It turns out I’m NOT a Motivational Speaker.

March 24, 2022

It turns out I’m NOT a Motivational Speaker.

May 29, 2023

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. My clients have repeatedly called me “courageous.” But I never really understood what that meant. I made my career as a storyteller — in broadcast advertising and branding, presenting on TED and TEDx stages, and creating content that has garnered thousands of views.

But none of it really seemed “fearless” to me. Not in any way.

In 2020, as I headed into my mid-fifties, things started to shift.

As the pandemic started shutting everything down, I became determined to not waste the opportunities being given to me in terms of time, space, and growth. Living in the sparsely populated state of Vermont, social distancing was never a challenge. The challenge, I knew, was staying motivated, growth-oriented, and above all…present during this unpredictable time.

I, along with so many others, took the leap as MEA pivoted to an online offering. I sat at the virtual table with so many of you — finding opportunities to question, to reflect, and above all - to grow - whilst being remote from the physical human contact I so craved.

And then…at the end of 2021, it finally happened. After a visit to densely-populated New Jersey, I came back with the virus. I was one of the lucky ones — only a couple of nights sweating, coughing, and sneezing. And then more or less back to normal.

But I didn’t want “normal.” I wanted to ask a bigger question. How could I reframe my contact with the virus? I asked myself a larger question…Where should I go during the potentially brief time I can guarantee I have antibodies?

“Go to Baja,” the teacher whispered.

My week in Baja didn’t disappoint. My mind filled and armed with MEA content, my heart soared and ached with the stories and emotions of my MEA compadres, and my soul filled with the honest yet caring facilitation of Chip and the amazing Jeff Hamaoui.

And then, at the end of my week, I heard it. The teacher’s voice again. This time it whispered, “You’re not a motivational speaker. You’re a motivational listener.”

And just like that, “courage,” made sense. That insight manifested itself in making sense of what I’ve always done for my clients…I notice something, I reframe it, then I try something.

And now, at 55…it’s time to do that for myself. Or more accurately, it’s time to KEEP doing it. What that voice has done for me is to shine a light on my purpose in a way that’s activated it. I’ve always noticed, reframed, and experimented — but now I’m beginning to understand and live to what this really means.

In a strange way, this pandemic has been the best thing to happen to me. I’ve lost 45 pounds, I’ve learned a new language for the first time in my life, I’ve created a coaching practice, and thanks to MEA — I even got to try my hand surfing in the waves of Baja.

I can’t wait to see where life takes me next. And I’m honored for my MEA friends to witness it. This story isn’t over, not by a long shot. Keep watching this space, let’s change the world, my compadres.

David Weaver is a relentless experimenter and habit-hacker. His blog, WhatIGotRidOfToday, a personal experiment in minimalism, led to becoming a popular TED speaker. David has created “Outsiderism” - a coaching practice designed to scale creative output, by training and mentoring more people to be more creative on a daily basis.

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