JJ Birden

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JJ Birden

Former NFL Pro Turned Motivational Keynote Speaker


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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. This is the key to JJ’s message, and it’s why he resonates so well with audiences that feel they don’t have the time, the training, the education, or the resources to succeed.

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.

In Spite Of… is an empowering message that helps audiences develop the habit of conquering the “setback” moments in their lives and seeing them for what they truly are: opportunities for growth.

Key Takeaways from In Spite Of…

  • How to master your thoughts and avoid the underdog mindset
  • Overcoming F.A.S.C.O. (Failures, Adversity, Setbacks, Challenges, and Obstacles)
  • Dealing with dream stealers, haters, naysayers, and adversaries
  • Determination and self-discipline in the face of failure
  • Doing more with less (“the 42% dilemma”)
  • 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

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.

Every Day Is Game Day is the perfect presentation for high school and college students and student-athletes. In this presentation, JJ helps our millennials understand the importance of giving their best every day in life. Developing the right habits will contribute to success in academics and athletics. Those same "game day" habits will carry forward to create a more successful life after their school days. In this presentation, JJ shares eight strategy tips including:

  • Mastering your thoughts is the beginning of your success
  • Avoiding the entitlement trap
  • Benefits of creating the right "positive" social media trail
  • How you to react to F.A.S.C.O. (Failures, Adversity, Setbacks, Challenges, and Obstacles) 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

There Better Be an "I" in Team

Before you can lead others, you must have the ability to lead yourself.

Leadership is a popular term and hot-topic in the business world, and rightfully so. Leaders have a direct impact on how successful an organization is; unfortunately, not all leaders naturally have the skills to set the pace, set the bar, and drive a group’s collective efforts towards accomplishing the most important goals. As impactful as good leadership is, poor leadership can be equally impactful, albeit in the opposite direction. Leaders who fail to recognize the role they play or the impact they have on others can leave employees feeling lost, unmotivated, and paralyzed to step outside their comfort zones. The results? Decreased revenue, low morale, and poor performance overall.

In There Better Be An “I” In Team, JJ Birden explains the principles of leadership and team dynamics he learned playing at the highest level in the NCAA and NFL. The heart of his message is clear: “To lead a team, it’s imperative you can lead yourself first. The team’s success is dependent on your success!”

This dynamic, engaging keynote presentation will help develop and strengthen the leaders within your organization.

Key Takeaways:

  • Defining your personal leadership style and communicating it to your team
  • Clearly stating your expectations as a leader
  • Creating a championship environment
  • Identifying “star players” on your team and elevating their game
  • Empowering and inspiring your team to do whatever it takes to win

Testimonials

"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