Chalky White's motivational speaking blog where Chalky reminds us to have the last laugh.
Recently, for the second time, I presented my motivational keynote speech, “How to Say Nay to Your Naysayers and…Have the Last Laugh!” at the Stout Street Foundation in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A; a residential facility that helps those fortunate enough to live there, to begin and continue to recover from various types of substance abuse and alcoholism. Following my presentation, from positive verbal and written feedback, I gleaned that my “What If?” Factor message resonated greatly with very many of the 120 strong audience. But, why was I invited back to present that second time? It was because my message so positively affected the thought process of so many in that first audience; it seemed that, on the second occasion, my message resonated even more. Because of those reasons, I believe it vital, I want keep on getting my message out there to as many other groups of people in recovery here in the United States and other parts of the world.
That’s where you come in!
With that in mind, I'm looking for recommendations to places/people so that more opportunities will arise that’ll allow me to present my “What If?” Factor solution to more and more audiences that probably will appreciate an extra ‘leg up!’
I started presenting my speech because I’d found that my solution that is the “What If?” factor has helped so much in my own life to overcome, often against the odds, so much adversity, third party and self-doubt when otherwise perhaps I may not have done.
When I was a police officer I saw a lot of bad things such as substance abusers that either wouldn’t accept help or couldn’t find it because facilities that exist today didn’t so much forty years ago. Fortunately, far more, those facilities and organizations do exist now. You would be playing your part by simply recommending me and/or pointing me in the direction of principals, recovery facilities and those you may know that are successfully continuing with their personal recovery. Perhaps you are already aware, but if not, substance abuse has now reached epidemic proportions. Even if it’s seemingly only in a small way with your recommendations and my presentations we can make a contribution toward overcoming the substance abuse epidemic that is ravaging the health of so many, especially the young. Sometimes just your one phone call can be enough for the seeds of an opportunity to arise.
To conclude, I ask please, that you sit and think for some moments. Then, however unfamiliar you think your connections to someone maybe, please do make that call; it could make a difference. A difference to a person or many people that so vitally need to quit all substance abuse habits – Forever, if a healthy and happy life is to ever be theirs!
If you’d like to chat more on this subject or any other to do with my speech presentations or skiing related matters please contact me by one of the methods below. Find recommendations of my speaking to people in recovery below. Thank you.
Timothy Robison: Development, The Stout Street Foundation - Chalky White’s heart-felt, enlightening presentation is one that cannot be missed! He gains your immediate attention by recalling past stories of his hardships and successes, all the while incorporating playful props that colorfully aid in painting the picture of his rise to success. His constant eye contact and meaningful gestures keep the audience comfortably enticed throughout his entire presentation. He also creates a positive rapport with audience members, bringing them into his stories by asking meaningful questions and searching for insightful answers. Being in recovery myself, Chalky allowed me to regain a sense of confidence and belief in myself that I am able to make the right decisions when it comes to the critical “What if?” moments in my life. His stories inspired me to be proud of the things I have to offer the world and a sense of hope that I will be able to use them positively in the future. Chalky truly is an inspiration. His presentation is one that can have a positive effect on any person, from any walk of life, no matter what struggles they are going through.
Margaret McConnellogue, Development, The Stout Street Foundation - Chalky White is an inspiration! His speaking is uplifting, motivational and enthusiastic with a good sprinkling of humour in his stories. Hearing how he overcame obstacles in his life has challenged me to keep pushing through the obstacles in mine. What Chalky spoke about resonated with me very much. He reminded me of the dreams I have and how to fulfil them. This presentation was very powerful; Chalky spoke with emotion, empathy and ended with an amazing rendition of an uplifting song that surprised his audience. I would highly recommend Chalky White!
“Don't think that just because you made it to the next level that the naysayers disappear. Remember, new levels bring new devils.” —Steve Maraboli
Could that be you? It’s me for sure. Here are some things my naysayers said:
All potential daggers to the heart. None quite reached my heart! But as the man says, “New levels bring new devils.” My latest little devil was people doubting that I could become a motivational speaker. But I am one! So how did I, and how can you, overcome your naysayer devils?
I have long had abundant determination to never quit. But is that enough? Not for me. Experience tells me that even third party doubt becomes self-doubt, and it won’t dissipate unless a strong plan is readily available. Without a sound strategy, procrastination and eventual quitting will occur, even for the most determined.
Long now my plan for overcoming those doubting devils, whether third-party or my own nagging doubt, is my “What If?” Factor. When I use it, I don’t fail. Not even when something like becoming a fully-certified ski instructor is a dream that can and did take several years to fulfil. My “What If?” Factor has become an integral part of my life when attempting to achieve even minor goals.
The “What If?” Factor has both a negative and a positive aspect. When I ask the negative question “What if I don't follow through?,” negative answers dominate. I despise them. But, those answers in their own way are positives and are for the birds. The birds tweet that I should ask the positive question “But what if I do follow through on achieving my goal. What then?” You guessed it! I love those answers. And, when several times a day I repeatedly ask my “What If?” Factor questions, I become driven to keep going and achieve my goals.
Then, as per the title of my motivational speech, “How to Say Nay To Your Naysayers And… Have the Last Laugh!” that’s what happens again and again: I have the last laugh, keeping at bay those devilish naysayers. It's so satisfying—it will be for you too—knowing that you can overcome any doubt, even when more than one rears its ugly head.
I adapt my speech to various audiences. I help groups of people including corporation sales teams and groups of people in varying types of recovery. How does it work? It’s simple and effective. Questions such as, “What if I don’t continually pick up the phone to speak to potential customers?” or “What if I don’t break my destructive habit of taking (whatever substance)?” Both questions will bring negative answers.
But when the same questions are asked in the positive, for example: “What if I do keep calling potential customers?” or “What if I do quit taking this destructive drug, what great things can happen to me?” Answers are elicited like, “I’ll keep (or get) a job; I’ll have money to buy a home in a nice area; I’ll get a car (or a better one); I’ll go on dream vacations and perhaps be a lot happier as a result of my success.” Now you feel compelled to continue.
My “What If?” Factor has given me the last laugh countless times. The “What If?” Factor works for me. I know it will work for you, your sales teams, or for those who are in your care. Ask yourself this question: “What if I ask Chalky to share his “What If?” Factor with my group? Will that help anyone, including me?” Hmm! Food for thought! Contact me as below:
Have you had an intense dream or possibly life-changing goal that you were or are really passionate about? What happened? Was that passion powerful enough that you followed through and achieved your goals? Hopefully so! Or did doubt, yours or some third-party’s, dampen your desire to accomplish your “I know this can be fulfilled dream or goal”? That, even though you knew or know your achievement could change your life and become something to take pride in forever. Hmmm? And does your gnawing away aspiration still sit in the ‘pending tray’ of your brain unlikely it will ever move from the pile of other procrastinations you might have lying there? Or, worse still, did you not even try to attain your goal or fulfil your vision?
Even if you’ve not been adversely personally affected, though the possibilities are high that you have, it’s eminently possible that too many of your colleagues, employees, business associates, family and friends have or are experiencing one the above scenarios, right now! Definitely I have; but I found a way! I found a way, first out from the ashes of parental brutality, then from my twenties being constantly told my dreams were ‘for the birds’ and, ludicrously, that I was ‘The wrong body shape to be a fully certified ski instructor!” I’m still the wrong body shape but I still enjoy success as that fully certified instructor, beyond my wildest imaginations and “You don’t ski well enough to be photographed for your own book!” I found a way, I succeeded in fulfilling my every important dream and aspiration. Daily, I still “Have the Last Laugh!” over and over, again and again! - How?
The “What if?” Factor. Immediately after speech presentations, audience members report that they will immediately institute, into their daily lives, the “What if?” Factor. You see, not only can “What if?” be utilised for fulfilling major life dreams and goals, it can also be used for seemingly far less serious matters. For example, what about that apparently unimportant “Will I, won’t I?” call or e-mail that you’ve postponed again and again, as doubt dominates your expectations of any positive results from your actions? Many years ago I positively answered a seemingly unimportant and short question, “Do you want to go skiing?” Skiing became the master ‘oak tree’ from which acorns fell only to help me grow and achieve several of my other major goals. So making a seemingly mundane, small action, for example picking up the phone or scripting an e-mail, can change any of our lives; meaning CEO’s right down to the lowliest Company employee or single parent; J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame for instance? It’s why the my “What if?” Factor has been so huge in my own life and now that of many others; J.K. failed many times before becoming successful in her writing quest. If used consistently, the “What if?” Factor will inspire anyone on the planet to persist with taking action until the ultimate goal either in business or private life is achieved. Yes, occasionally, taking action ends in a negative way but that doesn’t mean you fail. No, you learn from the experience, re-think and talk different strategy with others. You then get the “What if?” Factor going again, even when you think matters are extremely dire and you’re at the very brink, I’ve been there too, of abject failure. The “What if?” Factor saved me and I’m writing this newsletter, when had I not taken massive action, because of constant “What if?” Factor use, perhaps I wouldn’t be.
So my motivational speech presentation, “How to Say Nay to Your Naysayers and...Have the Last Laugh!” is all about, overcoming doubt and dire adversity through consistent and determined, relentless use of the “What if?” Factor. As I intimated earlier, the beauty of my “Have the Last Laugh” speech is in its ability to inspire to big action businesspersons, students, adventure seekers, inventors, private citizens or anyone else on the planet that aspires to success and achievement.
Allow me the privilege of speaking at your conference, convention or meeting. There, I explain exactly how I used the “What if?” Factor to overcome obstacles, so massive, that at times I felt that they couldn’t possibly be negotiated. But, negotiated they were! Dreams and goals, major or minor, exist to be fulfilled. The “What if?” Factor drives you, and still me, toward big success and dream fulfilment. Take care, but not too much!
I'd completely failed, or so I thought, when 32 years ago after 3 times flunking the British Association of Ski Instructors (BASI) full certification exam, the powers that be in that organization during a meeting announced, “Chalky White will never be a fully certified ski instructor because he's the wrong body shape!” Right there, the biggest dream, professionally, of my life had drowned in the spring slush of a Scottish ski resort – was that true? Filled with dread and feeling like an abject failure, it was time to stop trying and quit completely, or was it?
It's fair to say that since that time, as I saw it then, one of the blackest days of my life and career I've enjoyed far greater success as a professional ski instructor than I could ever have thought possible. Did that happen because I stopped trying and quit? I didn't give up, but soon after my Scottish debacle, I found myself at a crossroads again not quite knowing which direction to go in but this time the crossroads had a cul-de-sac. In 1984 I decided to have a stab at taking what I regarded as the Holy Grail, the ski instructor full certification exam one more time.
Northern hemisphere summer, southern hemisphere Mount Hutt New Zealand winter; I'd secured a ski instructor job for the season. I attended the first training session for those wanting to take the New Zealand full certification exam. The trainer made a beeline for me and blurted, “What are you doing here?” “I want to take your full cert,” I replied. Curtly he responded, “You can't!” Banging on with, “You don't have our preliminary qualifications!” He didn't seem to care about me already having my higher-level credentials than his preliminaries. I'd now reached a crossroads yet again, with now a cul-de-sac at all four exits; I was now trapped, my dream had turned into a nightmare. So, I decided with my tail firmly tucked between my legs, to go back to England, think of some other career, and forget about it! No I didn't! I stayed, I didn't give up, the curt trainer didn't ever tell me to leave and I kept on again and again going to every full certification training session offered. I tried to stand out from the crowd by always arriving first, working the hardest and being seen to continue practicing ski demonstrations after the sessions had officially finished. A kind of miracle then happened; the old trainer in his usual inimitable style looked me right in the eye and blurted, “You really want to take this exam don't you? Well I’m going to let you.” You know my reply; I kissed him...well, almost! I wasn't a failure, I didn't give up and the Holy Grail became mine. My dream came true and 32 years on I still live it as I travel the Globe to coach my clients on my Ski the World With Chalky White program.
That period of my life taught me a great lesson. Fulfilling one's dreams can be very tough but if a dream or goal is important enough I know that if I quit I will suffer great regret later. Regret is a negative to be avoided if all possible. You, me, all of us must, must, must, if it is something that we really want to achieve, relentlessly follow through until the bitter, bitter end. No doubt, “You only fail when you stop trying!” I didn’t stop trying then and I rarely do now. Life is short, live it and fulfill your dreams, right to the end! Only you can do that.
I believe in the above philosophy so much, that I’ve taken to the road – I love travel – presenting my speech, “How to Say Nay to Your Naysayers and Have the Last Laugh!” It would be my privilege and pleasure to present to your conference, convention or organisation. I look forward to hearing from you. Take care, but not too much!
The other day I read an article in which the writer described how, as his father lay dying, he thanked him for encouraging him to take risks and to make sure that however big his dreams were, he should do everything he possibly could to make sure that he lived out those dreams. In an ‘ideal’ world, we would all have or have had a parent or parents that would encourage such adventure and enterprise. But, ‘ideal’ world it’s not! Unfortunately the start that too many of us have or have had with regard to doubt, mine was a doubting overbearing father, to whatever degree, didn’t or doesn't fit into the mould of ‘ideal’ world.
The world is full of naysayers; including our own self-doubt, constantly telling us that we should ‘not do’ or take the ‘safe’ route through life. That ‘safe’ route can mean get the steady job or career, have the ‘two point four’ kids, buy a house, accumulate a pension and then perhaps die before we ever get to enjoy the spoils of our labours. Is that a little cynical? Perhaps!
For many years I despised my father for encouraging me to stick to his and so many of his generation’s conventional routes through life. But, long now, I have thanked him. Why? I’ve realised that he brought out a dogged stubborn streak that has been in me since being very young. I‘ve appreciated that each time he would take the opposite view to my preciously-held dreams, it would make me ever more determined that I wouldn’t, a nightmare for me, go down the road of life, meaning become an engineer, he had mapped out for me. Eventually, of course, I did engineer the life I really wanted, that of ski instructor and traveller, but not before, for too many years, suffering the extremely ‘safe’ government job route of being a British Cop, a ‘Bobby’; although I’ve never regretted those years, they taught me how not to live life and I made lifelong friends.
It was some time during that nine years of definitely not living the dream that I thought of what I now refer to as the, “What if I don’t do this?” Factor. Back then it was more like, “Do what?” You see, pre 1975/76 before I first went to Andorra, a small country situated in the Pyrenees mountains, as a ski bum, I had no notion or dream of becoming a ski instructor; those guys were like demi-Gods to me. All I knew was that I wanted to travel. So, it could be construed that I was risking much by leaving the security of the police service, basically on a wing and a prayer. But, I strongly believe that when one desperately dislikes one's way of life, even if there is no fixed plan, then even if the dream is so vague as to just travel then one must still find a way to live that dream. For during future life adventures one will meet others and experience happenings that offer inspiration and possible wanted routes for the future. My inspiration was meeting the ‘demi-God’ ski instructors that had seemingly built a life and career around their passion for sliding down hills on a couple of planks, skis! The quest to become one of them became a dream, at times a nightmare, that never died; that, even though several prominent instructors voiced opinions I should forget it following my seemingly never-ending failures of instructor exams.
So the conclusion here is this; no regrets! However misty or vague your dreams and goals might be, however old you are and if your health will allow it, however tough the road, don’t listen to those who harbour doubts or different goals not to your liking. While using your head, go with your heart (plan where you can) with everything you’ve got. Continually say to yourself, “What if I don’t do this?” Probably, you’ll despise your answers. That’s good! That loathing will drive you forward. Life is way too short; regret is for the birds! ‘Til the next time!
My father would constantly tell me that any of my dreams, those he called fantasies, were not possible and even if they were possible I wasn't clever enough to fulfill them. Fortunately, that so-called 'limited' intelligence turned out to be a an 'asset' for yours truly. Largely, in my old country, Great Britain, back in the fifties and sixties the attitude was, get qualifications at school, get a good job, meet and marry a nice girl if you were a boy (the opposite if you were a girl), have a couple of kids and, potentially, live happily ever after. For a long time I went along with that. But, I had a little problem! Far into my twenties it relentlessly nagged that this so-called conventional wisdom wasn't for me. But I'd already fallen into the trap. I had a relatively well-paid 'secure' government job (Police Officer) that would end up giving me a pension thirty years down the track - no doubt, my previous mental programming made me scared to leave. But then, I went on my first ever ski trip and saw the beaming, smiling faces of so many that worked in winter sports. My then-perceived lack of cleverness didn't stop me from realizing that so many of these people were living the dream. On my second ski trip I saw all those smiling faces again and again. Enough! I dared myself to leave a job that rarely made me smile; only the humour of my colleagues kept me going. At that time, I had no idea what I would end up doing in the ski business; I only knew I wanted to be part of it. I resigned! I've travelled far and wide, smiled constantly, and lived the dream ever since.
So, the question I would ask is, "Even if you have qualifications coming out of the ying-yang, you get paid a g-zillions of dollars, but something deep inside you continually nags away telling you that this is not for you and it is not what you want from life at all, should you persevere with that pain, or go and do what is truly in your heart?" It may be a tough question to answer and an even tougher one to take action on. But, if it's what you truly want, you must find a way; go and do it! I'm a longtime, never-been-well-paid ski instructor, but I know that my own answer, as it was for so many of my colleagues, has always been the right one for me. It's rare for me to see a ski instructor that doesn't have a smile as the locker room chatter of stories related to their days on the ski hill are told. So many of my instructor colleagues have all kinds of qualifications, once had well-paid jobs and, so-called security. But, so many took brave, difficult decisions. They opted to, day after day, live out their dreams. Are you living yours? I hope you are or, very soon, will be! It's not easy, but I ask, when was life ever easy? So often, for those fortunate enough to have such opportunities, taking heartfelt difficult decisions is the route to a sustained state of happiness. Over-cautious attitudes can lead to discontentment and unhappiness; that's why now when I communicate with people from any walk of life, I will say, "Take care but….Not too much!" Whatever we might be told by some naysayer - or by self-doubt - nearly all of us are intelligent enough. For you, it's likely being a ski instructor is not it, but you surely have your own heartfelt dreams and goals. So, until my next scribbling here, discover your route to dream fulfillment or, at least keep on keeping on living out your dreams. After all, it's nobody else's life - it's yours!
I'm sure as most speakers are, the question I’m asked most is, “What made you decide to become a motivational speaker?” The first obvious answer that comes to mind is this. I have become successful beyond my wildest dreams. I am now an internationally known ski instructor; one that went on to become the author of a number one best-selling ski book, The 7 Secrets of Skiing. Plus, I was a kid that hailed from the back street slums of London who now lives in two places I can call paradise. For many years before I attained that success, it seemed like endless times, I was forced to endure and overcome major adversity. There were very many times on my journey to becoming a fully certified ski instructor when I could have given up on that quest; ludicrously, after several exam failures it was announced, “Chalky White is the wrong body shape to be a ski instructor.” You see, there were so many naysayers continually saying “No” to me that, on top of those negatives, my own gnawing doubts dominated, day and night.
Did I, many times, nearly give up? You know the answer to that! So why didn't I? I didn't quit because of a simple little formula that I thought of in the form of two basic questions; questions that I still ask myself today each time I endure doubt, from whatever source. I got lucky when, out of nowhere, I came up with that solution formula; as they say you make your own luck. Just about always my formula questions worked; they would work when every emotion and thought rattling my brain was telling me to quit. That, oh so simple formula is why I now speak to any audience or anyone that will listen. Because my adversity overcoming formula has worked for me so many times, it causes me to be supremely confident. Confident in the knowledge that if it is constantly used and if a listener's dream or goal to achieve is strong enough, it will work for any individual on the planet; anyone needing to overcome inevitable repeated adversity. For obvious reasons I won’t reveal my formula here but, be assured it rests at the very heart of my presentation of “How to Say Nay to Your Naysayers and..... Have the Last Laugh!” That little formula is why I’ve decided to take my message to anyone that wants to listen. If that’s you and your client then please contact me. I quote Winston Churchill – “Never, Never, Never Give In!” He didn’t; and I am glad to say I try to heed that advice each and everyday. I hope you do too!