When I was a kid, I thought being a motivational speaker, the kind that got us out of class for an hour, was the coolest job. It had entertainment, performances, excitement, motivation, information, fun, and everyone’s happy not to be studying.
Now that I’m on a school campus doing just that a couple times per week, I still think it’s cool. I speak to elementary, middle, high school, junior college, or university kids whenever I get the chance. Sometimes it’s a career day, sometimes it’s about cyberbullying, saving the world with passion and technology, or teaching a specific social media tool like Facebook. The fact that I know they aren’t getting that valuable information anywhere else makes this my personal mission. It just never gets old.
Yes, I’m a professional speaker and trainer but I’ll never turn down a school because they can’t pay me. In fact, I once promised an audience of 750 educators that I would come to their school if they asked. I cringed as soon as those words left my mouth but I truly meant it. One of the teachers in that audience invited me to speak to her middle schoolers and because there was no budget and the distance was great, we had our session via Skype.
Many of the teachers and administrators that invite me in encourage (or assign) their students to write thank you notes. I’m grateful for those that do force this because the art of gratitude is something that must be practiced and it’s so in demand today. It’s one of the most amazing feelings to get a pack of thank you notes in the mail. Last time, I got over 50 full page thank you notes in a thick envelope. It took me an hour to read them all. I cried at several of them. I keep every one that I receive.
This one made me laugh. A kid after my own heart, filling his note with hashtags. I officially felt cool. #swag