In life, we are required to make decisions which will determine our futures...

To achieve success and personal growth has nothing to do with the education, skills or resources but with the willingness, perseverance, and grit to not give up on your visions and aspirations.

If you look at overnight success, you will see that it took time. Many times you will have to sacrifice things to stay goal-oriented. There will be times when others are sleeping, and you are grinding, times when you are asked to do things, and you have turned them down because you have goals to hit, and there will be times when your non-believers will get to you.  However, it's these times that make you stronger and help achieve the goals you desire.

In 2013 I decided to launch my keynote speaking career, and boy did I "seriously" overvalue myself and services.  I thought because I played in the NFL, failed at business, and wanted to speak I could make a lot of money speaking on stages.  Starting my keynote speaking career, was one of the hardest things I ever did in my entire life.  Trying to "sell" people on the fact I could inspire their audiences was no easy task.  So many times I was told "no" when trying to get jobs as a keynote speaker.

In early 2014 I was approached by a good friend of mine, Mr. Dave Nesvisky who worked for a company called Netapp.  Dave called me and told me his company was having an event and asked me if I like to be the keynote speaker for it.  I remember my immediate response "heck yea Dave; I will be glad to do it!  What are you guys going to pay me for my time?"  Dave's immediate response was "Marques, and you have no social proof and no real experience.  I'm sorry to tell you we have no money to pay you for this event!  However, we can take care of your travel, lodging, and food!  Would you like this opportunity?"  I remember pausing and thinking to myself " What?  Get paid nothing for this opportunity, what's wrong with him, doesn't he know I played in The NFL?  Doesn't he know I am worth at least $5,000, I am not going to take this job!"  Then I thought to myself if I tell him "no" he will never ask me again to speak for him, and his Fortune 500 brand.  So I swallowed my pride and said this verbatim, "Dave, I will gladly take this opportunity!  Thank you so much, and what are the next steps?"

I went to Chicago, did the job and got terrific reviews from Netapp.  After the event, I got my very first reference letter, and that was the beginning of my speaking career starting to soar!  I look back now and realize, if I had told Dave "no" to that opportunity, my speaking career would be different today.  Sometimes, you have to swallow your pride and do things you do not want to do, to get to your result.  I was not happy at all that I did not get paid for my first job with Netapp, but I am so glad today that I swallowed my pride, sucked it up, and took that job, as it set the tone for my career!

Successful people find a way, and unsuccessful give up and ask “why me?”, “when am I going to be lucky?” Successful people develop habits the rest of us are not willing to have. Success comes in different forms with each; however, success is adding value to others in your everyday life! Many seek success; however, very few are prepared for the necessary changes to achieve it.  Do you have what it takes to achieve success?  Alternatively, are you waiting your turn patiently for it to “just happen” for you?  Just remember this saying "If you want to achieve success, prosperity, and wealth you have to INVEST the time that is necessary to see your vision all the way to the finish line and beyond!"

Marques Ogden, Keynote Speaker