Welcome to Backstage with Pete Vargas III, where we take you behind the scenes every week to teach you how to get on those stages that will allow you to build your business and get your message out to the world!
I want to share a little bit of my genesis story with you today - when my life was radically changed by the power of a stage. It was the very first event that I had ever attended - hosted by my good friend Brendon Burchard. I had an experience at that event that launched me in a direction that landed me right here today.
This is a story about the power of communication.
Communication is the lead domino that can start a progression in your life you never thought imaginable. The most important thing you can do for your business is to learn how to communicate in a powerful way. Things like funnels, ads, websites, and webinars - are all a great help. But nothing can take the place of becoming a powerful communicator. This story is about how I really learned this concept that I’m teaching you right now. Even as I write, I have sitting in front of me, the name badge from that event. It was called World's Greatest Speaker Training, and I didn't go with a VIP ticket, I had a free ticket. I checked in at the welcome desk, where they handed me my basic name tag - just my name and the event logo. And before I walked away, they asked me if I wanted to upgrade and be a part of the exclusive speaker training. They explained that for only $1000, I could get on the stage and share my story. For $1000 I could buy two minutes on a stage in front of three or four judges. I thought to myself, surely there was something else to the offer. A grand prize winner? The opportunity at a larger stage? Nope. There was no winner - just an invitation to share your message on the stage, be judged, receive feedback, and go home with a video recording.
Let’s just say I did not want to make that $1000 investment. I was afraid. I had a scarcity mindset. I wasn't making money at the time, so I thought these guys were crazy. I walked away thinking “There's no way I'm giving you a thousand dollars!”
I don't know where you are in your faith journey, but I believe I heard the voice of God inside of me that day. As I walked away from the welcome desk, I heard an inner voice so strongly tell me that I was supposed to take the opportunity. So, somewhat reluctantly, I went back to that welcome desk and turned in my regular badge for a $1000 VIP badge.
I did it. I stood on that stage and shared my message. I still have the video today. I'm chubby. I’m sweaty. I’m wearing the worst outfit that you can imagine. It was the perfect picture of imperfection. I didn't say perfection - I said imperfection. But what did I do? I took action. I took action and I put myself on that stage. I fumbled over my words. I said a lot of ‘ums’. It wasn't perfect, but it was real. It was authentic. It was me. I wasn't trying to be Grant or Elena or Brendon Burchard or Pat Quinn. I was just being me.
Although it wasn’t perfect, I did have the framework in place that helped me be able to take that stage, and I received a standing ovation that day. I remember seeing my friend Brendon Bouchard, and I could tell that it deeply moved him. I saw his response and I knew something had changed for me.
Stop sitting on the sidelines.
Here’s what that experience did for me: It validated that I needed to stop sitting on the sidelines. I had been sitting on my business idea for three or four years. I was what I now call a WANTREPRENEUR. A wantrepreneur is a person who listens to all the training and buys the programs and products, while year after year they sit on their business ideas. And they often blame everyone and everything else for why they can’t do what they want to do.
Are you a wantrepreneur? I know I was. I had my business idea for three or four years and I did nothing with it. But all of a sudden, at this event, the crowd heard me talk and they stood up to their feet and applauded me. This was the lead domino that tilted over to create a massive change for me that day. Coming out of that event, Brendon challenged me to do my own first live event, and I did it!
Do you want to guess how many people were at my very first live event? I had no email, no social media, no database, no anything! But I had 27 people attend my live event! Out of those 27 people, five to ten people were in the audience that had heard me on Brendon's stage three months earlier.
So I picked up five to ten new customers from that two minutes on the stage. It doesn't take 60 minutes or even 15 minutes! It’s nice to have but you don't need it. You have to get good at 1 - 2 - 3 minutes. I launched my first event and there were 27 people there. Out of those 27 attendees, I think five of them signed up for what I coined and trademarked the ‘Speak Off’. A lot of you reading this may think that last year was the very first Speak Off we ever had. November of 2015 was the first Speak Off we ever had.
My promise to those five was that I was going to have meeting planners who control stages come and be the judges. Where Brendon scratched the surface with his speaker training event, I wanted to do it more like a competition where there was a winner. I wanted a competition where, if someone delivered a good message, they would win stages. So, I brought in three or four people to judge the five contestants, and one of those five individuals won.
That one person not only won stages. He won customers, exposure, notoriety, and credibility because he could say he was the first-ever Speak Off winner.
The Great American Speak Off
So fast forward - we have held Speak Offs every year since 2015, and in 2022, I pitched the concept to Grant and Elena Cardone. I knew we could do this bigger and better and they saw it too. The Great American Speak Off. They wanted to take it onto GCTV and allow the winner to be on the Growth Con stage. Can you imagine speaking to 20,000 people on a stage? That’s a packed NBA arena!
Well, we went for it! And in season one, we had 27,000 people sign up to audition but we only had 2000 spots available. We did auditions in three cities and we held one virtual audition. 150 of those auditions received a golden ticket. In the end, 150 contestants became 30, then twelve, then three. Those three advanced on to Growth Con. But just like Grant does in Grant fashion, he threw out a wildcard to make it four. Four contestants competed on the biggest stage of their lives.
My question for you, is what’s going on in your mind and heart as I tell you my story? What happens when I talk about the opportunities that can come from a stage? What could happen to your business with a few minutes in front of 20,000 people?
What’s keeping you from taking action? Are you comparing yourself to others? Are you trying to be someone you’re not? Because I will tell you something - the world doesn’t need a bunch of copies. The world needs YOU. I think about one of the 2022 Great American Speak Off finalists, Randy Hedge. He’s a redneck cowboy. He stepped on that stage in his cowboy hat, with his heavy southern drawl, and the crowd fell in love with this guy. He was a crowd favorite. Part of Randy’s message is that you have to be authentic. Randy talks about how you may have to improve, correct some habits, add some skills, and change some attitudes - but you don’t change who you are to try to impress others. When Randy stepped on that stage, his head was telling him how out of place he was. He says he felt like a “pig at a pool party.” But think about it - this man came in second place out of 2000 auditioners! I’m so glad he brought his real self to the stage that day, rather than cave to insecurities and try to be someone he wasn’t. The crowd loved Randy!
Another thing I love about Randy is that this guy will not quit! He was almost cut in eliminations, but he ended up with a wild card. He talks about the absolute disappointment he felt when he learned he would not be going through to the next round. And before he could even lick his wounds, he learned that he was chosen on the wildcard. He says that he has “failed his way to the top,” simply because he will not quit. Quitters are everywhere. Wantrepreneurs are everywhere!
Be that grinder. Be that one that just won't give up.
Randy reminds us that there are always going to be people who are smarter, prettier, or who are better speakers, but when you bring your real self to the stage, you can be sure that there will never be another YOU.
Interestingly enough, one of our other top four Speak Off finalists came in as a wildcard, Shametria Gonzalez. She was in our top 12 finalists but was eliminated in the final round. Then Grant threw a curve ball and gave a wild card to allow one more person to go to Growth Con. Shametria was that wild card! Many of our contestants had a backend business or product, but Shametria didn't have a business. She did, however, have a great story of being an overcomer. She taught us that intention will get people's attention. She was determined that she could use her story to inspire and motivate others. What she learned along the way in her Speak Off journey was how to take her intention and turn it into a business. She took advantage of 10x Stages and she shares how that push took her to the finish line. Shametria reminds us that you have to show up with the right intention, educate yourself, then apply it. Your gift will make room for you, but you have to show up!
These final contestants were not chosen because of a million-dollar business. They weren't chosen for their fancy clothes or the money in their bank accounts. They were winners because they were able to communicate their message with spirit, authenticity, energy, and they captivated their audience.
Are you hearing the theme here? Are you catching on to the domino effect that happens when you learn to communicate your message?
Grant Cardone shares how he knows now that he lost DECADES of time and opportunity because he didn’t become an excellent communicator earlier in life. Think of what Grant has accomplished and imagine adding ten or twenty years to his successes.
I want to tell you about one more person. This guy made Grant Cardone tear up. He is the winner of our last round of the Great American Speak Off - Mr. Glenn Lundy.
Glenn followed Grant Cardone for a long time. He participated in some of his training and followed his social media. So he was intrigued by this opportunity to audition for the show. Glenn heard me tell the exact story I am telling you today and he listened to that kick - that voice - and he decided to jump in on our virtual auditions. He hadn't taken it that seriously until he received word that he had made it through to the second round and he realized what an incredible opportunity this could be. So he better prepared for round two and was chosen again to go to Miami. In Miami, he was blown away by the talent and he talks about how he knew at that moment that he had to ask a lot of questions and get laser-focused on what he had to communicate. He had to craft his communication - and fast!
One thing Glenn says he learned is that you've got to get the audience right away.
He used to start his speeches with introductions and talk about himself. He quickly learned that there was no time for that! It's about the audience in the very first second. You've got to captivate them and bring them in immediately.
Glenn learned. He pivoted. He applied knowledge. He crafted his message. And he took the gold.
His life will never be the same. His business, his family, and his relationships have all been impacted and elevated because of what the Growth Con stage did for him.
Think about what that did for his kids as they watched him go after his dreams and use his story and his gift to positively impact others. Lots of people are talking about their dreams but very few take action.
So here it is - Be yourself. Be intentional with your message. Craft your message and put yourself out there. Figure out what you have to say and captivate your audience. The world wants to hear what you have to say!
As Glenn puts it - your story, your life experience, what you’ve walked through, and what you’ve learned along the way - God has given these things uniquely to YOU as an overcomer. But now, it's for other people. Get out there, tip the lead domino, and take your chance at winning the Growth Con stage!
Sign up for your audition at SPEAKOFF.COM
Your message matters!
Pete Vargas III