What inspired you to become a motivational speaker?
Honestly, I didn’t choose this calling as a Motivational/Empowerment Speaker, it chose me. Whether I was a small child growing up in Special Ed classes, “talking too much” as teachers would say. A youth delivering speeches written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for city wide Speech contests in Jamaica, NY, representing Savannah State University as the SGA President or engaging my pupils as a High School English Teacher. I was always in front of people inspiring. In 2000 I stepped out on faith, left one school and classroom to empower the masses globally in the School of Life.
What helped you get where you are today and what steps did you take?
On my purpose filled journey of nearly two decades, I learned a great deal through trial and error. For the most part, I networked with colleagues in the Education Market, which encompasses Schools, Colleges and Family Advocacy Agencies. Many of my speeches in the early years were secured through relationships I had built within the National Education Association, Federal TRiO programs( Upward Bound, Talent Search, Student Support Services) and other Federal Programs I was actively engaged in. I was passionate and relentless. That passion also led to me meeting internationally acclaimed speaker Les Brown and sharing the stage with him for a few years as a member of the Les Brown Speakers Network. He’s still one I consider one of my greatest influences on my purpose filled journey.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
For aspiring authors I’d say self publish your first few literary works, you’ll learn the process of publishing and have more creative control. You’ll also reap the benefits and rewards of earning and keeping more of the profits. Don’t fall for companies that promise you six figures for signing with them. That’s all a part of the, “sales pitch.” As a beginning author, you’re going to have to grind hard and be willing to promote your own book!!!! Also, hire a professional editor. That way you can avoid your book having mechanical and grammatical errors often seen in books where editing was not a top priority.
What is the best part of what you do?
The best part of what I do is being able to help others recognize and then unlock the gifts that lie within themselves. When people don’t have clarity about their worth and dreams to pursue they often wander through life in a maze of, “existing,” instead of LIVING!!! I’m honored and humbled to take the masses from, “impossible to I’M POSSIBLE,” a process which shows people how to maximize their impact and influence.
Which skills should someone have if they want to go into your career?
For those seeking to be Professional Speakers, Coaches, Trainers and Consultants they must be able to communicate effectively and they must exhibit a high level of enthusiasm and endurance. Furthermore, they must love people and constantly being in the presence of people. This industry is NOT for those who don’t love to be around lots of people all the time. Moreover, you have to be willing to be a servant leader. Much of what I do centers around enhancing the lives of youth and families, especially the underserved. That’s not everyone’s path, but it’s mine. Your skill set also has to encompass being a formidable writer and motivator who moves people to action. Finally, to excel in the speaking realm at a high level you must be able to, “Move the Crowd.” At the end of the day, your presence must be a present in the present. Which can make you a GIFT to all who sit in your audiences and are transformed.
If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?
If I could meet any historical figure it would be Malcolm X. I would love to have a conversation with this fiery passionate orator, who remained so humble as a servant leader. I’ve always been inspired by how this man had unapologetic love for black people in the midst of a society, that always viewed people of color unapologetically loving themselves as a disease or scarlet letter of shame.
What scares you the most and why?
I’m most scared of not living my own purpose to the fullest. This healthy fear drives me to excel and be an example worth listening to and following.
What life events shaped you into who you are?
Being labeled as a, “Special Ed” and “At Risk” youth shaped me a great deal, as these were labels directly tied to my destiny and purpose. It’s so ironic how the same system that mislabeled me now helps to pay my annual income. It places me in front of hundreds of thousands of youth in order to help them reach their full potential. Growing up in a blended family also shaped who I am, as it taught me how to embrace a non traditional family. It also taught me to be more sensitive and caused me to create a, “culture of caring,” within. As my siblings and I had to deal with issues of abandonment while still being loved and nurtured by individuals who were defined as, “Step-Parents,”. Which to me always meant they, “Stepped In and Stepped Up.”
What’s your best childhood memory?
My best childhood memory is spending summers in Savannah, Georgia. Being with my cousins and playing in an era where black boys were not being profiled to the degree in which they’re being profiled now. Summers in Savannah also meant Vacation Bible School, which I personally loved. As it gave me another platform to give speeches in front of my peers, family and the community.
When was the last time a stranger made your day?
The last time a stranger made my day was while I was valeting my vehicle at a conference. The young man who took the vehicle said the following: “Sir you don’t remember me, but you came to my school years ago and called me out of the audience and told me I was a prospect not a suspect. I’m in College now, working and I never forgot that lesson”. WOW!!!! Needless to say, when I got to my room I wept uncontrollably. As that was just another example of God reminding me of my WHY in life and how our WHY will often make us cry. All for the purpose of knowing we are called to, “Have the Nerve to Serve.” Most people say what they do is not who they are. For me what I do IS a great part of who I am, for I am a servant leader on and off the stage!!!!
How can everyone keep in contact with you on social media?
Twitter: keithlbrown1911 . Instagram: keithlbrown_ . Facebook: keithlbrown1911