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Careers: More Dazzling Than Dull

The Wall Street Journal says being a motivational speaker is a high-paying gig. Actually what they say is it one of the five most overpaid jobs in the country.

Apparently that's a bad thing.

For some of us, overpaid is ample motivation. But you really can't make a name for yourself on the lecture circuit until you write a book.

And if you're going to write a non-fiction book, quite often you need a novel thesis or - barring that - a gimmick.

Alas, cleverness is a technique which some authors push too far. Take, for example, a book that arrived in my mailbox this week called Release Your Brilliance. The book promises to deliver "4 steps to transforming your life and revealing your genius to the world." And I thought that's what blogs were here for.

Previously unknown to me, the author Simon T. Bailey once worked as a Disney executive but left it all behind to become a motivational speaker. I have no idea how well Bailey motivates people, but he sure has a way with conceits and affirmations.

I am skeptical of affirmations. Oh sure, sometimes I give myself a pep talk, but usually it's on the tennis court where respectability is my aspiration, rather than say brilliance. But I digress. Bailey's book offers an exercise he calls The Brilliance Continuum. Let me know if this works for you.

"Dazzling of course is what you're striving for," he writes. "Draw a vertical line to indicate where you believe you are right now on the Brilliance Continuum."

Dull < ————————————————|——————---> Dazzling

I'm going to place a vertical line where I think I fall on this continuum today. You'll see that I'm slightly more dazzling than dull, but that's because I haven't finished reading this motivational book yet.

Bailey includes helpful sidebar comments, which he calls Gems. I'll share one with you now. "Everything you need to be brilliant is already inside you," writes Bailey. If that's the case, you need to choose wisely about whether a book will help you unlock your inner brilliance. It stands to reason that people who don't take this advice to heart run the risk of having their brilliance bottled up so tightly they will never find it again.

Bailey is a busy guy, but he takes time each morning to "guard his energy and protect his spirit" with a "personal Hour of Power ... twenty minutes of meditation, twenty minutes of exercise and twenty minutes of reading out loud."

Hard to knock that advice, although I'm unclear on the reading aloud thing when you're alone. Should you read aloud with inflection, you know, expressively, or just in a flat 'let's get through this' kind of tone? Maybe it depends upon what you're reading. For a motivational book I suggest you read it as loud as possible - it's therapeutic.

I leave you today with one final Bailey gem: "If you want to expand your brilliance, expand your thinking."

Rusty Weston, My Global Career • San Francisco, Ca •

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  • Wally Bock

    Personally, prefer Steve Martin's advice on how to become successful. "Be so good they can't ignore you."

  • Roger Fulton

    Ever since the mid-sixties when AT&T was giving the most "brilliant" phone personality training on the block in NYC, "motivational" speakers have been doing essentially the same thing: spinning their dialogue this way 'n that-languaging their their stories twisting one way or another.
    Bottom signature line - they all same 'bout the same thing: pump it up, stick your chest out a bit more, fake it til you make it. Think outside the box, punch past the point of contact, think "BIG."
    I've bought all the tapes, done all the conferences, they all sell the same stuff. Self confidencefor the weak and feint of heart. Sure, another six inches in your spirit isn't a bad thing, but we all can't be Donald Trump, even though we graduated with him at Wharton.
    Roger Fulton, Yuma, Az