Website Review:

If you’re fortunate enough to live in a boring, mid-sized American city such as Louisville, Cincinnati, Fort Worth, one of the Springfields, or my own hometown of Charlotte, you may have already seen the photo-packed full-page newspaper ads. “GET MOTIVATED!” screams the headline for the day-long business seminar. “MOTIVATION! INSPIRATION! CAREER SKILLS! FOCUS!”

Immediately below the banner is a number of world-famous faces you find yourself amazed to be coming to your pathetic burg. In Charlotte’s case, we’re hosting the smiling heads of Colin Powell, Terry Bradshaw, Steve Forbes and Rudy Guiliani, though other cities may have interchangeable heads such as Gen. David Petraeus, John Madden, Mitt Romney, The Pope, The Queen or The Rock. Charlotte is also getting Special Guest Speaker Laura Bush, the entertainingly-named motivational expert Zig Ziglar, and some hottie named Tamara Lowe who, at first glance, I thought was “Tamara Love,” a great name for a motivator of porn.

The purpose of this dynamic seminar is to “increase your productivity and income” (most subsequent citations in this post will omit the implicit exclamation point that comes with every phrase on the page). There’s a handy pre-checked checklist that describes what you’ll learn during parts of the 9-hour focus-fest when you’re not fidgeting like a meth-head with a stored-value card from Starbucks. There’s customer service (check), business skills (check), time management (check), people skills (check) and leadership (check). In addition to check (cashiers), they’ll also accept credit cards and even cash.

But here’s the interesting thing about this self-described “Super Bowl of Success,” this “Feel-Good Tour de Force,” this “ad that seems too good to be true.” The cost for admission at the door is a whopping $225 per person, but if you take advantage of the limited time offer, it’s only $4.95 per person, or send your entire office for only $19. “Save!” says the coupon. “Save! Save!” That incredible 98% markdown has me wondering how they can possibly afford the stratospheric speaker’s fees of these mega-watt luminaries. Are their talks shortened for the sake of economizing? Does Laura Bush appear only long enough to sprint across the stage shouting “push back fear and face the future”? Does Steve Forbes make a low pass over the Time Warner Arena in his corporate jet, yelling “balance your personal and professional priorities and stay ahead of the pack” out of the open cargo door?

I wanted to learn more about this particular motivation group. I definitely need some serious professional guidance on the subject of focus, so I’m visiting for this week’s Website Review.

The founder and CEO of Get Motivated Seminars Inc. is a toothy nerd named Peter Lowe, who we later learn is husband of aforementioned babe Tamara. The site says their seminars are “energizing, action-packed, star-studded, fun-filled, spectacular stage shows,” which for me brings to mind a kind of Cirque du Soleil for the business set. Various TV networks and newspapers are said to rave about it, though probably through purchased ad space. “This motivational mega-show packs more inspirational firepower than a stick of dynamite,” claims the home page. Sure enough, there’s a picture of Peter with his arms raised triumphantly in the air and an explosives-damaged stump for a left hand.

There’s a lot more exclamation pointing under several of the pulldowns, but I’ve always preferred the gentle curve of the question mark so I’m drawn to the Frequently Asked Questions portion of this site. “Will I receive a Certificate of Completion?” asks one individual, who apparently wants to do some frame-shopping in advance of the event. “When is the lunch break and will food be provided?” Yes, there will be vendors with food. “I have difficulty hearing. Will there be help for me?” Yes, cochlear implants will be available for a nominal fee.

Then there’s a part for testimonials from attendees:

My team and I enjoyed the day as much as it is possible to enjoy anything!
Because of this seminar I will turn any setback I encounter into an opportunity for greatness!
Don’t keep treading water! Get moving to the Get Motivated Seminar!
How could anyone leave this seminar with a poor self image or feeling depressed? They must have been in the bathroom the entire time!
PASSION is born when you catch a glimpse of your POTENTIAL! Today, I know I am the Architect of my journey! I am committed to be a winner that doesn’t give up!

With rousing testimonials like these, I find myself interested in learning more about the concept of motivational speaking, so I make a quick visit to Wikipedia. It defines a motivational speaker as a “speaker who makes speeches intending to … motivate their audiences.” Not especially helpful, but they also include a list of well-known inspirational orators. Among the few names I recognize are Deepak Chopra, Anthony Robbins and Mr. T. There’s a link to more information about Mr. T. that I just can’t resist.

Born Laurence Tureaud, Mr. T. first created his now-iconic persona when he worked as a bouncer at a night club. He’d collect assorted gold chains and jewelry that were lost by patrons, and display them around his neck for easy identification when the customer returned. He eventually accumulated about $300,000 worth of unclaimed baubles, which took him about an hour to put on each day. Every night, he would spend several more hours putting them through an ultrasonic cleaner, or would sometimes simply sleep in the chains to see, as he said, “how my ancestors, who were slaves, felt.”

His early ventures into show business included a role in Rocky 3 and a Showtime sketch comedy called Bizarre where he fights and eats Super Dave Osborne. He also appeared on Silver Spoons where he explains his name to Ricky Shroder: “First name: Mister; middle name: period; last name: T“. After his star turn on The A-Team as “B.A.”, he made a motivational video (finally — an explanation for why he’s on the list) called “Be Somebody … or Be Somebody’s Fool!”, in which he inspires children to appreciate their origins, control their anger, deal with peer pressure, and “make tripping look like breakdancing.” In 2007, he made a commercial titled “Get Some Nuts” for Snickers in which he fires candy bars at a speed walker wearing tight-fitting shorts. The ad was pulled by candy-maker Mars after a group called Human Rights Campaign claimed it promoted violence against the gay community. He later made an ad for the Oregon lottery, referencing a fictional reality show called “Who Can Spend 30 Days in a Trailer with Mr. T.?”

His personal life has also been a source of interest to many of his fans. Though a born-again Christian, he was accused of fathering a child by a Chicago woman in a case that was never resolved. In 1995, he was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma. (That’s gotta be one of those Wikipedia pranks I’ve heard so much about.) He said in 2005 that he would never wear his chains again, after having seen the effects of Hurricane Katrina, but was in fact photographed in the signature jewelry during appearances in Australia and in a World of Warcraft ad. In April 2009, Mr. T. was called for jury duty in Chicago; he showed up in court but was not chosen.

As I said earlier, I need to learn to focus. Perhaps the Get Motivated Seminar really is for me!

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10 Responses to “Website Review:”

  1. LaVonne Says:

    I saw Mr. T make a brief appearance on the Jay Leno show a few nights ago and I’m pretty sure he was wearing his chains. I would have liked to have seen him drive the electric car, but my guess is that all those chains generate their own magnetic field and would short out the car.

  2. wrjones Says:

    I’m thinking you should pay the full $500 for the inspiration if they can document their success rate in simply doubling the attendees incomes.

  3. thirdcoast61 Says:

    “I pity da fool who spends more than $4.95” For $4.95 you may be on the list of speakers. Everyone will wonder why you wasted you money on getting motivated. Remember, if it sounds like a steal, it probably is. Let me know how it goes…..(wink wink)

  4. planetross Says:

    This motivational stuff sounds like work.
    Isn’t there just a pill or something?

  5. A Visit to Blogworld « Fakename2’s Weblog Says:

    […] today I will do shameless plugs for other people.  Not that long ago I did a plug for Davis W who is the funniest person you never met.  This link will refer you to his website review of […]

  6. Michael Says:

    This looks like the Republican losers club. What could Laura Bush teach us other than to keep silent while ones husband bankrupts/ruins the country?

  7. Mel Says:

    If you’re thinking about going, go to the bookstore & leaf through any
    Zig Ziglar book. Google “Bush + Quotes”. Read Wikipedia on Neoconservatism, “they believe in the UTILITY OF RELIGION”. CONSIDER THE SOURCE & CHECK INFO BEFORE YOU REGARD IT AS FACT. Just because someone tells you something with a straight face,
    doesn’t make it true. Self motivation: “I CAN DO IT!” ; check out a book,
    cd, dvd at the library. There are a lot of con artists who love preying on
    the gullible.

  8. lymphoma Says:

    Having beat non-hodgkins, this was good to see. Thanks for this.

  9. Silas Kanipe Says:

    Interesting article. Were did you got all the information from…

  10. harry Says:

    I went to the one in Dallas. The listed speakers were for the most part very good. But you have to hear the pitch men … they are fantastic. They sell about three different products and I suspect that this is where GetMotivated makes their money.

    I went mainly to hear the pitch men because they are usually extremely great salesman. I was not disappointed. Did I purchase anything … well … yes … but only after my wife insisted. 🙂

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