Victorian Schools - Speaker Tour
My first tour of the year, and it was one I was incredibly excited about!
There’s endless hours of planning that goes into a tour. I have to liaise with schools, understand locations, specific angles, or topics, each school would like me to focus on, and then put it all together into a week.
I’m good as a motivational speakers for schools, guest speaker for events, but.... I’m not the best with my geography, so lucky google maps has my back.
I was leaving home (Sydney) on the Monday, and I thought it be best to drive. I had a morning talk on the Tuesday booked in at Rutherglen Primary YRS 3-6, and a couple of other talks at the top of Victoria the same day and evening, so I wanted to break the drive up by staying the Monday night in Rutherglen. The itinerary looked something like this…
Leave Sydney 1PM
5 hours 35 min drive to Rutherglen
Staying overnight in Rutherglen.
2 min drive to first talk
Tue School 1 – Guest Speaker Victoria, Rutherglen Primary (YRS 3-6) 200 students 9:30 AM
2 hour drive to second talk.
Tue School 2 – School Speakers Victoria, Echuca Twin Rivers (YRS 3-6) 70 students 2:15 PM
2 hours 20 min drive to third talk.
Tue School 3 – Motivational Speaker at St Joseph’s Primary, Beechworth (Parent & Student Evening) 6:30 PM
2 hours 50 min drive to accommodation at Gisborne
20 min drive to School 1
Wed School 1 – Speaker at Melton West Primary (YRS 5-6), 9 AM 185 students.
4 min drive to second talk
Wed School 2 – Guest Speaker for Coburn Primary (YRS 5-6), 10:30 AM start 170 Students.
45 min drive to accommodation, Best Western 14 The Link, Morang, 3082.
1 hour 45 drive to School 1
Thu School 1 – Inspiring schools speakers, Rushworth P-12 (YRS7-9), 9 AM
1 hour 45 drive to School 2
Thu School 2 – Motivational Speakers, The Lakes South Morang (YRS 7,8,9) 1:30 PM
50 min drive to Accommodation, The Waverley International Hotel.
6 min drive to school 1
Fri School 1 – Guest Speaker Melbourne, Burwood Heights Primary (YRS 4-6) 150 students 9 AM
15 min drive to school 2
Fri School 2 – Melbourne Motivational Speakers, Lyndale Secondary College 180 students 10:30 AM
So…. That was the trip planned.
The morning of the trip, I realized my car was due for a service – my attention to detail isn’t the best. I like to convince myself it’s because I’m a big picture type guy and small details get in the way of that. I suppose driving to Melbourne in a car that needs a service isn’t really a small detail though.
Anyways… a quick call to the mechanic and he said could get it done in time.
After picking my car up a few hours later I headed home to pack the car.
I’m a bit of a routine type of guy so I had to pack a few crucial items…
Ninja Bullet (my important shakes)
Pillow (would die without)
Laptops with USB’s, Powerpoint Pointer, and cords that will go into any schools projector (crazy how many different output cords are needed because of different schools)
And then, of course, my clothes.
Packing the car, I was good to go.
Driving out of the suburbs and onto the highway, I chucked on my favourite podcast at the moment, The MFCEO.
After a few hours of cruising and having enough of the podcast, I turned it off and sat in silence. The sun starting to set, I put the window down, and felt the cool air. I had an ultimate sense of fulfillment and gratitude. Smiling as I cruised along, I thought back over the last 10 years of my life.
Small moments of sadness as I remembered some people who were no longer in my life, were replaced with a thanks that I’m still here. Not only am I still here, but I’m now helping people out of that life that took away a lot of my friends.
When my mind is rested and still, I come up with ideas. Ideas are from beyond thought, so I rest my mind as much as possible to help with my creativity. An idea shot into my mind as I cruised along. The idea was about a new topic for a video. I wanted to show how I became a motivational speaker, but then relate it back to the listener and any ideas that they may be holding back from. It’s a great clip (I think so haha) so check it out HERE.
Arriving at my motel at around 7 PM, I chilled out in preparation for a huge day ahead of speaking and driving. Waking at 5 AM (as I always do), I went through my regular routine before a day of speaking. I showered while rehearsing my opening line, checked over slides to ensure all in order, batteries in presentation pointer, ironed clothes, put in my contact lenses, and then good to go!
I like to get to wherever I’m speaking no later than half an hour early (does that make sense? Hahaha) to ensure everything is running smoothly.
Arriving at Rutherglen Primary, I walked through the school gates and had a look at some of the students. A lot of them were tiny, and my doubtful thoughts started to kick in.
They’re just babies. Your stories are a bit heavy for them…. Will they get it?
Relax, you’ve done this a heap of times. It works! It changes lives. Besides, the younger they are, the better! If we can speak to them and get in their fresh young mind, then it’s planted the seed. I tried to reason.
I do have a few heavy stories, though I PG them a little for the younger ones. I wrote a blog about the importance and impact of the stories HERE.
Standing at the front of the library, I watched as the kids walked in. For the next 50 minutes I spoke, interacted, and impacted the students. Afterwards we got some cool photos and received some incredible messages from parents. Not long after I received this message on Facebook from Mel, a teacher at St Mary's Rutherglen.
I Just wanted to let you know that throughout many of our parent teacher interviews today, conversation came up about you and talking to our kids at St Mary's Rutherglen yesterday. The kids have gone home and obviously been so impacted by your message that they have spent a lot of time talking with their parents. One father said that he sat with his daughter for over an hour talking, writing about it and drawing. Thank you so much for the impact that you have had."
That right there is what it's all about!
I then had a big drive to Echuca for a primary school before heading to Beechworth for an evening Parent & Student talk.
After a big day of driving and speaking, admittedly by the time I got to Beechworth, I was pretty wrecked. Digging deep though, I walked into the school and met an angel.
The organiser, Katherine Hancock (Kitty) was incredibly welcoming, and you could feel from the way she spoke, how much she cared for the people in her community.
One of the best things about traveling around as a motivational speakers for schools, is that obviously I get to change lives, but also meet some magical people. Kitty was one of those magical people.
She was a little concerned that no one would come. There was a couple of things going on in her small town, so wasn’t sure of the numbers.
We were due to start at 6:30 PM, and at 6:20 there was no one…
Early night for me?
Soon, one kid walked in, no parent. Great, at least we have one. Then his mum walked in, and sister. We’re up to 3!!
By 6:30 majority of the seats were filled. I could see ultimate relief on Kitty's face.
The talk went incredibly well! Some insightful questions at the end by kids, parents, and teachers. I finished the night with a book signing and more questions. I arrived a little drained from all the driving, I left though totally pumped! I gave Kitty a huge hug and thanked her for having me.
Later, this is what Kitty had to say...
"We had Luke at our school for our grade 4/5/6 children and their parents. Luke presented an honest account of his life and how he managed to turn this around, even after many setbacks. While our children in Beechworth have fairly sheltered lives there were many great messages for our children. I had very good feedback from the parents. I only wish I had of opened up the night to the wider community. An excellent true and raw account of a life changed for the better with positive self talk. Three parent messages I received after the presentation were: "It was great, Eli keeps talking about it." Parent "I wish I had of brought my older daughters" Parent "Great job. Tonight was great." Parent "Thank you so much, a great night, I will be passing Luke's name onto my sons secondary school." Parent
Luke thank you so much. I will look at getting you again for the community of Beechworth."
The drive to my accommodation was long… it took 3 hours, and after the buzz of the evening session wore off, I was wrecked! Reaching my hotel, I passed straight out.
The next morning I was speaking at Melton West Primary to Yrs 5 & 6. Melton was a tough little spot, but the kids there had some massive potential. I hung around for a little longer than usual as the students asked endless questions and shared some of their stories.
"Hi Luke, I'm in Yr 6 at Melton West. Thank you for coming to our school. I always feel that people bully me and it gets to me. I'm going to be myself and not worry what they think. You're my hero." - Message receive on Instagram by a Student, Melton West Public.
Next up was a short drive to Coburn Primary for the same year groups as Melton West.
I had the afternoon free! I drove 45 min to my accommodation in Morang, and after unpacking the car, I went to the gym. I like to train every day while I’m away, it’s a nice time to let some steam out, clear my head a bit, and then stretch out my body.
The next morning I had a 1 hour 45 min drive (yep… more driving) to Rushworth. I loved Rushworth! The town was beautiful, and arriving at the school I was met with smiling students. School social worker, and organizer of my visit, Kirsty Turner, was another one of those amazing people I got to meet on my journey.
As I spoke, every student was silent, and the occasional nod of the head as I hit some major points, told me they were taking it all in.
I had some spare time afterwards and spoke with some students one on one, and spoke deeply about some of their concerns, stories, and how inspired they were to now change things.
Message received from School Social Worker, Kirsty Turner....
"Through conversations and feedback from the students, it is obvious how much they appreciated the raw honesty of your story. Students have been able to identify how they too wear a mask, how they have changed themselves to fit in and some have related to your experiences of anxiety and bullying. Most students found your presentation to be extremely interesting and inspirational. Students have even started thinking about how far from their true self they have already become and are now contemplating how they can identify their true self again, remove their masks and be who they are meant to be.
The students that took the opportunity to catch up with you after the presentation really appreciated the time you took to answer their questions and listen to their stories, worries, thoughts, ideas and hopes. Some of the quotes from students have included: “really inspirational” “stories were insane – definitely not taking drugs” “really brave” “Stories were interesting and inspiring” “he could always think of a way to make a situation better” “I liked how he was so confident” “it was really good and helpful.
We also had this feedback from a parent: “Thanks P12 on an awesome choice of public speaker. Both my children came home and talked in length about how inspirational Luke’s life story was. Other parents have also commented on their child’s positive feedback from the day”.
I then had to drive back to Morang (yep…. drive back) to speak at The Lakes South Morang YRS 7,8, and 9.
The whole trip was incredible, and this school was something special! The energy before, during, and especially after, was electric! The input from students was huge, and we all hung out, chatted, and got photos afterwards…. LOVED IT!
"Your talk made me cry. I can't believe you went through what you did and still an inspiration to all of us. Thank you from my heart." - Instagram message from Yr 9 Student.
"I've labelled myself dumb too. I now know I'm not dumb. I've messed up a bit but that doesn't mean I'm dumb. I'll stop thinking I'm dumb ad be myself. You're the best." - Instagram message from Yr 9 Student.
"You were right about everything today. I always try to impress people and I do shit I don't want to do. Not anymore." - Facebook message from Yr 9 student.
That afternoon I went and did a bit of shopping. I have set a target this year to Impact, Enlighten, and Help 150 different audiences throughout the year. As a gift to myself, after every 10, I allow myself to buy a piece of clothing. I was lucky I hit one of the targets in Melbs, because Melbs shopping is next level (I may have pushed my allowance by getting 2 pieces of clothing! Okay… Maybe 3).
After my shopping I drove to the Waverley International in Glen Waverley. It was a nice hotel, and got to chill out for a bit before hitting the gym again.
I enjoy being away on tour. I get to travel, inspire kids, stay in hotel rooms, train at new gyms, and most importantly meet some inspiring people. Life is cool!
The final day of the tour I had two schools, Burwood heights primary school , and then Lyndale Secondary, Dandenong North.
I was cutting it fine though. After the first talk I would have to get to my next spot within 20 min… the drive was 15… hopefully no traffic.
I arrived at Burwood Primary, and after meeting the principal, I knew it was going to be a great talk. The principal is the leader, and sets the tone for the attitude of the students. The principal had a refreshing energy, and her open mindedness and enthusiasm, proved to me that her students would be great.
I wasn’t wrong! Their smiling faces afterwards and keenness to ask questions, was a direct reflection from the leadership up top.
I had to run out of the hall though and get to my car!
I made it just in time to speak at my last school of the tour, grade 10 at Lyndale Secondary College.
This spot was another huge highlight for me! A bunch of mature students who did their school proud. The two best questions of the day received a sign copy of my book, and we posed for photos afterwards. Teachers there were extremely cool, and I can’t wait to get back there some time in the future.
After the final talk, I went for a nice lunch before deciding to stay an extra night in Melbs, just to chill out.
The next morning I drove back to Sydney, and on the way home I smiled, and reflected on what was one of the best trips of my life.
Thank you Victoria.
Can't wait to get back in August!