There are so many reasons why we fall into different jobs and career paths. For me, I have never really been too concerned with a job. But I have been deeply influenced by the concept of impact.
In my household, we never really focused on, or spoke too much, about money. My mother was a teacher. My father was the head of our city’s Section 8 program. Serving people, working for the public – that’s what we did.
As a child I loved movies. I have so many favorites, but I have a penchant for movies with heroes. I love movies that have people who find their true potential for the benefit of others. I love to see a hero in action.
I think growing up and watching movies like Superman, Batman, Malcolm X, Gandhi, Lean on Me, Stand and Deliver, and Schindler’s List all had a profound impact on me. By watching those movies, I was subconsciously programming myself to express myself in the highest way possible. I didn’t even know it at that time.
As a kid, my mother wouldn’t let me go outside and play until I read, wrote, and then spoke about what I learned. I think she was training me to be a speaker and didn’t even know it. My father on the other hand, loved to talk, lecture, and impart his wisdom.
He passed his worldview down to me. He spent time building me up. Now, I am paying it forward. But at the time, I had no idea this was happening.
I hope that lays some groundwork for what I am about to share. I hope you enjoy my reasons for choosing to be a motivational speaker!
I became a motivational speaker because…
1. I realized I had a message.
What’s YOUR story? If someone was to ask ‘who are you’, what would you say? I used to think my story was nothing special and didn’t have any value. I thought that my story was just like anybody else’s. I never knew it mattered.
But when I became a teacher, that all changed. I started working with students and found that my voice and stories DO matter – they have the power to make a difference.
At times, I was shocked by my ability to empower and inspire young people by sharing stories. From tales of my childhood, to college days about overcoming obstacles, dealing with peer pressure, finding my voice, and developing my confidence.
2. I want to be somebody.
Just like in all my favorite movies, I wanted to be somebody who mattered, someone who makes a difference. When I was a kid, my father would always ask, “Son what do you want to be when you grow up?” I just answered, “I don’t know.” But, I always knew I wanted to be somebody.
As I got older, I got upset and frustrated by seeing too many of my family members and friends settle for jobs that didn’t fulfill their basic human needs of service, purpose, joy, and growth. I was determined that my life would be different. I was determined to NOT settle.
3. I want to fulfill my potential.
Throughout my entire K-12 career, on every single report card I ever received, it read: “Jeff is not fulfilling his potential.” You know what, they were all right. This even continued throughout most of my undergraduate time.
While finishing my Bachelors and earning my Masters, I became deeply committed to maximizing every second and every opportunity that came my way. I started studying the self-improvement sections of libraries and bookstores. I started asking myself questions like, “What would my life look like if I gave it 150 percent?”
I knew what it was like to give 70 or 60 percent. I knew what it was like to be easily distracted. I knew what it was like to go for social acceptance instead of following my own voice. I made a commitment to see what I was really capable of.
4. I want to reach more people.
I love being a teacher and Dean of Students. I love working with students. I fell in love with speaking at assemblies and school-wide functions. I even began to fall in love with making an impact on social media with people telling me that they look forward to going on Facebook and seeing my updates.
I loved when people would tell me that when they’re stressed out, they would log on to Facebook just to see what I said. I took that as a sign from the people. I took it as a true calling. I decided to answer the call.
5. I want to be an entrepreneur.
I think we all want more control and freedom in our lives. I knew that if I didn’t control my pay check, I really didn’t control my destiny.
It’s funny, when I think back to the sixth grade, my mother would always make me cold-cut sandwiches. Every day I would eat half, and sell the other half. I was a businessman from the start. Even though I didn’t know it at that time.
6. I want to show people it’s possible.
I want to show people that great things are possible. I want to show people that we can do other things besides be athletes and entertainers. I wanted to let people know that you can share a positive message and create a life of meaning.
Too many people quit too easily. I want to be an example of perseverance and resilience. I once heard somebody say, “Why settle for average, when greatness is possible?”
7. I want to live my message.
There was no way I could tell people ‘be all you can be’, ‘stand up for what you believe in’ and ‘express yourself at your highest level’ – if I am not. How could I say ‘serve the world and serve people at your highest possible level’, if I’m not living it?
Even before becoming a motivational speaker, I dedicated my life to embodying my deepest and highest commitments. The best way I could inspire people is not by giving them a great speech, but to live with meaning and a deep sense of purpose.
Like Gandhi said, “Your life is your message. Make it an inspiring one.”
8. I want to inspire my past and present students.
When it comes to success, and even growing success, my past and even present students are my biggest cheerleaders. I’m honored to be in contact with them and their families. I love receiving messages from them.
They know I’m no different from them and they’re no different from me. One student once told me, “Mr. Moore every time you go on stage, I feel like I’m going on stage, too.” You are!
9. I love to encourage, inspire, and uplift.
Since high school, people came up to me for advice about relationships, gossip, obstacles, and family issues. I vividly remember having a moment of reflection to myself and realizing how much I loved when I heard the phrase, “I never thought about it that way.”
Even at that young age, I knew that someone’s life was changed forever because they were thinking differently. I believe that everyone has a gift. Everyone has a calling. Some people just never recognize it. Some people never accept it and never own it. I know that this is my calling. I know this is what I’m here for and I will not deny it.
10. I want to make my family proud.
I come from a family with a lot of pride. My mother is Jewish, an Eastern European who was born and raised in Borough Park, Brooklyn. My father was born in Tallahassee, Florida. As a young kid, he refused to go to segregated fountains and bathrooms, which eventually put the lives of his brother, sister, and mother in danger.
He was sent up north to New York City, where he met my mother 20 years later. Of course, their relationship was highly controversial for that time. They didn’t care. Me, well, I guess you can say I was born this way, cut from the same cloth. (This of course, is the short version of their story.)
I remember coming home as a kid, and my father would ask to see my homework and class notes. He constantly reminded me with his strong voice to “put your name on your paper.” “Be proud of your name, be proud of who you are”, he would say.
I never let that go. Their love and commitment has taught me everything. The greatest gift I can give them is to make them proud. With that said, making them proud has graduated to also making my city Glen Cove, New York, proud.
I aspire to make my country proud. I aim to truly be a global citizen, and be a voice for hope, faith, and hard work.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts. Feel free to share and comment!