Spotlight of Adrian Starks of Connect Now Business Network

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Welcome, everybody. This is Jane Gardner of finding your purpose and today on Spotlight, we are talking to Adrian Starks of Connect Now Business Network. And today he is going to be talking to us about his business. And Adrian is a keynote speaker, best selling author and chief communications officer of Connect Now Business Network. His mission is to help entrepreneurs, students and organizations and teens who are feeling stuck, uninspired or unfulfilled to become their own Change makers. And he gives them tools, some tips and strategies to get out of the rut they are in and will empower them and these individuals to find opportunities within the challenges, no matter how stressful their environment maybe. Adrian lives by his supportive Changemaker philosophy that began with the desire to help others see that they can courageously make their own changes and become their own champion. Thank you, Adrian, for coming on today. And I would like to ask you before you say hello, because you can say it at the same time, how you got into your business that you’re in, how you found your purpose.

Oh, well, thank you so much, Jane, and thank you for the wonderful introduction, I was like is she talking about me? That’s wonderful. So, yes, let’s talk about how I got into my business. Oh, for a long time, even I was a little kid, I got the name Motormouth because I had the ability to speak and to capture everyone’s attention. So I did quite well with that later on in the years, as we can see now. I started out speaking as a professional in public in Seattle, Washington, where I used to live, and I started doing some spoken word poetry because I was fascinated with the idea of words and wordplay and how do I inspire audiences. And that just led me into finding more things out about special orators like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Winston Churchill. And I started thinking to myself, wow, I really want to start speaking more in front of people. How do I do that? Well, life caught up with me and I found myself working in a call center for eight years, a medical call center. But here’s the interesting thing, Jane. That call center was a calling to the center of my life, which was speaking those eight years that I was there, I wasn’t very happy because it wasn’t the place I wanted to be. I didn’t find myself purposeful there in my own way. But what I learned was the power of communication. And I took those skills and I started going to workshops here in British Columbia on psychology and personal development. I started watching other speakers and I said to myself, I’m going to leave this call center job and I’m going to go out here in the world and I’m going to inspire people through my poetry, through my self development, through my inspiration. And what I did was I created my own purpose and that put me onto the path that I’m on now, where I work strategically with entrepreneurs and business owners and helping them create their own opportunities within their challenges.

Wow. Wow. I didn’t realize, who knew, that being in a call center is actually good for speaking, that it’s just amazing. I mean, I can see how it would. You’d be willing to want to change your life quickly, but did you find calling people and everything really helped you understand people more and your business and at least you learn something from being there?

I certainly did, Jane. What it taught me was, the best communicators are the ones who say the fewest words and they listen. So in the center, I learned very fast about I learned very fast about empathy, listening to the other person, getting the information down and then finding a way to provide assistance and to do it in a strategic way that allows me to to be on their side. So there is an interesting thing here, jane. I worked for a children’s medical call center, so imagine getting parents calling in about their children. No parent really wants to bring their child to the hospital at all. So I’m getting various amounts of emotions on the phones. I had to learn how to understand people emotionally, mentally, socially. And I did not know during this time of eight years in the call center that I was actually growing into the person that I needed to be in order to get out here in the world and to speak and to help people the way that I’m doing right now.

Wow. Wow, that’s amazing. I know, I know empathy is very important for being successful and listening for sure. So so how do you use that in your new business? Well, it’s not a new business. Maybe you could tell us how long you’ve been in your Connect Now Business Network, because it’s a very exciting idea and concept and I’d be interested in participating. So that would be great if you could tell us how you could help me.

Thank you. Simply, absolutely. So the Connect Now business network that I am a part of, I am the CCO and I am the chief communications officer. I actually do speaking within this network. And I help entrepreneurs and business owners with the power of communication. Like, what is your language sound like when you’re speaking to your clients? What is your language sound like when you’re speaking to yourself? I find that we really push personal development to the side. Now we say, oh yeah, personal development is good, we need that. But how many of us as entrepreneurs and business owners actually take it very seriously? And we work on ourselves 24 seven because we have to because we’re connecting to our business network. We believe that you are your business and more importantly, we believe about the person behind the business. So I’d like to talk to the entrepreneurs and show them this is the language you’re using if you’re trying to connect with someone. Do you believe in what you’re saying? Are you saying too much? Are you saying enough? Are you being very strategic about what you need to do in order to get this person some help? So that’s what I work with my entrepreneurs and business owners on within the Connect Now Business Network. I help them grow and also help them look at their own challenges within their business.

Oh, wow. Oh, yeah. You were mentioning that you’d like to speak about change and I can see how your business is all about change, making people more successful in their business and communicating better in their business. And I was wondering how you felt about the art of speaking as well, because I think I think it’s very difficult for a lot of people to be able to speak, as you can see from me. And it’s always a challenge for for some of us too. And I’d love to hear what your experience has taught you about speaking.

Well, thank you, Jane. There’s two things that people are afraid of, death and public speaking. So it doesn’t surprise me when I hear about people that they have a little bit of a challenge with public speaking. Now the art of speaking of what you just mentioned. I love that phrase, the art of speaking. And when I want to talk about the word art, it’s an acronym for me. I call it Applying Real Truth. And I’ll say it again, applying real truth to what you’re speaking. So in the art of speaking, it’s very important for us because everyone at the end of the day is a public speaker. You speak in public all the time. But if you’re going to do this professionally or if you want to speak on behalf of your business, you have to be crystal clear about what is your message, because people want to know a few things. Who are you? Why are you here and how can you help me? And if you don’t know who you are, if you don’t know why you’re there, if you don’t know how you can help them, your message is going to be very skewed. So, in the art of speaking you must be clear about what do you want to do, what is the point of the conversation, of the speech. And Jane, I talk about this a lot with people who want to get more into speaking and also my entrepreneurs and business owners who want to be more effective speakers because, here’s the thing, it’s not about charisma, there are a lot of great speakers and dynamic speakers out there but what makes them effective is how they deliver their message. What is the point of that message? Are you connecting with your audience, the people in front of you? If you and I are having a conversation? Am I connecting with you on a certain level? Am I talking to you in a way that you understand. I’m talking about a bunch of jargon to you about facts, information and data. At some point you’re going to, you’re going to be like, what is he talking about? So as a speaker, usually the least amount of words is the best. As a speaker, you have to be clear about what you are wanting your audience to do. What is the game plan? What’s the action step behind this whole talk. If you’re walking in a boardroom, do you know what the game plan is when you walk into that boardroom? You’re walking into a classroom to your students. Do you know what the game plan is you’re walking into or meet up with a client? Do you know what the game plan is, what the action step is you want that person to do? So if you know that, then the art of speaking becomes quite fun. It’s like riding a bicycle. You learn about a handful of things and then after that you start learning how to have fun with it.

I was wondering that that sounds great. I never thought of applying real truth when you’re speaking. It would help. So that’s a very interesting concept and I hope that you’ll hopefully have a book on that soon, if not already. Yeah, because that is certainly a different from what, not different but I’ve heard that story is also good for when you’re speaking because people connect to your stories. And I’m just wondering, obviously, you must use stories in your speaking as well. I would think, assuming I do stories all the time.

And I wanted to talk about the power of story. You mentioned this. Two stories basically are the bridge that we connect to the person that’s listening to us, because you can talk about yourself all day. You can talk about what you have, what your expertise is. But if there’s not a story, some common ground that a person can on their own terms connect with you, then you’re going to not resonate with that person. This is why stories are so powerful, not just in speakers, but in movies. We know that there’s always a story in the movie, the underlying story, because it brings us together and more importantly, the brain, this powerful organ in our head that is designed to do two things to protect us and to serve us. It’s designed to see pictures. That’s how we relate our world, we see images, we understand we through sight, through smell, through sound, we have images, memories. So when a story is told, that person is actually virtualizing in their head, certain things. This is why as a speaker, when you’re telling a story, it’s important to put in some senses of the story. Where was it? What was it? What did it feel like? What did it smell like? What did it look like? Because when you’re doing this, you’re literally painting the picture for the person to review on their own. Now, when you tell the story a good way, not just ranting through a story, but you’re actually in the present moment of the story that audience member, that client, whomever is in front of you, they will walk to that bridge of the story and meet you halfway. The next thing that you have to do when you tell that story to walk them over that bridge of the conversation is what is the point? And so, really, people get caught up in the story. They forget to say, what is the point of all this? So you got to make sure you have that point after the story.

Yes, I was going to say that you did have already mentioned that we have to have a goal or well, know what our action step is before we start speaking. So that’s great. So we we’ve got we can add some stories in there, but we better make sure we actually tell people what what we’d like to do. And I was wondering, you also talk about change and we haven’t really talked about being a change maker in our times right now, of course, are changing quite rapidly. And it’s it’s just amazing what you’re doing right now that you managed to adapt to the pandemic with your business and you seem to have been very successful with it. And how do you get others to understand that they can also change their story as well as our story?

Jane, you are speaking my language now. Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about. So here’s the thing. There’s one thing about change. Change is inevitable is always going to happen so that people that are watching and listening this right now, you cannot escape change. What I teach people is that you must be a courageous creator of change. Now, what I mean by this is that you have to be a person that you are willing to create your own changes within the changes. This is why I talk about the word challenge. Look at the word change. Inside of that word challenge is the word change. The reason why we have so many challenges with change is because a lot of the changes in our life, we don’t see them coming and we’re not prepared to deal with them in this global pandemic. There have been many people who have had who have had problems swirling all around them, but they have been unable to really adapt to the changes because they’re focusing so much on what they can’t change versus what they can. The greatest thing, the greatest fear is not change. The greatest fear is remaining unchanged. And when we remain unchanged, we can’t grow, Jane . And I talk about growing forward when we are able to change and adapt to change, we can actually grow forward in our lives. It’s important for us to understand this now that when you have a challenge, think about that word again. Challenge inside the word is change. What can you change within that challenge? There’s something to be learned. There’s something to adapt to, and there’s something that you can gather and enhance as your own personal strength, because I believe every obstacle we can take in and we can use to our advantage. I love teaching people about change because you can want all the success you want in the world. You can want to travel. You can want to have a different , a better relationship, better health. You can have a better career. But none of that will matter if you don’t change yourself. When I was in a call center for eight years, we just talked about this previously, Jane. What got me out of that call center was my willingness to change myself and expand beyond my environment. I could have been like a lot of people and just stayed there and complained about what wasn’t being done right, why this environment didn’t work for me, and that I don’t like my job, et cetera. But I decided that if I want to change, I have to expand, I have to become better. So I started looking at possibilities. I started looking at opportunities. And I started creating my own opportunities. In this global pandemic and even in twenty, twenty one and I always say this twenty, twenty one is just four numbers when that clock strikes 12:00 a.m. You’re well, I’m sorry, that’s the clock strikes 12:00, you are not going to automatically just have change in your life. It’s not going to happen that way. We have to understand that we change what we do during our moments here on this planet. And that’s that’s really what matters to us, is to be an effective change maker. And I do teach this in my workshops about how do you go about being an effective change maker, because it’s more than just saying, oh, yeah, I need to change. How many times have you heard people say that or you have said that? I have said that in my previous life. I need to change change that but it never happens because change is not just a word. It’s an action, an action.

You know, I’m I never even thought of change being in challenge change being in the word challenge. And I’m going to steal that. And I’m not going to steal I’m going to make a meme and credit you for that. You’re going to be one of my quotes everywhere, because that’s that’s a wonderful, wonderful analogy, because I’m sixty three and I’m, you know, I’m busy working on another company and here I am still trying to get a business on the Internet. And I love change and I love, love change. But how do you get someone who doesn’t really like change? Can you actually change them with your workshop or is it is a certain personality, that kind of thing? I’m sure you’re awesome and will be able to change anyone so that they actually take action on their own on changing what they have to change.

Obviously, great question, great question. This is what I truly believe, we can never make someone change. However, I can provide you with the tools and strategies that can inspire you to want to change, but you’ve got to want too though. You can come into a workshop. You can go see a speaker. You can go anywhere and you can that person can just sprinkle you with all kinds of words of motivation, inspiration and data and facts. But if you don’t have a personal motive, that which is true motivation, it’s having a motive. You have to have a motive of a reason to allow someone to help you to change. So if you’re coming to a workshop or coming to my event or seminar that I speak at, if you’re ready and you’re open to learn something new, you’re going to change automatically because you are open to that. But if you’re resistant to it, it’s just going to be words thrown away in the wind. So we have to realize that when you want to change or you want anything to be different, you have to be open for the possibilities. And I work with multiple people when it comes to entrepreneurs, business owners. I work with students and schools. Everyone’s the same. At the end of the day, when it comes to their life, everyone wants to be loved, everyone wants to feel appreciated, and everyone wants to feel like they have a meaning or purpose to life. Which is why I love this show that you’ve invited me on, Jane. And so when we can realize that we want these three things, but to to get those three things, you have to step into your challenges. You got to step outside of your comfort zone. That way you can see all the different things around you. We learned through personal experience that personal experience cannot happen if you’re unwilling to change what you’re currently doing, if you do the same thing every single day and be a creature of habit. That’s fine. But you can not expect your life to be any better if you’re not doing anything different.

Some awesome I totally agree. That’s great, I’m glad that I’m sure that’s the first thing that you tell people in your workshop because, yeah, if if you’re not willing to change then you’ll never change. But yeah. So I wanted to speak about your podcast because I love the idea of the purpose of purposeful life. And you’ve just started it in twenty nineteen you were saying. So I’d love to hear how that ties into to your business and how you feel it incorporates itself into your business doing it.

Thank you, yes, so the podcast is The purposeful Life show podcast. It’s actually on the Connect Now podcast dot com And this show was designed to help people from all walks of life. Now I do focus heavily on entrepreneurs and business owners because that’s my passion, because I’m one. But I do have it open for people who are looking to transition maybe out of a job. I call the exit strategy. You’re wanting to change something. You’re wanting to go up in the upper echelons of command of your certain business. If you’re just wanting to change relationships or you’re wanting to change your health or anything this podcast designed to give you some tools and strategies for some breakthroughs for change in your life. And I talk about elements of self development, mindset, emotional balance. I talk about health. I talk about here’s the thing. If you want a successful business, you have to know what success is. Success is not a result. Success is a process. So in this podcast, I talk about the elements of that. I bring on people who are actually very successful in what they do. I talk about what are their challenges because I want people to know that we’re all human at the end of the day and it’s OK to be vulnerable. That’s where your strength is. You see, we live in a time now where it’s information based. People are tired of the cookie cutter approach of I have it all together, I have no challenges. I’m quite successful. And so can you be. People are tired of hearing that, and they know that behind closed doors, people are still human. And I want people to see that although this person does have a challenge. I mean, have a success in their life, they still have challenges. So how do they get to where they are now? What’s currently challenging them? How do they deal with challenge? I want to know what other people do in the midst of their challenges and their life and the idea, The Purposeful Life show. I chose that title because I want people to be purposeful toward their life. You see, you have to live on purpose when you get out of bed in the morning and you want to run your business a certain way. Do you have the intention of doing that or are you waking up saying, oh, I hope that today is better than yesterday and I get some people that may want to sign with me or some people that want to join my network or whomever. No, you have to get out of that bed and saying, I’m going out here to deliver some powerful things to the people in my community, into my marketplace, and I’m bringing value to the marketplace. That’s the thing. The marketplace out here. Where you’re working, where you want to be, they’re not paying you because you’re just this friendly, bubbly person, they’re paying you for the value that you’re bringing to it. What are you providing them with? So this podcast’s of Purposeful Life show, I want people to see that people come from all walks of life and they provide value. And the key is what value can you bring to the planet?

Oh, wow. Wow. Yeah, I certainly agree that you meaning just showing other entrepreneurs who are successful, who have challenges very similar to yours or mine or anyone else is really, really helps. And I’m grateful that you do that because, yeah, it’s really important to do that. So I was wondering, maybe you could speak about your book Finding your Inner Champion? I think Champion, being a champion in your own life is really important. And maybe I’ll just put up the little offer here just while you speak on it, just so people can write it down while you’re speaking and find it.

That would be great.

OK, great. Thank you. So before you talk about this book, let me elaborate on the word. I know there is a lot of confusion for some people because immediately we have we have gone to the state of, well, isn’t champion an athlete? Is that a winning contestant? Is that a person who is competing? Yes, that’s some of it. But in actuality, a champion is is an advocate, a warrior or a defender of a cause. And you will hear it sometimes people say, well, they’re a champion for this. They’re champion for that. How often do you call yourself a champion, because we associate it with something that we feel is not a part of us and it actually is the champion inside of you is that person who is willing to fight for you. You see, I feel like we have to go in, we got to beard the lion at times. If for those of you who don’t know what I mean by that, you’ve got to go in on the opponent’s territory and challenge them. You’ve got to go inside yourself and challenge yourself to bring out that better part of you. That’s what I call finding the inner champion. You got to go in and sit yourself down. And as Howard Thurman would say, he was a great mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., you’ve got to sit yourself down, accept your facts, and have a personal civil war between a person that you no longer want to be and the person you want to be. And that is hard to do. That’s why I call it finding your inner champion, because you’ve got to go inside yourself. You’ve got to get through some rubble. You got to get through some mess because you’re going to have aspects of you that you have built over time because you think that’s who you are. No, that’s conditioning. See, that who we really are is a person that cannot be defeated. The great Socrates, great Greek philosopher. I have him tattooed on my forearm. I love him. He said that the secret to change is to not focus your energy on fighting the old, but focus your energy on building the new, building the new means, you go in and you start finding things, aspects of yourself, things that you like, things that happen. And you start looking at these things and saying, what can I do? What can I elaborate more on? And you’ve got to start calling yourself out a little bit, too. So in this book, Finding Your Inner Champion, I talk about my personal experience that really rocked my world, that made me think differently about how I saw myself. Now, this is not just a, this is not a motivational story of a rah rah, I’ve been through this and you can do it. No, I dig deep into the aspect of what happened, why it happened. My vulnerability. What three steps did I have to do in order to get myself out of what I call the tunnel of fear? In this book, I talk about how to build up your inner champion, what that looks like, how you can use it in your business, in your personal life, it is critical that you begin to champion for yourself. We live in a time now where we’re so focused on distractions around us, we’re so focused on what’s not happening, that we forget that all our life matters. All that matters to us is home base. What we’re creating right now with our thoughts, with our feelings and with our actions. And when you find your inner champion, you will do like I did. You will leave whatever place that you’re in right now that you feel that you’re stuck and you will start expanding beyond that environment because you’ll start creating opportunities within the challenges, because you know something a little bit different about yourself and you’re using that inner champion to guide you to where you need to go. And I call it the GPS going positively somewhere.

Oh, wow. I didn’t realize that was how much value is in the book. I bought a copy, so I’ll have to read it for sure, because that sounds like the perfect book for students and for people who are interested in and taking the leap into entrepreneurship and and for everybody, really, isn’t it, just to find out who you are and what your purpose is in life and what makes you happy that that’s so exciting. And I’m just blown away. I’m going to have to read that right away. So, Adrian, before we go, I’ll put up the offer later. No worries for everybody to write down. But before before we go, I just want to say how awesome, awesome this has been and is there anything you want to leave us with for more wisdom before we go? That would be, I mean, you’re just been blowing me away, so I’ll just have to give it back to you for a few minutes and just sum up what you like to tell us.

Please. Thank you so much. And I want to thank you for allowing me to be on the show. This is what I want to leave with you guys today. You’re human. And you’re here on this planet to do some very powerful things, but it’s up to you. Part of your personal secret birthright is to leave this planet better than when you showed up. It’s not about labels. It’s not about what you have, it’s about what you do, what you create, we are co-collaborators of creation with nature.

And you have the ability right now to change your life, you have the ability right now to take steps further into enhancing yourself and enhancing your your health, your personal relationships, your career, it is up to you. Be your own changemaker. And to do that, you’ve got to do three things. Three things to effectively change. One is accepting change. The second is addressing change and the third is embracing change. I talk about this in one of my talks that I did last year called Growing Forward, you can go on to see that talk. Twenty twenty one is around the corner. As I mentioned before it is just four numbers. Don’t get so set on the fact that while it’s a new year, it’s got to be better for me, get set on the fact that this is another year that I have to be on this planet and I’m going to make some good out of it because here’s the thing about life. Life is risky. It’s so risky, you can’t get out of it alive. So if you don’t learn how to effectively deal with changes, your life is going to be more of a misery than it is going to be more of a learning lesson experience, a journey. I also love talking about success because I truly believe we radiate success, don’t get success and achievement mixed up. A lot of people do this. They think, well, if I’ve got this, I must be successful. No, it means you achieved this great job. Now what next? As human beings, we are goal driven. This is why right now, during the holidays, kids are more excited in the anticipation up to Christmas or the holidays. And you notice after the holidays or that day after they play with their toys, they open everything they’re back to themselves again. And as parents, we’re like, why? I just gave you everything because goal driven, they were excited. You been excited going to dinner, going out to dinner somewhere or going on a trip. Hopefully we can do this in twenty, twenty one. But then are you so excited coming back. No, because you’ve accomplished the goal. So as humans, we are goal driven. We are happiest when we’re in pursuit of something. So let your success be about the journey of something. What is that journey for you? Along that journey, you’re going to have some great challenges and I go back to what I said before, inside the word challenge is the word change. And when you have a challenge, ask yourself this question. What change do I need to make to look at this challenge, this problem from a different point of view or perspective because when you do that, when you change your view of something, that view of that thing begins to change. And I’m not throwing the word change around because it’s easy. No, it’s not easy. If it was easy to do everyone would do it. But what I want to do is get you excited about the art of change. How can you be an artist of it? How can you be your own change maker? Because change is a powerful thing that you can use to change your world because you can’t change the whole world. If you focus enough and be that courageous creator, you can surely change your world. Get that e-book, download it, read it, but read it and think about it some, a little bit , and use it in your life. Apply it. Don’t just read it. Go to the go to the Connect Now Business Network website to learn more about the community of people who are doing the things that I am talking about. You see, I’m not around people that don’t want to change or don’t want to grow. I’m around people who do want that. And when you surround yourself around people who support change, they support growth, they support challenges for you, you’re going to expand further than you could ever imagine. And now is the time to be a part of a network, be a part of a group of people, be a part of of like minded people that can see who you really are and allow you to shine in twenty, twenty one, because let me tell you something twenty twenty was hard. You deserve some payback. So you better start investing in yourself right now. And in twenty, twenty one, start collecting your checks because you deserve way more than what you’ve been getting. But you’ve got to bring your value to the marketplace. It’s time to make some changes in your life.

Thank you. Adrian, Adrian, you blow me away, I’m speechless. Change to be honest, change has never been in my story. I’m speechless because it to me, change, as you say, has been negative and never thought of it, of course we’re always changing. So this is wonderful. Adrian. I’m just going to have to connect with you another time as well. Thank you so much for coming on and changing my mind. And I’m hoping to have a few quotes by Adrian on on my Internet website, because this would be a perfect for two thousand twenty one. So thank you, Adrian.

You’re welcome. And thank you for having me on your show. This is a wonderful full platform that you have. And thank you for bringing purpose into our lives, we need this, we need this more now than ever before. So thank you for creating this. Really appreciate it.

Thank you, Adrian. Sorry, I was just so stunned I forgot to change it to your face. So thank you, Adrian, please.

So we’ll we’ll be talking further, I’m sure. And thank you very much.

Thank you.

If you would like to book Adrian Stark’s as a speaker, you can get him at the You can check out his website at Champion Up Dot Net and you can get his free e-book on finding your inner champion at And you can contact him and find out more about the Connect Now Business Network at https://

Thank you.