In May of 2017, I decided to do something. That was when I officially began the journey of a very public transformation. I’ve had a large social media following for several years, as a result of starting a couple companies that grew into thousands of fans and customers. But, they only knew me as a car enthusiast, or an oil industry worker. Even though I’ve been consulting businesses and mentoring startups for over a decade, I was only doing this privately. I didn’t have the confidence to inspire and educate people in a public manner. We all have the fears of rejection, and failure. I decided that I would overcome these fears, and step into this big social media spotlight.

It wasn’t easy. It still isn’t easy. I’m only about a year into this, at the time of this writing. I’ve learned many things during this past year. Not all of them have been good things. I’ve learned that some people that you considered friends for years, would not support your goals. Even those who you have always supported, with their dreams. They will laugh at you, talk behind your back, and make passive-aggressive comments to try to take you down a notch. I’d say this was the most disappointing part of the journey, so far. If anything, it has been a great eye-opener, and has exposed these people for who they really are. For that, I am actually grateful. I have a very strong and determined mindset, and it is very clear that I do not let these critics stop my progress. Obviously, they must have underestimated my drive and determination.

Conversely, there has been a positive aspect to this. An opposite realization, which carries far more weight than what naysayers bring. For every negative critic that showed up, there have been dozens of unexpected supporters that also appeared. People that I may have misjudged, who I never thought would support me. Those relationships have grown stronger, and it has highlighted the good people in my circles. The amount of positive emails, texts and messages I receive completely overwhelm me. It tells me I’m doing something right.

Getting back to the topic of fear. I knew I had stories and lessons to tell. I just knew that I wasn’t brave enough to deliver them to my own acceptable standards. I had to get better at public speaking. Some people actually rank public speaking higher than the fear of death. There would be no way around this fear. I’d have to trudge right through the middle of it, if I ever hoped to achieve my goals. So, I took a deep breath, and called myself a few derogatory names, and signed up to attend a local club meeting with Toastmasters International in my area. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Toastmasters, it is a non-profit worldwide organization that provides education and practice in public speaking and leadership. Chances are, there are a few clubs near you. You can search for them on their website,

In less than one year, I went from having zero experience in public speaking, to competing – and winning at public speaking contests. Had you asked me a year ago if I’d be competing at this, I’d have laughed at you as the cold sweats began to form just thinking about it. No way in hell could I see myself doing that, especially in a short amount of time. But here is the thing, I was simply determined. Like everything in my life, I set goals, and then deliver on them. I attended every single Monday night, only missing them on vacations or holidays. I found great mentors, and a room of positive, supportive people, who feel more like family now. We are all there on the same mission, for self-improvement. I recently earned my Competent Communicator certificate, having completed 10 prepared public speeches. Something to frame, and be proud of. Very few start and complete that journey. Most take several years to do so. There are no shortcuts.

I feel that anyone that joins, and participates within Toastmasters will be forever changed for the better. In one year, you will not be the same person that joined. I found so much value here, that I became a VP of this group. I plan to stick around and mentor others. I also have plenty of room to improve. Watching the weekly transformations and improvements of others in the group, is something astounding to witness.

Anyways, here is a contest speech that I delivered a week ago, on the subject of FEAR! I hope that the story captivates you, but more importantly, the message is heard. This is how I live my life, nowadays. If something makes me feel fear, I go after it and try to overcome that fear. Enjoy.