Thank you very much to the San Diego-Imperial County Boy Scout Council for having me as your keynote speaker for the 2014 Eagle Scout Recognition Dinner. It was a great honor to be able to stand up and share my story with both the Eagle scouts and their sponsors of how I skied solo to the South Pole. I told the audience how they, too, can achieve their goals, whatever they might be, through diligent work and never giving up.
I created a custom presentation for the Eagle Scouts because it was a significant event and it was important to me to make the best presentation possible. As a keynote speaker, it’s vital to customize my material for the audience. I don’t just get up in front of everyone and talk about what I did. Although that can be gratifying, it’s not as valuable to listeners as compared to finding a way to relate what I did to their lives. I talk with people and share how they, too, can achieve a dream that may otherwise seem impossible.
Will anyone in the Eagle Scout Recognition Dinner ever go to Antarctica? Possibly. But will many or most of them go to Antarctica? No, certainly not. It’s just not a place many if any will ever go because of the expense, harshness of the environment, and time required to get there.
How do I relate such an esoteric activity to an audience? I would say “simple”. Then, after thinking about it for a moment, I would change my answer and say “not so simple”. It does take a great deal of effort to prepare and think up ways to relate this expedition to other people. The best part is, I enjoy every minute of both the preparation and the presentation to any of the audiences I’ve spoken to. Explaining that towing a 26 cubic foot refrigerator from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City somehow relates to my audience’s lives is a feat in and of itself. Dragging that much weight that far in a limited amount of time is just one aspect I cover during my speeches.
Aside from pursuing one’s dreams, I also talked about never giving up and accepting change. Both topics are heavily related to pursuing dreams because they’re all intertwined. The particular Eagle scout I sponsored, James G., wants to become a full-time cinematographer. He has a long way to go but I know he’ll make it. He has already done some impressive work in After Effects and I suspect he’s well on his way to pursuing his life’s passion.. As we spoke prior to the dinner, I related to him that it might take an entire decade to realize his dream of working in the movie industry full-time. Even though that seemed to daunt him a bit, as a decade would put him at 29 years old, I told him that’s okay. Don’t become discouraged. If I gave up, I never would have stood at the South Pole.
I told him that every day he worked toward his goal, the closer it became. As the quote says:
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Whatever your goal may be, take that first step. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve once you start walking.