I've been invited to an event to listen to a motivational speaker. Like so many he offers an attractive formula for business success which is loosely based on common sense. He will be well rehearsed and supported by a neat set Powerpoint slides. If folk are lucky, there will be 'materials' to buy at the end, perhaps a self-published book and a DVD of the presentation.

I'm reminded of the film 'Little Miss Sunshine'. It tells the story of a man so determined to sell his formula for success to others that he neglects to notice the grit and determination of his own daughter; a girl who sets out to succeed, against a field far better qualified than she is. As events conspire to thwart her, she just tries harder.

Of course I'm often invited (paid even) to speak to audiences seeking solutions to the challenges they feel are between them and their goals. Too many live with the feelings of discontentment that come when you have no goals, just an undefined desire for more.

Every time I prepare a presentation I think about 'Little Miss Sunshine' and the perils of becoming a self-appointed expert. Socrates summed it up when he wrote that; 'the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.' Motivational speaking should not be about presenting 'off the shelf' solutions, but about encouraging people to be themselves, human, fallible with clearly thought through goals.

We succeed by doing what young Olive does in 'Little Miss Sunshine'. We succeed by having simple, bold goals and by treating every failure as an opportunity to pause, reflect, learn and then try again, with even more determination.

You have to be confident you're running for the right bus!

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