Last Updated on April 13, 2020
A motivational speaker, also known as an inspirational speaker, is a person who delivers powerful speeches with the intention of inspiring, challenging, or transform their audience. In a world full of grief, negativity, and broken dreams, it pays to tune in to motivational speakers once in a while.
But motivational speakers not only seek to inspire their audiences to rise above their life’s challenges. Their pep talks are also intended to challenge the status quo. Through their compelling and powerful messages, we can learn to step out of our comfort zones and pursue our full measure of success and happiness.
The world has no shortage of motivational speakers drawn from all walks of life. Whether you’re looking for a speaker who will help you to nurture the spirit of enterprise or one who will challenge you to discover your spirituality, you’re sure to find one.
Here are some of the world’s most sought-after motivational speakers.
1. Tony Robbins
Notable Quote: If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
Tony Robbins is arguably the world’s most influential motivational speaker of all time. Besides delivering compelling pep talk, Robbins is also a life coach, author, and philanthropist. For more than 40 years, he has featured prominently in seminars around the world, especially those focused on personal development, entrepreneurship, leadership, success, and wealth management.
Robbins is also known for his numerous infomercials and self-help tutorials. Some of his notable books include Unlimited Powers (1987) and Awaken the Giant Within (1993). Throughout his illustrious career, Tony Robbins has rubbed shoulders with prominent figures, such as Bill Clinton, Serena Williams, Hugh Jackman, to mention but a few.
2. Les Brown
Notable Quote: Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.
Even if you’re not already acquainted with Les Brown, this quote alone should help to paint a picture of the kind of pet talk to expect from this powerful motivational speaker. Les Brown’s speeches focus on rising above your self-imposed limitations. He seeks to encourage his audience to aim as high as possible, and to always raise the bar each time they hit their targets.
Some of his areas of interest include leadership, activism, politics, entrepreneurship, and personal finance. The former Ohio State legislator has earned himself a spot among the world’s most sought-after motivational speakers. And the Council of Peers Award of Excellence award conferred on him by the National Speakers Association is a testament to his continued efforts in transforming the world through pep talk.
3. Eric Thomas
Notable Quote: When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.
Eric Thomas, Ph.D., famously known as the hip-hop preacher, is another great motivational speaker the world has ever known. One of the things that lend credence to his speeches is the fact that he draws his inspirations from his personal experiences.
Eric Thomas is one of the few influential speakers who began from humble backgrounds. He grew without a father and struggled with homelessness. But he did not use his under-privileged status as an excuse to fail in life. Some of his read-worthy works include The Secret to Success and Greatness Is Upon You.
4. Arianna Huffington
Notable Quote: Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.
Arianna Huffington was born Ariadni-Ana Stasinopoulou on July 15, 1950, in Athens, Greece. She is the founder of Thrive Global. She is also the co-founder as well as editor-in-chief of the HuffPost, previously known as the Huffington Post.
Arianna has played a crucial role in the founding of several other prestigious organizations and initiatives, including the Detroit Project which is famous for its strong advocacy for the manufacturing of energy-efficient cars. As a motivational speaker, her areas of focus include business leadership, health, and science-backed solutions to personal and corporate productivity.
5. Nick Vujivic
Notable Quote: I’m officially disabled, but I’m truly enabled because of my lack of limbs. My unique challenges have opened up unique opportunities to reach so many in need.
If you haven’t listened to any pep talk by Nick Vujivic, shame on you. And if you don’t know Nick in the first place, double shame. Nick’s story is a pure manifestation of someone who refused to allow life’s challenges to hold him back.
Though he was born without all the four limbs, Nick Vujivic was not about to let his situation define his future. He overcame the challenges of his disability to become one of the most resourceful motivational speakers of our time. Nick runs a motivational speaking company known as Attitude is Attitude, and he spends his time traveling the world, spreading the message of hope and faith in Jesus.
6. Chris Gardner
Notable Quote: People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it.
Chris Gardner’s rags to riches story is what truly defines him as an inspirational speaker. Born on 9th February 1954 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the founder as well as CEO of Gardner Rich LLC faced life’s obstacles in all conceivable forms.
Chris was once a homeless single parent and has since authored The Pursuit of Happyness that serves as a memoir of his struggles then. He is also credited with authoring Start Where You Are, which highlights 44 practical and actionable tips that can inspire you to achieve greater success.
7. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Notable Quote: Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is known to many as a professional bodybuilding champion. Like most motivational speakers we’ve discussed here, Schwarzenegger’s success did not happen overnight. His story tells of a man who discovered his purpose in life and remained true to it.
Schwarzenegger was born on 30th July 1947 in Austria and at the age of 18, he served in the Austrian army for a period of 1 year. But even during his stint in the army, Schwarzenegger remained disciplined to his fitness cause. His speeches are about success and how elusive it can be if you don’t practice personal discipline.
8. Daymond John
Notable Quote: Don’t wait for the perfect time, you will wait forever. Always take advantage of the time that you’re given and make it perfect.
If you’ve ever watched ABC’s award-winning show, Shark Tank, the chances are that you’ve already met Daymond John. Daymond John’s life is another classic case of how we can rise from rags to riches if we only dream big and work towards achieving our dreams.
Daymond began his journey towards success with only $40. But through discipline and resilience even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, he went on to found FUBU Clothing, which he presently heads. Most of his speeches target young people and the importance of nurturing the spirit of enterprise at a tender age. One of his notable books is The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage.
9. Simon Sinek
Notable Quote: Vision is the ability to talk about the future with such clarity it is as if we are talking about the past.
Simon Sinek believes in the power of positivity and optimism. According to him, having a positive mindset is all it takes to achieve success and personal fulfillment. He also believes that no matter what your past was, there are always prospects for a better tomorrow.
Simon teaches about corporate intelligence and how organizations can nurture employee motivation for higher productivity. Examples of books he has authored include Start With Why, Together is Better, The Infinite Game, and Leaders Eat Last.
10. Oprah Winfrey
Notable Quote: Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
Oprah Winfrey was born on 29th January 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi, and has been ranked among the world’s most influential women. Technically, Oprah Winfrey isn’t a professional motivational speaker. However, she has delivered hundreds of thought-provoking keynote speeches and authored numerous inspirational books.
Most inspirational quotes by Oprah Winfrey were said during her famous talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show that was aired for more than two decades. One of her notable publications, The Wisdom of Sundays, attempts to challenge readers to discover the hero inside of them and use their potential to transform the world around them.
The above motivational speakers are the go-to resources for people battling with adversity, negativity, and failure.