Jim Cathcart, motivational speaker and author of the Acorn Principle, spoke to the NYC chapter of National Speakers Association today. As a former president of the National Speakers Association and a Hall of Fame Speaker, Jim shared his time line and journey of success to the heights of professional speaking. His insights and advice for success applied to speakers and non-speakers alike. Holding up an acorn, he asked the audience "What seed are you?" Jim explained that the stem represents your legacy, the cap holds on to the seed to help it grow (your support system, coaches, mentors) and the seed is the potential that lives within you.
The keys to success according to Jim are:
- Know yourself
- Accept yourself
- Improve yourself
He advised speakers to "nurture your nature." In other words, be true to your style as a public speaker. He contrasted the over-the-top expressive motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar with the reserved, business content speaker, Brian Tracy. Both were wildly successful because they were authentically true to their natural speaking styles.
The psychologist and professional speaker, Tony Allesandra, author of The Platinum Rule, had difficulty starting out as a speaker. A coach diagnosed the problem and told him to stop trying to be Jim Cathcart. Jim is a Southern gentleman and Tony is an "in your face" guy from the streets of Brooklyn. When Tony accepted himself, he found his own voice and his career soared.
Jim encouraged the audience to discover themselves and how they operate. He challenged the group to make a commitment to take the first step and the rest will come. Whether you want to be a professional speaker or raise the bar on your presentation skills, decide what you want and be a fanatic about it. According to Jim, "Success is unreasonable. Ordinary is reasonable." If you study your topic for one hour a day, within five years you'll be an expert. We all have seeds of greatness waiting to be expressed.
So, what seed are you?