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Episode 120 – Simon T. Bailey: SPARK – Release Your Inner Brilliance

Do you feel like the many, who feels like you haven’t found your voice? Our podcast guest for today, Simon T Bailey, felt just like that when he was younger. His parents did everything they can to support him, but he was failing all the classes and sports he went into. He even was suicidal at one point, and felt so bad about his situation. His turning point was when he’s 15 years old and his English teacher ask for him to write a speech for the entire school. His speech:  “It’s Time For A Change”, had become his impetus to finding his voice and finding his freedom.


For a long time he felt that he was not good at anything. He was diagnosed with ADHD, which people call ‘hyperactive’ at his time. But today, he is a renowned speaker, author, life coach and entrepreneur. His journey, like any others’, isn’t all pretty. At one time, someone’s remark led him to want to commit suicide. Someone said to him that he was so dark and that he is nothing. For a span of time he felt his skin is a curse. He overcame this ‘comparison inferiority complex’, as what he calls it and the many other hurdles that came his way. In today’s episode, he is sharing how to overcome your roadblocks and to unleash your inner brilliance!


This episode will not disappoint! Be sure to share this with your friends and families and together, let us release the brilliance that has always been in us. Believe that you too will find your voice, your brilliance and the freedom you’ve been searching.


Here’s What You Missed


  • What really holds us back?
  • How will you get other people help you with your vision?
  • How to be a good public speaker?
  • What are the skills needed to succeed?
  • The importance of having a dream
  • You were born to be brilliant!

Release Your Inner Brilliance


Knowledge Nuggets


Simon believe that all of us is born to be brilliant, we just got to harness and release it. Listen to this episode to understand how!


[7:32] Finish what you start, but be open if it looks different than what you had imagined. So you have to be open for the pivots and the changes and the turns in the road to get to your destiny and dream and realize you’re going to get there.


[8:53] It’s not who you are that holds you back. It’s who you think you’re not that holds you back. Sometimes you focus on who you think you’re not instead of who you are.


[9:00] Realize that the pigmentation of your skin doesn’t prevent you or stop you.


[10:24] The best hand that will feed you is the one at the end of your risks. So I had to begin to move into action and not wait for the hookup.


[11:44] Sometimes opportunities are disguised as work. They’re disguised as things you’ve never seen before, but the moment you see it, you won’t unsee it.


[13:22] If you help enough people get what you want, enough people will help you get what you want. So you’ve got to help others get what they want by asking them “help me help you”. Another is when people achieve whatever, celebrate them. Because in celebrating them, they’re going to help celebrate you.


[14:07] Failure comes before success in the dictionary. So we learn quicker from failures. Realize that rejection is a gift and never forsake seasoning.

[19:06] Speaking just really comes down to understanding how do you stand in your confidence and start with the conversation. Then how you move from the speech to the connection, because that’s where it’s at.


[21:02] Answer the question. “What problem have you been created to solve?” Because in a  world of automation, algorithms, autonomous cars, artificial intelligence, men, and women that are going to be relevant for where the future is going have to really start with what problem have I been created to solve. What are the skills that I need for where the future is going?


Skills needed for the future:   1. Creativity 2. Persuasion 3. Adaptability 4. Collaboration 5. Emotional intelligence


[28:55] “Even if it’s free before we get to fee, I would just show up and I would be everywhere because if you think about it, if you’re really hungry, in the words of Les Brown, you probably could do five to six virtual webinars a day. And the free would lead to fee.”


[32:36] VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. That’s where the world is right now. So how do you help individuals get through the VUCA continuum?


[35:22] Dreams are a snapshot of the future. There’s a sneak preview of a coming attraction. A dream is a seed, that’s sowed into the soil of tomorrow that will produce a harvest if you water it every day.


[37:45] The well that you drink from is the well that you think from, and eventually it is the well that you emulate and become.


[38:46] You were not born to fit in. You were born to be brilliant.


[40:25] Knowledge is information, understanding is comprehension, but wisdom is application. Be mentored from a distance. Read their books, watch a video, listen to their podcasts.


[43:06] There will never be a perfect time to become the person you might’ve been. You’ve got to make the move right now because there’s something called timing and you don’t want to miss your timing because everybody that’s supposed to help you when you show up on time, they’re there to usher you to the next step in your journey.


Important Reads and Links


Recommended books:


Think And Grow Rich, A Black Choice by Dr. Dennis Kimbro

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein


Simon T Bailey Website:                           https://www.simontbailey.com/

Simon T Bailey Instagram:                         https://www.instagram.com/simontbailey/

Simon T Bailey Facebook:                         https://www.facebook.com/BrilliantSimonT/

Simon T Bailey Twitter:                             https://twitter.com/SimonTBailey


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Download this episode’s transcript HERE


Click Here for a full transcript of this episode:

Casanova Brooks:

What’s up DreamNation. We are back again. And I’m so excited to be bringing to you this episode, because I tell you every single episode it is, is an opportunity for you to be able to take action on your own dream. And this is a man. I would like to consider a friend who allowed me to feel like I could take action on my dream.

That much more. So without further ado, please help me in welcoming to the show. My brother, mr. Simon T Bailey Simon.

I want to go ahead and say what’s up to DreamNation?

Simon T. Bailey:

What’s up DreamNation, good to be with you!.

Casanova Brooks:

Man. It’s good to have you on here. Now we were just talking about before we went on air, I had the opportunity and the blessing to be able to see you speak in person.

Yeah. And I’ll tell for anybody who has not seen it yet. I know hundreds of thousands have, but for anybody who’s not seen it yet. It is such a magnificent picture. And so I want to, I always like to make sure we give the proper introduction for people who do not know who you are as of yet. And I know that you’ve been featured across.

All different publications. You’ve spoken in over 49 countries. You’ve spoken over 1800 organizations, which is just a magnificent feat in itself. But I always like to think of us as entrepreneurs, just like superheroes. And what do I mean by that? We’re constantly putting on this cape, we’re flying around the world as you definitely are, and you’re trying to solve problems.

And so before you became this superhero, if we could take it back to when you were just a young boy, tell us who is Simon T Bailey?.

Simon T. Bailey:

So what I was 14 years of age, I, my parents took me to McKinley high school in Buffalo, New York. And it was a trade high school where you had to take sheet metal, air conditioner, refrigeration, carpentry.

And I failed all the classes. And I went out for sports, went out for the football team and I got cut. I went out for the basketball team. They said, you are not the next Magic Johnson. And I got cut and I went out for cross country and they said, my brother, you are a little slow.

I felt sorry for my parents ended up moving me to another high school. And it was at that high school, 15 years of age where my English teacher said young, man, I want you to write a speech and give it for the entire school. That interesting enough, just a little important note between freshman year and sophomore year, I attempted to commit suicide because I had felt so bad about my situation.

But it’s 15 is where I found my voice. Yeah. It started living the dream. Yeah.

Casanova Brooks:

Let’s talk about that. And you said you got cut from everything. Did you have any brothers or sisters when you were growing up? Like, what was your childhood like? Were your parents always encouraging or were your parents always working?

And so they just try to put you into things to keep you active. So you felt like you just could never find your niche or your groove in the world.

Simon T. Bailey:

Yeah, well, I went to Catholic school and then my parents put me in public school and they put me in activities. So I was in a lot of different activities, but nothing was sticking.

I wasn’t really good at anything. I think they were just trying to keep me busy and out of trouble. So all of a sudden, I go to a Bennett high school, public high school at 15. And I think my parents said, okay, this is our last ditch effort, or he’s going to be a dropout. And I probably should tell you as my mother reminded me, when I was 10 years of age, my mother and father got called to the school and the principal told them, and what we.

Called now ADHD. But back in the day was called I was hyperactive. So there was no Ritalin back in the day. So my parents just said, Oh Lord, what are we going to do with this child? Oh yeah, yeah,

Casanova Brooks:

So you write the speech. Right. And, and you, I, I imagine you presented in front of the school.

Simon T. Bailey:

I did. And it was game changer, game changer.

In fact, whenever I go back home to Buffalo, New York, where I grew up- Go Bills!, this could be the year.

Casanova Brooks:

They might not even be a season.

Simon T. Bailey:

Keep hope alive. Yeah. So whenever I go back home, people still ask me if I have that speech it’s called “It’s Time For A Change”. And, that was many years ago, but that became the impetus to me finding my voice and finding my freedom

Casanova Brooks:

And why I think that’s so significant is because I always say that we do our best work when it feels like our back is up against the wall.

And so do you feel like if you could take it back and try to relive that moment, do you feel like this was your last hope. As to trying to feel like you had value or significance in this world. Like you, it seems like you were already good at writing and maybe being able to show your passion through writing.

That’s why the English teacher said that. Do you feel like that was your last hope.

Simon T. Bailey:

Yeah, it was my last help. It was that last ditch effort that if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what my options are. I really, really didn’t.

Casanova Brooks:

Got it. So, and I think that’s significant because for a lot of people they feel, and like, this is my last hope right now.

Right? There’s, there’s a pandemic going on. There’s obviously a lot of injustices and people are just trying to get things to calm down so much. So where they feel like they could figure out who they are, whether they’re 15 years old or whether they’re. 50 years old. And so that’s something that you’ve been able to teach on over the last, what, 30 years?.

Simon T. Bailey:

Yes, I have. And it’s been an amazing journey.

Casanova Brooks:

And so talk to me about what was the transition like after you write this, you know, and now all of a sudden you start to find your place. How do you then start to transition to say, not only have I found my voice, but then I can teach other people to find their voice.

Simon T. Bailey:

Yeah, I should probably. Build on this story by saying, mom and dad dropped me off at Morehouse. And it was at Morehouse college where I was selected to be the freshmen class speaker and which is huge honor. It’s a pretty big deal. Morehouse and Spelman come together. And that become became another moment in time where it was a proof point that, you know what I think I could do this.

But as life would have it, I’m living in the ATL, lost. I ended up dropping out of school. So now my dream is on hold of, I didn’t even know what I was going to do. I eventually did go back to school, but it took me about 10 years to finish my undergrad degree. And the reason that’s important, no matter who’s listening to us right now, finish what your start, but be open if it looks right.

Different than what you had imagined. So you have to be open for the pivots and the changes and the turns in the road to get to your destiny and dream and realize you’re going to get there. But sometimes you have to let go in order to let come. Huh,

Casanova Brooks:

and that’s so significant. That’s something that I tell people all the time is you do not have to love the journey where you have to be married to the destination.

Right? If you decide that Eddie you’re going down to Florida, you could go North, you could go South, you could get flat tires, you could get pulled over. Then, you know, you can run through a tornado. It doesn’t matter what, but as long as you know where that destination is, then you keep faith and hope alive.

You will eventually make there. And what you want to do is enjoy the journey as much as possible. Not. Love it, but embrace it and enjoy it to understand that all of these experiences will be significant. And when you get there, it’s like, man, this was worth it. Let’s talk about what was in the beginning.

Right? What was your biggest challenge as you started to release your own brilliance? Because you say you dropped out of college, you did want them going back, but now we’ve been able to impact thousands of people. Talk to me about what was your biggest challenge? If you can look back in that first 10 years.

Simon T. Bailey:

Yeah, it’s a number one. It’s not who you are that holds you back. It’s who you think you’re not. That holds you back. I think the second thing is, realizing that the pigmentation of your skin doesn’t prevent you or stop you.

I’ll never forget when I was 15, I was playing basketball and this led to me wanting to commit suicide. And a boy said to me, you are so ugly. You are black as tar, you are nothing. And it was like, somebody took a knife and just like ripped me open. And so for a long time, I had to overcome a, what I would call comparison inferiority complex, because I would compare where I was to where others were.

And if I didn’t have the right skin, I thought my skin was a curse. I thought I was born into the wrong family. I grew up in an impoverished neighborhood. Buffalo, New York is the third core city. In America, according to the us census. So I realized I had to get into a new mental zip code. And when I changed and move into that new mental state zip code, I stopped comparing myself to others.

I started believing in myself, but then I also realized this the best hand that will feed you is the one at the end of your risks. So I had to begin to move into action and not wait for the hookup.

Casanova Brooks:

Wow. So talk to me about how did you move, move into this mental zip code? Cause I think everybody can benefit from this.

Was there a strategy? Was there a book or mentor, even a class or a seminar that you took that really allowed you to move that needle forward? Because a lot of people want to, they just don’t know where do I even start? And is this the right path to do that?

Simon T. Bailey:

Yeah, everyone listening to us. I strongly encourage you to pickup of copy of the book, download a copy of the book called “Think And Grow Rich, A Black Choice”.

And that particular version is written by Dr. Dennis Kimbro, Dr. Kimbro, literally his book became a lifesaver for me and a snapshot of what I could be. and I devoured that book. I highly recommended to everyone that they got to read that book.

Casanova Brooks:

Got it. What was the most significant AHA moment that you got out of that book?

Was there ever one story? Was there one part? Cause they obviously, document a lot of the stories in there. Was there one that really particularly stood out to you?

Simon T. Bailey:

Well, it’s dr. Kimbro story of how he was contacted by the Napoleon Hill foundation and everything he had to persevere to get to that point.

Now, granted, he was a successful professor at Clark Atlanta university, but all of a sudden he gets this, this opportunity and he had to recognize it and go forward. And what that taught me is sometimes opportunities are disguised as work. They’re they’re disguised as things you’ve never seen before, but the moment you see it, you won’t unsee it.

And when you begin to put a little elbow grease, and lean in all of a sudden you’re like, that’s it. And you go with it. Nobody else around you is going to understand it or even get it.. guess what, they’re not supposed to, as long as you do. That was my biggest take away.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it. And so that’s really key too, because you said like when you first started out and for those who don’t know, you were a big Disney executive, right?

You were sales director, you were running with one of, you know, if not the largest company in terms of customer service and, and everyone knowing them, but you said, you know, At one point. And I think I read this somewhere, but you said at one point you felt like you were a boss with an agenda versus being a leader with a vision.

And for a lot of people there, if they’re in the entrepreneurship game or they’re thinking about it, I think the thing that becomes so daunting is you think I can’t do it all myself, but you don’t know exactly, exactly how to build a team, how to build relationships, how to get other people to believe in your vision.

And I think that that’s something that you’ve been able to cast very well. What would you say is the number one way or what’s the first thing that someone needs to do to shy, to start creating a relationship and get other people to believe in their vision?

Simon T. Bailey:

Well, first of all, I’ll never forget the word.

Zig Ziglar said to me, before he passed away, Zig Ziglar was the preeminent 20th century motivation speaker. And he said to me, if you help enough people get what you want enough, people will help you get what you want. So you’ve got to help others get what they want by asking them in the words of Cuba, Gooding jr.

And Jerry McGuire, “help me help you”. Where are you trying to go? And so before you show up to say, “here’s what I need. Come follow me, help me fulfill my dream”. What’s YOUR dream?. And then you begin to sow and get involved in their dream and they’ll help you achieve your dream. I think the second thing is looking for individuals who are already doing what you’re doing, but doing it 10 times or a hundred times better and studying, what did they do?

What were their successes and what were their failures because failure comes before success in the dictionary. So we learn quicker from failures. And I think the third thing is to find out, when people achieve whatever, that thing that they’re going after, how do you celebrate them? And then because in celebrating them, they’re going to help celebrate you.

Casanova Brooks:

Got it. I love it. And was there ever a time that you thought in the beginning that. There was no hope for you to become a speaker. And the reason why I asked this is because I think a lot of people right now, they would love to be able to share their message. And one thing you’ve been very clear on is how you share your message in terms of leadership, in terms of a culture building, but for a lot of people right now, They, they listen at this and they say, man, I love the way that guy speaks.

Right. I love the way he articulates himself, but I don’t think I could ever do that. Was there ever a time that you were like, nah, maybe the speaking thing isn’t for me or did you know for early on that, like you had the gift,

Simon T. Bailey:

You know what? So. I knew early on I had something, but sometimes you need seasoning in order to really become all that you possibly can be.

So I’ll give you two quick examples if you’ve ever had any really good, a good deep fried Turkey. All right. You know, that the way that deep fried turkeys prepare is the night before they take all of the seasons, they melt the seasoning, put the seasoning in a syringe, and then they take that syringe, put it in the Turkey and they released the seasoning into the Turkey.

They put the Turkey in the refrigerator overnight so that the seasoning can marinate. Then they take it out the next day, drop it in that 400 of Fahrenheit. P a peanut oil. I know some people already got their knife and fork right now. Track it with me when you put that knife and fork in that.

Oh, it’s good. It’s because it’s seasoning. What I recognize in my journey is I had a gift, but I needed seasoning. I needed to embrace that. I was, I had something, but I wasn’t good. And so the second story is. For 10 years, I wanted to speak for the million dollar round table, which is a huge deal in the financial and insurance industry.

I mean, it is like, it is like the place you want to be. So for 10 straight years, I had submitted my media information. They viewed it. They said, you’re not that good. So. I literally got a dear John email say you’re not ready. So finally I decided I needed to hire a coach and the coach began to work with me, not one coach, two coaches that begin to work with me to help me polish up and become better.

And sure enough, I went back the following year. And I was accepted and I had a chance to be the opening speaker in Toronto Canada spoke before 9,000 people from 72 nations. 12 to 13 of nations. They were doing simultaneous translation as I was speaking. But what I recognize if I hadn’t had the rejection.

And the seasoning, I would have never become the person that I was supposed to be. So whoever’s listening to us, realize that rejection is a gift and never forsake seasoning.

Casanova Brooks:

Hmm. I love it. I love it. And again, just appreciating the journey, embracing that journey. One thing that I’ve wondered as I met you the first time was, do you feel like anyone can really begin to speak and articulate the way that you can?.

And the reason why I say that is because yes, you had a coach, but for some people that say, I want to become a speaker, right. I’m not very good, but at the same time, can anyone get that? Or do you feel like nah, like it’s, it’s not, you can be your own way and you can have your own message, but can everyone become, you know, as articulate as you are.

Simon T. Bailey:

Yes. And the answer is yes. Here’s why, what I’ve been doing, I’ve been doing this for 40 years, you know, 30 years inside, you know, businesses, organizations and everything. But really this has been 40 years in the making and our team just, over the last year has been creating this whole thing around.

“How do you do it?” And because I get so many calls from people weekly, monthly, quarterly, Hey, how do you do that? And for me, it’s like breathing air. I don’t think about it. Right. So we just, we decided to go into the laboratory, literally unpack. How to present, how to embrace public speaking. And we’ll be rolling out in the next month, next month, or so this whole program around this concept, but here’s what I’ll say.

The answer is. Absolutely. Yes. And speaking just really comes down to understanding how do you stand in your confidence and start with the conversation. And then, and then we unpack how you move from the speech to the connection, because that’s where it’s at. And if you’ve really studied any great speakers or presenters, they just have this way where it’s not speechified or it’s like, eh, where’s this going?

And then all of a sudden, you like, you feel like you’re in the living room, like you and I. Just having a conversation that’s speaking, like when you distill it down. So we’ve been able to do that. I’m so excited to, to really bring this to the world and teach people, what we’ve been working on for 40 years.

Casanova Brooks:

Talk to me about, you help a lot of people find their spark or find their joy. And I think for a lot of people right now, as they look at this new transition of life, the way that we’re going to communicate the way that we will, you know, even be able to be in the presence of other people, right.

With social distancing, we don’t know where it’s going, but for a lot of people right now, they’re in a place and they think enlisted. I don’t necessarily want to go back to this job. Right. I want to actually go out there, find my spark, find my joy, find what makes me come alive, but I don’t even know where to start.

Should I go after my passion? Should I go after the profit? How do you always educate and advise people can, how would someone go after whatever makes them come alive? What’s the first thing that they need to do.

Simon T. Bailey:

Answer the question. “What problem have you been created to solve?” Because in a world of automation, algorithms, autonomous cars, artificial intelligence, men, and women that are going to be relevant for where the future is going.

Have to really start with what problem have I been created to solve. Now, once I understand that problem that I’ve been created to solve, what are the core skills that I need in order to be relevant?

Casanova Brooks:

So let’s take it back and I hate to do this, but that’s a big,

Simon T. Bailey:

it’s a big question, but an important question, because so many people have been told, “Oh, you can do anything just go forward and pursue your passion”.

That’s great. What’d you make not make money in your passion. And if money is the thing you need, you know, then you have to think about, does this problem solve money? It can be my passion, but does it really solve a problem? Is it really, really needed. So in unpacking that, that particular question you then say, what are the skills that I need?

For where the future is going. And LinkedIn has just released the top five skills that are needed for the workforce of the future skill. Number one, creativity. All right. Skill number two, persuasion, which is that public speaking skill. Number three, adaptability being able to change legs, be agile skill number four collaboration.

Working with others who don’t necessarily look like you, but you can show up on a team as a contractor, as an entrepreneur, as an employee, or as an entrepreneur, to help move something forward and then skill number five, emotional intelligence, being self aware, the ability to read what’s going on in you and in others.

So. If I’m going to solve a problem, I had to think, do any of these five skills do I need to improve? Do I have these five skills? Do I have I’m one of them and how do I go deep in those skills? As I saw problems.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it. Do you think that it’s more valuable today to be a specialist or a generalist?

Simon T. Bailey:

Generalists? Absolutely. Hands down. Wow.

Casanova Brooks:

Let’s unpack that for sure.

Simon T. Bailey:

Yeah. So here I am working at Disney and I have 30 years in the hospitality industry, six different companies, 10 different jobs. So seen a lot done a lot, but then I leave Disney and I’m now out here and all I heard. For 17 and a half years, you’re going to specialize in something.

So I’m like, okay, my area that I’m going to specialize in is brilliance. So I started writing about brilliance, talking about brilliance, but then after a while I realized, wait a minute, I want to do some other things. I just don’t have to speak. I can create an online course. I can do executive coaching.

I can write books. I can do, like, there were probably five other areas. That I could go in. So be a generalist. And here’s why I say this two years ago, I was invited to Johannesburg South Africa to be recognized at an event. And at the dinner, the night before the event, I’m sitting next to a guy and, you know, we exchange names and I said, so what do you do?

And he says, I’m a slashie. And I’m like, what’s a slashie. He said I’m a digital photographer slash I’m a computer programmer slash and I’m a fashion designer slash and how old are you? He says I’m 22 years of age. And I realized in that moment I went all the way to South Africa to get free. What he was saying.

Is, you can be a slashie us. Slashie is the person that doesn’t settle for the way it’s always been done. They have what? The new book that’s out of the author name, escapes me. The book is called Range.

Casanova Brooks:

Yeah. you gotta have it

Simon T. Bailey:

and it’s all good.

Casanova Brooks:

And, and I love that because obviously when most people are getting into business, they say, find your niche, right? Find who is your ideal customer is the one problem that you can solve, or you could do it better. And obviously there’s different, compelling arguments and persuasion to think.

But one time I was talking to one of my buddies and he’s a barber, and he had said, He wanted it to be the number one barber, but he also loves coaching , all this, but he wanted to be the number one barber. And I asked him the question I said, would you agree that Steph Curry is probably the best shooter in the game, at least today, maybe even ever.

And he said, yeah. And I said, great. And then I said, would you agree that probably right now, LeBron’s the best. A player in the NBA. And he was like, yeah. And I was like, would you ever draft, if you had one game or you’re building a team around one person, would you ever take Steph Curry over LeBron and just wanted to see his answer?

And he said, no. And it quickly. And I said, well, why not? And he said, well, well, LeBron, you get the total package. Right. What’s Steph Curry. You know, you’re going to get that, that jumper, but LeBron, you get it all. And I was like, so that was my, my point. Exactly. And I feel like I am one of the minority, just like you, that I believe that there’s so much value in being a generalist, but in the world, they always tell you, you gotta specialize, which makes people feel like they’re being put into a box.

Right. Right,

Simon T. Bailey:

right. And that’s why the number one skill is creativity. A person that can, it can be dropped airdropped in any situation. And literally they a channel they’re inner MacGyver, they’re a Swiss army knife. They could do a lot of things. Well, multi-dimensional thinking.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it. I love it. Now for you when you first got started in speaking, because I love the fact that you’ve spoken over 1800 organizations, you do everything from coaching to consulting and everything else.

A lot of people they would like to get there. Their world started in speaking. Right. They would love to just share their message, whatever it is. But I think it’s become so challenging because people don’t know how to go out and find like paid speaking engagements. And, for you. Do you feel like right now for where we are in the world, it’s easy to be able to go out and find paid speaking engagements?

Or do you feel, I feel like if you’re going to try to become a speaker, go do it for free for six months to a year. And then the paid speaking engagements will come, you know, later on down the road,

Simon T. Bailey:

Yes. So nothing is easy because if it was easy, everybody would be doing it. So, what I tell people, I have to still get up every single day and dial for dollars as if it’s day one as if it’s day one.

I don’t assume anything, but we’ve gotten smarter over the years as we think about our business. So if you were just starting out in this COVID 19 environment, As a speaker, where should you start? You know what I would do, I would take a chapter out of the hip hop. Preacher, Eric. Yeah. Eric Thomas. I would literally get on YouTube every single day and I would have a motivational minute that you just put out there every single day.

And let people just get connected with your content. Second thing I would do is I would obviously have a website and create a blog and I would go and get friends, family, besties, people all over and create a surround sound and tell them, start sharing my blog with others. Third thing that I would do is I would go to organizations who are trying to get there remotely staff to reengage with the fresh new perspective, especially in light of everything that’s happened over the last few weeks, with Briana Taylor, certainly George Floyd.

And I would be so intentional to say, guess what. I can come to your organization via zoom and I can deliver right through this medium, even if it’s free before we get to fee, I would just show up and I would be everywhere because if you think about it, if you’re really hungry, in the words of Les Brown, you probably could do five to six virtual webinars a day.

Like a day and, and, and the free would lead to fee. How bad do you want it? But when I realized some people were not willing to do the work, they’re waiting for the phone to ring or the email to come. And I have good news and I have better news: “The phone is not going to ring”, and the better news is “you have to go after it”.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it so much. It is right. I mean, people have all the opportunity in the world right now, but they’re still not moving the needle. And when I say that, I said, when this pandemic first was looking like it was about to hit, I said, this is going to be an opportunity for many people to reset their situation.

Right with all we’ve never had the low interest rates, you know, unemployment right now is that time. And that if you were ever going to take a risk, as long as it was a calculated risk, if we were ever going to take a risk, these last four months have been all of that. Right. And so I love the fact that you said it and hopefully somebody hears that and they say, you know what?

That is something, but here’s the other thing. When it comes to the terms of speak and a lot of people say, right, if you market to everyone in a sense, you market to no one, right? And you talked about being a generalist and a lot of people say that you have to go out there and you have to have one clear message, in that world.

Do you think that it’s more important to be a generalist or a specialist in that? How do you find that one message that you feel like people will pay for?

Simon T. Bailey:

Yeah. So I’m glad you flipped the question. So yes, when it comes to that specificity, you need to be known for that core area that you deliver and, and really be seen as the subject matter expert for what you do.

So people have known me for over 15 years for talking about release your brilliant shift, your brilliance, releasing leadership brilliance. But what I recognized that was the 1.0, and now I’ve built on that with spark. So now everything is about spark and people think of me top of mind, as it relates to spark.

So yes, be known for that. But you also want to allow people to know that you have a repository of thinking that allows an organization or business to become better because of you.

Casanova Brooks:

Got it. So do you feel for somebody that’s listening to this right now and they’re saying, okay, well, I don’t know my very much about brilliance, right.

And I kind of know a little bit about what’s going on in current events. Is there a industry or a topic or buzzword that maybe I should be looking into that could help me at least get my foot in the door for the first couple? And then I can build off of that, you know, is there anything that you’ve seen because.

It feels like that there’s many things that we can all talk about, but a lot of people maybe wouldn’t pay for those.

Simon T. Bailey:

Yeah. So everyone needs to wrap their head around and everyone, that sounds, let me say it a different way, because language is so important… I would invite you to consider now notice how I did that switch right there.

Cause language is so important because what I was about to say what seemed like a directive and I’m pointing my finger in your face. But when I say I would like to invite you to consider it’s a different texture. So I would like for everyone to. Consider the term VUCA. If you’re going to hang your hat on an area, that’s going to be critically important.

You need to understand, let me say it again. You want to understand VUCA. VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Okay. That’s where the world is right now. And we’re going to be here for more than a New York minute. So how do you help individuals get through the VUCA continuum?

Volatility? Uncertainty complexity and ambiguity. And then underneath that, how do you begin to unpack? This is how you lead. This is how you connect with customers. This is how you ensure that everyone in a culture matters. Here’s how you have the. Difficult conversations about race. Let me just say something about race.

black people right now in America, don’t want to stand up and be seen as the black historian for your company where now they are asked all the questions. Well, how are you doing? How are you feeling? That is uncomfortable and that is unfair. So no black person wants to just be singled out, especially if they’re the only one as if they have all the answers, because they do not speak for the race.

Okay. I just had to get that out there

Casanova Brooks:

for sure. And then, and that is something that people think that they’re doing the right thing. How are you doing? How is your head right now? How’s your heart? And it’s like the, and then, you know, that, that conversation came up over the water cooler. So there’s six other people. That’s all about to do this and now they all want to know your response.

And then they’re going to go back and talk, Oh, what. Yes. No. I’m glad that you brought that up.

Simon T. Bailey:

So, so if you’re going to focus on an area, certainly don’t pigeon pigeonhole yourself to only speak about black issues because that’s going to limit you. Yes, it is important. And yes, we are so happy that people are thinking about conscious inclusion.

But we also want to be known that don’t work with me or pick me because I’m black pick me because I’m good. And I just happen to be black. That’s a bonus.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it. VUCA. That’s something that we can all be thinking about. Right. And that’s how you stay ahead as well, because just like you said, you were going to be there for a while.

And if you want to be known for something that won’t be wiped out, you can help people get to that shift. Right. over the next five, 10 years. I think that that will be huge. Talk to me about what does it mean for you to have a dream and to be able to execute on it? Because a lot of people right now they have dreams and the whole purpose of this show is we talk about all the time it’s taken action on a dream.

Do you think that it’s important to have a dream.

Simon T. Bailey:

Absolutely dreams are a snapshot of the future. There’s a sneak preview of a coming attraction and dreams are like learning your ABCs. B comes after A, C comes after B. So having that dream is getting up the next day and say, “what am I going to do to put one foot in front of the other?”.

And move through the 26 steps, like the alphabet to make my dream a reality, no matter how hard it may be a dream is a seed, that’s sowed into the soil of tomorrow that will produce a harvest if you water it every day. But when that seed is planted in the ground, the seed actually dies. So your dream may seem like it is in obscurity and nothing is happening.

But if we go back to third grade science, we realize that the process of photosynthesis is always working, but you’ve got to continue to water it. And move out the weeds so that the seed of the dream can grow.

Casanova Brooks:

Has there been anybody who’s been significant, you talked about Zig Ziglar. You talked about Dr. Dennis Kimbro.

Has there been anybody over the last. Five years, 10 years, as you’ve now started to move to another level of you’ve already in a sense made it, but now you have to continue to elevate yourself. You have to continue to elevate your mindset. Has there been one person? and I know there’s probably been many, but is there one person that you would like to give credit to that you think has continuously challenged you to elevate your mindset?

Simon T. Bailey:

Yeah, probably the person who’s challenged. My thinking is Dr. Mark Chironna. he has been my pastor and spiritual leader for 22 years. And at 65 years of age, he’s going back to school for his second PhD. he has read over 18,000 books. That’s right. 18,000 books and he constantly challenges my thinking, to become a better human being and a better leader.

And, and probably even more importantly, a better father, because I have two children that are one is 21, one is 18. And what I recognize a lot of who I have become is because of just watching, reading, listening in. I’ll just say it this way. The well that you drink from is the well that you think from, and eventually it is the well that you emulate and become.

Casanova Brooks:

Hmm, it was there ever, is there one time or one story of where you thought that you had the right answer, but he was, he challenged you or at least a narrative challenged. You and, and you look back on that and you’re so happy that it happened.

Simon T. Bailey:

Totally, totally. But the narrative is, he asked me one day, how are you doing? And I said, you know, if I had white skin blonde hair, blue eyes, it would be very easy to succeed in America. And he said to me, you’re stuck in your mind, your body thinking the pigmentation of your skin determines your future. And I said, how can you say that you’re a white man.

And he said, when he and his wife first got married, they adopted two young African American boys. And he said, I’ve been telling them what they could be instead of what they couldn’t be. And he said, I’m telling you, Simon T Bailey, you were not born to fit in. You were born to be brilliant. And when he said it just boom, unlocked something in me.

Cause no one had ever told me that I was born to be brilliant. And I just thought I was, you know, Hey, just kind of going through life, just trying to make the most of a little piece of a dream. Right? All of a sudden he said you’re born to be brilliant. And that literally changed the trajectory of my life.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it for a lot of people. They want to have a mentor. They want to have a coach. And you talked about in the beginning, you needed to level up by getting a coach. And not only did you have a one, but you had two coaches that really helped you to take it to the next level, but people don’t know. I think the, one of the buzzwords out there is “figure out a way to give value”, but for someone like you.

Who looks like they already have a solid team who looks like they already have written many books. How could someone give value to someone of your level? How could we get that mentorship, that coaching, to be able to take our mindset to the next level.

Simon T. Bailey:

Yeah, so many people come to me and they want mentorship.

And, and obviously I can’t mentor all the people that come to me. So what I like to say before you step to me, read my books, read what I’ve already put out in the world. Either online, I’ve got online classes with LinkedIn learning and obviously the classes we do. So look at developing yourself from afar.

And then when you come to me, say “I already know what you teach about what you write about, and here’s how I’ve applied it to my life”, because see knowledge is information. Right. And then understanding his comprehension, but wisdom as dr. Miles, Monroe taught me is application. So come want to know how have you applied what I have shared through the material that is already there, because so many times you just want to come and suck up your time and have not done the work.

Casanova Brooks:


Simon T. Bailey:

I need you. I need you to work before you stepped to me. So then that lets me know that you’re in, you’re just not showing up with hat in hand. Right? And we’re just talking like, you know, one book is like just the $20 investment, just the $20 investment. If you don’t want to do that, I have a plethora of videos that are on YouTube that are free, go there.

And that’s like mentors that I want to be mentors, a mentor by that I will never meet. I read their books. I watched a video. I listened to their podcast and that’s how I continue to grow and be mentored from a distance.

Casanova Brooks:

So you listen to, I know you’re a big avid reader, right. But do you listen to podcasts as well?

Simon T. Bailey:

Oh wow. Like listed how much time do you have? I listened to Strictly Business podcast, the School of Greatness, Punk Rock HR I mean, I listened to a ton of How I Built This, Guy Raz, which is such a great podcast to understand. The backstory of business. Oh, because podcasting is the new, what I would call the “new digital university”.

You can get it in just a click of a button and learn so much. It’s like an MBA, a mini MBA on steroids,

Casanova Brooks:

right? Yeah. When you put in podcasts with YouTube and you can, there’s nothing, you can’t learn. Right. And, and I love it that you said Guy Raz like that. He was definitely one of the first ones and then Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness, all of these ones, but yeah, for sure.

This has been such a phenomenal conversation. and I’m so glad that we got an opportunity to be able to release a little bit of your brilliance and be able to hopefully. Apply some of the wisdom that you’ve given us and create our own wisdom. The last thing I would like to ask is For someone out there, they’re listening and they’re inspired by you.

They love the path that you’ve created and they want to blaze their own path. Maybe similar to you, or maybe, you know, it’s something just totally different, but they want to have similar values and be able to, just really execute, but they have the little voice in their head. And that little voice. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it says that they’re not strong enough.

They’re not smart enough. Or maybe they just don’t have enough resources. What’s the one thing that you would say to a person to get them to just take action.

Simon T. Bailey:

Yeah. There will never be a perfect time to become the person you might’ve been. You’ve got to make the move right now because there’s something called timing and you don’t want to miss your timing because everybody that’s supposed to help you.

When you show up on time, they’re there to usher you to the next step in your journey.

Casanova Brooks:

Wow. I love it. I love it. Well for anybody that wants to stay connected with you, where can they find you at?

Yeah, simontbailey.com, T like “terrific” is my website, Simon T Bailey throughout all the social media platforms.

This is how you could find it

There you have, it will remember DreamNation. Hopefully, you’ve gotten so much value out of this episode, as I told you in the beginning that you would, but you have to apply because, without it, it’s only a fantasy. So remember in the dream we trust, we’ll catch you on the next one.




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