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Episode #57 - Getting To The Big Stage More Ways Than One: An Interview With Rich Hopkins
Episode 6015th November 2023 • Speaking From The Heart • Joshua D. Smith
00:00:00 00:49:56

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Despite obstacles that we can face, it is important about how we handle the ways in which it can affect us for the destiny that we have for our future if we stay stuck in the same "pattern". For our next Toastmaster guest that we are featuring this month, Rich Hopkins shares how nothing stops him from being his competitive self and how it has allowed him to be on the World Championship of Public Speaking stage of Toastmasters numerous times and inspire a generation of storytellers and public speakers. Through his reluctance and well-placed individuals in his lives, he recounts his awesome journey to get to this point through the meticulous opportunities that have been presented through not only his professional endeavors, but how it has given him a creative outlet for all of us to achieve as well, as long as we have the right mindset.

Guest Bio

A Toastmaster since 1999, Rich continues to pursue his dream pastime as a professional speaker and presentations coach. He's spoken to Toastmasters groups all over the world, took 3rd in the world in the 2006 World Championship of Public Speaking, spoke on the Big Stage again 2008, and is a featured player in the documentary SPEAK. In 2017, he took his WinAnyway message to the TEDx Stage. Additionally, he's authored three books: Win, Place & Show, Go Ahead and Laugh, and Go Ahead and Laugh Vol II. In his 24th year of marriage, he's the father of six, and balances his speaking and coaching with his day job, selling advertising for the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper.

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/SpeakAnyway

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/rich.hopkins

@winanywayguy on Instagram

@richhopkins on Twitter

YouTube Page: https://www.youtube.com/richhopkins

Website: https://www.richhopkins.com

  • Toastmasters International -Home (https://www.toastmasters.org) - Join a local Toastmasters club today by checking out what this nearly century old organization has been able to do to so many talented individuals! Click the "Find A Club" button to locate the closest club to you today!
  • SPEAK Documentary Movie Streaming Options - To watch the documentary anywhere you stream, rent, or buy movies online, check out this link for a list of available options.

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Intro/Outro By: Michael Dugan, Podcast Host: Voice4Chefs

Transcripts

Intro:

Welcome to the podcast where relationships, confidence, and

Intro:

determination, all converge into an amazing, heartfelt experience.

Intro:

This is Speaking From The Heart.

Joshua:

Welcome back to episode number 57 of Speaking From the Heart, where in the

Joshua:

month of November, we've been honoring Toastmasters that have made a positive

Joshua:

contribution overall to not only people in society, but also to fellow Toastmasters,

Joshua:

because if it wasn't for Toastmasters, I would not be where I am today, your

Joshua:

podcast host and business owner, so I will leave a link in the episode notes in

Joshua:

case you are interested in checking out a local Toastmasters club that is near you,

Joshua:

and today we have a very special person that really has taken storm from all the

Joshua:

things that I have personally learned throughout the years and indirectly have

Joshua:

a connection with this guest too, which we talk about quite a lot in this episode.

Joshua:

His name is Rich Hopkins, and Rich has been a Toastmaster since 1999,

Joshua:

and he continues to pursue his dream pastime as a professional

Joshua:

speaker and presentation coach.

Joshua:

He's spoken to Toastmasters groups all over the world and he took third

Joshua:

in the World Championship of Public Speaking, the pivotal competition that

Joshua:

took place in 2006, and he also again spoke on that big stage in 2008, which

Joshua:

at that time he was featured in a documentary, among other competitors,

Joshua:

in what was called SPEAK, which we talk about a little of that experience.

Joshua:

In 2017, he took his Win Anyway message to the TEDx stage, and additionally,

he's authored three books:

Win, Place and Show; Go Ahead and Laugh;

he's authored three books:

and Go Ahead and Laugh Volume Two.

he's authored three books:

He's been married for over 24 years.

he's authored three books:

He's a father of six children and he balances his speaking and coaching with

he's authored three books:

his day job in which he sells advertising for the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper.

he's authored three books:

I know that for many of us, we can think about the fact that we normally just

he's authored three books:

hear from our guests what is going on and what are some of the things that we have

he's authored three books:

happened in our lives, but Rich brought a unique perspective immediately when we

he's authored three books:

started this episode that I really felt helped us to understand a little bit more

he's authored three books:

about him, but for me, knowing about his experiences because of the movie SPEAK,

he's authored three books:

it allowed me to have an insight, and I think really changed everything about not

he's authored three books:

only my experiences with that indirect person, but actually knowing a little

he's authored three books:

bit more about Rich and who he truly is.

he's authored three books:

But with that, let's go to the episode.

he's authored three books:

All right.

he's authored three books:

We're here with Rich Hopkins.

he's authored three books:

Rich, thanks for sharing your heart with us today.

Rich:

I'm glad to be here.

Joshua:

Yeah.

Joshua:

Hey, thanks so much for being here too.

Joshua:

Rich, I shared with the audience a little bit about yourself and even personally.

Joshua:

I shared with the audience too about my connection with you indirectly because

Joshua:

of Toastmasters and how to get involved with that great organization that my

Joshua:

listeners really listened to, but Rich, I really want to start with your story

Joshua:

because your story is so profound and personal and it even started before

Joshua:

Toastmasters in itself, and I was wondering if you could share a little

Joshua:

bit about that with the audience.

Joshua:

I was really curious about the fact that you actually are missing

Joshua:

some important body parts on you.

Rich:

I am.

Rich:

I am.

Rich:

I was born with a birth defect that affected my left leg.

Rich:

They never figured out exactly what it was.

Rich:

They were never able to diagnose it.

Rich:

They did 10 surgeries on me before I was the age of 10 to enable me to be able

Rich:

to walk and most of those surgeries, they weren't sure if they would work and

Rich:

some of them they had never done before.

Rich:

They tried them on me.

Rich:

Now, this was the early seventies, so we didn't have

Rich:

quite the technology we have now.

Rich:

It'd be interesting to see where I would be now if I had been born in 2005 or so.

Rich:

Of course, where I'd be now, I'd only be 18.

Rich:

That'd be nice.

Rich:

Anyway, so I grew up with a limp, a left leg that was always smaller than my right

Rich:

leg which meant that I always had kind of a challenge, but we all have challenges.

Rich:

We all have different things about us that people like to look for,

Rich:

that people will pick on, that people will judge you for, put you in a box

Rich:

surrounded by the thoughts that are focused on that part of who you are.

Rich:

Mine was just a little bit more obvious than some other people's, and really, it

Rich:

didn't bother me because, I mean, when you grow up with a birth defect, when you grow

Rich:

up with a disability, it's normal for you.

Rich:

It's abnormal for everybody else, and so you just deal with it.

Rich:

It's a lot different than when you are able-bodied and then at some point in your

Rich:

life something happens to you and suddenly you now have a disability, because then

Rich:

you have to deal with the shift in who you are and I never really had to deal

Rich:

with that until 2006 when the leg that I had pretty much just stopped working

Rich:

at the ankle and I ended up having to make a tough choice to kind of let go of

Rich:

the lower left leg and replace it with what I call the super deluxe robot leg.

Rich:

That was an adjustment because as disabled as I may have been, it was a lot less

Rich:

disabled than I am with a prosthetic.

Rich:

I made the choice to get the prosthetic because I was going to

Rich:

be in a better position than I was in, but your life changes a lot

Rich:

when you get up in the morning and there is some assembly required.

Joshua:

Did you think that really impacted you though, especially

Joshua:

growing up having this birth defect?

Joshua:

Do you think that other people judged you differently?

Rich:

Of course, but they would've judged me differently for any number of

Rich:

things if that wasn't what was going on.

Rich:

I mean, I like comic books.

Rich:

I was a Star Trek fan.

Joshua:

Oh, I love Star Trek too, so we're in the same camp.

Joshua:

My mom turned me on to Star Trek.

Rich:

So there's always going to be things people find.

Rich:

For me, they just had something very obvious that they didn't have to

Rich:

be too creative about to pick on.

Rich:

In terms of how it affected me, it turned me into somebody who wanted

Rich:

to prove himself at various points; made me more competitive, probably.

Rich:

I did things that I probably shouldn't have done physically at that time;

Rich:

did a lot of sports that my doctor said I should be careful about doing,

Rich:

and I did them anyway, especially in college I played a lot of basketball.

Rich:

I actually tried out for basketball in my high school and couldn't get a

Rich:

doctor to sign off on the team situation because he thought it was going to

Rich:

be bad for me and maybe it would've been, but I always thought I'd rather

Rich:

remember when I could do something than always wonder what it would've been

Rich:

like to have tried to do something.

Joshua:

That is profound in itself for me.

Joshua:

I had lived in a life of fear for many years trying to decide whether I should

Joshua:

really do something or not, and I know for some of my listeners that I have talked

Joshua:

to personally, they have been through some similar exercise too, where that

Joshua:

is really difficult to decide whether fear should take control or not, but I

Joshua:

love the fact that you don't let that happen to you and I think that has really

Joshua:

defined a lot of the success that I have seen even from a one of those giddy fan

Joshua:

boys that we're talking about before we started recording, but Rich, I love the

Joshua:

fact that you have persevered through that, so I guess with that said, and

Joshua:

we'll get into the competition part of it because you have an interesting story in

Joshua:

itself that not many people get to tell, but I know that you joined Toastmasters

Joshua:

in 1999, which full disclosure, I was 12 years old when that was happening, you

Joshua:

were joining Toastmasters, which is for people that aren't familiar, for people

Joshua:

that are 18 and older, you can officially join a Toastmasters club, so Rich,

Joshua:

what led you into wanting to do that?

Joshua:

Why did you want to join a bunch of people that are working on

Joshua:

communication and leadership development?

Rich:

Well, I definitely didn't think about either of those

Rich:

things when I joined Toastmasters.

Joshua:

Most people don't.

Rich:

When I first joined Toastmasters, it was 1995, and I had a friend invite me.

Rich:

She happened to be president of her club, so I went to Toastmasters

Rich:

with her and joined and went for about six months and then did not.

Rich:

I ended up joining again four years later for social reasons;

Rich:

just wanted to be around adults.

Rich:

I don't drink, I don't party, so I thought Toastmasters, having remembered

Rich:

going to it a few years before, would be a good opportunity for me, and

Rich:

that was when I really started to get into it: to do the speaking portion,

Rich:

to start going through the program we had at the time, and finding success,

Rich:

getting validation, affirmation; I mean, there's nothing like Toastmasters to

Rich:

make you feel good about yourself even if you get up and give a bad speech.

Rich:

They're going to applaud and they're going to give you ideas on going forward.

Rich:

Now, for me, I had been in drama in college.

Rich:

I'd always been kind of extroverted in terms of being a performer, even though

Rich:

I'm inherently shy and don't like social situations outside of Toastmasters, but

Rich:

when I get a chance to perform, something clicks in my brain, and I just turn

Rich:

into somebody else when I'm up on stage or behind the lectern, whatever it may

Rich:

be, on a podcast to a degree and after the first year of Toastmasters, I had

Rich:

my mentor come up to me and ask me if I was ever going to say anything, because

Rich:

she knew that I was just kind of winging it, that I was going on in an inherent

Rich:

ability to talk, to be a salesman, because I was in sales, been in sales most of my

Rich:

life, and at that point I was 30 years old, had been in sales professionally for

Rich:

a decade, so I knew how to communicate with people, but I wasn't providing

Rich:

messages that had tremendous value.

Joshua:

Yeah.

Rich:

And she said, "I could see you on the world championship stage

Rich:

if you would just learn to say something", and that really changed

Rich:

my journey from that point on.

Joshua:

Do you think that some of the nervousness might have been from not just

Joshua:

the; let me say this before I even go into my question, because I was thinking about

Joshua:

the fact that there's a little bit of maybe that fear of what other people might

Joshua:

say or glossophobia, as we have talked about even in Toastmasters, that fear of

Joshua:

public speaking, which I don't think that was really the case for you because you

Joshua:

maybe had some of that ability to do so.

Joshua:

I have social anxiety myself when it comes to dealing with different people

Joshua:

and a networking situation, and I've taken many years, even in my own Toastmaster's

Joshua:

journey to work on that to get to where I'm at, so with that background said, do

Joshua:

you feel that the president, that person that was mentoring you, really helped you

Joshua:

to overcome that in the long run then?

Rich:

Perhaps.

Rich:

I don't know if I really had a fear of any kind, as much as I didn't have a focus.

Joshua:

Mm.

Rich:

You know, people don't really fear public speaking as much as they fear

Rich:

being made fun of when they public speak.

Joshua:

Yeah.

Rich:

You know, they're worried about the consequence of them

Rich:

getting up and not doing well.

Rich:

It's kind of overrated, this fear of public speaking that we have, it's

Rich:

more of an anxiety, and that anxiety is a good thing because it means

Rich:

you care about what you're doing.

Rich:

You care about your audience, and you just have to learn to channel it.

Rich:

Understanding how that anxiety works is a lot more crucial than people think.

Rich:

I mean, people will quote the old, "I just try to get my butterflies to fly

Rich:

in formation", as if it's that simple.

Rich:

It's not.

Rich:

You have to really acknowledge your why for being up there, and that was what

Rich:

she was telling me was that I needed a better why than to just get up and

Rich:

win a best speaker ribbon at the club.

Rich:

I needed to give something of value beyond just being funny or being

Rich:

smooth as a speaker and having better delivery than everybody else.

Joshua:

You certainly have proven that being that you have been on the world

Joshua:

stage yourself, which for my listeners not familiar, Rich has been able to go

Joshua:

all the way to the highest levels when it comes to the International Speech Contest,

Joshua:

more specifically, the final round, which is the World Championship of Public

Joshua:

Speaking, which you took third in 2006.

Joshua:

You spoke on that stage again just two years later and, ironically

Joshua:

enough, and where I actually learned much more about you is through the

Joshua:

documentary that was done called SPEAK, S P E A K, which for anybody that's

Joshua:

interested, it's widely available.

Joshua:

You can go and check it out and follow the journey of not just Rich, but

Joshua:

some of those contestants that were featured, including somebody that I

Joshua:

knew, the late Charlie Wilson, who's unfortunately no longer with us.

Joshua:

God rest his soul and I have been mentored by him personally, and he was

Joshua:

really a great person in itself, but Rich, I was wondering, can you tell

Joshua:

us a little bit about that experience of not only being on the world stage,

Joshua:

but even being part of a documentary where a group of people followed you

Joshua:

as you were going through that process.

Joshua:

Can you talk a little bit about how that influenced you, how that changed

Joshua:

you into who you were back then, because I'm sure that had a profound

Joshua:

impact in what you are today too; made up who you are today, I should say.

Rich:

Well, I started competing not too long after Billy, my mentor, had that

Rich:

conversation with me and the very first year in 2002, I went all the way to the

Rich:

semifinals and ended up taking second.

Rich:

The next year I lost at the division round.

Rich:

The year after that, I lost at the division round again, and then I

Rich:

moved, went to a different area, a different district, and won that

Rich:

district so I went back to the semi-finals where I went over time.

Joshua:

Wow.

Rich:

And the person who won that contest took second at the World

Rich:

Championship Public Speaking.

Rich:

In 2006, I went back to the semifinals and that's when I finally broke through, and

Rich:

that also was the year and the time frame that I was letting go of my lower leg.

Joshua:

Mm-hmm.

Rich:

So at the area contest, I was standing and delivering.

Rich:

At the division contest, I was on crutches and delivering, and

Rich:

I actually lost that contest.

Rich:

I took second, but I was in a small enough district that first and

Rich:

second went to the district final.

Rich:

At district, that was post-surgery, so I'm in a wheelchair with one leg.

Rich:

I changed up my speech.

Rich:

I won district.

Rich:

I went to the semi-finals, still in a wheelchair, and managed to pull that

Rich:

off, and then between the first week in June, when I won the semi-finals, and I

Rich:

think the third week in August when the finals were in Washington DC, I got a

Rich:

prosthetic leg and I learned to walk so that I could walk on that stage in 2006.

Joshua:

Wow.

Rich:

That entire 2006 year was a transformative year for me, physically,

Rich:

emotionally, from a speaking perspective in my Toastmaster's career.

Rich:

Coming up third, it was frustrating, but it was also a great accomplishment and it

Rich:

really obviously pushed me to keep trying.

Rich:

In 2007, I took second at the semi-finals, again.

Rich:

I then went back in 2008, and as you just said, that's when

Rich:

the movie SPEAK was beginning.

Rich:

Managed to make it through the semi-finals in 08, and they followed

Rich:

me and several of us back to our hometowns, followed us around as

Rich:

we practiced clubs, did interviews.

Rich:

If you watch that movie, I'm the really fat guy with a beard and mustache opposed

Rich:

to who I am now, which is just the really fat guy without a beard and mustache,

Rich:

but, I mean, I like watching SPEAK pretty much once a year just to see what my

Rich:

kids looked like way back then, because they were also tiny compared to where

Rich:

they are now, but getting a chance to be in that documentary was kind of a

Rich:

two-edged sword because when I agreed to be in it, I was still in that rather

Rich:

overconfident, perhaps arrogant stage where I was thinking, "Great, you're going

Rich:

to make a movie about me winning the World Championship", but in fact, of course,

Rich:

it turned into a movie about me not winning the World Championship, not even

Rich:

placing and finding myself at a crossroads as to what I was going to do next.

Joshua:

Watching that, and again, for those that are looking for it, it

Joshua:

was released in 2011, correct Rich?

Rich:

I believe so.

Rich:

Yeah.

Joshua:

Yeah, that's what I've been finding.

Joshua:

I was just looking it up just to double check and I saw that it was something

Joshua:

that came out just a few years later after that, so there was a big gap in time in

Joshua:

between when that filming happened to when the final editing was released then.

Joshua:

Out of all those contestants, I heard a lot of stories personally about

Joshua:

the bond that those contestants, yourself included, had afterwards.

Joshua:

It was almost like having that support group, even after that whole

Joshua:

documentary and having that ability to share experiences and the successes.

Joshua:

My first question is, do you still stay in touch with the people that are still

Joshua:

around, which I know there's been a lot of those past people that shared that stage

Joshua:

with you that are no longer with us, but more importantly, out of the people that

Joshua:

were in that group, that final stage, who would you say had the most significant

Joshua:

influence on you during that time and why?

Rich:

Boy, that's a tough question.

Rich:

In that particular year, I think that group, our dynamic was unique among any

Rich:

group of finalists because we were at a point where communication was a lot easier

Rich:

than ever before via email, social media.

Rich:

I had been there before and nobody else had been there before.

Rich:

Jock Elliott, of course, had been there before, but he wouldn't find out he

Rich:

was going to be in the finals until two days before the finals because of the

Rich:

way they did the semi-finals for the international speakers back then, so aside

Rich:

from Jock, everybody else was brand new.

Rich:

I kind of took the lead and started emailing everybody and encouraging

Rich:

people, and suggesting we get together for a dinner, which Martin Presse

Rich:

actually ended up organizing because he was living in Canada and had the

Rich:

ability to do that because the World Championship was in Calgary and

Rich:

he was able to set everything up.

Rich:

No group of finalists had ever done that before.

Joshua:

Wow.

Joshua:

I just want to make sure that audience really understands this.

Joshua:

You really were the pioneer and Martin kind of carried it

Joshua:

through to execute it, right?

Rich:

Yeah.

Joshua:

Wow.

Joshua:

That's awesome, Rich.

Joshua:

I don't think I even knew that, so that's incredible.

Rich:

And it was a unique situation.

Rich:

Some of the other contestants really embraced it.

Rich:

Some of them just played along with it, because when you get a group of people

Rich:

at that level, it's almost like being on Survivor, where you get the side

Rich:

eye like, "How good is this person?

Rich:

How good is that person?

Rich:

Can I beat that person?", or you're just not that competitive and you're

Rich:

just having fun and you're talking to people, and that was Charlie.

Rich:

Charlie was just having fun and appreciating the moment.

Rich:

I was in more probably the competitive mode and I was trying.

Rich:

I didn't set up the dinner or communicate with these people to try to get an edge.

Rich:

I was in fact trying to change who I was to a point so that I wouldn't be that

Rich:

overly competitive person, but that I would be more social and more positive

Rich:

about the situation overall, but some of the people that I was interacting with

Rich:

did not always go down that same road.

Rich:

Now, am I still friends with people?

Rich:

Martin Pressey?

Rich:

Yes.

Rich:

Colin William?

Rich:

Yes.

Rich:

Colin and I were friends long before that just through like Google Groups.

Joshua:

Yeah.

Rich:

Old, old time stuff with Toastmasters.

Joshua:

Yeah.

Rich:

Obviously Lashunda has passed.

Rich:

Robert passed.

Rich:

Charlie passed.

Rich:

Loghandran; he and I still communicate.

Rich:

I mean, in one sense, I still communicate with as many finalists as possible.

Rich:

I created, on Facebook, a finalist group, which only finalists can

Rich:

join, so we all communicate to a point, but am I still friends?

Rich:

I'd say Colin and Martin are the people that I would say are close

Rich:

to the best versus anybody else.

Joshua:

Would you say that both of them then would be the greatest

Joshua:

influences still to this day?

Rich:

No, they're the greatest friends.

Joshua:

Yeah.

Rich:

The greatest influence was Lashunda herself.

Joshua:

Yeah.

Joshua:

Yeah.

Rich:

The woman who won, because she and I, she would admit this, we

Rich:

had an adversarial relationship to a point, and one of those reasons was

Rich:

that I didn't know what she was going through until I saw the movie SPEAK.

Joshua:

Mm-hmm.

Rich:

Had no clue, and she was just a different type of person than I was

Rich:

and I don't think she quite appreciated my wanting to get people together and

Rich:

create the situation that I was trying to create but it was because of everything

Rich:

she was going through personally, and so how our relationship was pretty World

Rich:

Championship, and immediately after she won, was different than our relationship.

Rich:

After I found out what was really going on, and in fact in 2012, she and I had

Rich:

some discussions about going out and speaking together showing the movie SPEAK,

Rich:

doing Q&A, having those opportunities together, and then she passed away just

Rich:

a couple of months after that, so I ended up going to a few places showing

Rich:

the movie SPEAK and doing some Q&A, but it was never quite what it would've

Rich:

been if LaShunda and I had been able to do that because of obviously the fact

Rich:

that she was a world champion, but the relationship, even the movie set up

Rich:

between us, where she was the protagonist and I was the default antagonist

Rich:

in the movie for dramatic purposes.

Rich:

It would've gone over really, really well, but LaShonda and what I learned

Rich:

by learning about her and how it made me look back on our relationship prior

Rich:

versus our relationship after really helped me grow in terms of understanding

Rich:

other people and just being a better human being, regardless of being a

Rich:

speaker or a Toastmaster or competitor.

Joshua:

I think that for me personally, hearing this Rich, it brings a different

Joshua:

perspective that even Charlie, when he was around and even talked to me about

Joshua:

the documentary and the movie itself and how it got to that point too, because

Joshua:

he would talk about it just as you were going to with LaShunda, I learned so

Joshua:

much about his perspective of how he got through that journey and what that

Joshua:

meant and I wish I remember word for word exactly what he said about you, but I

Joshua:

think it was only good stuff too when he was around saying the same things about

Joshua:

the things that we go through in our lives, especially that sort of moment

Joshua:

where most people don't get a shot like that, and it doesn't matter what kind

Joshua:

of competition it is of significance.

Joshua:

Not many people get to be down to that wire, especially with a group, which at

Joshua:

the time, had hundreds of thousands of people still across all over the world

Joshua:

wanting to compete for that title, so for you to be able to have that, and

Joshua:

even rebuild part of that too, I think it speaks a lot to your character.

Joshua:

Rich, I want to talk a little bit about the three books as we get

Joshua:

closer to the end of our time here.

Joshua:

You've written three books.

Joshua:

One of them is called Win, Place and Show the other one, Go Ahead and

Joshua:

Laugh, and the other one is, Go Ahead and Laugh Volume Two, and I'm really

Joshua:

curious which one of those is your favorite one to have written and why?

Rich:

Well, it's interesting for me because people always tell me about

Rich:

these books I've written and I don't feel like I've written any books because

Rich:

all three of them are compilations.

Rich:

Win Place and Show has the top three speeches that we needed through Ed

Rich:

Hearn, Douglas Wilson and myself needed to get to the World Championship, so it

Rich:

has nine total championship speeches.

Rich:

Each one of us wrote background material as to what we went through.

Rich:

Writing each speech, delivering each speech, and there's kind of an aftermath

Rich:

of the world championship for each of us, so that was a fun book to write being my

Rich:

first book, but I only wrote my stuff.

Rich:

I edited the book.

Rich:

I'm a graphic designer by college education, so I composed the book,

Rich:

created it, and went to a printing shop in Utah where they actually printed up

Rich:

real copies because back then you didn't have Amazon doing it all for you, which

Rich:

is how I did Go Ahead and Laugh, which is another compilation book of a bunch of

Rich:

humorous speeches that people sent to me.

Rich:

They paid to be in the book.

Rich:

That's how I basically paid to go to the World Championship in 2008, and

Rich:

Charlie Wilson was one of those who put his story in that book, and again, they

Rich:

provided the speech and the background material that went into creating it

Rich:

and then I did a section after each speech talking about why it's funny.

Rich:

How you can use humor; I've got tips on humor in the book.

Rich:

I've got an interview with Darren LaCroix, the 2001 World Championship,

Rich:

to open up the book, but perhaps funniest of all in this humor book is I

Rich:

didn't include one of my own speeches.

Joshua:

Wow.

Rich:

Which is why I did Go Ahead And Laugh: Volume Two, albeit 12 years later,

Rich:

and I put in one of my speeches and this time because there's a difference

Rich:

in the way books are done and how easy it is to be able to do it, I didn't

Rich:

charge anybody to be in the book.

Rich:

I just asked people to send me their stories and we did

Rich:

what I did in volume one.

Rich:

Volume two is more real world speeches, whereas volume one

Rich:

was a lot of Toastmasters, humorous championship speeches.

Rich:

Volume two includes a eulogy, tall tale speeches, kind of more professional

Rich:

level speeches that maybe wouldn't be considered humorous, but use

Rich:

humor as part of the speech because learning how to use humor doesn't mean

Rich:

learning how to be hilarious on stage.

Rich:

It means learning how to use humor to make yourself a better speaker

Rich:

whether you are a humorous speaker or an inspirational speaker, or

Rich:

even a trainer, humor can help you.

Rich:

All three books have their own journey and I can't say I have a favorite one,

Rich:

unless you want to say that Win, Place And Show is connected to my ultimate

Rich:

greatest victory in Toastmasters.

Joshua:

Well, if that's the case, then I guess that's the favorite book, but

Joshua:

no, that's okay to have more than one, and I love that you love all three of

Joshua:

them for each of the reasons that you identified, because I think that it

Joshua:

does provide, and I even do this, and I was even talking about a little bit

Joshua:

about my own business with you before we started, about the fact that I tell

Joshua:

people you need to have something that gives you that story or something that

Joshua:

allows you to connect the point to what you're trying to share with an audience

Joshua:

no matter what that audience is, because that's really important to know the

Joshua:

audience, but to be able to connect with film is so vitally important, and having

Joshua:

humor is just one of those tools in your toolbox that you can have, so I love

Joshua:

that you've written about that as well.

Joshua:

Rich, I want to ask you this one final question and I want to say thank you

Joshua:

because this interview for me personally has been something that has been

Joshua:

eyeopening for me, but more importantly as I mentioned, it brings a lot of

Joshua:

emotions back up because of Charlie and really his influence on my life and I

Joshua:

love the fact that he's had an influence on yours, and I feel like I'm talking

Joshua:

a little bit to him today, to be honest with you and I know that sounds a little

Joshua:

weird for me to say, but it really does.

Joshua:

It really brings back some good stuff, but I feel like we are losing the art

Joshua:

of storytelling for some people, like it's really hard to sometimes convey

Joshua:

a message these days because we often get attacked for what our viewpoint

Joshua:

is and maybe what we're trying to share isn't clearly communicated.

Joshua:

You've been a competitor.

Joshua:

You have literally displayed that history for us today, and I didn't realize how

Joshua:

many times you've been in the semi-finals, which in that self, especially with how it

Joshua:

was back then with Toastmasters and how it rolled up to be what it is, you definitely

Joshua:

have done a lot of work to get to this point in your career with speaking.

Joshua:

What would you say to somebody starting out that might be struggling to just

Joshua:

find their voice or find their messaging?

Joshua:

What would you say to them is a good first step for them to just get out

Joshua:

there and like you said, just doing it and just not being afraid of the

Joshua:

anxiety that comes along with it?

Joshua:

Is there any piece of advice that you would give somebody?

Rich:

There's a few different layers to that.

Rich:

If you want to just get started speaking, obviously get out and join

Rich:

Toastmasters because you're going to get that supportive environment, and it's

Rich:

not really going to matter so much what you say, as much as how you say it and

Rich:

Toastmasters will teach you how to say it.

Rich:

Toastmasters does not, unless you work at it and use Toastmasters to your

Rich:

advantage, it does not necessarily talk to you about what to say.

Rich:

That's just not its role unless you find mentors and people within the

Rich:

organization that can help you with that.

Rich:

I was encouraged to find my message, to find something to say by a

Rich:

Toastmaster, but it was my own efforts, my own decision, that I wanted to

Rich:

say something of importance that made me look at it within myself,

Rich:

and that's what you have to do.

Rich:

You have to look at your values.

Rich:

Look at what's important to you.

Rich:

There are trainers out there, there are coaches that'll say, "If you only had

Rich:

one speech to give, if you could only give one message, what would that message

Rich:

be?", and I don't think that that's bad advice, and the message that you

Rich:

come down to delivering is going to be potentially different 20 years ago then

Rich:

it will be 10 years ago, then it will be five years from now, so never stop

Rich:

looking at that, but also keep looking for ways to whatever that message is that

Rich:

you have decided upon giving, see how it continues to work in your life so that

Rich:

it's not the same message 20 years ago.

Rich:

I'm kind of going in circles.

Rich:

It's a very personal thing to do, and a lot of people struggle because they're

Rich:

so worried about finding the right message instead of understanding that

Rich:

the right message is their message.

Rich:

It starts with what's right for them, not what's right for everybody else,

Rich:

then once you have the message that is right for you to give, that's when

Rich:

you find a way to make it right for everybody else if you ever want to give

Rich:

it outside of Toastmasters at least.

Rich:

Does that make sense?

Joshua:

It does make sense.

Joshua:

It makes a lot of sense and I don't think you were talking in circles at all.

Joshua:

I think it building upon the fact that sometimes we don't even know

Joshua:

what that message is that we have inside of ourselves and I've even

Joshua:

had guests that have talked about the importance of doing that, and I think

Joshua:

you've made it much more clearer than even sometimes what I say to other

Joshua:

people, so thank you for that clarity.

Joshua:

Rich, we're at the end of our time, but before we end, I want

Joshua:

to give you the last few minutes.

Joshua:

I know that you are a coach, you help people yourself with

Joshua:

speaking and all kinds of things.

Joshua:

I want to give you the last few minutes, tell people how they can reach out to

Joshua:

you, how they can connect with you if they're interested in being coached with

Joshua:

the great and the legendary Rich Hopkins.

Rich:

Oh, I suppose I need to get that website, legendaryrichhopkins.com.

Joshua:

I think that I gave you an idea.

Joshua:

You can have that.

Joshua:

That's my gift to you too.

Rich:

There we go.

Rich:

I am at richhopkins.com.

Rich:

I've been fortunate enough over the years to be an early adopter

Rich:

of technology so on any platform you can just find Rich Hopkins on

Rich:

LinkedIn or Twitter or Instagram.

Rich:

I'm WinAnywayGuy on Instagram.

Rich:

You can Google me and you can find me, but the best way is to go to

Rich:

richhopkins.com and you can email me.

Rich:

If you're looking for a speaker to come to an event, give an inspirational keynote.

Rich:

If you're looking for a trainer to do presentation skills, I do that as well.

Rich:

I work with companies and individuals to help them discover, develop, and

Rich:

deliver their best messages, whether they're doing a keynote or doing sales

Rich:

presentations or just got told by their boss last week that, "Oh yeah, you're

Rich:

going to go to this convention and do a 45 minute talk about our company."

Rich:

Those are the people I love to work with and that I have found over

Rich:

the years love to work with me.

Rich:

We come up with their message and their best way to deliver.

Rich:

Email me; richhopkins.com, or if you just want use my Gmail,

Rich:

I'm richhopkins@gmail.com

Joshua:

I'll put all that in the episode notes for my listeners

Joshua:

in case they need to see that and they want to reach out to you that

Joshua:

way, but Rich, I really mean this.

Joshua:

It was really good to reconnect in a way that we, although we

Joshua:

have never met before, in terms of having this conversation.

Joshua:

I feel like I had already met you because of the documentary, because

Joshua:

of Charlie and for those reasons.

Joshua:

It is incredible to see the story that you have shared with us today and

Joshua:

that it continues to be a story worth telling and it's helping to support

Joshua:

even your fellow individuals that you have grown bonds with over the years

Joshua:

so for all those reasons, thanks for being on Speaking From the Heart Today.

Joshua:

It was real joy to hear your story, and thank you for inspiring me and

Joshua:

my listeners with your incredible opportunities that you've had and continue

Joshua:

to do that in your career as well.

Joshua:

I think it's about doing things that we normally don't do.

Joshua:

That's the thought that keeps running through my head as we

Joshua:

wrapped up this interview with Mr.

Joshua:

Hopkins, which I really appreciate his time and being willing to be

Joshua:

able to share some of his experiences being in Toastmasters before

Joshua:

and even during the whole ordeal that he has gone through in life.

Joshua:

I think what really struck me about this interview more than anything else

Joshua:

is that he's very humble about not only the experiences that he's been

Joshua:

through, but just understanding that people go through things, but it's about

Joshua:

just growing through that and pushing those different boxes that we have to

Joshua:

push into the places that we need to be in order to become who we are and

Joshua:

I think that's what it is with him.

Joshua:

It's about just dealing with it.

Joshua:

Hmm.

Joshua:

Just dealing with it.

Joshua:

It sounds like sound advice for somebody like myself, especially since I know that

Joshua:

sometimes I wish I had that sort of advice from a fatherly figure growing up, let

Joshua:

alone even mentors for that matter and I know that Rich really was saying that from

Joshua:

a place where within his heart he really convictly believed in that because it

Joshua:

has gotten him to where he needed to be, being that competitor that he is, being

Joshua:

able to learn so much more about what his experiences have been going through the

Joshua:

competition circuit and still doing so in many respects, helping other people

Joshua:

hone their message and become something that they never thought possible and I

Joshua:

think that's really what this is about.

Joshua:

It's about learning how to channel yourself to understand that we're doing

Joshua:

things that we really don't want to do, but really it's helping us to push

Joshua:

to the next level; to make us realize that within ourselves, we can evolve.

Joshua:

Now, I know that for many of us, you didn't have the context of maybe

Joshua:

watching the documentary SPEAK, which if you have never watched it, I

Joshua:

would encourage you to listen to it.

Joshua:

I'll put a link in the episode notes so that you could follow that journey

Joshua:

that Rich went on all these years ago, along with some of the people that we've

Joshua:

talked about in this podcast episode, but it's about really building that bond.

Joshua:

It's about building those connections with people.

Joshua:

LaShunda, Charlie, Martin; all those people, and so much more really made

Joshua:

an influence in his life, and I could tell that even with some of the things

Joshua:

that he was saying and looking into what he was saying too, it made me

Joshua:

realize that it isn't just words on a paper, it isn't just words on

Joshua:

the article that I can read online.

Joshua:

It isn't just about the things that we capture as details about those events.

Joshua:

Rich lived it; matter of fact, he lived it so much that I saw that he really

Joshua:

enjoyed those moments where he was able to bond, where even though there was a

Joshua:

competition happening, he still wanted to have other people to be around to

Joshua:

share in those experiences, to understand instead of getting that side eye, which

Joshua:

sometimes we get when we're trying to do something that we normally think is the

Joshua:

cool thing to do, but I think for Rich, it wasn't just about doing the cool thing,

Joshua:

it was about looking within yourself.

Joshua:

It was about looking into the values that we truly have about each other in

Joshua:

order for us to create that messaging, to be able to understand where some of

Joshua:

those people are that are in our lives.

Joshua:

When we hit the stop button on this episode, Rich mentioned to me that he

Joshua:

forgot to mention one thing that I wanted to mention to you too that slipped my mind

Joshua:

when we were talking about this subject matter is about the death of Catherine

Joshua:

Morrison, one of the other competitors that were featured in the movie SPEAK.

Joshua:

It made me think about the fact that Catherine, Charlie, LaShunda; these

Joshua:

are people that are no longer with us.

Joshua:

They have made an influence in just one moment of time that happened to

Joshua:

be captured by producers and directors that wanted to see and showcase what

Joshua:

it really takes to get to the World Championship of Public Speaking, and that

Joshua:

for some people, it's not an easy ride.

Joshua:

For some people, it is an easy ride, but there's a few steps along

Joshua:

the way that you have to overcome.

Joshua:

For some people, it's the very first time that we ever have to meet

Joshua:

somebody and we meet somebody going through some of these experiences.

Joshua:

I think about the fact that it's been a long time now.

Joshua:

I think about the fact that it's been over three years since Charlie

Joshua:

Wilson, the person that I mentioned directly that I knew because of Rich

Joshua:

and knowing a little bit more about Rich as a result of that, because of

Joshua:

knowing him and growing up with him.

Joshua:

You see, I had the opportunity early on in my Toastmasters journey to meet

Joshua:

the remarkable Charlie Wilson who lived in the State College area, and then

Joshua:

he also did a lot of theatrical arts.

Joshua:

He did a lot of storytelling.

Joshua:

He was one of those people that served Toastmasters with a big heart.

Joshua:

It didn't matter what time of day, it didn't matter what

Joshua:

sort of things were going on.

Joshua:

What he did wasn't about proving himself or proving anything

Joshua:

about what he needed to prove.

Joshua:

It was about understanding that a choice needed to be made.

Joshua:

He learned how to channel that ability that he had to speak to others through

Joshua:

the creative storytelling that he had and no matter what you might think about

Joshua:

Charlie, especially if you were able to capture some of the things that he has

Joshua:

spoken at with many conferences that are available on YouTube, but he was able to

Joshua:

build a bond with others just like myself that saw the light of so many different

Joshua:

people coming together and seeing what we're truly all about because he had a

Joshua:

message that he wanted to share, just like how today Rich shared his message

Joshua:

of being willing to create some of the best things that he's ever created in

Joshua:

his entire existence because he didn't let some sort of disfigurement, or

Joshua:

some sort of disability, hold him back.

Joshua:

We talked about the word disability in many episodes which all originated from

Joshua:

Tracy Tienken, one of the guests that we had early on in this show, that talked

Joshua:

about the value of the fact that we need to rethink that conversation of not

Joshua:

being disabled, but being differently enabled, and that episode still rings

Joshua:

so loudly even now, talking about Rich.

Joshua:

Talk about somebody that has really proven himself time and time again, wanting to

Joshua:

just show what his true character is.

Joshua:

Being able to show that there's a lesson in everything and that it

Joshua:

doesn't matter what we go through, it's about how we get to the other side.

Joshua:

It's about really understanding and looking within ourselves the

Joshua:

values of creating that message.

Joshua:

It's about understanding what we can do with our voice, whether it's without the

Joshua:

voice, the nonverbal voice, if you will to create some of the best works that

Joshua:

we could ever create in our entire life.

Joshua:

Charlie believed in me.

Joshua:

Charlie believed in so many different types of people when it came to that.

Joshua:

The list goes on and on and on about the different people

Joshua:

that we touch in our lives.

Joshua:

It makes us to understand and create some of the best things that we could ever

Joshua:

imagine and I think that for many of us, we need to build that bridge that connects

Joshua:

us to the other side of being able to share that message, no matter how weak

Joshua:

you think it is, or how overly confident that you are because if we're able to

Joshua:

do that messaging, no matter what it is, we can start to work on the mechanics.

Joshua:

We can start to work on the different types of viewpoints

Joshua:

that we could go alongside of it.

Joshua:

We could become the best storytellers, not just to tell a legend, not to just tell a

Joshua:

myth, but to actually help us understand how that person, place, thing, whatever

Joshua:

subject matter it could be, had profound influence, not just in our personal

Joshua:

lives, but our professional lives as well.

Joshua:

At the heart of Your Speaking Voice, LLC is about public speaking.

Joshua:

It's about being able to share a story that's so incredible, that is so profound,

Joshua:

that you're able to really get something out of it, and that's always been my

Joshua:

aim as your podcast host of this episode or even this series, Speaking From

Joshua:

The Heart, of sharing those authentic conversations with people that really

Joshua:

push it forward, no matter how much it might be a pain, no matter how much pain

Joshua:

creates the obstacles, and no matter how many obstacles there are, and no matter

Joshua:

how many disfigurements you might have, and no matter how many filler words

Joshua:

that you might use, it's about the fact that you have to acknowledge the why.

Joshua:

Why am I doing this for what it truly is all about?

Joshua:

I think Rich really shows that.

Joshua:

When you listen to even some of the things that he said in this episode,

Joshua:

it makes me question whether it's really all about just me, or is it

Joshua:

about all us, because we could build that bond by using those stories that

Joshua:

we have inside of ourselves to share something that we never thought possible.

Joshua:

We could share something that we never thought we could ever share.

Joshua:

As long as we're able to realize that the true value that stays within it

Joshua:

isn't just about humor, isn't about entertainment, it isn't just about

Joshua:

inspiration or even being informational or persuasive for that matter.

Joshua:

It's about doing the things that we really do not want to do that really helps us

Joshua:

to get to that next step, because really, it's about getting to that next stage.

Joshua:

I don't know about you, but I think Rich has been on that stage and has been

Joshua:

continuing to move to various other stages as a result, and for that reason alone,

Joshua:

that makes him something quite special, almost as special as Charlie Wilson.

Joshua:

Charlie, if you're listening to this up there, I want you to know one thing.

Joshua:

Thank you for inspiring an audience, a generation that's still being inspired by

Joshua:

the words that are coming out of my mouth and for all the things that you continue

Joshua:

to do all up there in those pearly gates.

Joshua:

Thanks for listening to episode number 57 of Speaking From The

Joshua:

Heart, and I look forward to hearing from your heart very soon.

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