December 2011: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

By | December 5, 2011

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

~ Steve Jobs (quoting the Whole Earth Catalog)

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.I recently read the biography of Steve Jobs (by Walter Isaacson). It’s one of the most well-written, insightful and entertaining non-fiction books I’ve read in a long time.

The book reminds us of one of Jobs’ favorite quotes (from his famous Stanford University commencement address in 2005). The quote is, of course, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

I love this quote because it is great advice that both speakers and presenters can use.

As speakers, we must resist the temptation to be complacent if we are to continue to grow. To do this, we must stay hungry!

I am a big fan of encouraging my public speaking students and coaching clients to stretch themselves. During your next speech or presentation, I challenge you to try something(s) you wouldn’t normally do. Only then can you experience your range.

As with everything I teach, I am compelled to walk my talk. For example, when I gave my keynote speech at a recent conference in Hong Kong, I tried something I had never done before.

At first, I asked my audience to write down their top 3 limiting self-beliefs on a piece of paper. I then instructed them to scrunch up that piece of paper and throw it across the room to symbolize discarding those beliefs that no longer served them.

Can you imagine what this must have been like? In my mind, this was a risky logistical challenge considering there were over 300 people in the audience. But because this would be the most tangible & memorable way I could think of for them to experience the point and because I was hungry to try something different, I went through with it.

I am pleased to say that the risk paid off. The audience took to it like ducks to water. Click here to see a live video of the exercise.

As a speaker, be hungry and step outside your box. There ARE no limitations, except for the ones in your own mind. Stay hungry to experience your range.

What about the second half of the quote, stay foolish?

Why would you want to be foolish in the first place anyway? Much less stay foolish? I’m glad you asked.

When you try something new, you may experience some awkwardness. I know I did when I enrolled in an Action Theatre class last year in an effort to expand myself. Action Theatre is a form of improv, and let me tell you, I definitely felt like a fool. Yet, I highly recommend it. But why would I recommend something that would make you feel like a fool? Because it will stretch you.

And now, because of Action Theatre (which I am still awkward at by the way), I’ve stretched my range, and I will forever be more fully self-expressed on the platform.

When was the last time you stepped outside your box?

As this new year, 2012, continues to roll in, let me ask you this: As a speaker, how hungry will you be to grow? And how foolish are you willing to feel to expand your range?

Remember, stay hungry. Stay foolish.

Mary Cheyne, MBA
2009 World Champion of Public Speaking 1st Runner-Up
Keynote Speaker / Trainer / Coach
Magnetic Podium, LLC