Why did I become a motivational speaker? Not just a motivational speaker that throws a bunch of great words around to fire you up and says look in the mirror and think positive thoughts. No that’s not me. I’ve had so much experience overcoming great adversity from my years before, through and after foster care. I believe the world needs a dose or realness and not rah rah’s that just don’t last. People like to hear a story that everyone can relate to…the underdog story, a story of rejection and failure.
So the question again…why did I become a motivational speaker?
Well, sometimes your purpose in life finds you. Success to me used to be financial success, now success mean significance. If somebody had told me a few years ago that I would be the author of six books and a popular motivational speaker, I would have said no, not me! I had my life planned out and thought I was fulfilled. At that time, I owned a multi-million dollar sales corporation and thought I had everything I ever wanted…but I was missing true peace from my crazy past as a survivor of brutal child abuse, rejection and foster care. I needed to heal and finally forgive. I also needed my P.T.S.D. to go away. I was sick of the flashbacks and nightmares. It honestly was infecting my life.
One day, I heard a voice within, my intuition saying it was time to write a book. I resisted for six months thinking… how could I ever write a book? No one really knew about my life, past or the challenges, trauma and grieving that I had overcome to be the owner of such a successful company. I listened to that inner voice and followed through and wrote that inspirational book titled I Will Never Give Up. It took about a year of my life. It was agonizing yet very therapeutic. I was able to completely heal by accepting my past, forgiving my biological parents and looking at my life as a thriver, no longer a survivor. I was not going to let my past punish my future any longer. I am a believer that life definitely had a different plan for me. The river that is your life flows free, and has a way of changing direction and overflowing its banks. My life completely changed. I love that quote that says, “Your life gets better when you get better”. I knew that I had to be vulnerable and authentic in order to be an effective inspirational motivational speaker that inspires the spirit of the audience.
When you are motivated and doing your best, more and different opportunities come your way. When you have complete faith in your abilities and you know, I mean really know, that you are going places, you begin to understand that nothing can stop you from achieving the success you were meant to have. That book led me to heal and start my journey as an inspiring motivational speaker. Years later, I am now considered a leading expert and a very busy conference keynote speaker.
I have always been a person who tries. Sure, there were times I wanted to give up, to run away from the mounting challenges that come with any effort to try something unprecedented. Yes, I have failed and failed and failed. I have gone forward, backwards, and sideways. But I never got so sidetracked I lost sight of the main thing: keep doing your thing! Keep on trucking! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you never fail until you stop trying. These are not just the words on some inspirational poster. They are a refreshing and invigorating way to re-conceive failure. Namely, that failure doesn’t even exist as long as you stick to it.
The only real secret to success is determination. I have gone places in life because I was determined to. Just ask Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell. Their determination changed the entire world. Their legacy is to have improved the lives of billions upon billions of people. Imagine being able to say that! Success requires focus. I focus on my little successes instead of my failures. Focusing on failure is really just a failure to focus. We all get knocked down, but we have to pick ourselves up and get back in the fight. I am not defined by my failures and neither are you.
I am sure you have heard the saying “Use it or lose it.” How true it is! You have determination, imagination, confidence, self-esteem, joy, courage, faith, hope, curiosity, love, kindness, creativity, patience, compassion, honesty, cheerfulness and the ability to forgive. All of these are inside of you. Some might be buried under a ton of dirt, or afraid to peak their noses out and show themselves—but trust me, they are there. But you have to give each one of these characteristics the proper exercise or workout. Don’t let these muscles get flabby from lack of use. If they’re buried, dig down deep through the muck and pull them up onto the surface, into the light of day. If they’re afraid to show themselves, give them a little prodding, or even a swift kick to the behind! That’ll get them moving!
Wherever you invest your energy is where you will see returns. I actually think it takes more energy to complain than to be grateful. Negativity is heavy—it’s a burden. Positivity is light—it’s like helium, and lifts you off your feet. Negativity and positivity are both feedback loops. Putting either of these energies out there doesn’t get rid of that energy. They’re like boomerangs and come right back to the person who tossed them out into the world. Good brings good, bad brings bad, like brings like. If you’re not paying attention, the boomerang will come back and hit you upside the head.
Watch motivational speaker Derek Clark deliver an inspiring TEDx Talk on the Power of Determination.
Derek Clark’s motivational speeches have rejuvenated the hearts of audiences worldwide. As a top ranked motivational speaker and a leading conference keynote speaker, he is hired by many organizations as well as federal, state and county departments to inspire employees, educators, foster care workers, child welfare workers, social workers, department of children and family services, judges, attorneys, police, teachers, juvenile justice and many more.