Last Friday I was invited to speak at the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Midyear Meeting, sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Board. Since the 2010 Olympics, I’ve given over a hundred and fifty talks and speeches. About two-thirds of my audiences have been students ranging from kindergarten to high school and even a few University and college students. I’ve been asked to vary my topics from things like Leadership to the negative effects of drugs to the positive effects of reading. I use my bobsled story to try and captivate the audience and then slip in my message to hopefully inspire and motivate people to make their lives better.
As I was driving to Atkinson, Nebraska for the Cattlemen’s meeting, I began to think about my presentation that I was going to give. I know it may sound like I was procrastinating if I was only planning my speech just hours beforehand, but have basically three talks in which I can vary the feel and direction of the speech depending on the audience. So like, a company would have a review meeting prior to a big presentation, I like to simply go over my topic and message just prior to the speech. But as I thought about my best approach, I had to ask myself, “What in the world does a bobsledder from Nebraska have to offer to the leaders of the cattle industry in the state?”
I pondered this question for the majority of the two and a half hour drive and as I drove through O’Neill, it hit me that I really don’t have to offer advice. I just wanted to express how proud I was to represent them as well as all Nebraskans and Americans as I compete internationally for the USA.