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Spotlight On: Start With Why Facilitator, David Mead

Committed to a world in which people go home every day fulfilled by the work they do, David Mead focuses on helping business leaders and organizations create cultures that make that idea possible. Inspired by Simon Sinek’s ground-breaking book, Start With Why, David’s natural ability to translate Sinek’s message comes across in all of his talks. David gets put under our spotlight, below:

What inspired you to want to be a speaker?

The message that I’m sharing. I had worked with Simon Sinek for a couple of years when I realized that we had a bit of a problem–20 to 30 speaking requests per week…and only one Simon. It hit me that thousands of people were missing out on the important message of Simon’s book, Start With Why, simply because Simon didn’t have the time to fill all the requests. It felt like a great opportunity to help share something I believe in and help a lot of people at the same time.

Any advice for aspiring speakers?

Speak about two things: The first, what you know, and the second, what you truly care about. Don’t pretend to be who you’re not or to know what you don’t. And always show up to give, not to get. Often we’re conditioned to show up to a gig to get the paycheck, a lead on more work, or to make the right connections with people who could move our career forward. It’s not about any of that. Show up with one intent: to give. Period.

What do you like to leave audiences with?

A different perspective. The concept of Why is something most of us have felt at some point in our lives, and usually we have a hard time describing it or putting it into words. I love giving people the words for something they’ve felt or opening their eyes to a new way of thinking that has the power to transform the way they think and communicate.

How do you prepare before a talk? Any special rituals? A good luck talisman?

I always do some research on the organization I’m speaking to. While the concept I share is universal to any organization or industry, I do what I can to make some connections and relate the content based on what I’ve noticed about them. As many times as I’ve given my talk, I always run through it a couple of times. Usually on the plane and in my hotel room. I feel a great sense of responsibility to bring the best I have, and I always do.

Do you have an especially memorable event you can tell us about?

I spoke at a motorsports company recently that owns several race tracks. After I spoke, I was given a personal tour of the Daytona track, where Dale Earnhardt died. I’ve never been into NASCAR, but it was actually a really cool experience to learn about it and climb up on the track where the turns are. It’s so steep! You’d never guess just by seeing it on TV.

Any funny or embarrassing situations you found yourself in as a speaker?

I’ve been speaking for about two years now and so far I haven’t really run into anything terribly embarrassing. I know it’ll come, but I’ll wait patiently for it.

If you had to choose a new career, what would it be?

I can’t imagine wanting to do anything else. However, if what I am currently doing wasn’t needed anymore because a majority of us went home at the end of the day fulfilled by the work we do, I’d move to the beach and sell popsicles. Needless to say, I have a long road ahead and I don’t see a career change any time soon, which is fine with me.

Desert island album?

I love such a variety of music that I just couldn’t pick one album. A playlist including anything from Muse to Dessa to Massive Attack to The Xx to Ulrich Schnauss would be great!

Best subject in school?

It depends on the time frame. In middle school and high school, it was band. I was a trumpet player and loved it. In the later years of graduate school, anything to do with Organizational Development. I love learning about how we come together as human beings to work toward the things that matter to us. I’m still a student of that and will be for the rest of my life, I hope.

Last book you read?

The comic book version of Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos). I actually downloaded it by accident, thinking I’d bought the newest edition of the full length, regular version. But it was kind of fun to read about the Zappos story in comic book form.

Last film you saw?

Does the 1940s cartoon version of Peter Pan I watched with my three year old count as a film? Probably not.

Celebrity crush?

I’m afraid no celebrities have a crush on me … yet. 😉

What’s the big picture for you?

Everyday I get out of bed to propel positive change so that people can progress toward what matters to them. I imagine a world in which the vast majority of people go home at the end of the day fulfilled by the work they do. I believe that when we go after what matters to us and when we work toward a purpose or cause, we find more fulfillment, not only in the work we do, but in the rest of our lives as well. The great thing is, I’m not the only one who holds this vision. And, more importantly, I’m not the only one working to bring that world to reality.