When you were a kid, how did you answer the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
I remember thinking becoming an actual animal was a completely viable option. People would ask me, “Ryan what do you want to be when you grow up?” Fully expecting me to say “a police officer” or “an astronaut”. My answer surprised them every time.
The person asking the question would then slowly look up at my parents who were obviously smiling ear-to-ear, and ask why I wasn’t wearing a helmet.
I could never have guessed as a kid, that I would be doing what I get to do for a living.
People like to call me a “Youth Motivational Speaker”. I don’t really like being put in that category because people then assume I walk around all day saying things like “you can do it!” or “just think positive thoughts!”
I am a person who has had some crazy experiences. I live the life I want to live and do the stuff I want to do and I want everyone to have the same freedom that I feel I have. That’s why I do what I do. I think everyone has the right and responsibility to do whatever they want (as long as it’s legal and doesn’t hurt anyone).
I get emailed questions A LOT. One of the most common questions is, “how can I do what you do?”
Well, lucky for you, we have an interview with one of the world’s most popular youth speakers, Ryan Porter (that’s me). I am also super stoked to have guest interviewer, Ryan Porter (psst that’s me again) asking the questions you want answered.
Enjoy & comment!
What was your first word?
You know this is embarrassing for me, do I have to answer?
My first word was, “gunk”. In fact, it was my only word until I was 3 years old. I was special.
Did you always know you wanted to be a Youth Speaker?
I still don’t always consider myself a “youth speaker”. I think of myself as someone who is able to tell his stories in a way that people can relate to. People are able to laugh and learn from my experiences and mistakes and use them to learn how to live the way they really want to.
Have you had any defining moments in your career?
Yes sir. I’ve had a few. One moment that comes to my mind off of the top of my head is the time I spoke to a Behavioral Intervention group. These were students who were deemed “trouble-makers” or “at-risk”. A teacher actually called me in advance to let me know that the students were “hardcore” and to “be careful”.
After the presentation was done I was bombarded by students who thanked me for my stories and advice.
The room cleared out and one guy was still sitting in his seat. He was probably one of the toughest looking students of the group. He stood up and walked to the front of the room, came face-to-face with me. He looked up and I could see his chin quivering as if he was about to cry. He said, “Hey man, I just wanted to say thank you. You never know who’s going to be in your audience and how you will change their lives.”
He shook my hand, then walked out of the room.
So what makes that a defining moment?
Until that point I thought that speaking was about me. I realized that speaking has nothing to do with me and what I am going to say, it’s all about what the audience needs to hear, learn and leave with.
How can I get started as a Youth Speaker?