Biggest Night of My Career #NSA14

NSA Perform

It’s 3 AM in San Diego, CA.

My beautiful wife is sound asleep in our Marriott room as I realize I’m not going to fall sleep, even though I’ve been up for nearly 24 hours and just had the most incredible day of my professional career.

When Ricky Martin performed at the Grammys in 1999, as a virtual unknown to the American audience (although hugely popular worldwide) it was the showstopper of all-time.  His career was “launched” in one moment, the likes of Madonna saying she was his new biggest fan, and record executives clamoring for the next Latin performers on the market, Ricky became a household name overnight.

After about 25 years of performing…

With Internationally Successful boy band Menudo –

On Broadway in Les Mis as Marius –

Voicing Disney’s “Hercules” in the movie –

Starring in an American TV Show, General Hospital –

Performing the official theme song for the World Cup –

But it was his Grammy performance at the age of 28 that broke down all the doors and, with his peer’s recognition and approval, made him the star he became.

Obviously, I’m no Ricky Martin, although I once impersonated him in a Las Vegas touring show and wondered if I had accidentally become him on some stages nightly in my skin tight pleather pants, but for me this day was momentous.  Maybe not a career showstopper and launch, but certainly the most significant among my performances for my peers to see me do what I do and have done for over a decade.

I joined the National Speakers Association in 2003.

After searching high and low for the right association for me, including chambers, rotary, performers and trade associations, college circuits, event planning and so forth, I found a group of people weird enough to embrace my weirdness when I found the NSA.

It was introduced to me by Kirk Weisler, Dan Clark, Steve Rizzo, some of the great speakers of all-time.

I attended a few local Utah meetings, met some new friends, and felt I found my place and my people.  I made a significant investment in 2003 to go to New Orleans for the National Convention which forever changed my life.  To see Aaron Neville at the Foundation Dinner Concert was a really cool thing, but that the opening act blew him out of the water, and was a speaker/performer named Mike Rayburn, was what really got my wheels turning.

How could someone do both entertainment and speaking with a message so effectively?  Mike had it pretty much nailed and was “discovered” that night, by me and many others, and I sent him a few gigs as a result even with my limited connections back then.

And thus I set on my path to be the NEXT in line.

And I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited.

And I sat in the back, wondering when my turn would come, year after year.

Just like so many that could be on that MAIN STAGE I was ready for my moment.

And it never came.

In 2009 I had a wonderful opportunity when Bruce Turkel, a speaker from Miami, FL, heard me warming up with my Michael Jackson impression during a sound check in Midway, UT.  After thinking it was MJ, and then realizing the words were different, he approached me and said, “You’re a freak show, how can you sing like Michael Jackson?”  I just shrugged and said, “You have talents I don’t have, and I have talents you don’t want”.

We became fast friends and Bruce recommended me for the NSA National Convention in New York City.  Eric Chester, the event planner, accepting Bruce’s suggestion, gave me 10 minutes on stage with my biggest costumes, rock n’ roll energy, craziness and over-the-top impressions, prior to Tim Ferris, author of “The 4-Hour Work Week” and Keynote Speaker, Stephen Forbes filling the bill and taking the stage.  Unfortunately, smashed between these more important people, as well as my name wasn’t announced, no one knew I was a member of NSA, and the performance was lost in the archives of “who the heck was that singer they found on Broadway doing all of those voices?  He was awesome!  Oh hey, that’s Tim Ferris on stage….”

And after that I pretty much figured I was never going to get on the MAIN STAGE at NSA.  My chance was blown, even though I did my best, that was it.

Dang.

Seriously, I was bummed.

I’m embarrassed to admit I even hired people to be ready to man the phones for all of the calls we were expecting….

ZERO came in.

So I quit NSA.

A few years later my friends in the local NSA Chapter asked me to join again, so I reluctantly did to be nice as they served on the board.  Doug Nielsen, Brad Barton, Chad Hymas, real heroes of mine.

And then I was invited to serve on the Board with incoming NSAMW (Mountain West) Chapter President, Ty Bennett.  He put me in charge of the Speaker Academy.  I had no idea what I was doing, but we made it happen, and raised a good amount of money for our chapter, and more importantly helped many talented people begin their path to speaking and making a living.

At the same time I was giving up performing altogether.

Instead I was speaking at schools now, for nearly no fee, cutting up credit cards at home, figuring out how to live at 95% of our income, and playing Don Quixote around America as an Elementary School Speaker doing assemblies.

I turned down more money from corporate America in order to speak to youth than anyone would believe.  But I felt it a noble path.  Many thought I’d lost my mind, but in reality I was just tired of my act!  I couldn’t add new material, it had just gotten to a place of…meh.

Standing ovations?

All the time!

Big checks?

YES!

Fulfilling?

Not really.

It was more fun to see young kids laughing, the light in their eyes going on as I told them of my idiocy as a young boy realizing I was different and THAT’S OK to be WEIRD, making my faces, doing some voices, singing a song or two, and getting colored pencil drawings as a Thank you with an apple and a carton of milk.

I would call this my “Come to Jesus” year.  With my career, with my life, with my reason for doing any of it at all.

When you have kids the age you’re speaking to, all you want to do is make a difference for kids that age.  And that’s what I set about doing.

I was officially only a SPEAKER, not a performer, not the Entertainer, I was Jason, the Speaker.

Many people tried to reel me back in.  I wouldn’t let them deter my path of nobleness.

Until I attended NSA 2013 in Philadelphia with my friend, Ty Bennett, and we saw the Speakers and Performers all around us.  He kept looking at me and saying, “You’re as good as that guy”, and I’d say, “No, you are, man, you should be up there!”  And we got fired up.

And then we met Al McCree and his wife, Peg.  They sat at a table together, an older, sweet, humble couple.  Ty and I figured we should give them some company for breakfast.  Turns out Providence has a hand in all things.

Al wasn’t just some back country bumpkin.  He was a producer, manager, social media, and music media guru, the force behind major career boosts for famous speakers such as Jeanne Robertson and, of course, Mike Rayburn, the guy I had patterned so much after for so long and just realized it was never going to happen for me to be both the Speaker AND the Entertainer.

Al asked what I speak on.

“I do assemblies for elementary kids and tell them to be WEIRD”, I stated, in my best impression of a confident and pathetic person not knowing what I was saying.

Al said, “And how do you suppose to make a living doing that?”

“I charge a small fee so the schools don’t cancel, but it’s going pretty well…” I offered.

As I found out Al lived in Nashville I accidentally lobbed him an easy one.

“Oh, I love Nashville, I’ve performed there many times at the Gaylord Opryland, I’ve gigged with Vince Gill, Garth Brooks, even way back in the day Mickey Gilley and Rita Coolidge!”

Al looked at me and said, “Son, what do you mean you gigged with them?”

I realized I had made a mistake in revealing my true identity and my past life as an Entertainer.  That’s when Ty stepped in.

“Al, my friend Jason here is having what I call a midlife crisis.  He thinks he wants to speak to kids and throw away his million dollar career in a valiant effort to inspire youth with his, actually really good message for kids, however he is the greatest performer in America in my opinion and you ought to check out his web site.”

Al eyed us suspiciously.  Who were these two crazy boys, and why was one talking one moment about speaking at schools and the next saying he’d worked with legends of music?

Fortunately for me, he believed Ty.  He excused himself and went to his room.  8 hours later he returned to the ballroom.  I have rarely seen a man’s head spin, but I could tell he was confused by my latest career choice and bound and determined to set me right.

So we discussed it, at length.

He introduced me to the most important people in NSA, including a personal visit with legendary speaker and humorist, one of my true idols, Jeanne Robertson.  What an amazing thing to talk to someone you have adored for so long.

And over the course of the convention, at the encouragement of Ty, Al, and others, I began to reconsider my path.

I could still speak at schools, charge nothing, and just begin performing again for corporate…

If I do 5-6 corporate dates per month and double my fee, I’ll be busy enough, but not too busy to miss my young children’s lives.  I could then do 5 freebies at schools per month.  Seemed like a plan!

And then the real kicker happened: The NSA Foundation Dinner in PA 2013 was considered a monumental disaster.  Some were offended, apologies were offered, it became the most talked about mess of the convention.

And in the wake of that mess, Al McCree noticed in my show description that I am the “G-Rated Entertainer”.  So he passed my name along to the powers that be.  And by the end of the convention, where I showed up as The Speaker, just retired from my title as The Entertainer, now I was pegged to be next year’s Foundation Dinner Entertainment.

They say good things come to those who wait.

I really believe I was ready for this gig as early as 2004, the same year I was offered the casino gigs in Las Vegas but chose to pursue other paths.

But the timing couldn’t have been better.

After hiring coaches such as Dave Crenshaw and Johnny Covey to get me through my business challenges and emotional blockages, after having so many believe in me, help me realize I could do BOTH a SHOW AND A MESSAGE of hope, inspiration, joy that could bind families together through humor, after all of this – there was tonight.

Actually, I did a 5 minute teaser in the morning session.  Remember, my NSA peers had never seen me before.  2,000 fellow speakers sat unaware as to what lurked backstage as they introduced me: I did a crazy quick set of:

Raptor, dentist, faces, Led Zeppelin.

Standing ovation.  For a Teaser!  Woah.  Nice people!

People are now running to the ticket booth to buy tickets.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  One of the main reasons I retired from Public Ticketed Events in 2011 is because I can hardly fill a theater unless the people are already stuck there (thus the corporate market is so perfect), but today as I saw those Speakers, my PEERS, running to the exits to get in line to see me later in the evening, paying $75-150 for the show and to help raise money for a great cause, I was floored.

Remember, a year ago I gave all of this up.  To speak – to kids – which I still feel was an ok choice.

But today I realized I needed to go to that place of not performing in order to realize how great performing really is.  I knew I had a gift.  We all know we have gifts.  We just choose to do with them what we will when we so desire.   I’m embarrassed I ever hid any of my gifts, but I needed to step away from them for a brief painful moment in order to realize the value of them in my life and the lives of others.

And I’m grateful I had friends looking out for me.  People talking sense into me.  Today wouldn’t have happened without it.

I do say this, ever so humbly: I think I might be one of the best youth speakers in the world.  At least I feel called to it, and I will always do it.  I’ve seen more change in young people in the last year when I speak to them, receive more powerful tweets, messages, emails, letters…kids who have given up hope, given up dreams, won’t try out for the play but are going to now because they heard me speak.  That’s an honor.  A privilege.  That’s a real calling!

And yet, I can do both.  I can perform a family friendly show for corporate audiences, make a living, AND spread a message of joy and hope, and those parents can take me home via the internet, a DVD, a Book, and we can continue the conversation with their children, who’s schools I could never come speak to all at once, because of the miracle of our times – media!

And so, today I did both my SHOW and my MESSAGE.

The NSA Foundation Dinner had more ticket sales than ever before.  Ron Culberson emceed in a most masterful way, raising money, doubling as auctioneer on amazing ticket items.  Kelly Swanson had her LAUNCH to the NSA audience, and she KILLED it.  She is so amazing.  I am so proud of her.  I love her gift, her energy, her spirit.

And then I had the chance to do my show.  I did a combination of “retired” material and new material.  It was actually as much fun as I’ve had in a while.  To receive standing ovations on pieces I have put to rest is very satisfying, and gets me thinking….I can’t just hang up everything.  It’s so fun to perform.  The bits and routines I’ve perfected, for the right crowd, can move them to appreciation, motivation, maybe even change in their own lives….?

As the ovations lasted I admit it was a bit awkward, but somehow there was a spirit greater than all of us there, that touched the room, the spirit of NSA, the spirit of the foundation to support those speakers in need, the spirit of Wounded Warriors for whom we also raised funds.  It was the most special night of my performing career.

As the hugs and compliments came for hours on end in the Seaport Ballroom of the awesome Manchester Grand Hyatt, from those speakers I had admired from afar for years and years and never thought would see me perform, to those I’ll maybe never get to see take the stage, but could feel their greatness as they spoke to me for a moment, I realized we all have our own crazy path.  God may guide us, but we choose the direction: He allows us to figure it out.

To be told this was the greatest performance ever seen on an NSA stage by members spanning 30+ years, with every credential and reputation as honest people, I really am concerned about the short and long-term memories of those giving me the most reaffirming compliments I’ve ever received.  It’s neat and it’s kind, but I can’t believe or accept it.  Because I saw yesterday, today, and will see tomorrow, more greatness on that stage than I could ever duplicate, than I could ever approach.  I’m floored by the generous comments but it wasn’t me they were seeing as great, it was themselves knowing they can do the same and we all did something awesome together.  But I appreciate their nice sentiments and will continue working to make myself better on stage in case I ever get the chance to do this for NSA again.

What a great night!  It’s now 5 AM.  General session starts at 8:30 AM.  Guess I’d better go work-out before the crowd hits the weight room!  Thank you NSA for your kindness in allowing me to have one such special moment in my career, whether it’s my launching pad, show-stopping, career defining moment or not, it was for me a life-changing experience and I know exactly what I am meant to do from here.

Goodnight!

jason hewlett

Marriott Marquis

Monday, June 30, 2014-Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Comments

  1. Jason, You Rock!

    Having the courage to change course and take a risk, in the middle of success, is simply inspiring! And at the same time, to maintain the ability to listen and remain coachable guarantee that you will always remain true to your “signature moves!” That is the epitome of a Champion. Well done my friend, well done.

    • Mark, you are a HERO in my life, thus my inclusion of your story in my upcoming book. Thank you for the life lessons you have taught me, and congratulations on your CSP!

  2. Gerald

    You’re my hero brother. It has been so fun watching you go through the phases of your evolution and transformation over the last couple years. This is just the beginning of another great chapter in your career. God has work for you to do, and your talents and voice and message will continue to impact hundreds of thousands.

    Thank you for inspiring me.

  3. Ivan Costner

    I am a huge fan of Jason Hewlett! When I attended the BPA Nationals competition in Indianapolis, I had no idea that I would be so inspired. Jason was hilarious, but what I liked most was when he explained that he put down jobs to work at casinos because he is a G-Rated performer. There are not many people who cling to their morals in today’s world, and so I was not only laughing my head off, I was greatly inspired. Thanks Jason Hewlett!!

    • Ivan, you are awesome and too kind. Thank you for reaching out and for your acceptance of the G-Rating, I appreciate it! BPI was awesome, thank you for being there, and for being here at NSA, hope it’s been a life-changer for you as it has been for me. Continue blessing lives as only you can!

  4. Lauriann

    Jason,
    Thank you for sharing your journey on a sleepless night! Learning about your path in this detail is helpful, enlightening, and inspirational. I love that you share such a valuable message with youth. I love that you’ve found a place for continuing to utilize your numerous talents. Both arenas show your heart and love for lifting up those around you. Your personal encouragement and kindness helps me to continue striving.
    I love it when you more recognize all you have to offer!
    Lauriann

    • Lauriann, You are so awesome, love you and Lloyd, thank you for being wonderful examples to our family. Thank you always for your support of my career and know we love you guys.

  5. MRH

    You would have been GREAT at any profession, because that’s who you are……an inspirational dynamic personality who makes a difference wherever you go. You……a Subway sandwich artist….Can you imagine the line out the door? THANKYOU for sharing….and for your contribution to so many! …3:00a.m….?……24 hours ……hey, get some beauty rest. (Even Albert Einstein had 10 hours of sleep each night, as well as daytime naps!). Ha! Wow! Congratulations!

    • Thank you, my Dear Mother, for this kind comment. You, more than anyone, know how long all of this took to create and make happen. I owe you so much credit for helping me along this path. I love you, look up to you, and appreciate all that you are. You will always be my first hero and I thank you for your example of greatness.

  6. Van Walther

    Jason – What an inspiration to an aspiring speaker. Keep it going. Live your genius. Rock the world. Help one more kid (no matter how young or old) find their WEIRDNESS and live it.

  7. I was there – you were awesome. The above post is all true. Great guy and awesome performance!! You weren’t as good as many of them – you were better than most.

    Your talents will have a lasting impact on your audiences – I look forwarded to seeing your message spread.

    All the best! If you haven’t seem him live…you are missing something in life!

  8. Scott Mackintosh

    Your show was spectacular as always. Thank you for living your dreams because YOU affect lives!
    Nice writing on the blog. You make it come alive. Very heartfelt.

  9. Chris Russell

    Jason, what a wonderful turn of events, congratulations! I just wanted to thank you for what you did at the Boise Youth Spectacular a few years ago. You made a huge impression on the youth (and me) and inspired us for the better. I still think about that event and the message you shared, in fact I just realized that what I think about the most isn’t the hilarious performance but the messages you shared. I think that is a real gift to be able to connect with the youth and leave a memorable message. I’m really glad to hear you are using it to uplift and inspire! Best of luck to you!

    • Chris, Thank you so much my brother! This means so much to me. Your words are the reason I share some more of the stories I do now. So amazing what ‘someone from the audience’ can say after a show or speech that can help you the rest of your life as a presenter, and truly you have blessed my life with your words and encouragement. My best to you in all! Love you man!

  10. Jason, thank you. I’m heart broken that I missed convention this year, and even more so that I missed this momentous event!! You have had the greatest impact on me and my path as a speaker and performer. Thank you for sharing your heart. I’m feeling incredibly blessed that both you and Kelly Swanson have helped me so much. Sad that I missed her LAUNCH too 🙁 Thank you…. Just…Thank you.

    • Abby, It was truly an historic evening for both Kelly and I. She was over-the-top excellent, what a sweetheart. You inspire me in so many ways. Your light, voice, and love is contagious. You are on the path to the right place. Love you!

  11. Thank you Jason! You have a gift, and we were so lucky to have you share that gift with us. You’re program at NSA was just what was needed. We laughed until we cried! I enjoyed our short chat in the hallway earlier that day. Keep being… AMAZING!

    • Mr. Sir! Shep, you are incredible, thank you for coming to the event and for your time talking in the hallway prior to it. I have admired your work for years, and that’s the reason I call you Sir. Thank you for your kind words and look forward to getting to know you better.

  12. Nido Qubein

    I was in the front row laughing my head off … And shedding a few tears … Watching you so masterfully weave music and comedy and inspiration and bringing joy to each of us and all of us in an audience spellbound by your extraordinary performance. I had to head to the east coast early but emailed Al saying “we want to sign up Jason for performances in a few places I’m involved. ” you are a special guy.

    • Mr. Qubein, I hope you don’t mind that I’m going to use your quotes in this comment stream for the rest of my career! You have so inspired me for years, to know you would take the time to come to the event, enjoy my act, read this post, and Comment, tells me you are exactly the kind of person I always knew you were off stage and not just on. The truest of gentlemen. I love and appreciate you so much. Thank you!

  13. Nido Qubein

    Extraordinary performance.
    An authentic experience of music, comedy, education, and enlightenment all woven in one fine hour.
    Wow!
    I’ve already contacted Al. We want you on several upcoming occasions.
    Thank you for sharing at NSA Foundation. I was on the front row taking all in … laughing my head off, and shedding a few tears too!

    • Nido, Your words are so humbling. You are one of my heroes of my life and career. I am honored to have been a part of such a wonderful event and to see you on the front row laughing helped me do even better. I love you brother. Thank you.

  14. You touched my heart. Your performance and message blessed me when I needed it most. I was tired, stressed and missed my family. My daughter, an Army Captain, is going on a mission. Everything you did connected me to my joy center, my love center. It was as though I was being hugged and told its all good. Thank you for you honesty and love for us all.

    • Pegine, I have so admired your work for over a decade. You are a great light in this world. Give my best to your daughter and thank you for your never-ending service to our country.

  15. We find ourselves in places throughout our lives and it’s all part of a plan that we sometimes don’t understand. I was so honored to be a part of your plan at the Foundation Event and to see your truly amazing talent – and generous spirit. Thank you for the amazing gift and hopefully, for the start of a new friendship.

  16. Shawn Hewlett

    Jason, This event doesn’t surprise me at all! Having watched you over your lifetime, it has been fun to see what you have done with your talents! I was sad when I was told that you were going to no longer sing and perform. I knew that you would do well with your speaking but felt that giving up your entertaining would be a great loss to the world!
    Congrats on finding that you can and should do both the entertaining and speaking!
    You are a great Man and I love You Brother!

  17. I am so happy for you! You truly deserved this night. Your an amazing man and it is so wonderful that you share your “Weirdness” with the world.

  18. Congrats, Jason! What a fantastic validation for you over such a long and winding journey. I’ve glad you’ve found the “groove” you were looking for. Now that the “overnight” success has happened this is just the beginning for you. Honored to have you as a friend.

    Keep groovin.

  19. Shawn

    This makes me smile from ear to ear. I am so proud to be your friend. What an awesome journey. You deserve every bit of it and this is just the beginning. I love you brother!

  20. A terrific night Jason – your performance fed all parts of the soul, like a wonderful 7-course meal. More! And thank you for sharing your story here – providing even more inspiration for me in the journey of building a meaningful life and business. My first Foundation dinner (and first Convention) was last year, and I believe there could have been no better choice than you to bring a healthy dose of fun and class to this year’s event. Looking forward to seeing more great things in your career and looking forward to telling others about your gifts. All the best – Chris from NSA Platform North Texas

    • Chris, You’re awesome to have come to the foundation event, thank you for supporting the effort. Your comment is so awesome and humbling, thank you. I hope to see you on the stage soon and it sounds like your Chapter might bring me in sometime soon, I would LOVE to do that. Thank you again for these kind words, God bless!

  21. My jaw was on the floor, my head was in the clouds. Your spirit turned the ballroom into a giant dome of happiness. Your talent is undeniable, yet your STRENGTH OF CHARACTER soars even higher, Jason. This blog post and your follow-up words to commenters tell the real story. You are living proof that amazing things happen to people who live their principles. I can’t wait to see where the road takes you and your beautiful wife next. And thank you so much for your kind words the next morning. I was floored that you remembered me!

    • Connie, this is so amazing to me that you, having seen everything the world over, would enjoy my act so much. I know your credentials. Thank you for the kind words regarding character as well, that means more to me than even the generous comments on my show. I am in Vancouver today performing for an event tonight and, as I contemplated resting up for tonight’s gig I remembered you in your dress from last year’s convention and I said, “Connie would probably go work out before this gig” and so I put on my shoes and ran around the city. You serve as daily inspiration to me since I first saw you in Philly, after seeing you for years in the media. I’ll never forget you and am grateful for your example. God bless!

  22. Jason! I love the honesty and vulnerability in this post. And, when I hugged you after your amazing performance … Do you remember what I said? I think your life just changed and I also thought of the Ricky Martin parallel. Best performance ever on NSA stage and I am grateful to have been there. I’m so happy for you and even more so after reading this piece. By the way, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an encore at NSA until you. Yay Jason!!

    • Marilyn, You are so incredibly kind and adorable. Thank you for the tears, the hug, your words following my show. I so appreciate your willingness to give of your time this year to our Chapter’s Speaker Academy that Ty Bennett and I ran together, you made it work. Thank you for this nice comment here, you are too much, but I am grateful for this. Love you and hope to gig with you soon!

  23. Jason, it was an honor, and pleasure to be in your audience. It was one of the most special nights I’ve experienced .. anywhere. Your heart is as big as your talent. I adore you, and loved meeting Tammy. I look forward to the next time our paths may cross!

    • Lois, you are so wonderful. Thank You first off for taking your time, and giving of your expertise, to our NSA Mountain West Chapter, that was one of the best presentations I’ve ever seen for speakers, so insightful. Thank you for coming to the foundation event, for your kind words, and for cheering me on. I look forward to working together in the years to come. God bless!

  24. Jason, there are hundreds of special people who fly under the radar in our association. I was one for years. Many have great messages and some have wonderful stories. But a select few have extraordinary gifts and a remarkable soul. Your “moment” in front of your peers was long overdue and so gratifying to see. I hope this is a turning point in your life and career and that you regain the love for your craft. You are truly brilliant and so many can benefit from your message and talent. Enjoy your moment my friend!

    Dave

    • David, I’ve looked up to you for quite a while my friend. You’ve always said hi to me and been very kind. So grateful to be included in your CSP Class and I am floored by your kind words here. You are incredible. Hope you get caught up on your sleep after the travels! God bless.

  25. Jason – while I was not at the dinner event, I was in the audience for your teaser. You killed. Thanks for sharing your talent, albeit briefly, with the general assembly.

    • Rob, Thank you for enjoying the teaser and letting me know. That was a fun piece to do. I look forward to seeing your presentation soon and appreciate your kind words.

  26. Jason, after I saw your teaser, I signed up for the foundation concert. It was a decision that I will appreciate for a long time.

    You were both entertaining and inspiring to the maximum degree. Truly touching. Awesome authenticity. The voices / faces / stories weren’t bad either. :>

    Much Success, Much Love.
    -Michael Anderson

  27. There are no words to describe your awesomeness! Patrick Henry and I (and the whole NSA Foundation Board) were beyond thrilled with you and the gift you gave everyone in that room. We raised the most money ever for such an incredibly important cause and you were a MAJOR part of that! I loved reading your story, so proud of you, so excited for you … you are a true rockstar. One of the best shows I have ever seen. Excited to see you take over the world. Sending you big Aussie cuddles and champagne kisses. Thank you for being you

    • Neen, What an honor it was to be a part of such a special evening. As you can tell it was a huge deal for me. Thank you for allowing it to happen. The committee was awesome, advertised it perfectly, and I’m so pleased we could raise significant money for a very real cause. Ron Culberson should be “to blame” for doing so awesome with the auction, he was perfect. YOU are the rockstar, and thank you for your kind words. I hope to someday come to your neck of the woods, I’ve never been to Australia, but hope my career might bless our lives with that chance. God bless you!

  28. I was there and it was one of the highlights of my convention. I appreciated everything about it. In my opinion the true value of a speaker is not in how much money he can command, but rather how well he can serve those who need him most. We needed you this year and so do the service men you are on your way to entertain and the school children who will meet you next school year. You’ve got a talent and I’m glad I had the chance to meet you.

  29. Jason – you are my hero. Yes, for what you do, but even more for who you are. Thank you for sharing your heart and your gift and your weirdness, and your honest fears and emotions. I think you have learned, and will continue to learn, what I believe is the greatest thing one can bring to NSA – and to life – and it is this:

    If you go into NSA (or life) thinking of what you can get, it will never be enough. But if you go into NSA thinking of what you can give, there is no end to what you will get.

    Glad to know you my friend, and thank you for bringing me in to share in your spotlight. I will remember it forever.

    • Kelly, you are so right, and it’s true about anything in life. I am grateful to have the chance to give, and you gave us your best as well. So fun to be a part of your big moment at NSA/Platform, and I look forward to many more in the years to come. You KILLED it. Love you

  30. What an incredible performance. I’ve been telling everybody I meet about you–without the moves and faces, of course! Such a delight to watch you work. And I definitely appreciate your commitment to be a G-rated performer and speaker; there are so few left these days!

    • Dianna, Wow! Thank you so much. I so look up to you and admire what you have created. What an honor that you were there. Thank you and continued success. And hey – I just finished my first book, if I get to work I’ll catch up to you in no time …. 😉 You are a machine of awesome!

  31. Jason:

    I’m so sorry I missed your performance. But I loved reading your story here and watching your teaser. I’m hoping your performance was recorded so I can watch.

    I love how humble you are and that you were open to Al and others’ input that you can do both corporate and serve kids. Very astute people and you’re smart to listen.

    And congrats again on your CSP!

    • Rebecca! Thank you so much and congrats on getting you CSP. I appreciate your words and would love to see your presentation someday. I did get it recorded, I’m hoping it will be something I can use in the future if it turns out. Thank you again and God Bless!

  32. Jason,
    You are a treasure and feel truly blessed to have experienced your magic on stage! I attempted your Raptor face and due to an unexpected cramp my expression is frozen. Any suggestions to get my mug unstuck? When you have three fingers and an artificial leg a dinosaur face is a bit over the top!
    Thanks again my friend! You are a rock star!
    Roger Crawford

    • HAAHAHAHAHA! Roger, that’s hilarious. Thank you for the laugh. I appreciate your kind words. I appreciate you and look forward to seeing you on stage sometime sooner than later! Thank you. And PS, the remedy to unstuck the Raptor is to now start biting everyone that comes near you. It’s perfect.

  33. Hi, Jason. I am so glad that this experience has solidified your need and desire to continue your entertainment-based presentations. You can have it all and we can still have you!

    • Hi Judy! Thank you! I’m so sorry to have confused you and everyone, mostly myself. But it’s been good. I miss you greatly and hope to work with you again soon! You’ll love the new show format and material mixed with the best of the old.

  34. Hey Jason!
    Saw you NSA teaser streaming online and knew everyone would be ‘baited’ to want to see more of your talents later! You are an inspiration, I hope to follow some of your footsteps (‘Entertainer/Singer/Impressionist’ transformed to Speaker/Entertainer) in the near future. Maybe I’ll skip the year of touring schools but I did just learn the song ‘Thank God for Kids'(Oak Ridge Boys) to dedicate to teachers at an upcoming event.
    Keep up the great work!

    • Ha! Larry. You are funny with that comment about the year with the kids! You are one of my favorites my friend. Your story and talent are unparalleled. Thank you for the kind words. Continued success my friend!

  35. TamiH

    I’ve seen hundreds maybe thousands of Jason’s shows and just when I thought he couldn’t get any better he did!!!!! You are amazing!!! Many people asked me after the show if he always gets that kind of reaction….roaring laughter, crying,standing ovation, 2 encores???? I said….always! Jason is unlike any other. I am so proud of you and proud to be your wife!

    • It was so wonderful to have you there to share such a special moment for us. Yes US. None of it happens without the countless shows where you sat pressing the cues and helping the crowd laugh along since the beginning. All of the success experienced is both of ours. I’m grateful for your never-ending support and love.

  36. Jason, Al McCree was my mentor, too, and I’m so grateful for the way you are lifting him up so that everyone can witness the difference he makes behind the scenes…not just for those of us he champions, but for every audience member we ever reach because of Al McCree’s guidance and generous support. I love the way you tell this story and I’m going to be sending it to all the “Vocal Visionaries” that I mentor who are coming from the entertainment world to do a message that entertains AND enlightens. You were so amazing that night. It was a joy to behold! May the good you do come back to you ten-fold.

    • Wow Jana. You’re right, he is incredible and an inspiration to be behind the scenes and lift as he does when he is a great talent in and of himself. Love that man, he’s the real deal. Thank you for your kind comments, it really means a lot.

Trackbacks

  1. […] at the conference you’ll know it was a career-changing event for me.  Check it out HERE  I’m still kind of in a fog about how well that went, really […]

  2. […] how good you are, what you’ve done before, even during this very week following a life-changing, validating performance for my peers at the National Speakers Association, when someone like Foster shows up you realize it’s now just up to fate, muscle memory, and a […]

  3. […] Sort of that concerned feeling I had last Monday before I took the stage to perform for my peers at the National Speakers Association. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *