I love my job as a keynote speaker. To be honored as one of only 570 Certified Speaking Professionals on the planet this past month was icing on the cake, and confirmation that we’d finally made it through that which almost destroyed our family.
Just a few years ago I thought I might go to jail for crimes that someone else committed using my identity. I lost nearly everything, including my business, my reputation and lots of money. Who would have thought then that all of the pain we experienced as a family would be turned into a highly satisfying career as an author and professional keynote speaker? Every day I get to go to work with the enviable conviction of empowering people to protect their privacy from identity theft, social media exposure and human manipulation. I get to steer people and corporations away from making the significant mistakes I did. It is vastly fulfilling.
And now, after five hard years on the speaking circuit, to be awarded the CSP by such highly accomplished peers in NSA, the National Speakers Association, satisfies me beyond words. If you’ve heard the details of my story and know how much it cost my family (I was basically absent in their lives for two full years), you’ll especially love how elegantly everything has come full circle. Sophie (my daughter, and the person who woke me out of my victim-induced stupor to become an author and a speaker), whispered to my row of supporters just as I was walking across the stage, “everyone stand up when dad gets his award.”
What she might not have known was that I was accepting the certification in honor of her, in honor of all of the family and friends that held me up in tough times (a special thanks to Mary, my wife and the love of my life). I get all the benefits of the CSP, but they deserve most of the credit. As Brad Montgomery, CSP, motivational humorist and my good friend, explained it:
“Getting your CSP doesn’t guarantee more bookings (well, maybe it does). But either way, it does mean that you’ve performed at the highest speaking level for five straight years – only 1% of all speakers worldwide get one! Also, I get to wear a medal and my kids think I’m cool… for the first day… and then I’m a dork.”
Another close friend, Steve Spangler, CSP CPAE said “I remember attending my first NSA convention in 2000 and being blown away by the wealth of talent and expertise in one place.” Being part of that group isn’t just good for the ego, it is the honor of a lifetime. Thanks to all of you for being part of the process.
What is NSA and what does the CSP really mean?
NSA, the National Speakers Association, is the leading organization for professional speakers not only in the U.S., but in the world. CSP is an indicator in the speaking profession that you have achieved a standard set by the leading industry authority.
The Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, conferred by the National Speakers Association and the Internationl Federation for Professional Speakers, is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform skill. The CSP designation is earned through demonstrating competence in a combination of standards: Professional platform skills, professional business management, professional education and professional association. For more information, visit NSAspeaker.org.