Alumnus Adam James makes career out of motivational speaking
Adam James grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, with one dream — to become a Major League Baseball player.
A couple decades later, he is not playing baseball. Instead, he is telling others how to make their dreams come true.
James is now pursuing a career as a motivational speaker and said the fuel behind what he does is the desire to make others feel worthy.
“I struggled with that growing up. I didn’t always have the support I needed, so I want to be that for someone else,” James said.
James graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2012 with a degree in elementary education. During his time as an Eagle, James was involved with Campus Recreation and attributed a lot of his growth and development to his experience working for the department.
Post-graduation, James spent a few months teaching and realized that the classroom was not where he wanted to be.
The journey of a self-employed motivational speaker has been anything but easy for James.
“I can’t pinpoint just one thing that has been difficult throughout all of this,” he said. “Not knowing how to make ends meet, constantly hearing, ‘No, we’re not interested,’ people hanging up on me and my family and friends, thinking this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing…just to name a few.”
Through all the hardships James is presented with, he chooses to take some of his own guidance and continues to move toward his ultimate goal.
In his signature speech, “Sights, Sounds and Success”, James speaks about taking action and changing our perspectives on everyday life.
“When people think about motivational speakers, they think about the people who are life changers that get you solutions,” he said. “That’s the last part of how I view myself. The information I give is stuff that you and I all know, but I present it in a way that makes people want to take action.”
Now, James finds himself back in the classroom but with a different job title and a new perspective.
He is traveling from school to school delivering his speeches to high school and college-aged students.
James has been a guest speaker at Gulf Coast Town Center, Collier County schools, Duke University, and most recently, the University of North Carolina.
James had his debut speech at FGCU and also participated in the TED Talk event held in March.
Ultimately, James would like to see his passion grow into a well- established career that allows him to give speeches at universities across the country.
“I’d also like to see it grow to the point where one day I have other speakers working with me, or even for me, delivering their speeches,” he said.
In James’ speech, he defines what it means to be successful and chase your dreams while acting as a representative of his own advice.
“Being successful means chasing down your dream until you can chase it no longer,” he said. “The things we see, the things we hear and how we respond to those things make all the difference in our ability to achieve our dream.”