SPEAKING


TOPICS:

The Big Bang Theory of Extreme Joy: Failure and Personal Evolution

  • We tend to think we have only one time in our lives when certainty is low and possibility is high: when we’re young. I believe that’s not true, and that the big, often “bad” events in our lives—losing a job, ending a relationship, being forced to start over at anything—can hold just as much excitement and potential. From my personal “rock bottom” moment in a jail in 2002 to tough moments during mountain climbs and ultramarathons, I explain how you can use failure to take control of your own story.
  • Themes: See The Value of Just Going, On ‘Fear Disguised As Practicality’, The Benefits of Discomfort, and Sixty Meters to Anywhere (book)

How to Stop Making Excuses and Get It Done

  • Everyone says they’re a “self-starter” or “self-motivated” in their job applications and interviews. I’ve found there are a few ways to find out if that’s really 100 percent true. One is to start your own business—which I did in 2012 while living in a van. Another is to try to run 50 miles—you’ve got a chance to quit every few miles, and running for 50 miles is never what most people would call “fun.” Another is to take up rock climbing or mountaineering—no one’s going to force you to climb a mountain. All these things—freelancing, ultrarunning, climbing and mountaineering—also teach you what real work is, when no one’s supervising you and you’re your own boss. I’ve worked in factories, farm fields, restaurants, and for myself, and I’ve climbed mountains and run ultramarathons, and I love applying all the lessons I’ve learned from the grind and sharing them with others.
  • Themes: See Love What You Do, Even If You Don’t Do What You Love, F*&# Busy., What Story Are You Telling Yourself?, Joe Calls It A Day

Make It Till You Make It: Truths About Creating and Storytelling

  • Since earning a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Montana in 2004, learning new methods of storytelling has been central in my career. After starting as a newspaper writer, I’ve adapted to almost every available medium in order to earn a living: my blog, Semi-Rad.com, draws more than half a million visitors each year; I’ve written for CNN, Outside, Men’s Journal, and dozens of other magazines; I’ve developed podcast episodes for The Dirtbag Diaries; produced and directed award-winning short films; I’ve curated an Instagram following of more than 15,000 people; and I even got paid to design a piece of bathroom graffiti for REI stores. I can’t tell you how to make it big, but I know how to make a full-time living creating, and I love sharing what I’ve learned over the past decade—covering creativity, drive, marketing, promotion, but most of all, giving yourself permission to try whatever it is you want to do.
  • Themes: See How To Be A Writer: One Story, The Dawn Wall And The Idea Of ‘Wasting Time’, Make It Till You Make It (book)

 

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AUDIENCES:

  • Western Regional Outdoor Leadership Conference
  • Green Mountain College Adventure Education Colloquium
  • The Mountaineers’ BeWild Speaker Series
  • REI Corporate Headquarters
  • Montana Book Festival
  • Banff Mountain Book Festival
  • DC Adventure Film Festival
  • 5 Point Adventure Film Festival
  • Adventure Film School Workshop

 

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“Brendan captivated this year’s sold-out audience by opening up to the hearts and minds of his fellow outdoor tribe.  Brendan’s ability to tell his life story in a vulnerable, raw, and candid way greatly resonated with our audience, leaving eyes filled with tears and hearts filled with laughter. Nothing brings me more pure joy than being flooded with positive and inspiring comments about his presentation.  Brendan Leonard’s story will engage any audience and inspire them to get out there and make their own adventures.”

—Bryan Shipley, Founder/Executive Director, DC Adventure Film Festival

“I’ve seen Brendan’s presentations twice in Vermont and twice in Salt Lake City, and each time audiences respond phenomenally to Brendan’s combination of wit, timing, sincerity, and delivery.  He shares stories that people both relate to and aspire to.  I’m willing to bet each time audiences leave the auditorium, they are inspired to do one of two things: (a) plan their next vacation and (b) call their mother.”

—Nate Furman, University of Utah

“When Brendan spoke to the Western Regional Outdoor Leadership Conference, his speech was relevantly geared towards our students on finding a job in the outdoor world, leaving us with a very tangible idea of the amazing possibilities that lay before us. Brendan is relaxed and engaging on stage, with a levity and grounded perspective that will sneak up and leave you inspired.”

—Peter Chagnon, Cal State University Northridge, Western Regional Outdoor Leadership Conference

 

I GET EXCITED TO SPEAK TO AN AUDIENCE FULL OF PEOPLE WHO:

  • are looking for some inspiration and/or a good story
  • don’t mind a few curse words
  • will fully embrace the urge to laugh their asses off
  • want to have a real discussion/Q&A session after I am done speaking

ALL I NEED TO SPEAK IS:

  • a decent microphone
  • a projector and screen
  • one glass of water that I won’t drink out of the entire time

For inquiries, please visit the contact page.