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Get Motivated, And Get Out

Filed under: Local Interest
Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar

AV correspondent Ellen Przepasniak on yesterday’s “Get Motivated” seminar at HSBC Arena:

Picture this. The emcee of Tuesday’s “Get Motivated” seminar is standing on a stage in the middle of a sold-out HSBC Arena. The pristine blonde woman in four-inch gold pumps roars, elongating every  vowel, “Laaaadiiiiieeees aaaand geeeentleeemeeeen, Miiiisteeer Steeeeveeee Foooooorbeeeees!”  The PA system begins playing Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll, Part 2”—the  same song the Sabres skate out to—and the editor of Forbes magazine runs down the aisle like a superstar, high-fiving people on his way and steps on stage pumping his fist in the air to pyrotechnics blowing up all around him. In no other setting would Forbes, the editor of a dry business magazine, get this rockstar reception.

“Get Motivated” is a full-day motivational seminar featuring big-ticket names like Forbes, Joe Montana, Colin Powell, and Rudy Giuliani. The organizers offered discount tickets if employers took their entire office as a substitute for a day’s work, so HSBC Arena was filled to its 19,000-seat capacity. During the all-day seminar, the attendees ran though various points of standard inspirational speaking sprinkled with financial advice. The atmosphere was somewhere between a hockey game and a megachurch. The four corners of the stage were draped with flags with the words “INSPIRE!” and “MOTIVATE!” and each speaker was greeted on the stage with fireworks and loud pop music presumably intended to pump people up.

Most of the celebrity speakers’ messages were fairly safe, akin to graduation speeches. Forbes’ big point was innovation: You get ahead not by coming up with something new, but modifying something existing. He idolized Sam Walton, the founder of big-box behemoth Wal-Mart, as someone who thought “outside the box.” (How ironic considering the store is one giant box.) As he trashed the federal income tax, he railed against government left and right. “The bottom line is stop trashing the US dollar,” he said, to thunderous applause. “Make it worth holding again!”

Powell was the best speaker of the day. He was personable, funny and, as always, diplomatic. He was nostalgic for his old days of diplomacy, when journalists and foreign leaders jockeyed for his time. “When you step down from such a great height, there is an emptiness that comes upon you, spiritual and emotional emptiness,” he said. Powell mostly spoke to the managers in the audience as he related his time in the White House to an average office setting. “[In the Army] leadership was all about followers and followership,” he said. “You’ve got to find that sense of purpose in the heart of every person in your organization.” Powell’s final piece of advice was: “You’ll know you’re a good leader when your troops will follow you if only out of curiosity.” He then exited the stage to the song “Proud to Be an American.”

Montana, looking svelte in a slimming black suit and bright purple tie, clearly felt he didn’t need to impress the audience with his eloquent oratorial skills. He had something more valuable in his repertoire: football anecdotes. His gems included “Quarterbacks are always in early and leave late” and
“I have to put trust in the five fat guys in front of me” and “When I think about work ethic, the first thing that comes to mind is Jerry Rice.” Giuliani, of course, mentioned 9/11 endlessly while speaking about perseverance. He joked that he realizes there’s a small corner of people in the “left corner of New York City” who don’t support him, but that just makes him try harder to reach out to them.

In between the four big names were other Oprah-ready businessmen-turned-motivational-speakers who filled time with charts, graphs, and anecdotal pandering. Long-time inspirational speaker Zig Ziglar also took the stage to excited applause; some seasoned  attendees had seen Ziglar two or three times before. According to the press material, the speakers were chosen because of their individual business prowess. But the speaker list begged the question: Why was Tamara Lowe the lone female speaker and Powell the sole African American.

Even stranger was the subtext of Christianity. The main organizer, Tamara Lowe, who wrote the “Get Motivated” book series that the seminar is based on, went on a 10-minute diatribe about loving the Lord. As she spun a typical narrative about making her way through a male-dominated business world, she confusingly concluded, “The definitive proof of my intelligence is marrying my wonderful husband.” She then launched into a motivational rap that ended in: “Give your life to God while there’s still time.” Several other speakers mentioned accepting God in the context of getting yourself motivated and out of a rut.

Lowe’s selling point is a “motivational DNA” theory, and she had the Powerpoint presentation to back it up. “The DNA stuff was quite helpful. I decided I’m a producer,” said Robin Foley, a data entry clerk whose employer paid for her whole office to attend the seminar. “But the religious stuff wasn’t necessary and they should think about who they’re speaking to. Maybe in the South, they believe it, but you should gauge your audiences more and do a little research.”

My test subject for the motivation level of the audience throughout the eight-hour seminar was a 20-something attendee. In the morning, he leaned forward in rapture during Montana’s speech and laughed at the former quarterback’s every football-related anecdote. But by the mid-afternoon speakers, he was lethargic, and dozed off twice. He didn’t appear driven. Many other attendees were doodling, chatting amongst themselves, and the arena was fairly cleared out by 3:30pm.

  • SoMotivatedRightNow

    I think this event is one of many telling indicators of how far gone and alienating late capitalism has made the reality of everyday life. You take a bunch of entry-level and middling employees and exploit their own class inhibitions and insecurities by pathologically persuading them to invest in the very exclusive culture of the elites by purchasing lame and overpriced books, programs, more seminars (that most of these folk flocked like sheep to sign up for as soon as any speaker made their pitch after having most of them in rapture about the fantasies of “making millions from home at your PC!”)

    Seriously, Debord’s spectacular society is so pervasive that no one stops for a moment to even contemplate what is happening. You go to an event. You think, “Ah, I’m being entertained! I’m not working! What great fun!” But what is happening is, you’re being sold an image, you’re consuming and putting cultural capital and power in the hands of those elites, and for the sheep whom gobbled up the fluff that most of these people had to spew and offered whatever was left on their credit from their wage slave jobs to buy the ticket and take the proverbial ride. But nay, you are your own pawn in the elite’s move to leverage yourself against you, against your spectacular vision of yourself, against the fantasies of being an elite, which realistically only comes through privilege begotten by tradition of violence and exploitation. Ye gods.

    In the end, perhaps some people do need help motivating themselves, to feel confident, to perform and to create and produce to the best of their ability. That’s fine. Self-improvement can often be positive. But when self-improvement’s goal is to “get ahead,” “be at the top,” “dominate social conflicts,” what have you, you are following–without a sense of self, and selfishly– the plan laid out for you by the elite culture that divides you from your common man and woman who should be your allies and encourages you to compete, and eventually conquer them. Something to think about.

  • Couldn’tBeLessMotivated

    You forgot to mention the various speakers attempting to sell get rich quick schemes. It’s very motivating to pay for the privilege of listening to a sales pitch for online investment tools (only $50 for the first 3 months, you get what you pay for). I also found little value in Mrs. Lowe harping on her Christianity as a sales pitch for her new book.

  • “The DNA stuff was quite helpful. I decided I’m a producer,” said Robin Foley, a data entry clerk whose employer paid for her whole office to attend the seminar.”

    Where else could Any Rand and Jesus of Nazareth get together and fuck each others’ brains out, amirite? “Producer,” HAH!

  • Geraldine

    I’m surprised they didn’t shoot and disembowel an abortion doctor on stage

  • Rick

    BIGGEST BAIT AND SWITCH EVER – These people make Bernie Madoff look like a saint
    A Lion In Sheep’s Clothing:
    Please see what can be done to prevent millions of people from being fleeced out of billions of dollars.
    One of the biggest bait and switch scams ever seen is making its way across America and no one is doing anything about it because it is being disguised and masqueraded as a motivational seminar with celebrity speakers including Colin Powell, Laura Bush, Rudy Giuliani, and Terry Bradshaw to lure millions of these people into a big venue arenas. These people make Bernie Madoff look like a saint. Please write me for more information or google “Get Motivated scams or rip-offs”. No one really understands or sees the magnitude of the money that this scam generates. The sad thing is that it has been going on for years. President Clinton was on the tour with them in 2002.
    A motivational seminar sounds innocent enough. Who among us doesn’t need a little motivation once in a while. With the economy the way it is, most of us need a boost. Wouldn’t it be even better if such a seminar included speakers such as Colin Powell, Laura Bush, Rudy Giuliani, and Terry Bradshaw to lure thousands of these people into a big venue arena. It would be better yet if the arena was filled with giant jumbotron televisions, some exhilarating music, fireworks and a light show.
    Well, a company called “Get Motivated” is doing that very thing. The only problem is that they are using the stage as a platform for perpetuating a giant fraud. They are ambushing the unsuspecting audience when they least expect it and when they are most vulnerable. It is fraud and deception at its worse. They’re dangling carrots in front of the horse and then bringing in the vultures later to clean out their pocket books. Never has there been such a “Bait and Switch” scheme of this magnitude where they lure you in on a premise to do one thing and then, very tactfully and quite effectively, sneak something else in to sell you. This should be advertised as a “Get Rich Scheme Seminar”. The only problem is that they are the ones that are getting rich.
    Please check out all the feedback on the internet regarding the participants of this fraud. Look up the players and ad rip off, scams, and reviews behind them and you come up with thousands of posts. Someone needs to do something about it. You can’t advertise one thing, sell a ticket, and then magically change the format.
    These famous speakers are being dooped and so are all the attendees. The venue promises the big celebrities but nothing is said, about having to listen to 3 get rich speakers that aren’t even on their posted agenda. The “Lowe’s” (who run the seminars) are pulling off a scam to rip people off. Caveat emptor or let the buyer beware doesn’t really hold true when the captive audience is at the prey of their deception and deceit. The audience is highly vulnerable in this setting and are easy victims in their emotional state of trying to learn to be successful. Their highly unethical and possible criminal approach to promising people riches isn’t necessarily new but it has definitely taken on a new approach with their wide scope of celebrity speakers as a decoy. Their big venue approach in soliciting unsuspecting and susceptible targets for their deception has taken on a whole new meaning of fraud.
    Perhaps the biggest scam in this, is hiding the highly suspect “Investools” company under the name of “Wealth Magazine Investor Education”. This “Investools” company is under investigation from almost every Attorney General’s office in the United States. (check out the internet for scams and rip off reports for both this company and “Get Motivated”. They are selling a $3950 dollar, 2 day course in day trading, for an unbelievable price of $99 with the idea that you will get rich from their award winning software. What they don’t tell you is that after the course, you will not be able to use the complete software without taking an advanced course for as much as a $1000 more and then after that course, taking another PHD course for as much as $10,000 or more. The illusion is that you can get rich for $99 but the reality is that they will keep after you until you use up all the money on your credit cards plus whatever else you can borrow.
    I think it is one thing for such a seminar to sell their books and CD’s but these events are designed to suck you in and bleed you dry. I saw about 15,000 people pack the Wells Fargo Center in Des Moines, Iowa on the 17th of September and maybe as many as 5000 or more bought in to their hype and maybe more.
    Please bring this to everyone’s attention.

  • I am angry that I spend a whole day on this ridiculous seminar. I felted scammed and taken advantage of. I went because I am a manager and was genuinely looking for ways to help motivate myself and my staff. What I got was a “come to Jesus” and “get rich” scams. I go to church and expect to be spoken to about God, I don’t expect to be told how to invest my money by my pastor, likewise if I go to a business seminar I don’t want to be told to give my life to God. This was right-wing narrowminded hypocrisy at its worst.

  • DJ

    I agree with Rebecca-What a waste of time & energy. I attended with my staff today in Denver-never again. As always Colin Powell was the highlight. What a class act.
    The rest were bigots and highly offensive. Terry Bradshaw personified the southern good-ole-boy, racial, anti-woman rhetoric. The man named Jay was no better he picked on minorities, poor, and spoke like he thought grammar was against the law!

    I will work hard to steer everyone I can away from this scam!

  • David Teran

    Geoff – perhaps you should look below the surface of what you’ve known as “success”…to find TRUE SUCCESS. Go a bit deeper (in a sincere, honest and transparent way) and you’ll discover that the message that you refer to as a diatribe is actually appealling to all HONEST people. If you go in with a chip on your shoulder demanding to hear what you’re anticipating, you’ll not go an iota deeper….but if you truly want to know the Truth…you’ll discover it.

    I wish you the best. It’s available to you.

  • David Teran

    Hey -folks….lighten up. Where do you think the Bernie Madoffs and the ENRON debacle have their foundation, other than success without spiritual character? Be reasonable and consider that there really is something more to this life than what apparently you were seeking – BUSINESS SUCCESS. Of what value will it be to have that type of success and then discover that it leaves you empty on the inside? You know what I’m talking about. Why do you think that every single SUCCESS and ACHIEVEMENT you’ve ever experienced has ultimately left you empty and dry? How’s your marriage today compared to how it STARTED OUT? There’s a reason for that – it’s SPIRITUAL EMPTINESS. Please don’t complain about people who have discovered TRUE SUCCESS and meaning to life and simply want to ENRICH other’s lives. If you’re honest with yourself and your creator – you’ll acknowledge your need, as well. Otherwise, you’re deluding yourself and will continue on the treadmill that this world has designed to keep you busy seeking happiness…but never finding it.

  • Hey David — perhaps you should not presume to measure the spiritual success or honesty of folks you’ve never met or spoken with.

    And a point of reading comprehension: I didn’t write this account of the seminar. Ellen Przepasniak did. Thus the first line: “AV correspondent Ellen Przepasniak on yesterday’s “Get Motivated” seminar at HSBC Arena”.

  • Rick Matello

    I’ve been to several Get Motivated Seminars and will continue to go back again and again. The Lowes do an excellent job of bringing together some of the best speakers in America to motivate, inspire, and teach. The touch of Christianity to the program is refreshing and inspirational. My staff returns to work fired up and eager to improve our operation. All in all, the Get Motivated Seminars are a first class operation and something America could use more of!

  • TS

    Get Motivated Seminars are a scam to make money. I think it is a total disgrace for the speakers like Colin Powell or ex presidint Bush to lower themselves to such a level, to get up on stage to sell their “souls” like snake oil and try to convince the people in the audience that they too, can be rich like them. Disgusting and Tamara and Peter Lowe(the name Lowe speaks for everything) should be ashamed of themselves. How they sleep at night is beyond me. All they are doing is becoming richer and richer off of all of those who are being duped in these seminars.
    They preach their religion at these seminars. They need to look up what God says about “boasting” about having riches….it’s a SIN. Tamara and Peter Lowe “preach” what the love the MOST….which is what they TALK about the MOST….and that is MONEY. Money is what they LOVE the most….not God!!!!

  • MRS.MP

    I attended this seminar back in Sept 09 and I just loved it! First off I went with an open mind to learn and see something new. For the price of the event including lunch total $5 why have any complaints about anything. Its amazing how everything in life is acceptable except when its about God!!!! People go to concerts, shows, watch tv and walk down any street in America and can spot immorality and accept it but somebody giving GOD ALL the GLORY on stage for a seminar they only paid $5-20 max with lunch for an individual or company staff….HATERS!!!! However “Get Motivated” make there money…..I enjoy my day learning, laughing and Praising God! THANKS TAMARA LOWE

  • David

    I went to the Get Motivated Seminar in Fort Lauderdale. I had a great seat, it started on time, every scheduled speaker spoke live and in person.

    I think we are intelligent enough to decide if we want or don’t want to attend a seminar that is offered.

    In what other venue can you hear Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani, John Walsh, Dan Marino, Dwayne Wade, and others speak in person for $4.95?

    As for Zig Ziglar, I saw it as perhaps the last time to say goodbye to a living legend.

  • TS


  • Emily

    I went to this yesterday was was DISTURBED. A co-worker summoned it up really well….he was waiting for Jim Jones to be resurrected and then serve the kool-aid!

  • James K

    I enjoyed the Get Motivated Seminar and I also enjoy the Investools website as I have made 200% on my 4K micro account with Think or Swim. Stop thinking you can’t make money; take your blinders off and learn something. I didn’t know what an option contract was several months ago, but I just made a killing with Deckers Outdoors (DECK) and Apple. Of course I got out of Apple a little early, but hey! My investment account is nick named (Love the Little Losses), so I’m not upset. For those of you who believe Investools is a scam you obviously went home to your couch and decided you’d never have money, so why not just watch Dancing with the Stars. Too bad.

  • Alex

    I have enjoyed reading the previous posts, the “scam” ones really made me laugh.

    For $5.00, I gained valuable insight into the minds of some great leaders, innovators and inspirational figures. It was money well spent, honestly, it was a bargain investment. When anyone who is successful talks, I listen. They could be talking about picking up their dog’s crap in the front yard and I will listen as they are bound to give you some useful information. If you want to be successful, you need to be around successfull people, you need to think like them, you need to listen to them, you need to read their books.

    It can be a turnoff to be sold products, but if you have ever been to other Seminars you already knew this was going to happen.

    If you thought that it was scam, you truly were better off staying home and watching some reality show. Unsuccessful people think they already know everything. A successful person knows that there is always something new to learn and is passionate about learning. They know that one piece of information can earn them thousands.

    Thanks Get Motivated, it was a great line up of speakers!

  • A Cera

    I am open and willing to learn. everyday I learn something new. Stay tuned because I WILL be attending the May 4th seminar tomorrow. I will return to this site to comment on the days events. 🙂

  • matt

    I attended the Get Motivated seminar today in Baltimore and had a great time. I enjoyed listening to these successful people give a bit of insight. Yes, I got the free lunch for signing up for the investools 2 day class. Will it be a waste? We’ll see. I’m willing to take some time and try it. Who knows? It sure as heck beats sitting here doing nothing to improve my life.

  • Reverse Peristalsis

    I am motivated by the discussion on the “Get Motivated” seminar series. I am going to a training session on teaching training sessions to those who want to present the series “Get Motivated”. I am seeking other like-minded people who share this passion for helping others while helping themselves. Please email me at ..!!

  • Critics will always be critics because it is the easiest thing to do it takes a coward to be a critic. It takes guts to dream and get motivated

  • White

    I went to the “Get Motivated” seminar. I have to say I was motivated. But I also felt I was being sold to. I know I was, it’s ok selling isn’t against the law or wrong. I tried to take what I wanted and leave what I didn’t. The fact is you have to be open minded about these things. You can’t go in with an “I’ve done it all; there’s nothing I don’t know” attitude. As for the thing that seemed to shut people off from the beginning “God”. You silly people want everything in your life to be great and get all the answers, but leave out God. Well if you don’t make God and his will the reason for your success, YOU WILL FAIL. At best you can never be as great without God as you could with him. And if your whole problem is the God factor, because you haven’t found him, THEN QUIT NOW. Bottom line, they ALL speak so much about God because they know if you are trying to better your life and be more successful, GOD IS WHERE YOU START, BEGIN, AND END. My suggestion, if talking about God upsets you, stop looking for success, you will not find it!

  • Bob

    The show was great. I went with the office and was paid to kick back and listen to some interesting people talk with live infomercials in between. Entertaining is a word to describe it best. Life changing…no.

  • At the end of May and June 2010, Cultivate entrepreneurs will be skilful to submit applications an eye to funding activities consanguineous to the start or inflate exports. Con companies possess the opening to into a unusually big grants to carry activities interdependent to admission into foreign markets.
    The maximum amount of funding is 200 thousand. PLN! Our company under the above mentioned hoax provides consulting services, educate your applications and account as a replacement for funding.

    Out of sight the Innovative Husbandry Operational Protocol, Method 6.1 will be supported:

    – Participation in foreign trade fairs as an exhibitor

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    – Search and passage of partners in the object market-place

    – Obtaining the inevitable documents representing the introduction of products / services to the selected unfamiliar store

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    Subsidies UE

  • SmarterThanYou

    Are all of you really that stupid? How could they afford speakers like that for the price you paid without some sales pitch? I went to one of these because they did have some people I cared to see speak and I expected a sales pitch that I knew would be useless. I didn’t go to be motivated, I went to hear several good speakers and I found it quite useful and somewhat entertaining. Yes, a lot of it was useless, but how much did you pay for it? You always get what you pay for.

  • Mark

    the mere fact that you all spent so much time typing protection declarations in support of these beasts makes me want to run away at full speed!! You’re all money grubbing whores and I will do my best that you never get one red cent of money from anyone i know!! You all sound so pathetic and creepy! especially the “pastors” or whatever you fleecers call yourself these days.

  • Mary Conklin

    I enjoyed the day, but by the end I was sick and tired of listening to something and thinking, ‘ok is he going to try to promote something?????’ We signed up for the wealth management thing but are going to back out due to too much negative feedback. I don’t care about someone’s 12 million dollar house! Show me how I can pay my bills, own everything I have and live the life of an average American but with no debt that does not cost thousands of $$$’s. I agree with the person that said you get what you pay for! I enjoyed the speakers that were not promoting something. The rest were part of the price. LOL

  • Bobbi

    It’s amazing how shallow people can be. The Get Motivated seminar is a fabulous seminar. If you didn’t get anything out of it, it’s your own fault. You are too busy trying to find the “catch” or criticizing to enjoy it. So what if people want to promote their knowledge or companies. Let them. They are giving you this fabulous seminar for almost free.

    BTW, if you bothered to look into the “promotions” with open eyes, you would have found incredible business opportunities. Yes, they do show you how to make millions – even if you have no job, no credit and no money. And it is easy. But you are to critical to take the time to learn. Too bad for you.

  • Steve

    Went to the seminar in Dallas and sat close enough to the stage to read Troy Aikman’s watch. Came late and missed the some speakers (regretful, but the kids had to get to school somehow). Paid $20 for parking. I don’t necessarily take offense when people talk about God, and I don’t take offense when people talk about how to make money. As long as people don’t get the two confused, it’s all good. I bought the Investools for $99 because it’s still worth the price of admission. Would I do it again? You betcha. But, to all the skeptical, if you’re bellyaching because you had to listen to some sales pitches and some testimony about Jesus in the midst of the funny stories, then you don’t need to say anymore, you’re just sour people, and ironically, the very people who should’ve been taking notes. btw, Terry Bradshaw is a funny man.

  • Bob

    My wife and I have been to 3 get motivated seminars over the several years…besides getting outdoors and being with her, I get to see and meet many hardworking Americans…We go to listen and listen well, we filter the sales pitch out and listen to the speakers. Some repeat stuff over and over, but somewhere in their stories they tell lies a nugget of truth, motivates us….
    We go home tired, excited and thrilled to be able to see/listen to these great
    people of the 21st century. One thing, I think that Get Motivated does as a
    disservice to attendees is not handing out or selling some of the speakers CDs…That’s about it…