Les Brown – Rise in the Face of Adversity
There often comes a time in each person’s life where they meet someone who turns it around completely and inspires them in ways no one has before. If you’ve ever wondered who inspired me to become the man I am today, look no further than today’s guest, Les Brown. It is truly an HONOR to have this incredible man joining me today on The Ed Mylett Show because he absolutely changed my life.
Many years ago when I was living at home with my parents, my dad got me a job at a group home and told me that I needed to get motivated. He gave me one of Les Brown’s tapes and said, “You need to listen to this man.” When I put that cassette in and started listening, my life began to change.
Guys, believe me when I tell you Les Brown is BY FAR the greatest motivational speaker I’ve ever heard. He rose above the CHALLENGES and turmoil of his past to INSPIRE others to do the same.
How does a man who was labeled mentally retarded and only allowed to drink from segregated water fountains go on to literally change the world? By BELIEVING that someone else’s opinion about you does NOT have to become your reality!
In this interview, we dove deep into how to win this battle we call life and how to keep yourself motivated to stay in the fight. We talked about the keys to THRIVING during these difficult times and how to unleash your story of GREATNESS that already lives within you to become the ultimate version of yourself.
We got tactical about the SUPERPOWERS of communication and how you can use the very circumstances that you think disqualify you from winning to achieve unimaginable business and personal success. This conversation is so powerful, and I can’t wait to share it with you. If you want to “live a life that will outlive YOU,” this interview is for you!
Who Is Les Brown?
Les Brown is an author, former radio DJ, television host, former member of the House of Representatives, and my personal hero. He is committed to motivating and training today’s generation to be achievers and leaders as he introduces new audiences every day to his inspiring books such as It’s Not Over Until You Win, Up Thoughts for Down Times, and Fight for Your Dreams. Les Brown’s audio series, Choosing Your Future, remains his all-time bestseller for its acclaimed impact worldwide.
Although he encountered a stumbling block in elementary school was when he was mistakenly declared, “educable mentally retarded,” he used determination, persistence, and belief in his ability to go beyond being a sanitation worker to unleash a course of amazing achievements including being a broadcast station manager, political commentator, and multi-term state representative in Ohio.
Les Brown’s genuine passion and high-energy motivates audiences to step beyond their limitations and #MAXOUT their lives in so many ways. Over the past decade, Les has expanded his role from keynote speaker to Master Trainer, creating the kind of workshop learning experience that got him committed to personal-and-professional development many years earlier.
His charisma, warmth, and humor have transformed ordinary people into extraordinary achievers. This man is an absolute treasure, and I’m so incredibly honored to have him share his wisdom on the show.
Write Your Own Story
Guys, I believe that everything happens FOR us, not TO us. The challenges that we face do NOT disqualify us from reaching our dreams. Many people think that their life circumstances or choices might disqualify them from reaching their potential. But whether it is a divorce, a difficult upbringing, a business failure, or a choice that you are ashamed of, I’m going to tell you this — you can turn those TESTS into TESTIMONIES. You can use your hurdles as TOOLS to THRIVE.
Les Brown is an amazing example of this. He encountered incredible challenges in his childhood, from facing racial segregation and poverty to being told he was mentally retarded. At first, he let those who brought him down write his story and claim the narrative. But one day, he had a teacher, Mr. Leroy Washington, interrupt that story and change his life:
“[Mr. Leroy Washington] said, ‘Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.’ … He interrupted the story that I believed about myself. … he interrupted this vision that had been planted in my mind by words and behaviors. … How people live their lives is a result of the story they tell themselves.” – Les Brown
Les decided to tell himself a different story — one where he was going to change the world. That story is about being HUNGRY for your goals. I say this all the time: It’s one thing to have talent or brains, but all you really need is to have a hunger for your dreams and be coachable enough to learn how to get there.
Les used this hunger to overcome the incredible odds that life threw at him, including when his adopted mother was dragged to jail and when he was given a terminal cancer diagnosis. He has an amazing book out about how to use this hunger to overcome life’s obstacles and create the life you want, so be sure to check that out on his website!
According to Les, part of having that hunger is about getting territory:
“Life is a fight for territory. And once you stop fighting for what you want, what you don’t want will automatically take over.” – Les Brown
What an amazing way to put it. When he received his cancer diagnosis, Les put this philosophy into action. He didn’t stand by and let cancer write the story — instead, he had FAITH and kept fighting hard for his dreams.
Guys, you do not have to live your life as a story that other people tell you. We all have stories of GREATNESS within us. We just have to access them and refuse to let others tell us who we are and what we can achieve.
Les achieved his dreams by learning the power of communication. Communication is literally a SUPERPOWER — it allows us to change our lives and the lives of those around us. Les was able to harness that superpower and use it to change the world, and he shared the keys to doing that with us today.
Communication Is a Superpower
When Les’s teacher, Mr. Washington, gave him the life-changing advice about writing his own story, he also taught him a critical message about communication:
“He said, ‘Mr. Brown, develop your communication skills, young man, because once you open your mouth and you tell the world who you really are, your ability to communicate humanizes you.’” – Les Brown
Les took this advice and learned to become an incredible communicator, opening up his world to endless possibilities. One of the reasons that he was able to make a groundbreaking impact on the speaking industry was because he could tell stories that created an EXPERIENCE for people. Instead of just regurgitating information, he captivated attention through STORIES and then directed that ATTENTION to his message:
“Attention is the new currency: the ability to attract the attention, hold the attention, and direct the attention. And when you can communicate, you attract attention to yourself for your business, your club, your organization, or your movement. … Use your story to create an experience. … So you attract the attention with an experience that you are able to create and the interaction with the people that you want to attract, and then you direct that attention.” – Les Brown
Les used his ability to create an experience through his communication to spread his message to millions of people and empower them. He used his communication to be a salesman at Sears and to become a DJ. He used it to become a state legislator in Columbus, Ohio, and pass 14 bills his first term. And he used it to achieve his dreams and change people’s lives for the better, including my own!
Never forget the POWER of your own voice. Through practice, dedication, and HUNGER, Les used his voice to captivate attention and create experiences in others. He was able to live his dream, and in this interview, he shared his incredible advice on how to live yours.
If You Dream Big Enough, the Odds Don’t Matter
I introduced Les as the greatest communicator I have ever known, but he wasn’t always that way. Les wasn’t just born with incredible skills — he had to develop them over time and work hard at becoming the kind of transformational speaker he is today. He had to put in the EFFORT to achieve his dream, and with that came incredible DRIVE.
But this kind of drive doesn’t just come out of nowhere. For Les, it came from the desire to help his mother, who adopted him and six other children and changed his life. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, the hunger that Les had to succeed and develop his skills intensified to the point where no obstacles could possibly stand in his way.
That’s the power of having something bigger than yourself to chase after — something that means more to you than the pain you’re going to have to go through in order to get it. Becoming a MASTER COMMUNICATOR was Les’s calling, and he describes it as something he was created to do:
“Your calling is something you’re made for. What is something that you love so much that you would do it for free, and you do it so well that people will pay you to do it? That’s your dream … Do that because if it’s something that resonated with you, it’s something that’s in your heart. Where your heart is, there your treasure is also.” – Les Brown
I don’t think most people understand the POWER that comes with having a dream that is so big that it means more than anything that is required to achieve it. There is nothing that can stop someone who dreams this way, and there was nothing that could stop Les from becoming a master at communication in order to get the means necessary to help his mother:
“Dexter Yager said, ‘When the dream is big enough, the odds don’t matter.’ … When you have a big dream, it will introduce you to a part of yourself that you don’t know right now that you will never discover in your comfort zone. Because in order to achieve that dream, you’ve got to die to who you are and give birth to who you are to become. I believe that all of us have stories of greatness in us.” – Les Brown
Guys, this is some amazing stuff. When you dream big enough to step out of your comfort zone, you will change who you are for the better, and you will change others too. Les changed himself, he changed me, and he changed the world.
#MAXOUT with Les Brown
It was an absolute honor to be able to have this conversation with the man who changed my life. It was a dream come true. I’m so excited that you joined me in hearing Les’s story and learning from the GREATEST speaker I have ever known.
Les is an amazing example of how when you make your dreams come true, the dreams of other people you can’t even picture can come true as well. By chasing his dream with HUNGER, he influenced me, a goofy 20-year-old working in an orphanage, and inspired me to change my life. Now, I live to try and inspire others like he inspired me.
If this interview changed you in any way, please rate and review the podcast on Apple Podcasts Apple Podcasts — it goes a long way to helping new people find us and me being able to invite more epic guests like Les to inspire you! And please be sure to share this episode on Instagram by posting a screenshot and tagging Les, @thelesbrown, and me, @edmylett, so that we can spread this message to people who may need to hear it! And be sure to check out his new book, You’ve Got To Be HUNGRY: The GREATNESS Within to Win.
Don’t forget — every day on Instagram, I run the two-minute drill. That means everyone who comments within the first two minutes of my post, Monday through Friday, is entered into a drawing. We pick a winner EVERY DAY. Winners can receive coaching calls with me, MAXOUT gear, or a flight on my jet. So make sure your notifications are turned on, and you’re staying engaged in the MAXOUT community!
Remember, you can influence people you’ve never even met before by chasing your calling to do something GREAT in this world.
Now, go live your dream today and #MAXOUT!