I am not your guru; yet
The day Anton Guinea decided he wanted to be a motivational speaker, he was so excited he quit his job on the spot then went home and told his wife.
“My advice to anyone wanting to get into the motivational speaking game is; don’t do that,” he said.
“I had just told a group of workers the story about my serious industrial accident, and painful recovery process, when it hit me that this is what I wanted to do for a living.
“I resigned immediately, then rushed home to tell my wife I was no longer employed because I was going to be a public speaker and change the world.
“When she realised I wasn’t joking she went through a range of emotions.
“We had two kids, two mortgages and now, no job.
“She gave me the gift of feedback that day; quite a lot of feedback.”
What he did next would place him firmly on the path to business success.
“I’d jumped without the chute and had to deal with my anxiety first; when you’re riddled with fear and worry, push on,” Anton said.
“Action takes over fear, so I picked up the phone and made two calls.
“The first was to Lindsay Adams who was the president of the National Speakers Association of Australia; I figured I’d start at the top.
“The second call was to local business owner Peter Reilly.
“I told him I’d quit my job and was now a speaker, then asked him ‘What would you do if you were me?’
“Pete said, ‘Work hard, hustle hard and tell everyone what you’re doing.’
“Then he asked me if I would be interested in speaking at the upcoming business awards.
“I immediately agreed to do it.”
The Gift of Feedback
How did that first talk go?
Anton laughs, “Terrible! I was so nervous and my mum, who was in the audience, thought I was going to fall off the stage.
“I can still remember the fear in her eyes.
“Afterwards I sent the video of my presentation to Lindsay and told him, ‘Now I’m a speaker, this is it, this is me, this is all I’ve got, have I got any hope?’
“He gave me the gift of honest feedback and told me it was terrible.
“I thanked him and asked what I needed to do to improve.
“Lindsay gave me several tips and I’ll never forget the following three:
- Be clear on your message: You were all over the place, I wasn’t sure what you were talking about. You were talking about the business awards, then Norman Vincent Peale and the Power of Positive Thinking and other stuff, you need to be clear on your message.
- Work on your body language: Your body language has to be congruent with your words. You were waving your arms around, but it wasn’t matching your words, you were all over the place like a mad woman’s breakfast. So, line your body up.
- Engage your audience: I was sitting there listening to you and I wasn’t engaged. I could see you weren’t engaging your audience either. It’s not about you, it’s about your audience. It’s a responsible role, don’t stand up there if you’re going to focus on you, it’s about the people in front of you. You have done a shit job if they haven’t had some sort of emotional experience. Don’t step on stage if you’re not totally willing to give your listeners an experience. Forget about you, it’s about them, do whatever it takes.
As Anton began working hard to find his feet as a speaker, he picked up some consulting work.
“My speaking career started as a side-hustle,” he said.
“But I was upfront with the businesses I was consulting to and told them I wanted to build a speaking career.
“Even though I had no work, I wanted to put it out to the universe that I was going to get heaps of speaking work.”
The Universe Provides… then Takes Away
The work started rolling in.
“For the first five years I got a lot of speaking work in the safety space talking about my workplace accident and I also wrote several books,” Anton said.
“We kept growing, 20 to 50 per cent each year.
“Then Gladstone boomed and we got into labour hire for a couple of years, which was so successful I employed 15 people.”
Five years later the boom went bust.
“We thought that business was going to be around forever,” he said.
“I had three to five years of stratospheric success, but we were only contracted to one business, and when that fell over, our business fell over too.”
What followed was a six-month period of reflection during which Anton said, ‘Life sucked for a while.’
“I’d been in business for 10 years, then suddenly there was no money coming in,” he said.
“I put out three resume’s and didn’t even get an interview.
“I thought, ‘Holy shit! I’ve been in business so long I’m virtually unemployable!’
“I was a bit of an emotional wreck and literally spent 100 days not thinking straight.
“My self-esteem had taken a big hit, so I went to see my GP and got a script.”
Back to Basics and Beyond
Anton had reached a turning point.
“That was the moment knew I had to fix things,” he said.
“To get my finger out and find work, add value and make a difference.
“I got back on the horse, got clear on my business mission, purpose and vision.”
Anton quickly found his niche.
“When I walked out of the labour hire business, I realised I’d been in a business I really didn’t love,” he said.
“It was making money, but it wasn’t my passion.
“So, I asked myself ‘What do I really want to do?’
“I knew I didn’t want to go back to the safety space, I wanted to be in the leadership space.”
Knowing what he didn’t want to do helped Anton decide his future direction.
“My mission was to make businesses better for employees, to help them create high performing teams by working with the leaders from team leader level to CEO,” he said.
“I wanted to work with and support middle level managers to grow and build high performing teams, to help them develop the skills to inspire their workers and take them on a journey.
“You’ve got to remember that as much as employees are unhappy, sometimes leaders are unhappy too.
“Today my core business is to create better businesses for employees through leaders and for the last four years I’ve been working with business leaders until they become the visionary they need to be to lead and inspire their teams.”
Today Anton travels around Australia as a Leadership Consultant, but he’s still reaching for a huge goal.
“I want to be the best public speaker in this country,” he said.
“I was born to be on stage to connect with people.
“It might be a group of five, 50 or 500, but to be at the front of the room is my thing.
“Now I’m teaching others how to do it.”
- Anton’s Top Tips for Business Success:
- Identify your Niche: The quicker you identify your niche the better. Work out what you don’t want to do to help you identify exactly what you want.
- Find a Mentor: Get in touch with the most successful person in your industry in the country. Calle them, Skype them, send them an email, a message, a text or find a way to meet them in person. Go and find out what they’ve done and what their learning experiences are. Tell them you’d love them to mentor you, it might cost you a bit, but it will cut your learning experience in half. Quite often they’ll value the opportunity to help you. Value their feedback.
- Deal with the Anxiety: If you’re riddled with fear and worry, push on! Action takes over fear. Pick the phone up, gather your allies, talk to your mentor. This will help you develop a belief system you can’t fail.
- Advertise! You have to be a ‘Minister for your Message.’ How can people engage you if they don’t know what you do? Put it on your shirt, your forehead just get it out there. The universe won’t help you if you don’t tell it.
- Take Every Opportunity: Never say ‘No’. Business is about pivoting and flexing, if you’re not getting work, then do whatever it takes to get you to wherever you want to be.
- Stay Motivated: Fuel your purpose and mission by watching motivational clips on YouTube, reading books or listening to podcasts. Find something that drives you, fuels you all day, every day.
- Daily Routines: If you do nothing else, get a daily routine and stick to it. Set yourself up for success and plan your day the day before so you can get up and hit it.
- Don’t Aim for Perfection: This is the biggest killer of people’s ideas, creativity and productivity. I’m prolific not perfect. If there’s a mistake… I was re-reading one of my books and it was so badly written, that I said it was ‘shit’ there’s so many spelling errors and stuff. I’m not into detail. I don’t fall into the trap of perfection. Just get it out there.
- Gather Your Allies: You need a team, a personal cheer squad, good people to support you or help you when you need it.
- Be Grateful: Remember to never take your success for granted. I really value all my clients. I know life could be so different for me and my family without them. I’m really grateful.
For more information including contact details, motivational blog posts and inspirational daily podcasts visit Anton’s website.