Last week, I had the pleasure of giving a motivational talk at Birmingham Next, a nonprofit community center in Birmingham, Michigan, down the street from the high school I graduated from. It was a packed house!
About 70 folks filled the room, and I hate to toot my own horn, but… wait, what am I talking about? Sometimes it’s great to toot my own horn! It was freakin’ awesome!
The folks at Next were incredible. My main contact was with Susan, and she promoted the heck out of it. I was on the front page of the newsletter…
…and was featured prominently on their wall of upcoming events.
We began the event by showing a video of my appearance with Richard Simmons on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” (Watch it here if you’ve never seen it.)
Then I began my main presentation. It’s about 35 minutes, accompanied by a slide show, and I discuss my history of obesity and my various failed weight loss efforts, how I met Richard Simmons and how he helped me, and the changes I made to lose 160 pounds. I also identify the struggles I faced while losing the weight, the struggles I face keeping it off, and how I combat them. You know, all the topics I cover on this blog!
There’s also big portion about my history with stair racing – how I got involved in the sport, what races are like, and why they’re so important to me.
And throughout it, I share tips about what works for me, and how people might find what works for them. I try to plant seeds in their minds that they, too, can accomplish what I’ve accomplished, and try to teach new ways to think about and approach losing weight.
The crowd was very receptive. There was laughter. There were gasps (when I shared some of my tower running highlights). A couple people told me that I made them tear up. And, after my presentation was over, I did a very lively Q&A, where I fielded about 15-18 questions.
Susan came up to me afterwards and told me that she wished it didn’t have to end. She emailed the next day and said that she had gotten lots of compliments from the members at the community center.
And I got flooded with compliments. So many kind words from friends in the audience, and complete strangers. Chris, a family friend, brought me flowers!
Two of my childhood friends were able to make it. I’ve known Sean my entire life – we literally played together when we were both in diapers. And I’ve known Molly since high school – we were in the plays and musicals together. (Molly, by the way, took all the pictures of my presentation. Thanks Molly!)
And Susan is a friend from Slimmons that drove 90 minutes to come hear me speak. And she brought two friends, Ryan and Kevin, with her!
I wish I took more pictures with people. I also wish I had taken a moment, at the end, to grab a selfie with everyone in the audience behind me. Oh well – next time!
It was great to share my story and experiences and, hopefully, inspire people to take steps towards being healthier. It was so much fun. I’ve spent a lot of time fine-tuning this presentation, making it relatable and personal, and to have it so warmly received, by my hometown crowd… well, it was a pretty special evening. To say the least.
Keep it up, David!
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