Michael Davis of Speaking CPR understands how to tell a great story but his path to living out his passion of being a great speaker and world class coach took a few unexpected turns.
In this episode of the Unshakable Habits podcast, Michael and I discuss the importance of mentors and coaches, being willing to change course, and doing the hard work of developing the right skills.
What is Speaking CPR?
We help you take the guess work out of speeches, presentations and business stories so you can become a more conﬁdent and impactful communicator.
With our Inﬂuential Speaking, Inﬂuential Storytelling and Inﬂuential Online Presentations blueprints, you’ll gain the conﬁdence to create sales presentations, speeches, seminars, networking messages or marketing materials that get results in-person and online.
Who is Michael Davis?
When you hire a coach, trainer or speaker, do you want someone who has experience and expertise?
Michael Davis’s work is focused on helping you attract more clients, create more efﬁcient teams and increase your inﬂuence through more effective speaking, business storytelling and online presentations. He helps experienced speakers, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals conﬁdently deliver memorable and meaningful talks of any length, even on short notice.
His passion for effective presenting was born on a desk when he was in ﬁrst grade. He was being punished for breaking a class rule. The embarrassment of being ridiculed by his classmates kept him from effectively presenting for the next 25 years. This didn’t change until the day his boss told him, “Either get better at giving presentations or we’ve got to let you go! ”That motivated Michael to deal with his fear. With the help of mentors he met through Toastmasters and the National Speakers Association, he discovered the skills and tools to manage his fear, become an effective speaker and uncover his talent for training others to become world class presenters and business storytellers. And he continues to learn more about the craft everyday.
His training and coaching programs focus on the fundamentals of speaking and storytelling that enable you to develop presentations that connect with every audience, deliver them in an authentic style and create a call-to-action that gets tangible results.
Michael is a highly-sought presentation skills coach, author and speaker. He has trained business leaders, sales professionals, professional speakers and TEDx speakers on four continents to deliver talks that have been viewed over 3 million times. He is also a faculty member and coach at Stage Time University and Rooftop Leadership. He currently lives in Blue Ash, Ohio with his family, and the overlords of their house, Sky the Super Chihuahua and her underling, Riley the Mini-Chihuahua.
Check out the replay of Michael's presentation ‘How to Avoid the 3 Biggest Storytelling Mistakes.' https://bit.ly/3BiggestStoryMistakes
The right habits puts you in control of your health, relationships, mindset, and more. But most people lack the tools to stick with those habits long enough to see results that is about to change. Welcome to the unshakable habits podcast with your host, habit change specialist and speaker Stephen Box. Join us each week as experts share their stories, experiences and insight and give you the tools to build unshakable habits so you can live life on your terms. It's time to dig your habits from unsustainable to unshakable.
Stephen Box 0:46
Welcome to another episode of The unshakable habits podcast, I am your host, Stephen Box. And today I'm joined by the founder of speaking CPR, Michael Davis. Michael, thanks for joining me today. Great to be with you, Steven, I always enjoy interacting with you. You know, Michael, you have a bit of a unique story in the fact that you knew exactly what it was that you wanted. But your path to getting there wasn't quite what you expected?
Michael Davis 1:24
No, it was not, I could not have anticipated how I got to where I ended up.
Stephen Box 1:30
And we're gonna we're gonna tell people all about that in a second. But before we do, I want to remind everyone out there listening about the unshakable framework that we want to look at, as you hear these stories, because this framework is what's going to allow you to take Michael's story and apply it to your life so that you can create unshakable habits. The first thing we want to look at is what is the vision? Now there's goals, which are very specific outcomes, which we have very limited actual control over which I think you'll find out for sure in Michael's story, why that's the case. Instead, we want to vision, we want to know what it is that we want our future self to actually look like, what what kind of life is that? What kind of actions does that person take? Then we want to think about what skills do we need to develop? Or what skills do we already have that we need to utilize in order to achieve that vision? And then for those skills that needed to be developed? What actions do we need to take on a regular basis to develop those skills? So as you listen to Michael's story today, look for those three parts, and that's what will help you apply his story to your life. So Michael, start us off where you had this goal of becoming the world champion of public speaking. But that wasn't really the goal, was it?
Michael Davis 3:02
No, it was and it all started in 2003. My dear friend and mentor and good buddy To this day, Darren Lacroix, who you interviewed on your last podcast, I know. He called me up one day, I had asked him a year to a year before to be my mentor, which he agreed to do. He called me up and he said, Hey, I'm starting this new community. We got several the world champion coaches together, and we're gonna coach people, because we know how hard it is to become a world class speaker. Are you in? And I'm like, yeah, I'm in. So we talked a little further, I hung up the phone, and I said, I don't want to be that. Part of that. I want to be one of the coaches. Immediately, it piqued my interest. So I thought, right, what do I need to do to be one of the coaches? What do they all have in common? The World Champion of public speaking, so there you go, I'm in. So immediately I start competing, I'd done it before but not with any kind of purpose or plan. I'm gonna win the World Championship. That first year, I made it one my district and Toastmasters and I made it to the what was then called the regionals didn't do well there. However, pretty good. For my first try. I've got this thing in the bag, man, two or three years from now, I'll have that title. Five years later, I made it back to a regional and I haven't smelled a regional sense. Want to shorten this part of the journey, Steve, and what happened was I got so focused on that title to get to be to become one of the coaches. One of the things I didn't realize is I was picking up all these skills as I went along, and I didn't even see it. One of the big reasons I wanted to be one of the coaches is I knew the fear the intimidation. The terror of speaking and failing, embarrassing being humiliated, which all went back to a childhood incident in front of a group. So I didn't learn how to manage that to a point. And I thought that that's a good enough reason, right? They're just going to go help people, and I'm gonna win the World Championship. Well, that's not what life had in store for me.
Stephen Box 5:27
It, it's interesting, because you talk about, you got focused on this thing. And you're developing all these skills, and you weren't even aware that you're developing them. And this is something I think happens pretty commonly with people where every person I've interviewed has had a similar experience in the fact that they were developing skills without being aware of it. In hindsight, what a lot of them wish is that they could have been more intentional about developing those skills, they wish they had been able to sit down and think about the skills that they needed, and they would have been more intentional about developing them.
Michael Davis 6:11
Absolutely, that's a great time saver to and that's why it's so important to work with mentors. Yeah. And keep in mind all along this journey, Darren was my main mentor, and then eventually, Craig Valentine, who I got certified under him. If you don't know, Craig, your viewers don't know Craig Valentine, also previous world champion, he started a certification course, about 15 years ago, and I got certified in 2011. I kept doing all of this because my mentors were telling me to, and that was one of the first lessons actually was the first lesson I got from Darren is if somebody is going to agree to mentor your coach you if you argue with them, if you don't do what they tell you, that's going to be a short lived experience. Your agent is not going to be a long relationship. They don't have time for people who want to question them. And it's not because they're all knowing and all powerful. They've walked the path you want to walk, they've made all the mistakes. All they're trying to do is save you time. And that's what I was doing every time Darren or Craig or any my other mentor said take this course buy this book, read this book, do this do that. I did it. Yeah. What I couldn't see was it was giving me all the skills and knowledge I needed. And I didn't need that title. But I stayed focused on that competition really seriously through 2015. And I made like I said, I made it to to regionals. I always was fairly successful high up but then I ran into a buzzsaw meaning somebody who just was better that day. Now in my area of Cincinnati, Ohio, we have I've to my friends in the last decade have made it to the finals. We've repeatedly had people go to the winner. Now, the semis. This is a great area for speakers, not just in Toastmasters, but great Toastmasters competitors, and most of the time, you're not going to win. We developed the close friendship in our group, and we all support one another, we compete. And the moment one of us was out, we would help the other. Yeah, another fantastic lesson on teamwork and just helping one another to get to a higher level. Well, around 2015 is when Darren asked me to become a volunteer. And a lot of stage time events is online university, you need to have these live events. And at the time, I was kind of bummed. I'm like, wow, think I've been doing this a long time. And here I'm volunteering, passing out papers, I couldn't quite see the gift he was giving me because every time he asked me to do something, which would be considered by some menial, what he was really doing was seeing if I was willing to do whatever it took. And that's and I did. In fact, the only time I really push back on him on a suggestion, Steven was in 2017, late in the year, he called me up one day and he said, Well, we've been doing these online coaching weekly calls. And the guy who's been working with us, it's not quite working out, I want you to host the weekly calls. And I said, Oh, absolutely not. He said you've never told me no before. What's that all about? I said was Darren, here's the thing. It's not that I don't want to do it. It's just that I know nothing about being online and hosting, cause I said, I'm not gonna embarrass the university. That's it's gonna be a disaster for you. Then a good mentor would do. He could see what I couldn't be saw on me those skills. He said, he laid it out. He said it's going to be rough at first just like speaking just like selling any skill. It's going to be tough. So reluctantly, I said, Alright, I'll do it. In the first night, it was an utter disaster. I mean, I couldn't do anything, right. I didn't know how to bring people on. I didn't know how to put the audio pull up video, it was just awful. And I called him up. And I was almost proud of the fact that I was right that this would be a disaster. I got him up on us. I told you, this was not gonna be good. I told him the whole story. And he laughed at me. Well, that sounds pretty bad. Not as bad as my first time. You'll do better next week.
Wow. Again, mentor, see something you can't is not going to let you quit. Or box yourself in and say no, I'm not going to do this. The next week, it was bad, but not as bad as the first week. And I just kept going and getting the experience getting beaten up watching the videos, as they came out. Zoom wasn't quite as effective with their videos, then as they are now. They've always been a great technology. But I just kept going over and over again. Now what Darren and I could not have possibly known as he was preparing me for COVID. Because when it hit, I had a lot I probably 300 online presentations, hosting, etc. All of that added to my skill set. Now I'm going beyond the point where I had the realization that winning the World Championship wasn't necessary. But I wanted to share that because mentors continue to put you in situations if you will follow them.
Stephen Box 11:43
Yeah. And I laugh when you brought up about hosting the call, because for anyone who's not in stage time University, they don't know this, but you are the host for all time is pretty much. So I laugh because, you know, that's that's what you do now. And people I think sometimes we'll look at somebody, especially somebody who's really good at something, and you've obviously gotten really good at it. But I appreciate that. And they think, Oh, you know, I can never be as good as that person. Look, why not? He was a disaster. The first
Michael Davis 12:25
if you could be as bad as I was, you can be as good as I takes is just go out there and fail like race. And that's that's what they did along the way, Darren and Craig and all the other coaches. What happened though, along the way, Steven as in back in 2015, I finished second to a good friend of mine in a district competition. And I thought, you know, I would love to win. But it no longer became a burning desire. Because the purpose, I can see that I was making progress. I just didn't. I hadn't achieved the goal yet. But it was right after that realization that look, this would be nice to win. But it's no longer an obsession is what I started to focus more on. How do I become a world class coach, I had gotten the certification but I kind of dabbling in it. I was still a financial advisor at the time. It was in 2017 when the realization hit that my life was different than I had anticipated, and I was gotten there in a different way. It was in Las Vegas. We were doing the annual lady in the champs show, we had all the coaches and many of our members there. And I was the host, the emcee and I was also asked in a dual role to sit up on stage in one of the sessions with four of my coaching and speaking heroes. It was for sakes, Patricia Fripp both Hall of Fame speakers and Ed Tate Darren Lacroix, both World Champions very successful professionals. And me. So there was this moment where I was sitting to the left of them. lights are shining in our eyes so bright, you just had to keep looking over because my eyes were burning. And I looked over and I saw the four of them. And I thought, oh my god, I made it. I'm coaching with my coaches. This is what I had been dreaming about and planning for 14 years. And there wasn't a world championship trophy with my name on it anywhere in sight. 14 years on this journey, and I was so blown away in the moment that I really wasn't focusing on what was going on for a couple of it's kind of came back to reality. We finished this really good session all working together. And I shared this with Darren Afterwards, and he just said something very simply to me. You earned it. Yeah, that's the best praise you can get from your mentor. Yeah, it just was such a circuitous route to get there that I could never anticipate the GPS in my life took me way off course. But I ended up where I wanted to be.
Stephen Box 15:25
You know, something you said in there that really stood out to me, too, was, this was not like a one year, two year three year journey. This was a four to five year journey for you. And you talk a lot about how along the way you've failed multiple times, you talked about the fact that you had to do all these seemingly insignificant things, for neron. And I think so often, when we're trying to achieve a vision or reach a specific goal, we can put our blinders on. And we get so focused on getting to the finish line, and we want to get there as fast as we possibly can. That we really miss the opportunities. we overlook those simple tasks, and just how impactful they can be. we overlook the lessons that we get to learn along the way, because we're so blinded by I have to get here. I have to get here I have to get here. Oh, absolutely. What do you think it was that allowed you to stick with it for so long, even as your vision was shifting?
Michael Davis 16:53
Steven, that's, that's an excellent question. I think where it comes from is this I now? I retired from financial planning three years ago. And I tell people that I was a financial planner, I was pretty good. But I didn't have a burning passion for it. I believe this is my calling. reason I tell you that to answer your question, I believe subconsciously all along. I knew it was my calling. I love speaking. I don't know, 15 years before I retired from the financial planning world, I remember being on phone One day, a phone call, and I looked over my bookcase. And there were like 52 books on there. 50 of them were about speaking storytelling and presenting two were about financial planning. That's a message I was just most obsessed with. I just wanted to be one of those people. That was influential, inspirational, and could help people past a fear that is inherent in all of us. Because I can see that the most the people who made a difference for those who could communicate. And I had gone through the fear and the struggle and the falling down. I mean, the reason I got into Toastmasters in the first place in 1994, is I was sitting in my boss's office. I was part of my work as financial planner was to do retirement planning workshops. While I'm sitting in my boss's office one morning, he hands me a stack of papers as hell go over these. This is interesting. And I started thumbing through and I said, Oh, these are these are the evaluations from my last workshop, aren't they? He's like, yeah, there's some pretty good reading in there. And there was does this guy ever stand still? Too much too fast. I feel like I've been hit by a water hose, or a fire hose. And it was just on and on. It was everything negative that could possibly be and what it was over. To close out our meeting, my boss said, Look, one of the reasons we hired you, as you said, you could get new clients to these workshops. This is not acceptable. Fix this or else. out of pure panic. I started making phone calls. And finally, one of my buddies said, once you try out this group called Toastmasters Look, I'll try anything. So I went in thinking I'll be here in 90 days, 120 days, whatever. And I'll fix this problem and I'll move on, change my life. Didn't see it at the time. But again, that's another story of where I was going to fix a problem. So I can be a better financial planner ended up giving us lighting a fire. You know, guess what I'm supposed to be doing. But I think that's the calling that each of us has, if we're willing to listen to it.
Stephen Box 19:49
Yeah, I'm glad you mentioned that too, because that's one of the reasons why I really try to teach people visions versus goals. Because with goals, it's so easy to put the blinders on, I have to get to that finish line, when you have a vision, visions allow you some flexibility, they allow you to get there in a different way. So for you, your original vision, you know, was just okay, you know, I want to be successful or whatever, like anybody else. And so you naturally start kind of in a logical place, which is with your current employment right? Here, I'm doing this, this is a part of my job I'm not very good at let me go out and try to improve that. And that was pretty goal oriented. But because you had a bigger vision for what you wanted your life to look like, you were able to see the opportunities as they came up. Now, maybe you didn't have complete insight into what they were going to lead to. But you were able to see that they were opportunities, you're able to see the potential to grow within those opportunities. And then that's a huge mindset shift that we really have to take if we want to open ourselves up.
Michael Davis 21:06
Excellent point, we cannot, if we want to succeed in life, we cannot make our decisions based on past experiences completely, because opportunities, by their nature are things we've never done before. I've got one of those right now, I had a talk yesterday with someone who I connected with on LinkedIn. He's got a global program, he wants somebody to be a priest, put together a 35 minute video present patient about presentation skills and storytelling. I don't know this guy that Well, I've done some research, but I'm going to do it. Because the worst thing that will happen is I'll put together a 35 minute video, I'll get my name out there somewhere, and it's still my information. I really don't have anything to lose, there's no money I have to put in up front. It could be a scam. I don't know, it doesn't appear to be I've done enough research. Worst thing I do is I reinforce what I know and what I teach others and could lead to who knows what.
Stephen Box 22:13
Yeah. It's one of those things to where, you know, you talk about putting in the work, and just kind of seeing where things go. And I think so often people want to know that the work they're going to put in guarantees them some level of success. And the reality is, that's just not the way that it really happens. Now,
Michael Davis 22:39
the older I've gotten, and I'm 58 now, I realized several years ago that the most successful people on the planet, just kept taking action. And I actually heard a podcast the other day with former President Obama and he said, You know, one of the things I realized that the people I liked the most the highly successful people were once we admitted, there was a fair amount of luck involved. And I believe that too. Now I think you can create increased the chances of having good luck by putting in that effort, and being focused and getting guidance. But yeah, you just got to keep taking action. And I know that is a cliche at this point. But just I've noticed the most successful people just were persistent. They had that calling in them and said, Look, I'm gonna either die doing this or succeed. Yeah. And that's what I felt about speaking and coaching as well. But I may drop dead in the process, but I'm just gonna keep doing it. And that is a huge mind shift, mindset shift you need to have I know, you've done terrific work with people when it comes to their health and losing weight through your own example. I know you and I have talked about that. If when the day you decide I'm going to lose this weight, not just why I look better, but this way, I feel better. I can live longer live the life I want. And you say, I'm going to do that or die. I'm not going to die from overeating. I'm not going to die from lack of exercise. That's a huge shift. And that's what you need. The most successful people have that.
Stephen Box 24:16
Yeah, and it's one of those things where, you know, you talk about luck, and luck is definitely always going to be a component of success. But I remember when I used to work in retail management, I had a quote, it just came to me one day I don't I don't remember if it was inspired by something or whatever. I just remember it sticking out to me and I put it on a little sticky pad and I had it right in the top right hand corner of our cash register screen. And I said luck is what happens when opportunity meets persistence. And it was a reminder from my staff that if you do the little things Right, every single time when an opportunity comes up, you get lucky. Yeah.
Michael Davis 25:11
I was gonna say people will tell you that. Oh, you're so lucky.
Stephen Box 25:14
Yeah. And it's like, it's somewhat of a demeaning thing, right when people say, Oh, you're so lucky, because it is suggest that you didn't actually put in the work to get there. And the reality is, luck doesn't happen to people who don't put in the effort.
Michael Davis 25:33
This is true. It's that's the lack of mentality. And I had that for years. But you know, our friend Aaron, he tells a story of after he won the world championship, now, he had gone through nine years or seven years of comedy clubs and failures and getting beat up and getting evaluated going, you know, not going out Friday and Saturday night, but staying home and doing speeches and giving speeches and reviewing videos. Alright, all that happens, he goes up to a co worker after winning the World Championship, and she says to him, you're so lucky. That's how most people view it. But we're outliers here. And if you're watching this, you're an outlier, meaning most people will not even take the time to watch a video like this to say, How can I get better? Yeah. In interferes with their, I don't know, Facebook time or whatever? Yeah, just the fact that you're listening to two guys here says that you're in a small percentage of people who are willing to do something to improve, and you should get kudos for that.
Stephen Box 26:38
Absolutely. And really, what it comes down to is sometimes it's not the entire thing that necessarily sticks with you, when you when you're listening to a longer conversation like this. It says one or two nuggets that stand out for you. And those nuggets will be different for each person. But in almost every conversation that you listen in on, there will always be at least one or two nuggets that either reinforce something that you already know, that maybe you've forgotten, or that you're having doubts about, or that it gives you a new insight to something and you take the time to actually go find those nuggets, they're the ones who get lucky. That's true. And you know, people not all audio was around that.
Michael Davis 27:31
What's interesting about that, Steven is you, you're the host, you have guests, me and Darrin and Alan, you're gonna have many others. It doesn't matter which one of us that nugget comes from. I was sharing, I was speaking with a group last night and I was sharing this I said one of the things about presenting online or even in person is Ed Tate often says this former world champion, very successful professional, that the answers always in the room, meaning we're hired as speakers to come in and give our perspective, our expertise. However, the people in front of us know their industry company better than we ever will. And if we will make this a collaborative effort as speakers, we, they'll come up with answers for themselves better than we can. Here's what's interesting, though, three years later, you'll probably get credit as the speaker, because they'll still remember either one as being on stage, it doesn't matter. Right? If you're there for the right reasons. That is to help your audience. I mean, I've seen this in the in the professional speaking world since the lockdown 15 months ago, highly successful speakers who've left the business. Because they couldn't deal with looking at a camera. To me, those people were in speaking for the wrong reason it was about them, they can have used the medium with the message. And to go back to your point about the nuggets, do you really care if you got it on a podcast, a stream yard videocast, a book, a TV show or a speaker who stood in front of you know you don't. And that's where as I tell speakers all the time, you have to have an ego to do this. However, on the flip side, you also have to realize that ultimately they don't care where they got the information. And if you weren't there speaking, somebody else would be. You have to balance it all the time.
Stephen Box 29:34
Yep. Yeah, it's one of those things to where kind of going back to your story that I think people miss. You know, one common theme I've seen in most of the guests have interviewed and I've already filmed probably eight or nine of these so far. In every single one of my guests have had one thing in common They had a support system, whether that was someone that they actually went out and hired, whether it was just like family, friends, whatever the case was, they had a support system in place. And you talked about that earlier where you had to go to Daron and say, Hey, I would like for you to be my mentor. Now, people might think about that. And then my say, Okay, cool. You ask me to be your mentor. But I don't know if people necessarily stop and think about what that was really like. And I know this is something you teach with your speaking CPR with because you help people tell better stories and you like, Hey, you have to take people into your head in that moment, right? So for you, what was that moment like, of going to this person who was a world champion of public speaking, someone you looked up to? And actually saying, like, Hey, would you mentor me?
Michael Davis 31:00
I'm laughing because I thought I was fairly cocky, I guess at the time because this was in 2002. I had helped Darren in a previous world champion, David Brooks, set up a big meeting here in town. I intuitively knew that if I could get to know these guys better, then that would help me along my journey of speaking world championship wasn't really in mind at the time. So I met Darren actually had lunch with him got along great. So but give it a week. I called him a week later. And I thought had like this guy to help me and I said, Hey, would you be willing to be my mentor? Maybe I thought, maybe that's kind of arrogant. Here. I am a willing student. I'm a big fan. And that's all you tell me is maybe all that's going through my head. And I said, What do you mean maybe? He said, Well, there's this book I want you to buy and read. And then we'll think about it. All right. What is it? He said, it's called stand up comedy, the book. My first thought was, I want to be a comedian. I don't want to read that book. But before I answered him, I remembered a story he had told in the keynote I had just heard was a story of him and his mentor Vinnie, standing in the back of a comedy club, and Darren's early comedy days. And then he was an established comedian at the time, and Vinnie and Darren, were talking at the back of this club. And then he said, you know, Darren, I've noticed you really put in the work, you're really hard, you got a great work ethic, you're willing to go anywhere. He said, anytime I'm a headliner, I will give you five minutes of stage time. But if you ever turn me down, I will never help you again. That story ran through my mind, right before I told him I didn't want to read a book about comedy. I said, Okay, I'll read it. ended the conversation. Back 10 days later, I called him back. Little chitchat. And I said, All right, what do I do next? What do you mean, what do you do next? I said, What do I do next? I bought the book and read it. You did? I said, Yeah. You told me to read the damn book. He said, Michael, nobody's ever read the book. Only one other person's ever bought it. I guess I'm stuck with you now. You better believe it. I'm not trying to be a comedian. He said, You got to understand why I had to do that. I needed to see how serious you are. Clearly you're serious. Stephen, if I hadn't read that book or bought it, we wouldn't be having this conversation. I mean, that's what it means to have a mentor. They're going to test you not to be jerks. But they want to know how serious you are. They're successful. They don't have time to waste on window shoppers. That's why I said earlier, if you're watching this, you're not a window shopper. You're willing to sit here and I don't know how long we're this final version will be of 40 minutes an hour to listen to this to what you said before I thought brilliantly. We sit through a lot of 45 minute to an hour long presentations for one or two nuggets. That's dedication. That means you want to get better.
Stephen Box 34:30
And the amazing thing is, those one or two nuggets have the ability to completely change your life. I mean, think about it. You were just talking about how you are nervous about asking daring to be your mentor you actually were maybe a little overly confident about it
Michael Davis 34:49
was overly confident. But I'm a willing student come on who wouldn't want to help me I mean, that kind of attitude and the boy he put me in my place right away.
Stephen Box 35:00
Here's the funny thing that stuck out to me. So if you think about a person who is overconfident, what is that person luckily to do when someone says, Hey, I want you to read a book on comedy, and you have no interest in being a comedian of overconfidence. overconfident person's first instinct is going to be exactly what your first instinct was. Want to be a comedian? Why would I read this book? But because you sit through that presentation, you heard that story, you got that one nugget of information? That was enough to get you to pause, recognize what was happening. And you bought the book and you read it? Exactly. You're not done that you wouldn't. So if you hadn't gone to that presentation, if you hadn't get that nugget, you wouldn't have had that opportunity, you or you would have blown it, and then we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Michael Davis 35:53
Exactly. I think a lot of times I hear speakers talking about well, I want to change lives and make major change. I don't believe for the most part, we make major changes in people's lives. However, we do give them nuggets that can change that can grow into a major change, that alone will not do it. Me hearing that story alone. Wasn't isn't the reason I'm here. It was the starting point. And it got me not to read a book. I mean, it still sits on my shelf as a reminder, haven't read it since it serves as a reminder, though, that one action leads to another leads to another leads to another and that's where that's when the GPS in my life truly took over down this new route.
Stephen Box 36:40
Yeah. And it's also interesting, because one of the things that I always talk about with unshakable habits is they're things that you do consistently, but not things you do sometimes are not things that you do when you feel like it. They're not things you do when you have a slow week at work. There are things that you do consistently. And for you, yes, it started, the presentation, the story, the book, all those things were part of it, then it had to continue. Every time Darren asked you to Hey, pass out these papers, or Hey, enter this contest or Hey, make these changes to your speech. You had to listen to what was being told you had to do it. Those were your repeated actions. Those repeated actions are ultimately what got you to where you are. It wasn't. Yeah, there was the catalyst there. But those things in the beginning, individually, none of those ultimately got you where you were, it was they were the starting points. And then it was your repeated actions that were consistent after that. They helped get where you are.
Michael Davis 37:47
Yeah, actions. And I love that you're helping people with mindset. Interesting. I mentioned a speech I did last night. It was a 20 minute practice, actually for a live stream that I'm going to be doing soon. It was in front of a group of professionals who are in his Toastmasters group, but these are professional speakers. And Steven, I'll tell you, it may be the best meeting where I've gotten feedback in my 27 years of Toastmaster and I'm 27 years into it. I got I mean literally that list is right here. 10 ways to improve that were spot on. It wasn't a lot of the platitudes you often get in meetings like that a great job. No, it wasn't great. They gave me specific but I was thinking in the middle of the feedback. Wow, what a change. I used to fight and resist this. Because you might hurt my ego or get more work to do. And I was eager. That's a mindset shift that my coaches Darrin particular I'm looking for one of his props. You are what you reap you reap what you soak, that's from Darren Lacroix. What am I sponging if you are not willing to sponge positive constructive feedback on how to get better? You're not going to? I fought that for years. I mean, on the surface, I would say yes, I'm willing to get feedback. But inside it was killing myself esteem took me a long time to have the self confidence and self worth to say okay, this isn't about me. It's about my speech. And my message. That took a long time, but that was a mindset shift. So the action plus the mindset shift together makes you pretty unstoppable. I think.
Stephen Box 39:37
Yeah. One of my mentors actually shared something similar. And he was talking about developing your communication skills. And he said The thing is, as the communicators we actually carry an extra burden. Because it is our job regardless of how people communicate with us to dig out the good in it. It is also our job to make sure that will we put out into the world is positive and clear. And that just that stuck with me. And when you said it, I just immediately came to my mind, because so often when we do get feedback from people, we might have a tendency to let our ego kind of kick in a little bit. And we do that because maybe that person isn't skilled at giving feedback. Right? And you, you absolutely have to take the emotion out of feedback, like you just you have to be able to take it and give yourself an honest reflection and say, is this really something I need to work on? And I know that for me, that was a tough thing to do. It sounds like it was a tough thing for you to do in the beginning. So well, especially struggling, they're not alone.
Michael Davis 41:00
Yeah, especially when you're not, you haven't succeeded. I don't care if it's weight loss, better health, better communication. If you haven't reached a certain level of success, you're going to doubt yourself, you're going to think that every piece of advice you get is something you should incorporate. I know this because early on, in my experience from the 2003 when I had my first contest success, I won my district. And then I had to prepare a second speech for the regional. Looking back at that I was so insecure and lacked confidence on such a great level, I took every single piece of advice that was given to me. In the middle of that speech in Toronto, Canada, in front of 450 people, I get halfway through my speech. Nothing. I mean, I don't I never watched the video. This is a what, 18 years ago, I blanked. Every version of that speech I had rehearsed and practice came to me all at once, and I didn't know what my next line was. I just started walking the stage and turning it into a impromptu speech. And just really it was, it was over. My dream was dead for that year. It was one of the worst moments, and one of the best. Because it took me about 48 hours to realize what happened. It was insight into my behavior and taking all that feedback and also into myself saying, Look, you've got to trust yourself, you've got a message. Some people are not going to like it. But you can't take on all the advice. You've got to filter it and know what works for you and what works for others, but not for you. That's an evolution. You can't shortcut that process. Right. Going back to what you said earlier, we all would love to have the success in a hurry. Yeah, but it's what we learn along the way that is the real gift. And that builds strength, strength of character strength, keeps the ego in check. All of that just part of the process. And you can't shortcut that. I think that's why you see so many people who have short term success. I'll use American Idol or these the seeing shows, people get famous all the sudden, but they haven't gone through that heart those hard knocks. Yeah, that's why you you don't see them five years later, right? You know, I grew up in a generation of, of what's now called classic rock from the 70s and 80s. And I've heard these bands interviewed, they would tour for 345 10 years, sometimes in advance that were this close to breaking down, you know, but they would go from show to show to show and they built their skills and their muscles. And that's why those bands became Hall of Fame bands, you know, not for the gold records and platinum records, but because of all that crap they had to go through to build that strength of character to say, we're going to keep going.
Stephen Box 44:15
Yeah. Yeah, it's, you know, and you talk about, you know, filtering out the feedback and kind of filtering out what works for you. And I do want to point out that the only way for you to learn how to filter out stuff is that, unfortunately, sometimes you do have to just take it all right, you do have to actually just try all the stuff. And then you have to say, okay, when I do this, it doesn't feel right. Right. Or you know what, this feels really great. And that's what starts to inform you of your, your true things that you should be doing. You know, your internally you will Know what's right for you and what's not. But we have to fight that initial reflex of going, that's uncomfortable, because there's a difference between this doesn't feel right because it's uncomfortable. And this doesn't feel right, because it doesn't align with my values. Right? There's a difference between those two things.
Michael Davis 45:18
It's like I have a 25 year old son, a 17 year old stepson. It's interesting to watch them as they start to navigate new areas of life. They're very smart kids. But they don't have the wisdom of experience. It's interesting to watch how they'll try things where they have this false confidence, which is great, I had the same thing I was far worse than them. Ah, but it's the same with your you're starting a speaking career or you're going to I'm going to get my health improve my health, you have this certain perspective, because you haven't done it before. And everything's going to sound like, Oh, that's great. I'm going to try that. And eventually you start to our friend Kevin Burke talks about in comedy or humorous speaking that if you do it too much, you start to wear the edges off the humor, and it's not as sharp. Well, I'm going to take the contrast of that and say, sometimes you need to wear away those rough edges of experience of this journey. So that, you know, I'm not going to try that new diet fad. Because I did that one. And it's similar, and it was just a joke. Or I'm not gonna try to deliver my speech in a certain way, just because it worked for Joe or Sally. That's not me. Yeah, I did learn that as a coach, I learned this process from Craig Valentine and some of the other coaches I've had. And for a long time, I would treat an extrovert. Maybe a person with an acting background, I would coach that person the same way as I would the introverted accountant. You can't do that. But you got to learn that that's the you can't shortcut your way through this. You got to have those experiences to teach you.
Stephen Box 47:13
Yep. It's funny, because, and I'm sure you'll agree with this comment. One thing that we all think when we go out and we get a coach or get a mentor or whatever is, well, this person is going to help me not make the mistakes. And they're going to just tell me what to do. So I can be successful. In a really great coach, or really great mentor doesn't try to help you not make mistakes. They help you make the mistakes that you can learn the most from. Yeah, that's,
Michael Davis 47:51
that's terrific insight. Yeah, in fact, I encourage them, I tell my clients go make mistakes. Your speaking is a full contact sport. You've got to get in front of the camera, you got to get in front of people, and you got to go screw up. Well, I teach people the virtual presenting skills today, Steven, I mean, very appreciate the comments from earlier about my skills in front of the camera, which have gotten much better. But I make a mistake every single time I'm in a session. It doesn't fail. I learned from it. Hopefully, I try not to make the same ones. But with all these changes in the evolution of technology. Just do the best you can but learn from it. And that's what I'm telling my speakers whether they're live or virtual, is like just go do it. You know, you can only talk to your dogs, you got to talk to the walls in your room so much. And then when the when the pressures on. Go see how you we do better than we think we're going to anyway.
Stephen Box 48:55
Yeah. Yeah. And it's funny because one thing that I remember sharing with some people in my Toastmasters club, they were newer members, but they've been around maybe, you know, six months or so. And we were trying to get a mentorship program started in our club. So I went to to them and I said, Look, you've been here for a little while, you know, are you willing to help be one of the mentors for new members coming in? And of course, every person No, no, I can never do that. That's, you know, I'm not. I've only been here six months. How can I be a mentor? Because you only need to know more than the person that you're mentoring. You don't need to know everything you don't need. You just need to know more than the person that you're teaching. That's it. Exactly right. I've heard teachers who put together curriculums that way as long as I stay one week ahead of them I'm good. Okay.
Michael Davis 49:51
But you we do have this false belief of success. I think TV and movies perpetuated. Bill Gates, for example. Steve Jobs, you know, pick some of the classics, you know, Oprah Winfrey. Oh, well in and Oprah didn't have the best start and jobs came from lower middle class. We think they had this great shining moment where it all came together. And it's just been a smooth ride ever since. Nope. Nobody successful was had that kind of ride. And I talked to my you've seen this coach a lot on this, Steven, but talk to my clients about this. This is why we need to hear stories of your failure. Yep. I don't believe the person who stands up and tells me and I've seen this in real estate meetings, especially. Let me show you my three houses on the beach on it one on each coast. And oh, my gosh, look at my wife stunning, isn't she and my three kids, my two dogs and my four and a half cars and don't you want this kind of life? Now, that person may have that which I'm seriously doubtful of. But if they do, they didn't wake up one day with the golden touch. They had to struggle and fail and probably go bankrupt. I mean, all kinds of things have, that's what we want to hear. Because now we relate to you. You know, I tell people, it literally took me 14 years to achieve a goal. And I didn't do it the way I thought if I had taken on a mentor, maybe as better questions of Darren early on, I would have gotten there faster. We'll never know.
Stephen Box 51:33
Yeah. Yep. I think that learning to ask good questions is probably one of the most underrated skills that anybody can develop. It is is a game changer. I remember getting a call with one of my people I looked up to in the fitness industry, I won this 30 minute call. And I get on I do this call. And afterwards, I got off. And I realized I didn't get anything out of it at all. And it wasn't because the person wasn't willing to help me or that they were giving me bad advice is that I was asking the wrong questions. I wasn't asking all the right questions that this person really needed to be able to help me with what I needed. And looking back at it, they did a great job of helping me with the questions that I asked. It was just the wrong questions for a question. And that's another art form, you have to practice those over and over again. But again, I made that mistake, I learned from it, I got an opportunity to do another call with that same person two years later. And the growth that came out of that second conversation was phenomenal. Yeah. And I never had the experience with the first call. The second call wouldn't have been as productive.
Michael Davis 52:57
Right, we need our failures give us context that we need. Yeah, that's how we improve.
Stephen Box 53:03
Absolutely. Well, Mike, I appreciate your time today, appreciate you coming on, if you would, before you tell people how to get ahold of you, if you were to wrap this entire thing into one sentence, in terms of what people should do, if they want to create habits in their life,
Michael Davis 53:26
for listen to that voice that tells you what you should be doing. And then just create those habits just make it part of your everyday existence. And keep in mind the long game Don't get so focused on the what are the how, focus on the what's in that'll help you develop those habits.
Stephen Box 53:48
Love it, love it. So tell us how we can get ahold of you.
Michael Davis 53:53
Now you can reach me at Mike at speaking CPR, which you can clearly see underneath my name, and you're going to post that Thank you. And then I've got several complimentary reports, tips that you can get. Just set up a phone call with me or send me a text whenever you want to contact me. I'll give you the reports. I get storytelling reports, virtual presence, presentation skills, I'll get those over to you. You can also go to speaking CPR calm, which is my website. Those reports are available. They're different courses. And if you'd like to just set up a 30 minute call with me happy to do that with you too. We can talk about your presentation skills. happy to help. Just as Stephen has pointed out, just have specific questions and we'll go from there.
Stephen Box 54:39
And I will just say that, you know, I've gotten calls with you. I've been on coaching calls and stage time with you. Michael is very good at asking you those right questions too. So he'll he'll kind of pull some of the information out of you if you're not quite there with your abilities. just yet. And I would just say that if you do reach out to him and he tells you to go buy a comedy book, you should probably go buy it and read it. Read it. Nice, nice way to close it out. appreciate everyone for tuning into this episode of The unshakable habit habits podcast and Thanks to our guests, Michael Davis for joining us today. I will see you back next week with another episode and in the meantime, just remember that yes, you can be on shakable
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