Life coaching, life changes

Everyone can use a little bit of a "pick me up" once in a while, and then there are people who also want to tackle creating good new habits, and while some people think of motivational speakers as a bad word, the truth is that learning positive outlooks on life or specific skills that can help with productivity and happiness is a great thing. If hearing something motivational can help, why ever be embarrassed about where that help comes from? A few years ago I found several motivational speakers who helped me to keep dragging through a multi-year depression, and coming out of my depression that same inspiration helped me fight to get my life back together.

When it comes to finding the best speakers and coaches, taste matters and message matters. These are the 8 who have really spoken to me. I don't always agree with everything they say, and sometimes I'm just in the mood for one type of presentation over another but in general the following list is of my 8 favorite speakers, in relative order based on:

  • How much I like them and/or personally get from their presentations
  • How accessible they are
  • The balance of motivation versus useful skills and teachable information
  • Helpfulness to a broad audience versus narrow
  • How often a video encourages me and gets me fired up for the next challenge

Les Brown's Best Motivational Speech (IMO)

This is a fantastic presentation by Les Brown who is my favorite motivational speaker, and that's saying something to knock Jim Rohn off of that throne. An amazing blend of story telling, charismatic speaking, actionable teachings, and motivation, Les Brown is one of those who continues to serve. If you like him on Facebook, you'll be amazed at the new affirmations that come out nearly daily, showing he follows his own advice and continues to improve, continues to practice what he preaches, and continues to help encourage others.

Les Brown's a pretty good author, too!

Its Not Over Until You Win: How to Become the Person You Always Wanted to Be No Matter What the Obstacle
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Really you can't go wrong with any book or CD program by Les Brown, but I've always loved this one. Even the title sets you on the right course.

#1: Les Brown

By far and away my favorite motivational speaker is Les Brown. Programs with titles like It's Not Over Until You Win, Step Into Your Greatness, and Live Your Dreams, it's easy to get fired up just by having some of Les's works around even before you dig into the chapters. Several of his older programs are found on YouTube, as well as a wide variety of live services or events he spoke at.

In my case I love speakers who can get you fired up, have some great humor, and still teach you some very actionable points. As a writer I love the ability that Les Brown has to make a teaching point, then tell an entertaining story that works to help you visualize that point and bring it home. The constant refrain of "You got to be hungry!" is another huge positive from my point of view since it constantly reinforces that need not only to be motivated, but to work tirelessly and relentlessly to get what you want.

I'm sure that after even a few minutes, you'll be hooked. At least for my taste, Les Brown is the best combination of getting you up, active, and then giving you the tools to go to where you need to be, especially if you have only 30 minutes or less to give.

Jim Rohn "Live Your Best Life Ever"

One of the amazing things about Jim Rohn's work is how many of his multi-hour seminars are on YouTube in their complete form. Rohn is very heavy on the teaching aspect for improving your life, and his a natural charm and humor that makes it easy to thoroughly enjoy and appreciate even the longest of seminars. Rohn was my favorite for a long time before finding Les Brown and these two probably make up about 85% of all the people I listen and re-listen to on a frequent basis. Great stuff!

Who doesn't want to lead an inspired life?

Leading an Inspired Life
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"Leading an Inspired Life" is an incredible book by Jim Rohn, and the title says it all in this particular case. Who doesn't want to live the type of inspired life that makes day dreaming unnecessary - because you are living your absolute greatness?

#2, or #1B Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn is one of my favorites, but his style is very different from what many people think of as a "motivational speaker." In fact I think with Rohn the term "life coach" comes a lot closer. If you see pure motivation as the whip cream on top of dessert, then Rohn is the steak dinner and mashed potato before hand. Still, despite providing hours of teaching at a time, it's very easy to listen in for a long talk.

On YouTube there are several exceptional coaching programs of Jim Rohn's online for free, and we're talking about the 3 hour, 4 hour, 5 hour teachings that tell his whole story, go over his entire philosophy of life, and hits every bit of motivation on top of rock solid teaching. These are great in-depth teachings that you won't want to miss, and the style is plenty easy to listen to.

Eric Thomas Secrets to Success Speech - Fantastic!

Eric Thomas giving a fantastic talk, and you can really get a good feel for his high energy style. I like to call him the type of motivational speaker you want when a "kick to the rear" is in order.

Eric Thomas with his amazing story

The Secret to Success
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Here's a book that dives into just what is possible when you dedicate yourself to hard work and refuse to quit, no matter what others say and no matter how many barriers are in the way.

#3 Eric Thomas, aka "The Hip-Hop Preacher"

Eric Thomas is one of my favorite speakers, and also is often called "The Hip-Hop Preacher." His motivational style is strong, in-your-face and all about the hard work, the personal responsibility, and refusing to be denied. He is a powerful speaker, and the one I turn to when I need a strong kick in the butt. This is not a "kid gloves" type of empowerment - he has no problem telling you it's your fault and you need to stop being lazy.

Great speaker with a ton to offer!

Jack Canfield Secret to Success

Jack Canfield is the author of the famous Chicken Soup for the Soul series and that's how he got started in the world of motivational speaking and encouraging others with incredible stories to lift their emotional and spiritual lives. This is a great movie worth the watch!

Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul

The Success Principles(TM) - 10th Anniversary Edition: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
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Jack might be better known for his "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books, but he also speaks on the Law of Attraction and helping to focus your efforts towards achieving success, however you tend to define that word.

#4 Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield is an exceptional author who has also gone on to be a big deal in the world of motivational speaking. He is a known proponent of the Law of Attraction (which I have mixed feelings about) but what I particularly enjoy about his presentations is that he is emphatic that the LoA only works if you actually go out and do the work, go out and seek the opportunities.

This is a big deal for me, and what I find particularly fun about Jack's presentations is an understated sense of humor and his exceptional way of taking major points and simplifying them to make the information accessible and something that becomes easy to act upon. He's a perfect choice for when you want that blend of encouragement and teaching without going too over the top heavy in either direction.

Brian Tracy - 10 Keys to Personal Power

This is one old school video of Brian Tracy, but it just goes to show how his teacings have stood up against the test of time!

5 Star Rating on 160 reviews - that's holding up to the test of time!

Maximum Achievement: Strategies and Skills That Will Unlock Your Hidden Powers to Succeed
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Brian Tracy is a long time stalwart when it comes to talking about success and achievement, and he's lived what's he's preached for decades to prove it.

#5 Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy is an old school name still going strong. He is a very good speaker and teacher who focuses not so much on motivation or dreams as actual success. His teaching emphasis is based on a seemingly simple truth that is very profound in the depth of it's meaning: "If you want to be successful, study success. Study successful people and do what they do. Study unsuccessful people and don't do what they do. Brian Tracy's principles that have stood the test of time, and he gives a solid and straight forward teaching that's easy to follow.

1950 Recording of The Strangest Secret

The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale is a long-time favorite of a wide variety of motivational speakers and life coaches, and is considered by many to be some of the earliest source material and bedrock for what we see out of modern life coaching and motivational movements. 

The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale

Earl Nightingale's The Strangest Secret Millennium 2000 Gold Record Recording
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One of the major programs that inspired Les Brown as a young boy. This is a fantastic program and one that is still worth every penny.

#6 Earl Nightengale

Earl Nightingale is definitely one of the older names on this list, as Les Brown even cites him as one of his earliest inspirations. The Strangest Secret is the teaching program he is best known for and is also more similar to the Jim Rohn style of speaking. This is a great teaching tool, one that focuses individuals on the personal work they need to do to make themselves better, smarter, more valuable to the market. Solid teaching with a dash of inspiration and encouragement. This might be a little dry if you prefer the Eric Thomas or Tony Robbins methods of motivation, but it is very much worth a listen.

And if you just so happen to love the teaching with no extra humor, no motivation, no frills, then this is the program for you.

Tony Robbins TED Talk - One of the Best I've Ever Seen!

One of the best TED talks, which is saying a lot, and a wonderful discussion by Robbins on what it is at our core that drives us for change, or doesn't, and what that means for all of us.

Need a step up managing your money?

MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom
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Tony Robbins has tackled a wide variety of topics, and this time he tackles the topic of money. Great read and a definite must-add to your own private library.

#7 Tony Robbins

I'm not going to spend much time talking about Tony Robbins, because pretty much everyone knows who Tony Robbins is. Honestly part of the reason I stayed away from motivational speakers for so long was hearing several people trash talk him, but then I actually listened to some of his presentations and realized, no there's a lot of great stuff here and the people I was listening to had never heard his stuff - they just judged him a rip-off and never gave his teachings a chance. Robbins is the giant (quite literally if you go by height) of motivational speaking world, and while many people will have him much higher on the list, lucky number 7 seems just right to me.

Choose a Positive Life Audio Book by Zig Ziglar

A great presentation that gives you the full gist of Ziglar's speaking style and why he is so popular. A natural story teller and salesman, you can learn a lot by simply studying his presentation style, as well.

An often overlooked speaking giant

Secrets of Closing the Sale
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A fantastic book that goes back to Ziglar's sales days and goes into a lot more than selling for a job (although it should be mandatory reading for sales) but many of the lessons can be applied to life, as well.

#8 Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar is another name that comes up when many of the newer motivational speakers and life coaches. He isn't as well known as the other names on this list, but he is a natural salesman and storyteller, and you'll be amazed how easily an hour can fly by while listening to his exceptional life lessons - often complete with story examples to bring home the point in a way that will truly stick with you! 

Ziglar's teachings might be primed for sales, but sales is far more than a job because so much of life is sales. Great teaching and great speaker. You will enjoy listening to his stories and encouragement.

Burst forth like the lava - live and live fully!

Kahaualea Lava Flow Hawaii Picture
Credit: Public domain via the U.S. Geological Serivce

Be like the lava and glow! Let your dreams break through everything around you and burst forth with new hope, new fire, new strength, and new life! Don't let anyone ever slow you down and keep you from the life that you want, the life that you deserve!

Thanks for reading!

I hope you found this article extremely helpful and you found a few new names on here that really intrigue you and can speak into your life. All of us can be better, all of us want to be happy and healthy. If one of these speakers, or several, speak right to your core and help you make those changes you need to get to a better and more fulfilled life, then why wait one more day or why be embarrassed where it comes from?

Please listen to the videos, check out any books or programs that really touch you, and take those first steps. I know I'll never regret it. Be like that picture of the volcano - let the biggest, best, and strongest you break out like an unstoppable flow of lava! Why not start today?