ep. 78 - Vince Poscente: Olympian & New York Times Bestselling Author

vince poscente


Vince is not just an Olympic athlete, or a NY Times bestselling author, he is a powerhouse keynote motivator who has practical tools to overcome obstacles and maintain resiliency in any challenging landscape.

Vince Poscente, one of the most in-demand speakers today. His client list includes top organizations with one thing in common: they understand that success is not just about reaching your goals and getting what you want. There also has to be an intent to handle set-backs and overcome obstacles and end of smarter, stronger and more focused than ever before, Vince knows first-hand the power that attitude, determination and innovation play in your future success--especially when life doesn’t go as planned.


Gail Davis: Okay. We live in the age of speed. Learning how to get past any overwhelm while thriving at the same time is the expertise that you will take away from our guest today. With insights from his best-selling books, The [00:01:00] Age of Speed, and The Ant and the Elephant, you will hear about a man who went from being a recreational skier to an Olympian in just four years, rocketing at an incredible 130 miles per hour on skis in the Winter Games, followed by over 20 years of helping Fortune 500 companies go full speed ahead.

You will get an invigorating and entertaining perspective on gliding trough the demands we each face. In today's episode of GDA [00:01:30] Podcast, we welcome Vince Poscente, who has been inducted to the Speaker Hall of Fame, he is an Olympian and a New York Times bestselling author, and probably more importantly is the fact that he was second chair clarinet player in his high school band.

Vince Poscente: That's right.

Gail Davis: Welcome, Vince.

Vince Poscente: That's right. Gail Davis: I'm so thrilled to have you here, Vince. I've known you since before I started this company.

Vince Poscente: Mh-hmm (affirmative).

Gail Davis: Yeah. We were talking before record today that ... Maybe we should even start there, that I hired you for [00:02:00] a speaking engagement, which you did on a bus.

Vince Poscente: Right. Right. It was maybe a career highlight for me. I did get to put EDS on my resume, but it was a fun gig because we had ... your group was ... actually, the event was in Palm Springs, and we have to figure out how to get them all the way to I think it was Bear Lake Mountain or-

Gail Davis: Something like the Bear Valley-

Vince Poscente: ... something Bear.

Gail Davis: ... Bear Valley, maybe? I don't know.

Vince Poscente: So for the two-hour ride, I spent an hour talking to this group [00:02:30] through the little bus microphone, you know the one with the extendable cord, and we did Q&A. Then we skied together after, so it was a lot of fun.

Gail Davis: Yeah, as I recall I had just met you and Michelle, and EDS always used to love to think outside the box. So the deal was, we thought it would be so cool to offer snow skiing, but what were we going to do to entertain them for two hours? So I'm like, "Vince," and then it was such a great experience. It was very intimate. Small number of people, [00:03:00] and was very, very cool.

Vince Poscente: Yeah, I became friends with some of those people on the bus ever since then, so it was a nice ... You put people together, Gail, you're still doing it.

Gail Davis: Well, I love it. It is definitely what fires me up. So we go way back. I know you met Kyle ... it was a long time ago, it was over 18 years ago. Kyle has grown up knowing you, and I think it's going to fun today to just reconnect and see what's been going on with you [00:03:30] in the recent years. You made a comment earlier, which I really liked, that one of your friends said to you, "You spent the first half of your life or half of your career going downhills as the skier, and now you're going uphills. You're climbing mountains." So I don't know where to start. I don't know if we should start with the Olympics, or if we should start with the recent ascend, the naming?

Kyle Davis: Start with the story.

Vince Poscente: Yeah.

Kyle Davis: I know. Crazy.

Gail Davis: That's why I need you here to help me, Kyle.

Kyle Davis: Sometimes. So for those people who don't know who you are, Vince, if you can, [00:04:00] let's start back when you were ye little boy in Canada or wherever you come from-

Vince Poscente: North of here.

Kyle Davis: ... north of here. America's top hat. Tell them how you got into skiing and life and everything else.

Vince Poscente: Well, you know, I will preface this by saying that what drives me is being able to ensure people get value out of this. So this backdrop, this recreational skier to Olympian in four years, sounds like well, one day I woke up and I just [00:04:30] wanted to go to the Olympics. But we don't make decisions that way. It takes a lot of time and discomfort to go, "Wait, something has to change," and you did mention I was clarinet player in a high school band. Well, I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on TV at 14 years old, and it was captivating. These athletes and marching for their countries. I thought, "That would be the coolest thing. To be an Olympian," and [00:05:00] then I remembered I play clarinet in the band.

So the seed was planted, but because I wasn't able to pay attention, the one thing that was critical is, I call it the emotional buzz. There was an emotional connection to something about the Olympics Games, and yet I walked away from that. That would reappear in my life over and over again, where something had an emotional connection to it. I mean, I raced in luge for a while. That's [00:05:30] in the Winter Olympic Games, but when the national coach said I didn't stand a chance, I quit and walked away again. It wasn't until the opening ceremonies in the Olympics in Calgary, I happened to have a ticket for those opening ceremonies.

To this day I remember with a winter glove on, holding the ticket, watching friends who I had raced in luge with who didn't quit. Who didn't walk away. They're marching in the opening ceremonies, and I got a ticket. [00:06:00] If that wasn't a slap upside the head to say, "If you want something, you don't walk away from, you engage. You step in the middle if it." Even though it's uncertain. Even though there's this completely unrealistic to think you're going to go to the next Olympic Games in four years from today and ski racing. I just didn't want to have the regret not knowing. So a lot of this backstory is about making a decision when you get to that point of discomfort, [00:06:30] and that's the human condition, right?

We get so uncomfortable with it, no, it has to change. So why not kind of skip ahead and embrace that discomfort in its total effect, if you will, to think, "What are the consequences of staying here right now? What are the consequences of not changing now?" and really embrace that, and you'll start to find you'll make decisions that will launch you through that fear. [00:07:00] That, "Well what if it doesn't work? What if I look silly? What if I lose everything," all this kind of stuff. So that ski racing happened in the Olympics four years later after Calgary and Albertville, France, and then I went on the speaking circuit and started to speak about recreational skier to Olympian, these tools that I used as an athlete. To this day I still do this. But a very curious guy, and so I've been climbing mountains in the last ten [00:07:30] years.

Gail Davis: First, let's go back to when you first start ... you went on this circuit, and you really played off this speed theme. I remember specifically you had a keynote Full Speed Ahead Leadership and Full Speed Ahead Sales. What did you bring forward and how did that differ, talking about incorporating speed into sales and into leadership?

Kyle Davis: I think, if we could also, let's just provide a little bit of context as to what type of skiing you did. Because I think-

Gail Davis: Oh, that's important.

Kyle Davis: ... [00:08:00] let's ... Story arcs here, people. So what type of skiing, because I know that the event wasn't I think in the Winter Olympics for too terribly long.

Vince Poscente: It was in one Olympic Games as a demonstration sport. It was called speed skiing. That's straight down the side of the mountain, Darth Vader-style helmet, and no turns. It's actually the only ski discipline where both timing lights are at the bottom, so you have to go through a speed trap that's a hundred meters long. [00:08:30] The fastest person through that trap is the winner, and in speed skiing, for what it's worth, you go 0 to 60 miles an hour in three seconds, and you're up to 125 miles an hour in eight seconds. So you want to be the fastest person through that trap. I'd never ski raced before, but I believe in something called the yahoo theory, which is if that yahoo can do it, so can I. We actually call it the asshole theory, but we can't say that on the podcast, [00:09:00] can we?

Kyle Davis: We could say that one, yeah. So for people who are just kind of imagining, this is a ... it's a crazy like Darth Vader ... if you imagine the Tour de France, when they're doing the speed trials and they're wearing that sloped helmet, it's something kind of like that, and you're wearing a very tight suit. Then you're tucking into a ball and going at a, what, 89 degree angle, pretty much?

Vince Poscente: No, it would be 45 degrees, but it's steep.

Kyle Davis: Still, it's 89 to me.

Vince Poscente: [00:09:30] It's very steep, yeah.

Kyle Davis: Yeah. You're just ... there's no turning, you're just going.

Vince Poscente: Yeah, and when you get through the speed trap and you stand up, people say, "Well, how do you slow down?" Well, when you stand up at that speed you slow down quite quickly.

Kyle Davis: Yeah. I don't know, 125 is ... I can ski blacks, and my brother, well, he's a little bit more crazy than I am, but the whole idea of just going for any duration longer than three seconds, just going full out without throwing [00:10:00] a turn, just to make sure that I still have my skis under me, freaks me out.

Vince Poscente: Yeah. You'd be surprised that, if you actually tried it, you start low. So let's say the first time you go, you'll go 50 miles an hour, and you go, "Oh, well, that wasn't that bad". So then your next time you go, you'll go, let's say ultimately 60 miles an hour, and you think, "Well that was fast, but it wasn't that bad." So pretty soon, you're going over a 100 miles an hour, going, "I wonder how I could go faster".

So you get used to the speed. Think of it [00:10:30] this way. The first time you drove a car, you were driving a car at 30 miles an hour and you could not take everything in. You watch out for this, and your mom's saying, "Watch out for that. Dude, look out for that. Look out for the red light. Look for the curb." Then, when you go 60 miles an hour, and come back to 30 miles an hour, 30 is a piece of cake. You can see everything.

Kyle Davis: So you do zero to sixty in three seconds. By the time you're doing 125, how long have you been in?

Vince Poscente: About eight seconds. Eight to eleven seconds.

Kyle Davis: Eight seconds, and this whole thing is done over like-

Vince Poscente: Probably seventeen, [00:11:00] eighteen seconds on the biggest track in the world. Yeah.

Kyle Davis: That's fast. That's short.

Vince Poscente: Yeah. You're just hauling you know what. Yeah.

Kyle Davis: Yeah. All right, cool. So that-

Gail Davis: Okay, so now with the frame of reference on the speed, how did you ... I mean, you wrote a book about speed. You've got the keynotes. How did you take that from the slopes into the boardroom?

Vince Poscente: Well, the New York Times bestseller that I wrote, called The Age of Speed, was very much actually [00:11:30] misunderstood because of the title. I maybe would have changed it now, looking back. But people kept reacting, "I don't want my life to go faster," and that's not the point of the book. The point behind speed is that we live in the age of speed. We actually want things to happen for us faster. We want faster service, we want faster delivery, we want faster everything. But we don't want to go faster. We want our lives to slow down. We'd like less [00:12:00] overwhelm. We'd like to be able to smell the roses, if you will.

So the world's going faster, but we want to go slower. That's what the concept is about. How to thrive in a world that's going faster and faster. So as an athlete, in speed skiing you can't manage situations coming at you. You have to be in that sweet spot to be able to go through that elegantly and safely. If you can't manage a world that's going faster [00:12:30] and faster, whether it's on the slope or in real life, you're going to have issues. Things are going to go sideways. So that is what I address, are strategies and tactics to be able to thrive in a world that's going faster and faster.

Kyle Davis: Well, that's why I mentioned how long it takes to get from the beginning of the course to the end of the course. Eighteen seconds for a lot of people is super short, but then you tell them to hold a plank for eighteen seconds, they can't do it.

Gail Davis: So it's so long.

Kyle Davis: It's so long. So when you're going 125 [00:13:00] miles an hour through a speed trap, and crashing, there's a huge risk at that. You're trying to slow things down as much as you can, so I'm wondering what tips and tricks ... I guess that's where it comes from is the [inaudible 00:13:15] speed, and then you throw that into there. Is that right?

Vince Poscente: Yep. Yep. You can really break it down into three elements. First is alignment. When the world's going faster and faster, are you aligned? The alignment isn't [00:13:30] a strategic thing. It isn't the CEO standing up, going, "Are you aligned? Are we together on this? We're going in the same direction." It is do you have really, ultimately, an emotional connection to where you're headed? The ski slope is one thing, because that's to be the fastest one to win. But in life is, you know, I want our family to be healthy. I want to be able to help other people on the planet grow personally and professionally. So [00:14:00] when things go faster and faster, am I in alignment with assisting others to grow personally and professionally? No matter what speed you're at, you can always be aligned with that.

The second piece is agility. Being agile at speed means that there's ... the faster it's going, the less course correction you have, but that you do have the agility to be able to adapt. Where people that are fixed and say, "Can't change," [00:14:30] well, let me know how that works out for you. Then the third piece is aerodynamics. That's about eliminating anything that causes drag. Interruptions cause drag. There's a research that was done that frequent email interruptions reduce your IQ two and a half times greater than the drop in IQ from smoking marijuana. I mean, you're better off buying a bong than an iPhone. [00:15:00] That's not endorsed by GDA.

Gail Davis: Classic Vince. I love it.

Kyle Davis: So when you're starting to apply these principles and you're starting to eliminate drag and everything else, I'm just thinking of, well, if we go back to my first car that I had. It was a sports car and I liked to drive it pretty fast. When you start getting into that zone of ... [00:15:30] it's easy to fall into tunnel vision and then lose your periphery and then hurt yourself, because you're so focused on one thing and you're not in alignment to everything that's going on around you. So it's having this ability to slow the world down, even though you're going really fast through it. I don't know what I had to say with that, but I wanted to put that out there.

Vince Poscente: Well, a lot of that, Kyle, has to do with preparedness. The first time you drove that car at a hundred miles an hour, you're [00:16:00] acutely aware of a bunch of things. One, I'm breaking the law. Two, are my tires going to hold? Three, is there a curb at the end? There's all these things that you have to be realtime trying to figure out. But if you did that a hundred times on a race track, for example, and if you did that in a controlled setting. The first time you drove a hundred miles an hour on the street or something, I don't know why we're using this metaphor.

But it puts you in a place of being able to control that, as opposed [00:16:30] to being out of control, which means overwhelm. Which means poor results. Which means you look back and go, "What just happened?" For us to be able to thrive in a world that's going faster and faster is those essential qualities. We can't just show up anymore and just make it up. Twenty, thirty years ago it was just easy to show up and wing it. I don't know of anybody that does well today winging [00:17:00] it. I really don't.

Kyle Davis: I do.

Vince Poscente: (Laughs)

Gail Davis: (Laughs)

Kyle Davis: No, that's kind of where I was getting at. There's a lot that goes into it and there's other books about this fast world that we live in. But it kind of comes back to the same concept of how prepared are you, or is this the first time that you're experiencing it? If it's the first time you're experiencing it, then it's like drinking with a fire hose and it's overwhelming, and that's if you're lucky. You could crash at 125 [00:17:30] miles an hour. That would not be fun.

Gail Davis: Talk to us ... I know you recently, just this past couple of weeks, went to the Great Himalayan National Park. Talk to us about this. It's really interesting what you're doing, climbing peaks that others have not climbed, and I think you're even naming them, aren't you?

Vince Poscente: Right. Yeah. So 11 years ago, I was invited to climb a mountain. You may know Jeff Salz-

Gail Davis: Yes, yes.

Vince Poscente: ... this adventurer, speaker, great guy. He invited me to join his hand- [00:18:00] picked group of people for a non-technical climb. To climb a mountain that had never been climbed. We climbed it and came back home, and it was such an extraordinary experience. Different than going downhill in a rubber suit. You got to pace yourself. You can't push. There's so many lessons, and that's why there are so many mountain climbing speakers, I would think. Because the metaphor for life is the higher you get, the more you see, [00:18:30] and you have to drive through pain, but it's-

Gail Davis: All the summits.

Vince Poscente: Yeah, all of the summit metaphors. But to do it yourself, for me to do that back in 2006 with Jeff and his crew. Did it again three years later. Went to another summit. I realized along the way there was mountains with no name. So over time decided to create something called the Heroes Climb. Instead of us naming a [00:19:00] mountain after ourselves or our kids or whatever, I decided that we would climb with respect to an everyday hero. Somebody that, by their example, it elevates us. You know that saying, "When the tide rises, all ships rise?".

Gail Davis: Mh-hmm (affirmative).

Vince Poscente: That's what everyday heroes are like. So last year, in 2016, we climbed a mountain. Two peaks, actually, [00:19:30] and named them after two people. David Maish, quadriplegic from playing football in high school. Everybody that nominated this guy spoke so highly of him, how they're elevated by his character. The second peak was Hana France, who was adopted at three years old from an orphanage in South Korea, that kids were pulling out her hair because she had deformed hands and she had poor hearing. Yet she went on [00:20:00] to be adopted by a family in Minnesota. She went on to scholastic excellence in her sports category because she had malformed hands. She was a top ranked athlete in the state, and not because she was a natural.

It's because she had those qualities of everyday heroes. She was persistent. Absolutely persistent. She was fearless. She's selfless. [00:20:30] She didn't talk about herself. She's humble and she's compassionate. Can't we have more of those qualities for ourselves? So it really gives us ... When you're in nature, you're climbing a mountain. At night, you see billions of stars. You feel like you're earning some sort of elevated status, if you will, because each day you're 2,000 feet higher than you were in the previous. It [00:21:00] really ends up being that juxtaposition of speed and winning and driving for excellence, and this is pacing and enjoying it and taking in the fresh air. So it really ends up being more of the life experience we all want.

Kyle Davis: I think it would be an interesting dichotomy ... I think that's the right word, dichotomy ... to look at it is, when you're going downhill, you're a hundred percent prepared, but [00:21:30] when you're going up these unnamed mountains, you're going into the unknown. So it's an interesting way of saying you have to pace yourself, and you have to focus on the fundamentals to be able to do it. Then also I think it's also awesome, and I'm wondering if the follow-up, if you could expand on the five aspects that you have with these heroes, because you did a beautiful job of explaining how we have everyday heroes ... these big heroes like Mother Theresa and whatnot, but how these everyday heroes still hold these. It could be-

Vince Poscente: Yeah. Yeah, you know, it's interesting to [00:22:00] hear somebody that pulls a guy out of the subway and saves this person's life because they had an epileptic seizure, and the news reporters throw the mike in their face and say, "You're a hero", and he says, "Well, I don't feel like a hero. I just did what I needed to do." That's identical to these everyday heroes that we nominate. I just did what I needed to do at that time. To be an author, written seven books now, I write the books [00:22:30] to help others, but at the exact same time I want to grow personally. I want to grow based on the research. I want to have a question that has no answer until I can dive into that and assist us together to do this.

So when we climb, we climb together. When we are compassionate and we can elevate others around us to be more compassionate, wouldn't that be wonderful in today's polarized society? Wouldn't being selfless be wonderful [00:23:00] in today's polarized society? Wouldn't be more fearless, right? There's so much fear today. Wouldn't it be nice to have less fear? Wouldn't it be nice to be more humble in today's ... and persistent. Of course, persistence is part of that equation, but that just is a way of life. To make that as part of the existence is marvelous.

Gail Davis: Who did you name your mountain after this year?

Vince Poscente: This [00:23:30] year? It was actually a pretty fierce competition, and it's so hard to pick one person over another, because every story is just heart-wrenching. But this guy had the most likes. It was a Facebook kind of competition. Most likes, most shares. His name is Gavin Kilcullen. He just had his, I believe, 13th birthday. He lives in Henderson, Nevada. He has overcome leukemia and he's on the back side of that, but now his [00:24:00] kidneys are failing. While we were on the summit attempt, we reached out to his mom when we got back, and she said, "Well, his heart stopped," for I think five minutes or something.

They resuscitated him and now he's a hundred percent, because he had some sort of infection in his heart. So the byproduct of having leukemia is your immune system is destroyed, and now he's on the fight to survive all that. The sweetest [00:24:30] kid. When we select somebody, we surprise them and make sure they are surrounded by family and friends. We make it sound like they're being interviewed as one of the contestants. He was in the hospital, and my daughter, who joined me on this last expedition, Isabella, she's 16. We both asked him questions about who he is and why he was in the hospital. [00:25:00] What he was afraid of, what he didn't enjoy. He didn't like being alone.

So when we climbed this mountain we were thinking about this boy. We basically summited two days after his birthday, so we called it Kilcullen Peak. Now, what happens is we go through a whole application process through the Great Himalayan National Park. There's bureaucrats everywhere, [00:25:30] especially in India. We're confident that we'll be able to have the third mountain on the Heroes Climb that we've named him. We're planning on doing more climbs in the future. It's purely a hand-picked group. There's people that we say no to, to join us on ... because it is a team thing.

Gail Davis: How many people went with you this time?

Vince Poscente: We had seven Westerners and our support team was 42 porters and guides [00:26:00] and cooks. We had a whole army of Indians.

Gail Davis: What was it like having your daughter?

Vince Poscente: Yes. Isabella is a 16-year old girl, and we all have this prototypical teenage girl image in our own mind, and chewing gum and I don't care and eye rolling. She was a stud. I mean she climbed, she didn't complain once. I expected tears at some point, because it's hard. She did kind of buckle over. She's [00:26:30] a dancer, she dances in school. Probably dances over twenty hours a week, so she's physically fit. But she was bent over, going, "This is hard." Her mom was beating up on me, actually, she says, "You should make sure she's safe and don't make any risk, don't take any chances," so we'd summited the peak, and we all high fived and it was all felt good.

On the way up ... I should preface that she says, "I've got to go to the bathroom", and I said, "Well, [00:27:00] we're caught out in the open, but take care of business." We get to the top, and she says, "How long do you think it's going to take to get down?" I went, "Why? Why, you seem uptight." She says, "Well, I haven't gone to pee yet," and I went, "All right." So I said, "Everybody. Pay attention to me for a second. Isabella has to pee." There was no space at the top, so I'd asked her. I said, "Did you think at any point," when we got to the bottom, "at any point [00:27:30] did you feel you were in danger?" She said, "Yes." "Really, when?" "When I had to pee." I said, "Well, what happened?" Because none of us were looking, right?

The lead guide, we had gotten about ten feet down off to the right, and on the back side was a 2,000 foot drop. There's just no place to pee. So what he did was he tied a rope around her chest, hung her over the other side of the cliff, and then she says, "You know dad, I think I'm the only 16 year old ever to pee in the Himalayas [00:28:00] off a 2,000 foot cliff."

Gail Davis: Female for sure.

Vince Poscente: Female. Yeah.

Kyle Davis: What was the elevation of that?

Vince Poscente: The exact elevation was 15,467 feet.

Kyle Davis: Nice. [inaudible 00:28:12]. How many days base?

Vince Poscente: Oh.

Kyle Davis: All like the mountaineering questions.

Vince Poscente: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. The entire up and back was 11 days. It took us basically six days to get to summit, do the summit attempt, then get back to base camp, and then four days down. So it [00:28:30] was quite quick.

Kyle Davis: That's awesome.

Gail Davis: That is awesome.

Kyle Davis: I need to go climb some mountains.

Gail Davis: It definitely has appeal. That's something people want to do that most people are so afraid of, I think.

Vince Poscente: Didn't you just go climbing somewhere, or-

Gail Davis: I am training to go rim to rim on the Grand Canyon.

Vince Poscente: Oh. You can do that, yeah.

Gail Davis: Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Vince Poscente: Yeah.

Gail Davis: Saturday I hiked five and a half hours, and I had to take to the bed and recuperate. Now I'm saying to myself, "How am I going to do 15?" But you [00:29:00] just build on it, right? You just build on it.

Vince Poscente: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, you'll be able to do it.

Gail Davis: Vince, I've known you a long time, and today when I was preparing for this I looked on Twitter. Your little brief bio says, "I love to write, speak and read. I get paid to do two, and the other is a tax write-off. The biggest loves of my life are my wife and kids." I love that. I just have to brag on your kids for a minute, because I think having amazing kids says something about parents. [00:29:30] You and Michelle have three kids, all of which went to Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

Which is for people who don't live in Dallas, this is like the coolest school known to mankind. It's an art magnet school, and what's so unique is not that all three kids, which I don't even know if there's another family that has that, but they're all in different disciplines. So let's just brag on these kids for a minute. Tell us about your kids, because they're all doing amazing things.

Vince Poscente: I'll start off by saying we don't know what we [00:30:00] did. We have no idea. We get asked my parents, "What parenting strategies would you recommend?" I said, "I don't know." We definitely are kind of Darwinian around our house, because if you're going to survive, figure it out. So Max, an example, is a musician. He was identified by Beyoncé's dad when he was 12. He's gone on to release all sorts of records. He's now at Berkeley School of Music. But [00:30:30] when he was I think 16, 17, he said, "I want my band to go on tour." Michelle and I said, "Well, that's great." We didn't throw money at it, we didn't ... The night before they're going to leave. This is ten o'clock at night.

They're going to open for a band named Sarin, who are just phenomenal. They're in a six city tour. They have no transportation. They have $400 between four of them, and [00:31:00] they have to figure out at 6 AM how to get to Nashville and perform that day. That evening. We were not going to rescue them. We were just not going to rescue them. They figure it out. That next morning, we're waving goodbye at these four teenage boys who had $400. Max swapped his car with his buddies, make a deal with Sarin that they could their drum kit, so they had the rest of this and their amps. So they had their guitarist fit into this little SUV. [00:31:30] They took off with $400, and they came home. Max had changed his mind from not going to college, right, saying, "Yeah, I don't want to go to college. I just want to be a rockstar," and he came back and went, "I think I'm going to go to college." Yeah.

Alex is an entrepreneur trough and through. She was in acting at Booker T. But that's communication, that's creativity. She just got accepted to Wharton School of Business. [00:32:00] On her college application, she says, "I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur when I had sold our barbecue for $20, because every day I would sell stuff that was in the household. My parents were glad that I didn't sell the lawn furniture." At the end of her college application, she said, "And by the way, if you're looking for lawn furniture, I can get you a good deal." So she gets [00:32:30] into Wharton and she's on fire.

Then Isabella with dance. She's done pre-professional programs with the New York Ballet, School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, and now she's broadening to modern dance and all that. Will she become a dancer? I don't know. She's really good at it, but the point is that they're following their passion, and as parents, we're not the [00:33:00] tiger parents of legendary note, where they say, "You've got to be an accountant. You've got to be this," you know. They're just following their passion. Then they gain qualities of what it is in a meritocracy. Of what it takes to earn something. To be able to develop your talent beyond just good to great. There's all sorts of things.

Gail Davis: I'm so impressed with them, and they're all so engaging. [00:33:30] I just also want to do a shout-out to your wife, Michelle, who-

Vince Poscente: Keeper.

Gail Davis: ... yeah, she's a keeper. I was a client of hers, many years ago in EDS, then when I came up with this idea that I wanted to do this, she just extended her hand and helped me every step of the way. What goes around comes around, and I think those kids are really speaking to that for you guys.

Vince Poscente: Yeah. Yeah.

Gail Davis: Another thing I'm curious about, since we've known each other for so many years. When you look at the speaking industry today, how [00:34:00] is it changing? What's the same? What's different? What are you seeing?

Vince Poscente: The speaking industry, pre-internet, relied a lot on speaker bureaus to just say, "Who do you got?" Today, the bureaus are more in a position of being that boutique answer. There's so much availability of speakers online that I [00:34:30] think if a client's not using a bureau, they go, "No, we'll just do it ourselves," they're not saving any money. And B, you're taking such a wild-ass guess on who you're selecting, because anybody, absolutely anybody can have good promo materials. I've got competition who are better at SEO, search engine optimization, than I am, so I rely heavily on my bureaus, the relationships, [00:35:00] to recommend me, because there is a filter there that is necessary.

I don't know if you've noticed. I'm sure you have. Everybody and his dog seems to be all of a sudden a speaker expert and is training people to be in the speaking business, and it curls my toes. It's just, who are these people and how did they qualify themselves as an expert? Maybe there are experts in the [00:35:30] speaking world who are doing this, but the barrier of entry to get into the speaking business was never that big in the first place, but now they're encouraging people that don't stand a chance. I hate to say that, because some do stand a chance. The speaking business hasn't changed in that, if you're going to be paid tens of thousands of dollars to deliver [00:36:00] a message, it better be better than any other speaker out there. Or stick with Toastmasters.

Gail Davis: Maybe one thing that's changed, I know you were talking earlier about some of the products that you have to continue the learning after the 60-minute keynote. That's relatively new, isn't it?

Vince Poscente: Yeah. Value-add. Any business has to keep providing value, and that's why retail is really struggling. [00:36:30] Their model was, well, come on here, see what you want, and walk away with it. Now you look at companies like Nike who are really more dedicated to not just selling a running shoe, but can you perform at a higher level? Integrating mental training strategies. Being able to have resources, that's value-add. Speakers are no different. Do you want a book? Well, I've got a 52- [00:37:00] week audio, or a video program that goes to their inbox, that provides value over the course of the year.

I deconstructed one of my books, The Ant and the Elephant, which is 113 pages or something, and turned it into a 29 module virtual coaching program where I can walk you through and it goes to your inbox on your phone every day or every other day. So this [00:37:30] value-add is ... it's beyond motivation. To stand up there and say, "Hey, you just got to wake up in the morning with a good attitude." People will roll their eyes, and they go, "Well, I know that."

Kyle Davis: Yeah, I think the important thing for people to understand about the value-add and what you do versus I think probably what some people might think is this isn't a selling from the podium thing. This is more of a lagniappe, is the word that I'd like to use. A little something extra. [00:38:00] So there's already this stickiness factor, and you're going to get some traction out of booking somebody like Vince, but if you want to then inform and create and continue to have those habits, these value-adds really help with that.

Gail Davis: Well said.

Kyle Davis: Thank you.

Gail Davis: So out of curiosity, Vince, are you still jumping up on the chair?

Vince Poscente: I am. Oh, I've had people ask me about that. "At your age," and I say, "What are you kidding me? I play on two hockey teams, okay. I can [00:38:30] jump on a chair," and people say, "What if you fall of the chair?" I said, "It's 16 inches off the ground. I've skied at 135 miles an hour at standing, I can handle 16 inches."

Gail Davis: I say if you can do it, keep doing it. You know, my party trick is the splits.

Vince Poscente: Oh, yes. Are you still doing the splits?

Gail Davis: I am, and my boys are like, "Mother, you've got to give that up," and I'm like, "Are you kidding me?" I am-

Kyle Davis: It's a hundred percent mortifying.

Gail Davis: But I'm not stopping.

Vince Poscente: It's a crowd pleaser.

Kyle Davis: Oh, yeah.

Gail Davis: Yeah, it is a crowd pleaser. Well Vince, it has been so fun, and I told you earlier one of [00:39:00] the things I love about doing the podcast is just re-engaging with people that we've known for a long time. We've had the pleasure of knowing you and I think there's a lot there. I loved the part about your kids, I really do. Also, I loved the part about going downhill and now going uphill and the fact that you've been around. There's just a lot that you have to offer our clients.

Vince Poscente: It's two things. It's staying curious and having fun, and if we haven't accomplished that in this podcast, I think we have to tape [00:39:30] it again.

Gail Davis: Yeah, there you go.

Kyle Davis: Let's not. All right, cool, well hey look if you guys want to book Vince Poscente you can do so by contacting GDA Speakers. The phone number is 214-420-1999, or you can go to GDASpeakers.com. For everything else, books, transcripts and beautiful photos of Vince, my mom and I, you can go to GDAPodcast.com. Thanks.

Gail Davis: Thank you Vince.

Vince Poscente: Thanks. You're welcome.