Interview on Being a Successful Motivational Speaker with a Challenge Background
Michael, why do you consider yourself a great motivational speaker?
Wigge (breaks out laughing): Well, I guess my clients have to decide if they consider me a top motivational speaker or a mediocre one.
But you really wanted to become a top motivational speaker, right?
Wigge: Actually, no one would book me if I was mediocre on stage. Motivational speakers have to be at an outstanding level, otherwise no one really needs them. That’s why it can be hard to stay in the business, but those who do, have the most wonderful profession you could ever imagine.
What makes you a great motivational speaker?
Wigge: I think the most important aspect is to be an inspiring person who might have overcome certain personal and professional challenges in their life. In my case, I worked hard to create the life I always wanted, and this pretty much allowed me to become a motivational speaker in my second career. I currently travel to six countries to deliver my Challenge-4-Change keynotes on change, leadership, sales, and motivation.
How does your life look in your home base of Denver, Colorado?
Wigge: First of all, I wanted to live somewhere I would really be happy and be able to trail run (my hobby) whenever I wanted. That’s one reason why I moved from Germany to Colorado. Germany is awesome; I love it. But I felt that Colorado—with its nature, mountains, positive life attitude, and friendliness—is the right place for me as a runner and motivational speaker. I just love the friendliness and natural beauty of Colorado, and as a trail runner, I can’t wait to be back in the mountains for the next run in between keynotes and seminars.
I work hard at being healthy. I eat a healthy diet as a vegan. I lost 25 pounds years ago, always work on my stress management, and I keep a healthy social life. I remember that I was not very sporty as a child. But I started track and field as a teenager in Germany and became one of the best 1000-meter runners in the youth section of my state. I have also worked hard on overcoming personal challenges. As a child, I had a severe stutter, and I couldn’t speak in public. This has obviously changed after pushing myself to be in front of crowds as a speaker, which I have done regularly over the last 30 years. I guess that helped spark my dream of becoming a motivational speaker in the United States. It’s possible to change behavioral patterns and our health situation if we try leaving our comfort zone over and over again.
Going back to food, I remember being a heavy meat eater and disliking veggies. My current diet is mainly based in greens, and I sincerely love them. We can change all kinds of mechanisms if we decide to do so. Certain supplements can be beneficial, too.
Interesting. But are these all of your patterns that you changed?
Wigge: No, there are more. To prepare myself to become a motivational speaker in the US, I also worked on stress management. Years ago, I didn’t often allow myself regular breaks at work to maintain a normal pace in my work, and I always had way too much on my plate. I realized the stress symptoms of burnout and depression at one stage. Things take time, and nowadays, I walk slower, eat slower, put less on my daily plate of work, and I sleep way better. Sometimes old patterns may come back, but a constant practice keeps them in that little box somewhere in my mind, where they belong.
I have also worked hard on my ability to embrace change. This is something challenging for all of us. I remember experiencing the change from analog self-marketing to digitized self-marketing. Working with SEO strategies, newsletters, and social media seemed to be so frustrating, especially after I had great PR from my TV shows for over 15 years. PR seemed to be automated. The phone rang, and TV shows—first in Europe and later in the US—asked me to come on their show after a new adventure challenge I had faced. I was invited on The Tonight Show in 2013.
The required change management with digitized marketing was immense. I felt blocked from making necessary changes, and I didn’t want to leave my comfort zone at first. But I pushed through it, learned new marketing strategies, and now here I am with strong online marketing.
You wanted to become a motivational speaker, and you did. What else have you changed?
Wigge: All these adventures—like Traveling the World for Free or Trading Up Around the Globe—taught me the following:
- To really believe in myself
- The better set my goals
- To overcome my fears
- To stay out of my comfort zone
- To become a positive person
- To always do what I love
- To never give up
- To build and lead teams
- To become resilient
I always reached out and asked for help from any kind of group I could learn from, in order to grow. This broadened my view of the world and on personal development. This enabled me to develop a unique life serving company events around the globe.
What advice would you give to others?
Wigge: If you want to be a motivational speaker, look at your life, and change what is needed for growth. Go through the ups and downs of change. Strive for your goals, and don’t listen to pessimists. Surround yourself with optimists, and just forward your positivity to others.
You will attract what you’re looking for. Being a motivational speaker means having an inspirational life.
I learned in life that people see, learn, and find. Always stay open to listening and learning!
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