Steve Gamlin is the premier Provider of Motivational Firewood™. His goal is to share information in a straightforward, authentic way, inspiring audiences to take the bits of kindling he provides, add it to the sparks to their hearts, and create a burning FIRE of success.
Through his keynote addresses, motivational engagements, books and recordings, Steve’s goal is to inspire individuals, companies and associations to look within themselves, identify their passions, and make them a larger part of everyday life.
MO: How did you come up with the name of Motivational Firewood? How has this concept defined your brand?
Steve: I was getting tired of hearing speakers (and TV marketers) who were telling their audiences: “Buy my book and it will change your life! My CD program will make you happier! My coaching program will make you rich!”
In my opinion, ALL speakers can do is share information. We do not have the power to change anyone else’s life other than our own. I share stories and examples of how I rebuilt mine from the ashes of some pretty tough challenges. Once I began comparing the improvement of one’s life to ‘lighting a fire’, the firewood analogy fell into place. I even ‘borrowed’ some kindling from my Dad’s woodpile (don’t tell him) and cut them into small pieces and gave them away in my early days.
If my style resonates with an audience, I am excited. There is plenty of firewood available (speeches, seminars, blogs, podcasts, CD’s, videos, webinars, teleseminars, etc.) out there, and I am happy to offer mine to the world.
If my message is not for you, I understand, but I encourage you to keep looking and never give up on yourself. Going into it with this attitude, according to my clients and attendees, has set me apart from my ‘cure all’ competition.
MO: What made you decide to become a motivational speaker? What did that turning point look like?
Steve: My life (as I knew it) crashed and burned in 2003 at age 35. In a very short period of time, I walked away from a successful decade in the radio industry, went through a divorce and was $65,000 in debt. As my recording studio had been built (2 years prior) in my Dad’s home, that is where I landed.
As the dust cleared, a Life Coach stumbled into my life (as the bass player in a band I was recording). He saw that I was down and began asking questions. After revealing my extensive interest in self-improvement, I decided that if I could recover from this situation, I would like to share my story and help others. In the beginning (I’ll be honest) I had no plan, but all the pieces fell into place over time.
For those who think it was an instant recovery, like a phoenix rising from the ashes (cue the music, Hollywood!), it was not quite so earth-shattering or dramatic. I like to refer to my journey as a ‘phoenix riding a pogo stick’. Each time I fall, I bounce back a bit higher. I have certainly scorched my share of tail-feathers over the years!
MO: Did you set out to be an entrepreneur or was it something that evolved naturally? How does it feel to run a business where you are essentially the product?
Steve: Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit. Whether it was mowing lawns or working as a carpenter with my Dad, I always wanted to have a personal stake in my destiny. Even as I worked endless hours in radio, I built a successful DJ business on the weekends (recently celebrating 18 years). During my radio decade, I was fired twice (due to ownership changes) and never wanted to be 100% vulnerable to the whims of ‘big business’ again. When I sensed rumblings of an approaching sale at my third station, I walked away.
Being ‘the product’ is phenomenal…and it can also be very scary. Until they perfect the cloning process, I can only be in one place at a time, speaking live. That is why I have been working hard to develop products which give people a ‘piece of me’ to share on their journey. My third book was recently released, I have created 5 audio CD’s, and a series of webinars and teleseminars is on the way.
MO: What’s the best feedback you’ve ever received after a speaking engagement?
Steve: I am always honored to hear when something I have said or done has had a positive effect on an attendee. That will never get old for me. I cherish every letter, card and e-mail…and I’ve enjoyed more hugs than I ever could have hoped for. Sometimes the success stories were years in the making, and I appreciate them all!
For the best feedback, I’ll go back to one of my earliest speeches, to a professional women’s group conference in New Hampshire. A week after the event, I received an e-mail from their leader. She mentioned that ‘the woman in the red dress’ tore up a job application to rededicate herself to her own business (something about which she was passionate) after hearing me speak. That was 5 years ago, and still makes me smile.
MO: Do you have any tips for staying motivated and inspired when everything seems like a challenge?
Steve: It’s so funny, some people look at me (a motivational speaker) and think I live by the ‘every day above ground is a GREAT day’ mindset. I’ll be honest: I have down days, just like everyone else. Twenty years ago, I was a shy kid with very little self-confidence. I could never have imagined I’d be doing this.
At age 24, I was broke and miserable, living on my grandfather’s couch. One of my best friends kept asking me why I’d never pursued my goal of being on the radio (which he knew I’d wanted since age 9). Finally I listened to him, went to broadcast school and got an internship at a radio station we’d grown up listening to. He was proud. I was happy, and finally felt like I had purpose. Two weeks later he passed away at age 23. Bad day.
From that challenging time came the most important lesson which still picks me up when I am down.
When someone else believes in us, it is actually much more powerful than our own self-perception. People who love us know more about our potential than we can fathom. They only see the best in us. Even now, I go back to that lesson (took me a long time to learn it, but I am glad I did) for guidance.
To get through challenging times, I’ll typically grab a pen and paper and start writing down all the good things I have in my life, then the challenges. The good things always outweigh the bad, because the gifts of great family, friends and love overpower any temporary tough situation.
I am one of the luckiest human beings on the face of this planet, I truly am. It is not always easy, but when I keep these lessons in my mind and heart, I know I can survive anything. That which doesn’t kill me gives me one heck of a seminar story!
MO: It looks like 2012 is going to be a big year for you. Could you fill our readers in on what new products and services you’ll be adding next year?
Steve: There will be at least one new book released in 2012. My fiancee’s dog (Super Teddy Maximus) was co-author of my most recent book “OH YEAH! (Another Quote Book)” and he’s expressed the desire to write more of them (he just loves the attention).
The finishing touches are currently being put into place on my new InspiredBySteve.com website, which will allow increased functionality for digital downloads, webinars and more.
Combining my big dreams and goals with the guidance of my amazing support team (marketing person, business coach, professional organizer, web designer and bookkeeper), 2012 is going to be an experience, and I can’t wait for it to begin!
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