Episode 74

From Chump to Champ: The Power of Habits with Darren LaCroix

Published on: 5th January, 2022

Has anyone ever said to you, “don’t quit your day job”. This is such a sh!t thing to say, because it implies that if you aren’t proficient at something from the beginning, then you never will be and you should give up trying. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in business is thinking that things will come to you quickly. Believing that anyone has ever become an overnight success.

Listen in as I talk with the one and only Darren LaCroix, the author of two books: Laugh & Get Rich and The Speaker’s Edge. He is the only speaker in the world who is an Accredited Speaker, Certified Speaking Professional and a World Champion of Public Speaking. Darren discusses how during his journey from chump to champ he discovered a formula that yielded such abundant success, it surprised even himself. 

Drink of the Week: Rat Pack Manhattan

https://intoxicologist.net/2011/02/join-the-rat-pack-for-a-manhattan/

This episode is sponsored by Nickerson, a full-service branding, marketing, and PR and communications agency with team members in Boston, LA, Miami, and NYC. https://nickersoncos.com/

Julie Brown:

60 Minute Breakthrough Session ($225). https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=20330628&appointmentType=18450786

Website- ​https://juliebrownbd.com/

Instagram- ​https://www.instagram.com/juliebrown_bd/

LinkedIn- ​https://www.linkedin.com/in/julie-brown-b6942817/

Youtube- ​https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIwWVdayM2mYXzR9JNLJ55Q

Facebook- ​https://www.facebook.com/juliebrownbd/

Darren LaCroix

https://darrenlacroix.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_tNpsyX9HvMKE-qjq98sIA

Book: http://www.17minutestoyourdream.com/

Where Good Presenters Become UNFORGETTABLE: https://stagetimeuniversity.com

Darren’s Podcast: https://www.unforgettablepresentationspodcast.com

Transcript
Julie:

Has anyone ever said to you.

Julie:

Don't quit your day job.

Julie:

Well, that's a shit thing to say, because it implies that if you aren't

Julie:

proficient at something from the very beginning, Then you never will be,

Julie:

and you should just give up trying.

Julie:

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in business is thinking that

Julie:

things will come to you quickly.

Julie:

Believing that anyone has ever become an overnight success.

Julie:

Welcome to episode 74.

Julie:

Where I am joined by the one and only Darren LaCroix.

Julie:

Darren is the author of two books, laugh and get rich and the speaker's edge.

Julie:

He's the only speaker in the world who is an accredited speaker.

Julie:

Certified speaking professional and a world champion of public speaking.

Julie:

We're going to get to that in a moment.

Julie:

Hang tight.

Julie:

This episode is sponsored by Nickerson.

Julie:

A full service, branding, marketing PR and communications agency with team members

Julie:

in Boston, LA, Miami, and New York city.

Julie:

Visit them@nickersoncos.com.

Julie:

I met Darren at the national speakers association conference.

Julie:

He was actually the second person I met on my first day at the event.

Julie:

And because I have apparently been living under a massive rock.

Julie:

I didn't know the legend that is Darren LaCroix.

Julie:

Yes.

Julie:

In the speaking world, Darren retains legend status, but he

Julie:

didn't become a legend overnight.

Julie:

So let's rewind the tape a bit and give you some history.

Julie:

In the 1990s, after a devastating business failure, Darren was forced to

Julie:

live with his parents and get a second job to pay off his business debt.

Julie:

As a subordinate in a sea of, cubicles clocking in each day, his dream

Julie:

was not to someday run the company.

Julie:

Instead, his dream was to make people laugh.

Julie:

That he had one big problem.

Julie:

He wasn't funny.

Julie:

Like not at all.

Julie:

Having nothing to lose.

Julie:

He tried an open mic night at a Boston comedy club.

Julie:

He bombed miserably.

Julie:

As he walked off stage, the headliner performer said to

Julie:

him, don't quit your day job.

Julie:

Determined to escape his life of monotonous Mondays.

Julie:

Darren refused to accept a fee and use that humiliation rejection and failure

Julie:

as a fuel to pursue a dream that even his friends and family said was ridiculous.

Julie:

Without a funny bone in his body.

Julie:

He may have been least likely to be a comedian.

Julie:

But he had a willingness to fail.

Julie:

He made incredible sacrifices for his passion.

Julie:

And even though his journey shifted Darren received guidance and discovered

Julie:

a formula that yielded such abundance success at even surprised him.

Julie:

Over the next few years, he was relentless in his pursuit of comedy.

Julie:

On the way he found another outlet, professional speaking.

Julie:

In 2001, his persistence, patience, and presser virulence paid off

Julie:

when he won the title of world.

Julie:

Champion of public speaking in that contest, Darren beat out 25.

Julie:

Thousand contestants from 14 countries with a speech that people are still

Julie:

talking and laughing about today.

Julie:

Now Darren travels, the world inspiring audiences, with his least likely story

Julie:

of how he went from chump to champ.

Julie:

He's spoken in every state in the United States, as well as 45 international

Julie:

cities, including Milan Shanghai.

Julie:

And Kuala Lumpur and today friends, he is here with us to talk about how with

Julie:

habits and mindset, we can all look forward to quitting our day job one day.

Julie:

Hey, I'm so glad you're here.

Julie:

I'm so number one first off.

Julie:

I'm so glad we met and now I'm so glad you're here.

Julie:

So let's talk about the journey from after.

Julie:

I I've watched a bunch of your speeches.

Julie:

So I actually saw the comedy, um, bit that you did that bombed.

Julie:

And when I say it bond like it, it bond.

Julie:

How did you go from that to where you are now?

Julie:

I just want the whole thing.

Julie:

It's so amazing.

Darren:

Well, thank you.

Darren:

Thank you.

Darren:

Let me back up a half a step because then people understand even why it

Darren:

was kind of crazy to do it in the first place I had always been told.

Darren:

I wasn't funny when I was eight years old, I'd tried to make my family laugh.

Darren:

My cousin and brother were making everybody laugh.

Darren:

Polish family holiday.

Darren:

And I was at the kids table.

Darren:

I stood up and I threw out a punchline and I hushed my whole family and people

Darren:

like, dude, you're just not funny.

Darren:

And I squirmed down in my seat.

Darren:

I was so embarrassed and I told myself, I will never, ever try to be

Darren:

funny again, because it hurts so much.

Darren:

Uh, but after my college days at Bryan college, I feel Rhode

Darren:

Island, not too far from you.

Darren:

Uh, I went from the American dream.

Darren:

I bought a subway sandwich shop.

Darren:

I leveraged all my credit.

Darren:

And if you don't know subway at that point had 5,000 stores.

Darren:

They had a 98% success.

Darren:

I,

Julie:

you bought one.

Darren:

I was in the 2% that didn't you make it?

Darren:

And I sold it at a loss.

Darren:

So technically it wasn't a failure, but it was for me.

Darren:

And my buddy gave me this motivational tape of a man named

Darren:

Brian Tracy, and, um, lowest point in my life, driving down the road.

Darren:

My buddy had given me this and I'm listening and he says, he asks a question.

Darren:

He said, what would you dare to dream?

Darren:

If you knew you wouldn't fail.

Darren:

And I thought about it, like, okay, let me take this serious.

Darren:

I was like, I would be a comedian.

Darren:

I mean, how cool would that be?

Darren:

Make an audience laugh and earn a living at that.

Darren:

That would be the ultimate, but all of a sudden, the voice of

Darren:

reason popped up by my shoulder and said, but you're not funny.

Darren:

Remember that eight year old incident?

Darren:

And I went back to that eight year old dreamer and I said, you know what?

Darren:

I got nothing to lose.

Darren:

I live at home with mom and dad.

Darren:

Uh, I'm college loans, still business loans, who cares.

Darren:

So I couldn't live with the regret of wondering what if regrets suck.

Darren:

And I just couldn't do that.

Darren:

Thank God, because I said, okay, now if I'm going to do it for anyone who has

Darren:

any dream, any passion, the only thing worse than trying it is trying it half.

Darren:

And then still not knowing.

Darren:

So I went to a little comedy club.

Darren:

I had never been in one in my life.

Darren:

I went to a comedy club in Wister, Massachusetts, or as we say, Wister,

Darren:

Wister, and I walked up to the headliner.

Darren:

Now I'm a hyper introvert.

Darren:

So it took courage to just walk up to this stranger, nevermind the headliner.

Darren:

And I said, hi, my name is Darren.

Darren:

I want to try this.

Darren:

What do I need to do?

Darren:

And he asked me a question.

Darren:

He said, are you funny?

Darren:

I said, no.

Darren:

He said good.

Darren:

Like what do you mean?

Darren:

Good.

Darren:

And he went on to explain that people who are class clowns, people who are naturally

Darren:

funny, he said, that's one skillset.

Darren:

What if you took a class, clown handed him a microphone and you know this and you

Darren:

put them in front of a hundred strangers.

Darren:

They couldn't make them laugh.

Darren:

That's a different skill set.

Darren:

Now they could learn it.

Darren:

But right out of being funny around the family to a hundred strangers with

Darren:

a microphone that doesn't work, he said, but that skillset can be learned.

Darren:

And I did a Scooby doo I'm like what?

Darren:

And he handed me an ounce of hope and he said, two things.

Darren:

Number one.

Darren:

Uh, go to open mic nights and watch other people just starting

Darren:

out, which does made sense.

Darren:

Cause when I told my friends and family, they compared me to Seinfeld, someone who

Darren:

wasn't funny, just thinking about it to someone at the top of their profession.

Darren:

If you've got a hope, a dream you want to quit your day job, whatever.

Darren:

Yeah.

Darren:

Don't compare yourself to someone who's at the top.

Darren:

Learn from them.

Darren:

Be inspired by them.

Darren:

Find, as you say, find their habits, but don't compare yourself.

Darren:

That's not fair.

Darren:

So you said number one, go to an open mic night.

Darren:

Number two, get the book.

Darren:

It's like book.

Darren:

There's a book about standup comedy.

Darren:

Well, of course there's books about everything, but

Darren:

I w I wasn't aware of that.

Darren:

It didn't even Dawn on me that someone had been there, done that.

Darren:

You know, wrote the book.

Darren:

And so he said, go get the book.

Darren:

The book was called a stand-up comedy, the book by Judy Carter.

Darren:

So I immediately went and got it on Sunday night, I went to stitches

Darren:

comedy club, which at that time was right outside of Fenway park.

Darren:

And I watched an open mic night and I thought these people suck.

Darren:

I can do that.

Julie:

I can suck too.

Darren:

I can talk to, and it literally, I kid you not, it, it inspired me.

Darren:

So I went back every Sunday night for two months, I read the book.

Darren:

I did the exercise.

Darren:

It was April 26th, 1992.

Darren:

The clip that you saw stitches Boston mass.

Darren:

I brought my friends with me because I was growing up.

Darren:

I was a mommy's boy I chicken.

Darren:

Everything.

Darren:

And I told my friends I'm going up tonight.

Darren:

I don't care how bad it is.

Darren:

I'm never doing this again.

Darren:

So it wasn't a dream at this point.

Darren:

It was a not living my life with regret at this point.

Darren:

And so I went up on stage nervous shaking, literally had my little,

Darren:

my little jokes on note cards.

Darren:

My voice is quivering.

Darren:

I'm doing the Peter Brady thing and yeah.

Darren:

There was one point where I was telling a joke about Dr.

Darren:

Robert Goddard, who had launched the first liquid fuel rocket in

Darren:

history, in my hometown, Auburn.

Darren:

And so I was making light of every town in new England claims to have the

Darren:

claim to fame that changed the world.

Darren:

And so I was making light of it and I said, Dr.

Darren:

Goddard's rocket took off in Auburn and it was.

Darren:

Vertically, but I did horizontal with my arm because I was so nervous.

Darren:

My body language was horizontal, but I said vertical.

Darren:

And at that instant, I realized I messed up and I just said, ah, shoot.

Darren:

Well, it's not the actual word I used

Julie:

use that word on this

Darren:

this, but I said, oh shit and everything.

Darren:

But he laughed.

Darren:

And I was looking around like, what, what happened?

Darren:

And that was the only laugh I got that night.

Julie:

Okay.

Darren:

As I walked tough stages.

Darren:

Other comedian put his arm around my shoulder.

Darren:

He said, don't worry, man.

Darren:

It's just your first time.

Darren:

And I'm like, don't worry.

Darren:

Did you see what I did?

Julie:

Yeah,

Darren:

I got a laugh.

Darren:

am watching a comedy.

Darren:

Why so often do we let other people tell us what successes

Julie:

right.

Darren:

everyone thought I bombed?

Darren:

I'm looked like I made a mistake.

Darren:

I ended up five minutes of time.

Darren:

I had one thing to do.

Darren:

I could get rid of everything that didn't work and figure out how to reproduce.

Darren:

The one thing that did, I could do this.

Darren:

And that's when the dream happened.

Darren:

I was like, I was all in and I got every mentor.

Darren:

I could, I read every book that I could.

Darren:

And the book is important because I think to be successful at anything, you need

Darren:

two things, which is number one direction.

Darren:

You don't work your butt off, but if you're working your butt off in

Darren:

the wrong direction, you're wasting.

Julie:

right.

Darren:

Number two is correction that mentor, that guide that person who will

Darren:

realign you and get you back on track.

Darren:

And I think that's what I call the math to mastery effort.

Darren:

We've got to put in the effort times, direction, which

Darren:

direction are you working in?

Darren:

Plus correction effort, times, direction, plus correction.

Darren:

You can master anything.

Darren:

Most people aren't willing to put in there.

Darren:

Or they have their ego in the way, and they don't get the direction

Darren:

or they, they think they're a DIY or they don't need any correction.

Darren:

And I just think that's the simple, most powerful formula.

Darren:

If you've got a crazy, ridiculous dream and really want to

Darren:

make something big happen.

Julie:

So, how does that fall into the habits that you learned?

Darren:

Well, so going to my mentors, I asked them, okay,

Darren:

what, you know, what do I do?

Darren:

What, what do I do?

Darren:

And I was looking for commonality.

Darren:

So I went to one thing I learned, because at that point I was

Darren:

absorbed with Brian, Tracy and Tony Robbins and motivational tapes.

Darren:

And they said, I kept hearing it over and over again.

Darren:

They said, go to people who were the best.

Darren:

Because they think differently.

Julie:

Okay.

Darren:

So in the comedy world, I was a wannabe, you know, and I

Darren:

wasn't even an open mic maker yet.

Darren:

And there's opening acts, middle acts and headliners, and what I took from their

Darren:

advice, applying it to the comedy world.

Darren:

And now the speaking world is go to the headliners.

Darren:

When you're a wannabe, you're happy to be around an open room.

Darren:

Uh, uh, an opening act, but they have the worst habits they have.

Darren:

They haven't made the mistakes yet.

Darren:

So you headliners made the mistakes.

Darren:

They been there and done that.

Darren:

They've seen it.

Darren:

I've seen it from everyone.

Darren:

So if you go to the wrong people, you're going to get bad habits

Darren:

that will lengthen your learning.

Darren:

And so when I went to the headliners, the one thing I heard in common

Darren:

from every one of them is stage time, stage, time, stage, time.

Darren:

They said, Darren, any day that you don't get on stage is a day that you don't grow.

Julie:

Right.

Darren:

And I was like, well, we don't have to be good.

Darren:

They said, no, no, no, no.

Darren:

You have to go up to get good.

Darren:

Now think about this in the Boston comedy world, there's only four

Darren:

open mic nights and there's a hundred, want to be comedians.

Darren:

So there are many nights I used to drive my, my high school

Darren:

buddies used to make fun of me.

Darren:

I would drive two and a half hours to Portland, Maine to go on stage for five

Darren:

minutes for free and drive home and go to my day job the next morning and my high

Darren:

school buddies, just to make fun of me.

Darren:

They would say, Darren, you're stupid.

Darren:

Now I get to fly all over the world and get to do what I love to do for a living.

Darren:

Now they look at me and I stay in nice hotels around the world.

Darren:

Now.

Darren:

So apparently you can go from stupid to luck.

Darren:

If someone calls you stupid, keep going you're on the right path.

Julie:

How did you transition from comedy to professional speaking?

Julie:

Because you are funny I've watched some of your professional, speeches,

Julie:

your keynotes, and you are funny in them, but you're not a comedian.

Julie:

Then you're actually teaching people.

Darren:

Yeah.

Darren:

I mean, I learned the elements and I'm so forever thankful for my background,

Darren:

but when you know the number one habits, stage time trying to get it, you know, I

Darren:

would go to hang out at comedy clubs and like this, and maybe you can get on to.

Darren:

So I was at comedy I'd work my day job.

Darren:

I go to comedy clubs six or seven nights a week just to maybe get on.

Darren:

And so I was like, this is crazy.

Darren:

And I was sitting at my desk at Bose corporation.

Darren:

So I worked on Bose mountain in Framingham, Massachusetts,

Darren:

and one of those cube farms.

Darren:

And they had had this newsletter.

Darren:

Uh, about this thing called Toastmasters.

Darren:

And I picked it up.

Darren:

I'm like, what's that?

Darren:

I start reading it.

Darren:

I'm like, Hey, wait a minute.

Darren:

Here's a place I could get.

Darren:

Stage time.

Darren:

During the day comedy clubs we open at night, I could fail twice a day.

Darren:

Woo.

Darren:

So I walked into my very first Toastmasters club, not knowing

Darren:

what it was, just potentially a place to get stage time.

Darren:

And I, I walked in and I noticed something very distinct

Darren:

different from the comedy clubs.

Darren:

These people are warm, encouraging, and I immediately joined most of them.

Darren:

Exactly.

Darren:

I immediately joined for Toastmasters.

Darren:

Because I saw the value.

Darren:

My mentor has said that habit, that habit, that habit.

Darren:

So if the key is the habit and getting more experience than if I double my head.

Darren:

In a day, you know, I will exponentially change my trajectory.

Darren:

And I think that's what a lot of people miss is like, yeah, you

Darren:

can learn from a course, which is direction, nothing wrong with that,

Darren:

but it's what you do with the course.

Darren:

It's what you do after.

Darren:

It's how you go apply it and mess up and adjust it and mess up again.

Darren:

I was just the guy willing to work harder than most because

Darren:

wanted it better, better.

Darren:

I wanted it worse

Julie:

bad.

Julie:

You wanted it more bad.

Darren:

More bad man, more bad.

Darren:

And so when I found Toastmasters, I went there to get better as a speaker,

Darren:

excuse me, better as a comedian, I didn't even know what a speaker was.

Darren:

And eventually I started realizing I'm like, oh, wait a minute.

Darren:

And it was actually my club president who Sarah said, um, he pulled me

Darren:

aside before one of the meetings.

Darren:

He said, Darren, do you realize what you have to do?

Darren:

I might give, I'm not here to give anything.

Darren:

I'm here to get stage time.

Darren:

And he, Sarah, Darren, what do you have to give?

Darren:

And I'm like, you got to explain it.

Darren:

I don't understand the question.

Darren:

He said, you're trying to learn how to be funnier.

Darren:

All the Toastmasters wish they were funnier.

Darren:

Why don't you do a speech on how to add humor to your presentation

Darren:

and going back to the Tony Robbins tapes, I'm like, but I suck.

Darren:

I'm not even an opening act.

Darren:

He said, yeah, but you've studied it more than us you're ahead of us.

Darren:

So I took him up on the challenge that I did, my first educational speech.

Darren:

And, uh, you know, I took one of the exercises from

Darren:

one of the books that I read.

Darren:

I gave full credit.

Darren:

I taught it in 10 minutes and people were taking notes and I

Darren:

thought how rude I'm working here?

Darren:

Because I came from the entertainment side, not the educational side.

Darren:

I didn't realize notes was good.

Julie:

Oh yeah.

Darren:

And people actually thanked me after.

Darren:

And I was like, thanked me.

Darren:

That's never happened in my comedy career other than being thankful.

Darren:

I'm done.

Darren:

Cause I was bombing and that was my first educational speech.

Darren:

And my first experience when I was like, oh, I'm actually a pretty good teacher.

Darren:

I'm thankful for my background in comedy.

Darren:

And I did both for about six years.

Darren:

And about 1998, I, I started letting go.

Darren:

The comedy is awesome.

Darren:

I love it.

Darren:

It's fun.

Darren:

But when you're in a comedy club, six or seven nights a week, if

Darren:

you have a personality like mine, like I was just being drained.

Darren:

Like my soul was being drained.

Darren:

It can be fun and exciting.

Darren:

I still love it, but going every night and just, it just didn't work for me.

Darren:

So I drifted away from that and I still enjoy it.

Darren:

But only on occasion.

Julie:

Uh, any wake up calls along the way

Darren:

How long is your show?

Julie:

can be as long as you want, I'll just edit you out.

Darren:

Yeah, there were a lot of wake up calls along the way.

Darren:

Like I had been a standup and I came into the speaking world that I had no

Darren:

idea that, uh, most people, when they come into the speaking world, they're

Darren:

like at the lower rung of the ladder.

Darren:

But when I came in, because I did stand up, I came in like halfway.

Darren:

I was like, well, that's interesting because people like you to stand up

Julie:

Uh, yeah.

Darren:

because they put it at such a high regard.

Darren:

I'm just like, oh, well, I'm just willing to go get rejected over and over.

Darren:

That's all doesn't mean I'm good, but you do stand up.

Darren:

And so in their world to them, that was a big deal.

Darren:

So I still had to learn speaking, but one of, uh, one of my big wake-up calls.

Darren:

I met my coach, Mark Brown.

Darren:

I never got coached before, but when I found myself in the speech contest,

Darren:

my, uh, my comedy mentor had seen that, you know, I heard in the speaking

Darren:

world, you've got to find your story.

Darren:

You've got to find your story.

Darren:

You got to find your story and like what stories I would look,

Darren:

try it, try it, try it, try it.

Darren:

And my mentor said, Darren, stop trying to find that story

Darren:

that will launch your career.

Darren:

And instead take the stories you already have.

Darren:

And make them so good people will pay to hear them.

Darren:

And that was a game changer for me because I was marketing myself.

Darren:

I was working my day job.

Darren:

I was speaking as often as I could.

Darren:

The one thing I wasn't doing was trying to perfect.

Darren:

My craft.

Darren:

Duh.

Darren:

And so in 2001, he had passed away and two years later, I

Darren:

finally said, you know what?

Darren:

I got to take his advice because I'm just like mediocre at best,

Darren:

and I'm not getting any better.

Darren:

And so I got a couple of coaches and one of them, his name was Mark Brown.

Darren:

He had won the world championship before.

Darren:

And I was like, okay, I got the great coach.

Darren:

I got my standup background.

Darren:

I was getting paid about $2,500 a speech at that point.

Darren:

But I still had my day job because it was, I was booked once every six months.

Darren:

So you can't really live on that.

Darren:

And, uh, yeah, once every six months, not the speaker's dream.

Darren:

So, but you know, I was working at work and at work it, so.

Darren:

When I first met mark, I had to write a new speech with the top three

Darren:

levels of the world championship.

Darren:

You have to come with a new speech of the come with the new speech.

Darren:

And so I was out of good stories that I could use and work on.

Darren:

So it was the first time I had had to start from scratch.

Darren:

Taking my mentor's advice and taking the stories I had and working on

Darren:

them with my whole goal, to put them back in the speech, thus raising

Darren:

the value of the whole speech because of the story was improved.

Darren:

So now I had to work from scratch and anyway, my mentor, his name is Mark Brown.

Darren:

He had won the world championship in 1995.

Darren:

He gave me some advice.

Darren:

And so I took his advice.

Darren:

I wrote the speech from scratch, which I had never really done

Darren:

before I drive two and a half hours.

Darren:

To work with my coach and I thought, you know, he's going to be so impressed.

Darren:

And this is the greatest speech in the history of Toastmasters.

Darren:

And we're at reader's digest in the little corporate theater.

Darren:

And I was there with mark.

Darren:

And if you don't know mark, he stands about six foot two.

Darren:

He's got a heart of gold.

Darren:

He's a native of Jamaica and he's got this beautiful, booming laugh.

Darren:

Like the guy from the old 7up commercial.

Darren:

Ah huh.

Darren:

Huh?

Darren:

That was my coach.

Darren:

So as I handed him the greatest speech in the history of

Darren:

Toastmasters, I, sir, it was so good.

Darren:

You could hear choirs of angels.

Darren:

Mark took the speech.

Darren:

Oh, Darden.

Darren:

We have some work to do.

Darren:

What I did everything you told me to do.

Darren:

I wrote the greatest speech that I could write from the level I was at,

Darren:

but you don't know what you don't know.

Darren:

And I was average at best what I wasn't was world-class so I thought if he gave

Darren:

me a couple of tweaks, I would be fine.

Darren:

I had no idea.

Darren:

I needed a schooling on how to create a world-class presentation.

Darren:

There was so much more depth to go into and that's, you know, it's like going to

Darren:

Ikea, you buy a new piece of furniture with a buddy who, and then you bring it

Darren:

home and you never read the instructions.

Darren:

And you wonder why there's two brackets and a screw leftover because

Darren:

you didn't read the instructions.

Darren:

Well, if you want to be world-class you got to go and get a teacher who's

Darren:

world-class, you know, you want to, whatever mountain you want to climb,

Darren:

who, who has been there and done that.

Darren:

Their book, read their book, do their habits.

Darren:

You know, there's so much that we can do, but we waste so much

Darren:

time and our ego gets in the way.

Darren:

So I learned from that lesson, if you're not coachable, there is no cure.

Julie:

Hm.

Darren:

If you're not coachable, there is no cure.

Darren:

And my ego had gotten away and that's when I became a student again.

Darren:

And that's when I really changed my career.

Julie:

Interesting.

Julie:

Interesting.

Julie:

That's so interesting that you, you invest it because that's

Julie:

hard for some people too.

Julie:

And obviously coaches cost money that you took the financial next step of

Julie:

investing in a coach for yourself.

Julie:

Because I think a lot of people struggle with that decision.

Darren:

Yeah, it's a, it's a tough decision and I've

Darren:

learned over and over again.

Darren:

It works now full disclosure mark at that point had just started

Darren:

coaching and he wasn't charging me.

Darren:

So I just want to say that yet.

Darren:

I get it now.

Darren:

And I see the value of coaches.

Darren:

I get coached.

Darren:

I invest in coaching and mark and I.

Darren:

Now we have our own podcast and we've, uh, I've helped mark

Darren:

grow his coaching business.

Darren:

So now he gets 500 bucks an hour.

Darren:

For one hour shot, but most people, you got to do three or four or five

Darren:

sessions to really make progress.

Darren:

And I see the value when I'm working on new things.

Darren:

Like, Nope.

Darren:

Uh, I'd love to take the course, but I'd rather you hold my hand.

Darren:

Here's some money and it saves you time and you avoid so much frustration.

Darren:

Because you and I have our own stories.

Darren:

We have our own style.

Darren:

We have our own issues.

Darren:

Everyone's got their own issues.

Darren:

So why not go to someone who's skilled at digging out what you have in you

Darren:

in order to get you there faster, it's simply the fastest way to grow.

Julie:

So one of the stories that I loved, I watched a lot of your videos by videos.

Julie:

I mean, videos of your keynotes, um, out for your presentations

Julie:

for different companies.

Julie:

And in one of the videos you told this story, which I loved,

Julie:

about a lesson you learned.

Julie:

From a grouchy old woman at a craps table in Vegas.

Julie:

And I do love this story.

Julie:

So I want you to just give us this story because I think it works so

Julie:

well with what we're talking about

Darren:

Sure.

Darren:

Sure.

Darren:

Absolutely.

Darren:

That's one of my favorites too.

Darren:

And it was a big aha.

Darren:

So I live in Las Vegas, lived here several years, but I'm not a gambler.

Darren:

And one of my friends was running a Hollywood fundraiser and I happened

Darren:

to be in Hollywood and she invited me to go cause she was kind of hosting

Darren:

the party and I was like, yeah, sure.

Darren:

I'll, you know, I'm here, I'll hang out for awhile.

Darren:

And so I didn't know anybody.

Darren:

I'm an introvert.

Darren:

And I was like, you know what?

Darren:

I should learn craft.

Darren:

Like, if I'm going to be here and have to be at this party, I don't

Darren:

really want to talk to anybody.

Darren:

Cause I'm introvert.

Darren:

Let me go at least understand the game.

Darren:

So I walked over to the craps table and I'm sitting there and I'm watching

Darren:

and I'm studying and in-between people who would come to the craps table.

Darren:

I'd asked the, I guess they're called it dealer.

Darren:

Or I don't know what they're called, but the, the person who was running the

Darren:

table, I would ask them, crush it to ask them a question to ask my question.

Darren:

Then more people would come and play in this.

Darren:

This little old lady comes up to me and she reminded me.

Darren:

She had these arthritis hands.

Darren:

She reminded me of my grandmother, but she had this little raunchy

Darren:

look on her face and she looked up at me to see what I was doing.

Darren:

She looked back, she started playing and then she looked up at me again.

Darren:

She's like young man, what are you doing?

Darren:

And I'm like, well, I'm learning to play crap.

Darren:

She said, well, put some money in the game.

Darren:

I said, but I don't know how, like I can't.

Darren:

Put it in the game.

Darren:

If I don't even know how, uh, and she just stared me down, she would not go away.

Darren:

She said, young man, put some money in the game.

Darren:

You'll learn faster.

Darren:

And so just to shut her up, I put money in the game and she was right.

Darren:

You learn faster when you have some skin in the game.

Julie:

Okay.

Darren:

I could have sat there all night, but I would not have learned as

Darren:

much as if I had some money in the game.

Darren:

And I don't know what that little old lady's name was, but

Darren:

she taught me a valuable lesson

Julie:

Yeah.

Darren:

to get in the game.

Darren:

You can't learn it from the sidelines.

Julie:

Yeah.

Julie:

Yeah.

Julie:

And it's, it's so true when I think about people with anything

Julie:

it's whatever you want to do, whatever you want to be good at.

Julie:

If you don't.

Julie:

Do it and learn from your mistake.

Julie:

I would say you can't learn from you just make mistakes.

Julie:

If you don't make any, but you have to get in there and do it and you have to

Julie:

put yourself out there, no matter what for me, cause I'm a networking expert.

Julie:

Whether it's going to an event and failing miserably, meeting people and

Julie:

talking to people and feeling like, boy, I really put my foot in my mouth on that

Julie:

one, you know, or for me learning to become a better professional speaker.

Julie:

I always say I taped my first professional speeches and they are.

Julie:

To watch they are brutal.

Julie:

The content was great.

Julie:

I was terrible, you know?

Julie:

And you have to you anything that is you too, that is important to you.

Julie:

Yes.

Julie:

You have to, you have to have skin in the game for you to get better at it.

Darren:

Now you can't be a perpetual student.

Darren:

I have, I teach presenters and how to create unforgettable presentations,

Darren:

how to tell better stories.

Darren:

And we've had some people who come to our events and they come to our

Darren:

events and they come to our events.

Darren:

And I finally told them until you go give a speech with what you've learned.

Darren:

You will not be allowed to come to any more of our events.

Darren:

Like I love people.

Darren:

I love, you know, every humor camp, we have a story camp, unforgettable

Darren:

presentations, but I'm like, unless you're going to go do it.

Darren:

You're you're, you're taking up a spot and you're not truly getting

Darren:

all the learning out of it because you're just taking the course.

Darren:

You're not getting quote unquote, the experience.

Darren:

You're not in the game.

Darren:

When I was in, when I was in high school, a big lesson was, I was.

Darren:

It's riding the pine.

Darren:

If you will, second string and everything.

Darren:

I wasn't that good.

Darren:

I liked sports and my dad took a picture of me playing football on the

Darren:

sidelines and I'm like, dad, I don't think I picture me in the sidelines.

Darren:

And he said, but Darren, you're never in the game.

Julie:

Yeah.

Darren:

That's beside the point.

Darren:

And you know, I was one of those kids that, unless you were way ahead

Darren:

or way behind, like you, you just, you're not going to be in the game.

Darren:

And I realized now I wanted to be in the game.

Darren:

But I wasn't doing the work to get the coaches, the decision-makers

Darren:

to put me in the game.

Julie:

Yeah.

Julie:

I always say when I'm giving speeches and people are taking note and it's

Julie:

true when people are taking notes, I'm like, great, they're getting it.

Julie:

Or they're taking pictures of my slides.

Julie:

One of the last things I say to them is don't absorb what I've

Julie:

just said and not do anything.

Julie:

People, you know, don't absorb and not do because that's what most people will

Julie:

do because people always say to me, are you afraid that like, suddenly someone's

Julie:

going to be better at you than networking, or you give away so much for free.

Julie:

And I'm like, Nope.

Julie:

Because most people don't do.

Darren:

Uh huh.

Darren:

Exactly.

Darren:

Exactly.

Darren:

They're dreamers.

Darren:

They're not doers.

Darren:

And you've got to do both.

Julie:

Yeah.

Julie:

Going back to your world championships, speech.

Julie:

Number one, what was it about?

Julie:

And number two, how did you decide?

Julie:

Okay, this is my speech for this, for this world championship speaking.

Darren:

Yeah.

Darren:

And that goes back to the power of coaching, because I

Darren:

didn't know where to start.

Darren:

And my coach said, okay, choose a child in your life.

Darren:

And I don't have any children.

Darren:

So I chose my eldest enough.

Darren:

You might go the closest to me.

Darren:

And he said, okay, if you are going to die tomorrow, What one lesson that you learned

Darren:

from your life, would you want to pass on to Michael to help him through his.

Darren:

Whoa.

Darren:

See that forced me to go deeper in me and most people, uh, even

Darren:

now as the world champion 20 years ago, people come to us every year.

Darren:

What's the formula.

Darren:

What's the formula.

Darren:

I'm like, I don't know your life.

Darren:

I can't just tell you here's the winning formula because you will.

Darren:

That's not from you, that's not in that deep place.

Darren:

And so he said, Darren, don't just answer that.

Darren:

Just take a few days and write out every lesson you've ever

Darren:

learned on a sheet of paper.

Darren:

So I got a pad of paper is halfway down.

Darren:

The third page I wrote down, I became a comedian because I was willing to fail.

Darren:

And if there is one lesson I could give to my nephew that you could learn anything

Darren:

you want, if you're willing to fail.

Darren:

And most people aren't.

Darren:

So the working title became willing to fail.

Darren:

And I told my, my story, the, the Brian Tracy story, and little

Darren:

more to it, but it really came from that essence that, Hey, Dr.

Darren:

Goddard.

Darren:

But, you know, we did get a rocket to the moon, but that first, first, his

Darren:

first flight was only 41 feet high.

Darren:

The New York times, disc Tim, they put a headline moon, rocket misses

Darren:

target by 238,799 and a half miles.

Darren:

I was like, Bastards.

Darren:

And they didn't attracted until after he had passed away.

Darren:

But for his wife's sake, they finally retracted that headline

Darren:

because eventually we got to the moon and it was because of Dr.

Darren:

Goddard.

Darren:

But sometimes we put too high of expectations on that first flight,

Julie:

Hmm.

Darren:

you know, and that's with me, me and my stitches, everyone else

Darren:

was like, well, you bombed, sorry.

Darren:

I was like, are you kidding me?

Darren:

There was a whisper of a laugh.

Darren:

And I think that's what a lot of people do.

Darren:

Yeah.

Darren:

They would focus on the other four minutes and 58 seconds.

Darren:

I focused on those two seconds at work and I ended it.

Darren:

I'm like, I don't care if it was a mistake, I'll just make more mistakes.

Julie:

Or the two seconds that felt really good.

Julie:

Like you want to feel that feeling, right?

Darren:

Absolutely.

Darren:

It was, it was like a drug and it was so good and so powerful

Darren:

that it just inspired me.

Darren:

I focused on that.

Darren:

And when I thought about it years later, like why, why then?

Darren:

Why did they laugh then?

Darren:

And I realized that I was so nervous.

Darren:

I was so caught up.

Darren:

I was worried about my friends.

Darren:

I was worried about what I was going to say that when I did mess up for one split

Darren:

second, I became myself authentically onstage when I just got disgusted with

Darren:

myself and said, oh shit, like what?

Darren:

They laughed at that because I became real one second.

Darren:

And that's why worked.

Julie:

Yeah, that I didn't know.

Julie:

I was going to ask this question, but because you said that like, there's

Julie:

all of this talk right now and being authentic, authentic is the new word.

Julie:

So like when you're saying I was being real, I was being authentic.

Julie:

Like I think people are trying too hard for authenticity and in the process

Julie:

they're losing the ability to be real.

Julie:

What do you think about that?

Darren:

I think you're dead on.

Darren:

I think you're exactly right.

Darren:

I think people are so worried about what our people will think of

Julie:

Yeah.

Darren:

And they're trying to put up that facade, but that's the

Darren:

problem is you're trying, don't try.

Darren:

But when you realize the power of being authentic, which is eat more

Darren:

easily said than done, but after you train yourself and you realize your

Darren:

transparency is so much more powerful,

Julie:

Hm.

Darren:

And anything you could tell people like, just, you know, I mean,

Darren:

here I am talking about bombing.

Darren:

Uh, one of my favorite jokes was about my subway failure.

Darren:

I took a $60,000 debt and just six short months, I doubled that debt

Darren:

and it turned subway sandwich shop into a nonprofit organization.

Darren:

You know, I'm not bragging, you know, I'm being real and authentic.

Darren:

And, and that's when I really, and I came right out of that Judy Carter

Darren:

book, like, what are your failures?

Darren:

We try to teach people in.

Darren:

Presentations, what are your failures, your flaws, and your first.

Darren:

Because that's when you're going to connect, somebody else has that same

Darren:

failure, but because you had that failure, you're the presenter and you

Darren:

overcame that you'll inspire them.

Darren:

But if we're always trying to look good, audiences are too savvy years ago, you

Darren:

could have pulled it off, not anymore.

Julie:

Right.

Darren:

Uh, they can sense it.

Darren:

And so just be real and you don't have to try so hard.

Julie:

So, can you tell us a little bit about stage time, university?

Julie:

What that is, what that does for people?

Darren:

Well, we help good presenters become unforgettable.

Julie:

What if you're a shitty presenter?

Julie:

Do you have to be good before you get there?

Darren:

I can go to Toastmasters, get to a competent, and then we can help you.

Darren:

But no, I mean, obviously you can come anytime you want to learn, and

Darren:

it's better to learn world-class techniques sooner rather than later,

Darren:

otherwise you have to unlearn things.

Darren:

And, you know, I, I love your idea of habits.

Darren:

That's why, when you invited me, I was thrilled.

Darren:

Cause I just, I actually just wrote a new book, 17 minutes to your dream.

Darren:

Uh, it's not out yet, but it's, it's just about everything we've talked about.

Darren:

It's the habit it's doing at least 17 minutes a day towards your

Darren:

dream and literally sticking to it.

Darren:

Habit time, habit, time, habit, time, whatever that habit is in your

Darren:

industry or what you're going for.

Darren:

So we have an online program.

Darren:

We have online events, we had live events, pre COVID, and hopefully

Darren:

we'll get back to those soon, but they're, you know, they're two days of

Darren:

world-class techniques and we've been teaching and coaching this for years.

Darren:

Now I do what my coach did for me.

Darren:

I help people dive into their story and dive into their life and, and

Darren:

show them how to package it in a way that it can be absorbed.

Darren:

You know, we've been trained from childhood to love stories,

Darren:

you know, you've never, never heard someone go to their.

Darren:

If you're listening to this, you've never gone to your kids.

Darren:

Uh, and right before bedtime and they say, mommy, daddy, show

Darren:

me a PowerPoint presentation.

Darren:

Now it's telling me a story.

Darren:

The story is the heartbeat of it.

Darren:

So, uh, so I'd train people to tell better stories.

Julie:

I want to get back to one quick thing.

Julie:

Very at the very beginning of this podcast, you mentioned, Seinfeld

Julie:

and that is who everybody thinks when they think of a comedian.

Julie:

And I listened to an interview with him and I can't remember

Julie:

who was interviewing him.

Julie:

And I think it was Howard stern was interviewing.

Julie:

And this was years ago and Howard was talking about how are you so funny?

Julie:

How do you come up with these bits?

Julie:

And he said, I write every day.

Julie:

And he said ha more than half of it never, ever sees the light of day,

Julie:

but I write every single day because if you don't do it every single

Julie:

day, you don't get better at it.

Julie:

And even still to this day, he still writes every day.

Julie:

And I think about one of my favorite authors is David Siddhartha.

Julie:

And he keeps a diary and he writes every day and then he turns those

Julie:

diaries into books, but they're not like exactly what he wrote in his diary.

Julie:

He knows how we can craft a story around the everyday life and his everyday

Julie:

you would think, oh, his everyday life is so interesting and so funny.

Julie:

And it's not, it's just the way he describes it is a story he

Julie:

tells about his everyday life.

Darren:

Exactly.

Darren:

Yeah, I know there's a great documentary called comedian.

Darren:

And what Seinfeld did is after the run of Seinfeld, he threw all his material

Darren:

away, put it aside and he started over.

Julie:

Hmm.

Darren:

as this documentary comedian, uh, he actually starts over and

Darren:

you see Jerry Seinfeld bombing.

Darren:

Why?

Darren:

Because it's new material, you know, when he does an HBO special, he's

Darren:

been working on that for 10 years.

Darren:

Like that's crazy.

Darren:

Of course, it's, you know, and he'll work.

Darren:

He'll work like.

Darren:

Eight hours to take an eight word joke and make it a six word joke.

Darren:

Why?

Darren:

Because the closer he can get all of the punchlines together, that is what works.

Darren:

And so it's the work that most people aren't willing to do.

Darren:

You know, he's not just going up there and winging it.

Darren:

I, when I learned there was like exercises, comedians go through.

Darren:

I'm like what?

Darren:

And I'm like, well, I'll go through those too.

Darren:

I don't even have to be super funny, but it just feels so good to get the laugh.

Julie:

Yeah.

Julie:

And so that it just ties it all back up.

Julie:

It's all about doing it.

Julie:

It's repetition.

Julie:

And, what other way to say that is habits, you know?

Darren:

Yeah.

Darren:

And it's it's, if you commit to those habits, you will get a breakthrough.

Darren:

It might not be today.

Darren:

It might not be tomorrow, but if you commit to those

Julie:

Hmm.

Darren:

you'll get the breakthrough you need.

Darren:

But it only comes from that experience, not from wanting

Darren:

wishing or taking a class.

Julie:

Right, right.

Julie:

Well, that's a perfect way to end it.

Julie:

That is the perfect way to end it.

Julie:

Thank you so much, Darren.

Julie:

This was so great.

Darren:

You're welcome.

Darren:

Thanks for inviting me.

Julie:

I love Darren.

Julie:

Like I mentioned, in the beginning of the podcast, staring was the second person

Julie:

I met at the NSA conference in Vegas.

Julie:

And when he found out that it was my first time attending.

Julie:

And then I had come alone and that, I didn't know anyone else.

Julie:

He took me under his wing and made me feel special and welcome.

Julie:

He included me in his dinners.

Julie:

Invited me to comedy shows and introduce me to other NSA members.

Julie:

He is one terrific person.

Julie:

And the stories that he shared with us today were not just

Julie:

fun, but also really useful.

Julie:

This interview is so well-timed.

Julie:

As people look into the new year with new goals for themselves or

Julie:

their businesses, and wonder how they are going to achieve those goals.

Julie:

And the answer is consistency.

Julie:

And making the things that will get you to your goals.

Julie:

A habit that you do every day.

Julie:

The only way to get better at something is to consistently do it.

Julie:

The only way to move towards your goal is to make steady progress every day.

Julie:

It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

Julie:

No matter how long it takes.

Julie:

I encourage you to look up Darren and watch some of his speeches so you can

Julie:

see how he tells a story on stage.

Julie:

A story that is not only funny, but teaches valuable

Julie:

lessons all at the same time.

Julie:

Since Darren and I met in Vegas, I wanted to come up with a cocktail

Julie:

reminiscent of Vegas when I Googled the most popular cocktails in Vegas.

Julie:

Vodka red bull came up as the most popular cocktail makes total sense.

Julie:

I mean, you got to pump the caffeine to stay up all night,

Julie:

but I can not have caffeine in my diet so I can not make that drink.

Julie:

So thinking of a different way to look at Vegas.

Julie:

When I think of Vegas, I like to think of old school Vegas, like

Julie:

the rat pack and there is our rat pack Manhattan and each ingredient

Julie:

denotes a member of the rat pack.

Julie:

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr.

Julie:

Peter Ford and Joey Bishop.

Julie:

Here's what you're going to need.

Julie:

One and a half ounces of grind Marnay one and a half ounces of whiskey.

Julie:

Three-four sounds of sweet vermouth and three-four sounds of dry vermouth

Julie:

and, uh, three dashes of bitters.

Julie:

Please everything in a cocktail mixing glass with ice stern

Julie:

till thoroughly chilled.

Julie:

Straight into a chilled martini glass and then zest a fresh orange twist over the

Julie:

glass and garner with a skewered cherry.

Julie:

Now, this is a pretty big drink.

Julie:

I mean, one and a half ounces, one and a half ounces.

Julie:

Three, four.

Julie:

It sounds a three.

Julie:

Now it's a big drink.

Julie:

But, you know what they say about martinis?

Julie:

They're like tits.

Julie:

One is never enough.

Julie:

Three years, too many.

Julie:

Too.

Julie:

Two's just right.

Julie:

That's it friends.

Julie:

Oh wait, actually, sorry.

Julie:

One more thing.

Julie:

One more thing.

Julie:

I am announcing in my newsletter this week.

Julie:

So the people who are on my newsletter list, I'm announcing in the newsletter

Julie:

this week, which is coming out today.

Julie:

That I am bringing back a very limited amount of my one-to-one

Julie:

60 minute breakthrough sessions.

Julie:

Again, last year I released five sessions and those sold out on the first day.

Julie:

So I ended up adding five more.

Julie:

I don't do this very often.

Julie:

And so now for the new year, I'm releasing 10 sessions.

Julie:

So, if you're interested in working with me one-to-one to tackle what you

Julie:

might be struggling with in regards to your networking or business development.

Julie:

You can click on the link in the show notes to reserve your

Julie:

60 minute session with me.

Julie:

Okay now that's it until next week.

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About the Podcast

This Shit Works
The people you meet can 100% Change Your Life! Networking is how you meet those people. Which sucks because you hate networking, you think you're bad at networking, and you certainly don’t have time to network. Bullshit! Welcome to This Shit Works, a weekly podcast hosted by entrepreneur, CEO, public speaker, author, business development strategist and networking coach Julie Brown. Just don’t call her Downtown Julie Brown - she doesn’t like that.

Each week Julie will bring to you her no nonsense tips, tricks and conversations around networking your way to more friends, more adventures and way more success!
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