You change every day, so your sense of success does too, says speaker and positive psychologist Daniel Lerner. Lerner, author of U Thrive—aguide to prospering through the college years and beyond—teaches audiences of all ages to find success (and the more elusive measure: meaning) in daily work and life, whether you’re a lawyer, doctor, executive, or artist.
Lerner is a frequent consultant for companies like Deutsche Bank, Oppenheimer Funds, UBS Switzerland, and Jet.com, where he works with high-performing employees who are looking to make the most of their work day. What Lerner offers in his talks is a more holistic approach to optimizing your time on the clock. Fulfillment comes in many forms, at all hours. Define your parameters, says Lerner, know your strengths, skills, and needs at work. Then, zero in on your dreams—whatever they may be.
To book speaker Daniel Lerner, or to learn more about our roster of motivational and happiness speakers, contact The Lavin Agency today.
At 14, Waneek Horn-Miller was stabbed by a Canadian soldier for protesting developments on Mohawk land. Ten years later, she rebounded, becoming the first Canadian Mohawk woman to compete in the Olympics—and grace the cover of TIME. Today, she shows how reconciliation is possible: through listening, humility, and tough conversations.
As Director of Community Engagement for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls—an initiative to eradicate violence against Indigenous women and give victims’ families a chance to heal, to be heard, to address a public that has historically ignored them—Horn-Miller’s ability to transform narratives proved invaluable. The hard work of changing history requires frank, sometimes uncomfortable debate; the ability to extend empathy despite differences; and, ultimately, a pledge to maintain hope. “Without hope,” she says, “there is no health.”
Hope is what helped Horn-Miller overcome the trauma of her near-death experience. It’s what motivated her to become an Olympic athlete. “I come from people who have gone through horrific things in history,” she says. “War, death, famine, genocide. How many times did my ancestors want to give up, lay down, and die? But they didn’t. They fought to continue. You have to keep going forward.” Horn-Miller is an emblem of this inextinguishable resilience—proof that it can be learned, and practiced, as diligently as a sport. As she says: “resilience is like a muscle and you need to work it out. It’s not something you can sit back and say, well, I’m resilient now. It’s a daily exercise that you have to work at.”
To book Waneek Horn-Miller for your next speaking engagement, or another Canadian icon such as Rick Mercer or Peter Mansbridge, contact The Lavin Agency, their premiere speakers bureau.
Former school principal Karl Subban understands success in life (and on the ice), with three NHL-drafted sons—including famed player P.K. Subban—to prove it. The newly-released How We Did It is a must-read motivational, grit, and parenting primer from a sports-loving educator with a gift for fostering potential.
Boasting three decades of teaching, coaching, and parenting, Subban is no rookie when it comes to motivating young people. Now, in his first book, he shares the trials and milestones of his life—from leaving behind his own dream of playing professional basketball to inspire students as a teacher and principal, to raising and coaching three NHL players. That powerhouse mini-team includes the former Montreal Canadien, now-Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban—one of the league’s most “thrilling” players and an Olympic Gold Medal winner.
In his wise and funny keynotes, the senior Subban draws on his lifetime accomplishments as an educator and father of “Team Subban” to motivate those wishing to nourish potential, in others or themselves, no matter their stickhandling skills.
Momentum is easy to keep up when the coast is clear and the slope inclined in your favor. But what about when good fortune flags and fatigue sets in? As the summer holidays yield to first days of school and fiscal planning, we’ve put together a sampler of speakers who each approach the question of motivation in creative, heartfelt and practical ways.
Daniel Lerner: Instructor of NYU’s “The Science of Happiness | Author of U Thrive
Daniel Lerner is at once affable and serious-minded, so it makes sense that his standing-O keynotes combine a perfect mix of kindness and realism. As he explains in this clip, it’s one thing to work 100 hours a week, but the way we can push ourselves to that level of commitment is by prioritizing our relationships—family and friends. Put them first, says Lerner, and we’re more likely to thrive.
Yvonne Camus: Expert on Grit and Performance | Participant in Mark Burnett’s Eco-Challenge
As the sole female member of the rookie Canadian Eco-Challenge team, Yvonne Camus is pure, world-class grit. As she describes in this video, motivation can dissolve when collaborative teams react personally when things go wrong. “Criticism is a bad way of making a suggestion,” she says, which any of us in an office setting can learn from. Instead, we have to figure out how to make new suggestions, rather than arguing. Not only will people become more engaged and motivated, they’ll also solve the problem.
Bill Strickland: CEO of Manchester Bidwell | Business & Community Leader
As president and CEO of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation—an extraordinary jobs training center and community arts program—Bill Strickland and his staff work with corporations, community leaders, and schools to give disadvantaged kids and adults the opportunities they need to build a better future. In this moving video, Strickland outlines the heart behind his incredible deeds, reminding all of us that “It is all in the way you treat people that drives performance and behavior.”
Emily Esfahani Smith: Author of The Power of Meaning | TED2017 Speaker
Is a happy life the same as a meaningful one? According to writer Emily Esfahani Smith, it’s not. Meaning is defined by “connecting and contributing to something that lies beyond the self.” Stress, hard work, effort in the long-term—these are all markers of the pursuit of meaning. Engaging in these pursuits brings fulfillment, says Esfahani Smith. Less fleeting, with the promise of deeper connection to ourselves and others, meaning elevates our existence to something beyond happiness.
Drew Dudley: Founder of One Day Leadership | TED Speaker
Not all of us are leaders, but an important aspect of motivation is knowing when to encourage those who are. “Leadership recognized is leadership created,” says Drew Dudley, a speaker who continually brings audiences to their feet with his energetic and practical talks about mutual motivation. “Lollipop moments,” as he calls them, can be a small gesture or sentiment that helps someone see that the steps they’re taking are really worth something—and there is nothing more galvanizing than that.
In his role as the Director of Mental Conditioning for the New York Giants, Dr. Jonathan Fader teaches already high-performing individuals to transcend their inhibitions. In Part II of his exclusive interview with Lavin, Dr. Fader shares some of the everyday mental conditioning tips that we can all use to maintain and improve our states of mind.
Last week, Dr. Fader discussed the work he does with the Giants, as well as with firefighters in the New York Fire Department. Read Part I of this exclusive interview here.
Even before you get to the office, develop some kind of routine that helps your mental climate. We talk a lot in sports and mental conditioning about routines. Most people have a very sophisticated routine when they get up in the morning, even if they’re as simple as washing your face, brushing your teeth, choosing your clothes. People can neglect their mental climate at the beginning of their day and throughout the day, but interjecting a few things during your day will change the way you experience the world.
It could just be having a practice where, at some point during the day, you spend sixty seconds writing down, texting, or thinking about the things that you really appreciate about the day, about yourself, about others, about your life. When you do that, you’re building up kind of a bank that will help you when stress comes. It’s hard to put it in perspective when it comes, if you’re not building up all the other things that are worth it for the effort that you’re putting in. The more that those things, in terms of gratitude, can be about people and about relationships and about activities rather than material things, the better off you are.
Quiet your mind
I’m a big believer in mindfulness. I meditate every day. It doesn’t have to be mindfulness—it can be anything you do that really quiets your mind. It could be taking a minute, for example, and just focusing on your breathing. It could be taking a minute and looking through your favorites on your phone. For instance, I have a shared file with my older daughter: just scare videos. We scare each other. I’ll look through those, and that changes my whole outlook. A presentation, or a stressful conversation doesn’t seem the same after I’ve done that.
Learn to Breathe
Assuming there’s no really complicated issue, I don’t believe that you need to meet with someone for a long time to have some marked change in your feelings or your behavior. The real limiting factor is motivation. How motivated are you to practice it? I can teach people in one session how to breathe differently. It’s simply three or four seconds in, three or four seconds out, and a two second pause. That breathing style is just only designed to get people to breathe rhythmically, six breaths per minute, which is ideal for a human that’s trying to calm the sympathetic nervous system arousal. That kind of breathing—someone can learn instantly.
My first year in the NFL, one of the players came up to me and said, “Fader, thanks so much, man. Your breathing really helped me.” I was like, “How did it help you?” and he said, “Well, you know, I was going over the bridge with my wife, and we almost got into an argument. It calmed me down.” He wasn’t even playing—it was just his life.
When Emily Esfahani Smith was in college, she began to see a curious pattern. Our “single-minded obsession with happiness” is leading people astray. As featured in her hit TED2017 keynote and new book, The Power of Meaning, Smith provides readers with four pillars of wisdom that are not about banishing unhappiness, but finding meaning within a varied emotional spectrum.
Counterintuitively, the pursuit of happiness can make people less happy and increase feelings of loneliness. The difference between meaning and happiness is subtle but mighty, as Smith discusses in the book and expands upon in her talks. “The meaningful life is essential to the happy life,” she explains. “But happiness is about feeling good in the moment, feeling a state of comfort and ease. Meaning is about belonging to, and serving, something beyond yourself. It’s about believing that your life matters and that it makes sense. There is a depth of wellbeing that comes with it.”
Smith organizes her research into four pillars of meaning:
1) A Sense of Belonging, meaning relationships “where you really feel like you matter to others and are valued by them, and where you in turn treat others like they matter and are valued.”
2) Purpose, or “having something worthwhile to do with your time,” says Smith. “It’s this pursuit that organizes your life and involves making a contribution to others.” Smith writes and speaks about the best ways we can find purpose in our own lives. This includes locating our strengths and talents, what our unique perspective on the world is, and bringing that all together to give back.
3) Transcendence, “those moments where you're basically lifted above the hustle and bustle of daily life and you feel your sense of self fade away.” Transcendence, for a lot of people, is part of a religious pursuit, experienced through meditation, prayer, and other expressions of faith. But you can also experience it in nature, or at work, explains Smith.
4) Storytelling, the final pillar “surprised me in a lot of ways,” Smith says. “Storytelling is really about the story that you tell yourself about your life, about how you became you. It’s your personal myth.”
The four pillars inform Smith’s talks and articles, like the viral “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy,” which became the jumping-off point for The Power of Meaning. Her articles in The Atlantic have been read over 30 million times, and her writing on culture and psychology—drawing on neuroscience, philosophy, and literature—have also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TIME, and other publications. Fresh from the TED 2017 mainstage, Smith’s talks help us think differently about the stories we tell ourselves and help us identify what makes life worth living.
Smith is an instructor in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a columnist for The New Criterion, as well as an editor at the Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, where she manages the Ben Franklin Circles project: a collaboration with the 92nd Street Y and Citizen University to build meaning in local communities.
Warm, and contemplatively motivational, Smith is a wonderful speaker for anyone looking to stoke the flames of motivation from within.
Few parents have accomplished what Karl Subban has. All three of his sons—P.K., Malcolm, and Jordan—have been drafted to the NHL, having defied the odds and bested thousands of other hopefuls around the world. And Subban, a former school principal, was there 100 percent of the way to inspire and motivate them. Now, as a keynote speaker, Subban shares his winning formula with audiences from all walks of life. In the videos here, Subban delivers what he’s known for: stirring, uplifting discussions filled with purpose and practicality.
In our first video, Subban recalls how he took an aspiring hockey player under his wing, bringing him to “P.K.’s Hill” in Centennial Park, Toronto, and telling him to run until he couldn’t any longer. When the young man was too tired to continue, Subban dispensed his timeless advice: “Don’t you ever forget this feeling that makes you want to stop, that makes you want to quit. That’s what life will do to you. There’s a price to be paid for success.” As he did with his sons, Subban preaches commitment and a lifelong dedication to realizing your dream.
And once you conquer that dream, what do you do? Simple—you find another one and keep going. Subban stresses personal development: work as hard at becoming a better human being as you do chasing your life’s ambition. “If your dream is to be the best lawyer you can be,” says Subban, “and you’re not working in parallel to be the best person you can be, good luck.”
In the next video, Subban imagines potential as a stool with three supporting pillars, representing your dream, your beliefs, and your actions. Without all three, he argues, your potential wastes away. But what is potential, that ill-defined x-factor we’re all told we have? And how does it help us? According to Subban, “My potential lies inside me. It gives me the ability to reach for something, to become something better. My potential, my abilities, my talent—they lie inside me, and they give me the confidence to persevere.” By holding onto our dreams and not wavering in our belief systems—and reflecting both of these in our actions—we unlock our true potential.
And in our final clip, Subban brings his life lessons to the workplace. How do we improve job performance? How can we bring out the best in our co-workers, and in turn, how can they do the same for us? The key, Subban says, is a focus on meaningful personal relationships. Get to know your colleagues, spend time with them, communicate that you truly care about them—and the results will follow.
With keynotes that are in equal measures humorous, rousing, and life-affirming, Karl Subban is a new—yet already seasoned—voice on the speaker circuit.
Yvonne Camus understands what it takes to defy expectations. As the sole female member of the first rookie team to complete Mark Burnett’s Eco-Challenge, Camus hiked, biked, kayaked, and mountaineered through 500 grueling kilometres of Bornean jungle—even after Burnett ranked her team dead last. As a keynote speaker, she imparts lessons from her remarkable trek, re-framing the challenges of teamwork, commitment, and performance. In these videos, as in her talks, she inspires listeners to achieve the extraordinary.
In this first video, Camus recounts how the odds in Eco-Challenge were stacked against her. Untimely injuries, historical evidence (a U.S. Navy Seal team had entered each year but never finished), and a sheer lack of experience conspired to make a successful run a near impossibility. But after overcoming such hurdles, Camus now stresses the importance of visualizing your success, however impossible it might seem. When we envision our best, she says, we equip ourselves with the right mindset to achieve it. “Great things happen twice,” she reminds us, “First in your mind, second in reality.”
Camus is a firm believer in the power of encouragement. Midway through the race, with feet swollen, red, and blistered, her team was close to giving in. Even after adopting a positive mantra to chant (“It doesn’t hurt at all!”), Camus’s team had resolved to withdraw from the race if the next section involved walking or running. At the next checkpoint, however, an unlikely source of hope spurred them to the finish line. As Camus puts it, “All it took were words of encouragement from people who cared to make us stand up and go beyond where we gladly would have quit.”
Finally, Camus champions the value of teamwork. Knowing that things will go awry—and having a plan for when they do—is crucial to any team endeavour. Her two-pronged problem-solving approach asks: How do we improve this situation right now? And how can we delegate the work as efficiently as possible? Coming from the bizarre world of reality television, where drama and infighting drive ratings, Camus knows how to keep a team together against all odds.
Called a “sensational” and “brilliant” speaker by GM Canada, Camus reminds us that when we approach life’s challenges with determination, zest, and a willingness to work together, anything is possible.