not only is there a risk we won't make it to that point, it's also a terrible waste of a life.

Whatever your dream is, you can start it today. And you don't have to necessarily "Take massive action!" as Tony shouts at us to do. We can ease our way into doing what we love, one project at a time. We can do it our way, and focus on the part we love most.

In reality, that's the way most people get what they want.


What holds us back is not all the practical stuff (honestly, you can always get started without money, training, offices, or a book deal, and you can google most of the answers you need). What holds us back is fear; very reasonable fear of the unknown, of failing, of succeeding (because success changes everything).

It's really difficult to tackle that fear on your own. On your own, you have to counter the doubts and fears with the same organ that creates them - your own mind.

But... team up with enough positive, committed people and everything changes. You get to admit you're scared, get reassurance, and get the practical advice and contacts you need.

Suddenly, all sorts of things start to look possible.

Your turn...

In a couple of weeks, 200 committed people are teaming up to take the 30 Day Challenge - our adventure to take an idea you love and make it happen in the easiest and most fun way possible.

If you're tired of putting off your dreams and you want to make a start on them right now, join us.

Read about the 30 Day Challenge here

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  • GCM

    Thank you for the reminder that we can ease ourselves into doing what we love!  Feeling I have to do something big sends me running for cover - a gentler approach works for me (but I often forget this)

  • I know what you mean. I think we're trained to think about big changes because our model is the career change (which is often looks like one giant leap)

  • Aridela

    I think it's very good advice - it certainly worked for me! My partner got Cancer at the end of 2009 and we spent a pretty awful 2010 - she recovered, I'm pleased to say. But facing death - even someone else's -was what  made me decide that life was just too short to stay in my stressful job and that I wasn't going to put off any longer doing some of the creative and meaningful stuff I had always intended to do SOMEDAY.....
    (I'm booked on your 30 Day Challenge -I'm on my way!)

  • Thanks. So glad your partner is better - and that you learned such a great lesson from it. See you on the challenge...

  • GCM

    I'm also booked onto the challenge by the way 🙂

  • Great - see you on the 1st!

  • Nadine

    I've been so overwhelmed with doing the perfect most worthwhile thing that I got stuck (in my mind!). I forgot to look back and celebrate my progress easing my way, doing & experimenting with what works for me.   I am my harshest critic but signing up to the 30 day challenge made me instantly feel like anything was possible with a support crew that get it and want me to succeed! 

    The biggest and best stuff happens for me when it feels right but I haven't got a clue about the details 😉 YOU GUYS ROCK!

  • Brilliant! See you on the challenge Nadine...

  • Nice one. 

  • Anonymous

    I'd be curious as to the audience reaction to this "motivation." I'm guessing that some people expect all motivational speakers to be nice and uplifting as your friend suggested. But sometimes a kick in the butt is better. I've had my kick in the butt this year. So, am excited to be taking the 30 day challenge myself and am already dealing with some of the fears that have held me back. The really weird thing (for me anyway) is that now that I'm doing some of the stuff I've always been afraid of, like networking with total strangers, I find I'm actually good at it. I'm excited to see where this takes me at the end of challenge. Maybe I'll even sign up for a skydiving class 🙂