JJ Birden

Back to speakers

JJ Birden

Former NFL Pro Turned Motivational Keynote Speaker


Introduction
Media Package

Video


Biography

Tips, Strategies, and Insights That Move the Bottom Line

Inspire your team with JJ Birden, former NFL Pro turned motivational speaker, through his journey from unlikely contender to professional athlete. His message of determination, resilience, perseverance, and positivity will inspire your team to success, and his tailored keynote presentations will give them tools and strategies to reach the highest levels in business and in life.

A Small Man in a Big Man’s Game

Like a fabled long-shot story and underdog tale, JJ Birden was The Small Man in the Big Man’s Game of Football.

After earning a scholarship to the University of Oregon for track and field (plus being the #1 high school wide receiver in Oregon), JJ also earned a walk-on spot with the football team his sophomore year. His trials were only just beginning though, and he was faced with many naysayers, followed by a cycle of injuries, and unimpressive stats.

JJ’s hard work, grit, speed, and resiliency were enough to eventually earn him the invite to the NFL Combine, where he dominated. His performance earned him an NFL draft pick, and he was on his way, or so he thought. Another series of injuries and failed physicals culminated in one of the darkest moments in JJ’s early career; JJ was rejected by 4 NFL teams in 5 days.
He could have walked away from the game and given up hope in spite of what seemed like insurmountable odds, but JJ didn’t even flinch. Instead, he did what he’s always done when faced with adversity—he found a way to win.

Despite a height of only 5’10 and weighing in at 157 lbs (versus the typical 6’2 and 245 lbs of his peers) JJ would go on to play 9 seasons in the NFL, crushing the average player's career of less than 2 years. He is now an engaging and passionate keynote speaker, and a leading authority on helping individuals seize their opportunities in life. As a best-selling author, entrepreneur, speaker, husband and father he now shares lessons from his life that help audiences of all ages, backgrounds, and professions realize the most important thing about success—it is never given, but always earned.

JJ is a best-selling author (When Opportunity Knocks 8 Surefire Ways to Take Advantage), entrepreneur, motivational speaker, husband and father. He has been married to his college sweetheart, Raina, for 30+ years and has 8 children (3 biological and 5 adopted nieces and nephews). He and his family reside in the Phoenix area.

Topics

In Spite Of…

The key to success is seeing obstacles as opportunities.

Low productivity is a recurring issue for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Keeping employees motivated to give their best is a challenge even for the best leaders; however, it’s not always up to leaders to inspire their teams, and even if it was, it’s not always possible. Unbeknownst to supervisors, managers, directors, and other leaders, employees may be dealing with their own deficiencies which can prevent them from raising the bar themselves. They may feel they don’t have the skills, talent, or abilities to succeed, or they may be experiencing the lingering self-doubt that comes with failure. It’s called the “underdog mentality,” and it’s held many back from reaching their true potential.

The difference between the victims and the victors in life, between the underdogs and alpha dogs, is not a lack of adversity but rather how they approach adversity. No one knows this better than JJ Birden.

In this inspiring keynote presentation, JJ shares the winning principles and strategies that helped him achieve success in spite of unbelievable adversity, heartbreaking failure, and herculean obstacles. Audiences learn that no matter what they are dealing with, if they want to win badly enough, they too can succeed in spite of everything (and everyone) against them.

Key Takeaways from In Spite Of…

  • Overcoming Failures, Adversity, Setbacks, Challenges, and Obstacles (F.A.S.C.O.)
  • Witness the growth formula from failure to success (The Triple A’s)
  • How to raise the bar of your performance to the highest level
  • Determination and self-discipline in the face of failure
  • Doing whatever it takes to turn a “no” into a “yes”
  • How to approach each day and every opportunity like an NFL Pro

Seize Your Opportunities

Success is not going to be given to you--you have to go get it!

Businesses have always aimed to get more out of their people, but it is becoming increasingly hard to provide resources, instruction, and encouragement that actually motivate employees to show up and give their best. To truly succeed in today’s extremely competitive business world, organizations need employees who are genuinely motivated to give their best, improve each day, and do whatever it takes to win. Unfortunately, not everyone has this capacity; JJ Birden does, and he can help anyone develop it, too.

Seize Your Opportunities focuses on the individual and what one must do for success as part of a larger group—no matter the odds, and no matter how much hard work it requires.

As a former NFL wide receiver, JJ knows what it takes to reach the highest level of performance and have the capacity to maintain it. Many of the success principles he learned as a professional athlete have helped him thrive in the business world as an entrepreneur and professional speaker. In this presentation, JJ shares his winning principles and strategies and teaches audiences how to maximize and seize the opportunities in their lives.

Success is not going to be given to you. You have to achieve success; and once you have it, you can't stay at that same level. You have to continue to work to fight mediocrity and complacency. JJ will show you how.

Key Takeaways from Seize Your Opportunity:

  • Finding, defining, and defending your Why
  • How discipline and self-motivation lead to success
  • Achieving your breakthrough through adversity
  • Developing championship focus and resolve
  • How complacency can destroy momentum
  • Avoiding complacency by continuous self-improvement
  • The Joe Montana Effect - what JJ learned playing with one of the greatest athletes of all time

Every Day Is Game Day

To get the future you want, you must bring your best EVERY day.

The economy is changing fast. The jobs of the future mostly don’t exist yet, which means the people who are most likely to thrive are the ones who are prepared to improvise, adapt, overcome, and continually grow. Unfortunately, the youth of today may not have the resiliency skills to get the futures they want--but they can develop what it takes to get there. The key is developing a set of core life skills to manage school, work, and outside interests while being responsible, dependable, and accountable adults. Those are the skills that helped JJ Birden overcome astronomical odds to reach the NFL, and they are the same skills that can help the youth of today become the leaders and high-achievers of tomorrow.

In this captivating and empowering keynote presentation for students and athletes, JJ helps his audience understand the importance of giving their best every day so that when the going gets tough and all eyes are on them, they will have the capacity to succeed and breakthrough to bigger and better things. In Every Day is Game Day, JJ shares actionable tips and strategies that help young people approach every day like an NFL Pro.

Key Takeaways from Every Day is Game Day:

  • Mastering your thoughts and overcoming the underdog mindset
  • Avoiding the entitlement trap
  • Benefits of creating the right "positive" social media trail
  • How you to react to Failures, Adversity, Setbacks, Challenges, and Obstacles (F.A.S.C.O.) can lead to either a breakthrough or a breakdown
  • Why having a mentor is the ultimate shortcut to anything you want in life
  • Even though you may be winning now, complacency can cause you to lose

Testimonials

"I've been to 25 to 30 National Sales Meetings in my career, I've heard lots of motivational speakers and JJ Birden was by far the best National Sales Meeting speaker that I've ever seen."
Director of Global Government Sales, Hershey

"I just had the wonderful opportunity to hear JJ's message at our company's recent National Sales Meeting. And wow, what an outstanding message it was! In fact, it was the most inspiring story I've heard during my 38 years here. His presentation captivated everyone, and he has an amazing way of connecting and it's like he's talking to everyone, one on one. JJ's message and tactics for success are simple and rooted in powerful concepts, his message will give you all the inspiration necessary to succeed both personally and professionally."
Vice President & General Manager, Hershey Small Format Sales Division

"In these times of uncertainty, many associates are feeling a sense of chaos and stress with the unknown. Your messaging around what they can personally do everyday was uplifting and will be referenced internally for years to come, and the connection you had our associates was outstanding. Thank you for being a part of the Virtual Summer Speaker Series; you were all and more than we had hoped for to encourage, inspire and motivate the team deeply affected by COVID-19 in the hospital labs."
- Senior Director, Talent Management - Sysmex America, Inc.

"JJ spoke virtually for our Sysmex Speaker Series, he is the best motivational speaker I have heard and believed. Thank you!"
- ‎Health Systems Account Manager, Sysmex

"Every time he got onto the field he took advantage of the opportunity to do something special. He was meticulous in his preparation and never let his lack of NFL size stop him from finding a way to be successful. He has taken the same attention to detail, attitude and hard work that allowed him to be successful in the NFL into life after the game and is sharing the lessons that helped him succeed."
- Kent Pulliam, Kansas City Star Reporter who covered the Chiefs/NFL

“JJ Birden was the keynote speaker at our client appreciation event; his presentation was outstanding. His message was well received by our very diverse group, which included clients and their guests from a wide age spectrum. His presentation was both energetic and entertaining. The feedback we received from our clients on his presentation was extremely positive. I would highly recommend JJ as a keynote speaker and presenter.”
- Michael A. Murphy, CFP & Private Wealth Advisor, TruCourse Wealth Advisors - Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

"JJ delivered a fast-paced, stimulating, informative and yes, motivational message to my group of community bank executives in Phoenix this past fall. The participants and their spouses were totally engaged as each one was focused on the front of the room until JJ wrapped up his session.
Birden provided amazing energy, excellence, fun and most impressionable of all was how he incorporated his football experiences and related the game’s strategy to business expansion and personal development. This is a tough group when it comes to motivational speakers, but they walked away smiling with ideas and tools that they could bring back to their communities and their banks.
I highly recommend JJ for your next event and I look forward to engaging him for another time in the future."

- Lisa Livingstone, Program Executive and Meeting Planner, Western States Director Education Foundation

"JJ took the time to understand our industry and personalities of the group and speak directly to our group. His energy kicked off our conference perfectly. He was the talk of the conference!"
MARKETING MANAGER, CIVILTEC ENGINEERING INC.

"I worked with JJ to coordinate speaking on Leadership and High Performance at the IIA Phoenix Chapter meeting. He worked to prepare for our specific audience and brought an energy and focus to the room that was captivating for the duration of his message. JJ commands a great stage presence that allowed the attendees to learn and relate to his message. The sale and signing of his book, When Opportunity Knocks, 8 Surefire Ways to Take Advantage!, after was a great opportunity for folks to interact with him and gave everyone a take away to read and be inspired."
CHAPTER PRESIDENT, IIA PHOENIX

"JJ was very easy to work with, and completely understood our ultimate objective. He connected so well with our audience he had a line for over an hour of people waiting to purchase his book, and thank him. What I appreciated the most was that he was so gracious with each attendee that came to the table to speak him."
EVENTS MANAGER, ORANGETHEORY FITNESS