Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Anthony Robles, Champion Wrestler to Champion Speaker, in 37 Days

Just in case you've been held hostage on an alien spacecraft or you've been locked in a bunker at some government facility, and somehow you've missed this story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, here it is:

Anthony Robles was born with only one leg. No right leg and no right hip. His mother was only 16 when she had him.  She raised him with the firm conviction that he would always have the ability to do whatever he decided to do--without limitations. And that's what he has done!

Now keep in mind that, according to experts, wrestling requires more strength, agility, balance and flexibility than any other sport. And to be able to wrestle with only one leg is pretty amazing.

But to win the NCAA National Championship is beyond amazing! 
That is the story that has captured America's attention. And what Anthony does as a speaker that's so outstanding is that he uses his wrestling achievements as a metaphor for life.
"We all wrestle with something!" he says. 
He explains his missing leg as just an "obstacle" he had to overcome along the way, just as his listeners have their own obstacles--the loss of a job, an illness, lack of education, a financial setback or a personal relationship challenge. 

His talk is titled:  "Being Unstoppable...How to Release the Champion Within You!" and it helps people of all ages, in all walks of life, see how they can be unstoppable--by not giving in to their obstacles, and not giving up on their dreams.  

Within 37 days of being named the NCAA National Wrestling Champion at 125lbs, Anthony Robles has become a champion as a public speaker with over 47 confirmed bookings for speaking engagements already.

In my entire career as a professional speaker of well over three decades and over 2,800 paid presentations, I have never seen anyone connect the way Anthony Robles connects with an audience, and I've never seen an audience respond to a speaker the way they respond to him.

But here's a hypothetical question for you. Just imagine that you've had a tremendous  goal that you've been pursuing relentlessly for over four years, and now, in front of 17,000 fans on live national TV, you've just achieved it. You've made history. You're an instant celebrity. How would you feel? Puffed up? Self-impressed? A bit full of yourself perhaps? Or would you be gracious, humble and thankful, the way Anthony Robles was.

Then add to that the fact that your amazing achievement is being given extensive coverage on dozens of TV and radio stations, in publications like the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated and People Magazine, plus lucrative book and movie deal offers, all in just the first 37 days!

Add to that the fact that you're only 22 years old and still in college!

That is exactly what happened to Anthony Robles. But instead of arrogance, pride and egotism, which so often follow on the heels of such national acclaim,  Anthony has remained gracious, humble, respectful and sincere, and when he speaks, that's exactly what his audience members pick up on.

In my opinion, as his public speaking coach and mentor, and in the opinion of the hundreds of people who have heard him speak so far, it's those specific qualities that make him a champion as a speaker.  And when you combine all those wonderful qualities with a story that's so amazing, even Hollywood couldn't have created it -- you've got an unstoppable combination! 

What about you? When you get up to speak, what do you do to make sure your topic relates to the needs of your audience? Is your message one of real importance to them? Is it clear that you're there to help them, or just to impress them?

Yes, Anthony Robles is a celebrity, and it's a thrill for people to hear his story and to honor him. But Anthony understands that as impressed as they are with him and what he's been able to accomplish, what they really care about is that his message gives them hope, because he shows them how they can apply the principles from his experience to meet the challenges they face in their own lives.
It's been an honor and a privilege for me to help him do that, knowing how many lives are being touched by this champion, Anthony Robles!

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