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How to Get Lucky in 2011 (in your speaking business, of course)

As seen in the Succeed Speaking Newsletter:

Optimism and ambition always abound at this time of year. We all have high expectations for the year ahead. Right? What are your big goals?

The good news is, indications are that the speaking market will be better this year. We closed 2010 strong at The Speakers Group and several speakers shared similar reports with me.

I don’t believe the speaking market will ever look like it once did — that’s partly due to economic reasons, partly due to advancing technology, partly due to… well… time moving forward. We must never become too attached to doing things a certain way, because if we do, progress will run right over us. But opportunity for growth and even greater success than we’ve ever experienced is there. Here’s the bad news:

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. – Thomas Edison

I’ve loved that quote since the first time I heard it. For one thing, I spent many summers growing up working on the farm with my grandpa. He showed me what hard work is all about — and he wore overalls — so that quote makes me think of him. Beyond that, though, it’s just a great reminder that success is there to be had by all of us… if we’re willing to go to work.

When you look across history, if we look at all who have prospered and try to boil their success down to one factor, I think “hard work” would be the most common denominator. I know it’s not as sexy as the “Law of Attraction.” I know that every now and then someone gets lucky. (But I would argue that luck isn’t sustainable without some hard work to go with it. Ever heard that line: “The harder you work, the luckier you get”?)

There was a Fortune magazine article a few years ago about “What It Takes to Be Great” and the conclusion, based on scientific research, was that, “You will achieve greatness only through an enormous amount of hard work over many years. And not just any hard work, but work of a particular type that’s demanding and painful.”

Hard work. Demanding. Painful. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?

That’s why, when I advise aspiring or emerging speakers who want to join the ranks of world class speakers, I start with talking about passion and purpose before ever getting to presentation skills or marketing or demo videos. I don’t believe anyone can achieve greatness — it’s too hard — without first being aligned with their passion and purpose.

But when you are doing what you love, and when you believe in what you’re doing, that’s the fire that will push you through that demanding and painful hard work which will lead you to prosperity… to greatness.

So, as we kick of 2011 and set our sights on some big goals, I want to first remind you to make sure your vision is aligned with your purpose in life, and that it will allow you to work in your “passion zone” every day. If not, you might want to rethink it.

If the alignment does check out, well done. Now it’s time to go to work!

If you’re committed to working harder, then I’m committed, with the Succeed Speaking newsletter, to give you tools, tips and strategies each week to help you work smarter. Together, we could be a good combo, don’t you think?

Have fun in 2011! Do good!

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