Every day, people are unknowingly faced with decisions and choices that help set the course for their future. The problem is that most people don't have a good enough vantage point to see these moments for what they are; or if they do, they don't know how to seize such opportunities and make them work for the futures they've envisioned for themselves.
The key to a successful life is seizing the opportunities in front of you — no matter the odds, and no matter how much hard work it requires. Achieving greatness isn't easy, but if you're ready to win, if you're hungry to turn no into yes and dreams into reality, JJ Birden has a message for you.
JJ has made it his life's work to empower people with the principles of leadership and high performance to achieve their brightest and most successful futures.
Who is JJ Birden? And why does your audience need to hear his message?
Less than six percent of all high school seniors go on to play NCAA men's football. In 2017, only 1.5 percent of all collegiate football players were drafted to an NFL team. The odds of playing at the highest level are even more astronomical when you're undersized and play one of the sport's most physical positions.
Good thing JJ Birden has never cared to know the odds of success.
A 5'10" wide receiver, JJ was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 1988 NFL Draft and played nine seasons. He certainly wasn't the biggest, strongest, or fastest guy on the field, but he knew how to seize his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and maximize his success through dedication and hard work. In his presentations, JJ shares lessons from his experience as a small man in a big man's game.
JJ's time in the NFL helped shape the message that he now delivers to audiences around the world. After seeing the successes and failures of others at the highest level, he developed a set of principles that others could follow to achieve greatness, no matter how they defined it or what they did.
The NFL also taught JJ the importance of speaking freely and from experience.
In sports, there are theory coaches and player coaches. Theory coaches can talk about the game and what it takes to succeed, but only player coaches know what it's actually like to play at the highest level. Player coaches speak from experience and are able to share tips and insights that only come after principles are put into action on the field. In other words, player coaches know what actually works when the game is on the line. JJ Birden is a player coach for the moments in life that matter most— when opportunities knock.
In all aspects of life, not just sports, there are amateurs and professionals. JJ brings a powerful message that can help anyone in the audience think, work, and live like a pro.
JJ's winning philosophy also helped him succeed in an arena with equally staggering odds: the business world. He's been an entrepreneur and a business partner, as well as the guy at the bottom of the organizational totem pole who had to work his way up. And when you hear him say that the only difference between sports and the business world is the physicality of the game, that the same mindset he had in the NFL helped him achieve success in the business world, that the same mindset can help you perform at the highest levels in your personal and professional life, you can believe he's speaking from experience.
Whether it's a promotion at work, a big sale, or a new business idea, JJ teaches his audience how to maximize and seize the opportunities in their lives to achieve more, do more, and be more.
JJ is not one to put your audiences to sleep. His dynamic and lively approach to presenting will captivate your audiences and inspire them put his winning principles to action. JJ was once told by a professional speaker, "If your presentation doesn't have fire, then put it in the fire!" That's why, from the moment he begins to talk, his goal is to lock you in, hold your attention, and motivate you to seize your dreams.
After years of professional speaking engagements, JJ knows how to deliver his message in a way that will resonate with anyone in the audience, regardless of their background or job title. He has spoken in front of all types of audiences, from K-12 students to adults in the athletic and business world. Each presentation is tailored to the audience in attendance, which means your group will walk away with tools, strategies, and principles that will help them excel in their roles and achieve greatness at work, at school, in sports, and most importantly, in life.
It doesn't matter who's in the audience, if someone has the desire to be the best and achieve what's most important for their future, JJ's message will empower them to win. He reminds his audience that it's never too late to be great — it just requires saying yes to opportunities and putting in the work to improve each day.
Are you ready to win? Are you ready to be great? Are you ready to say yes to success?
As the President of University of Oregon Alumni San Diego Chapter, I had the pleasure of hiring JJ Birden to speak at the 13th annual Taste of Oregon event May 7, 2016. The event raises scholarship money for disadvantaged freshman that will be attending the University of Oregon. Never in all the prior 12 Tastes of Oregon had I witnessed any speaker hold the audience with such rapt attention as JJ did. Even though the event was outdoors, you could hear a pin drop. He combined his remarkable life story with real-world teachings that inspired and motivated all 87 in attendance. It was a remarkable evening. I recommend anyone considering a guest speaker for any size event to hire JJ Birden.
Mark W. Ouellette
President, University of Oregon Alumni San Diego Chapter
VP of Mortgage Lending
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for agreeing to come and present to our student athletes at Lee’s Summit North High School. One of our department goals is to strive for excellence focusing on character and leadership development, preparing student athletes with essential skills to succeed in life. Your presentation on When Opportunity Knocks 8 Surefire Ways to Take Advantage was a perfect way to assist with this goal.
Your presentation was well received by many of our student athletes. We took some informal surveys after the event and many kids commented that it was well done. They particularly liked how you talked to them on their level. Sometimes when speakers come in to present, they forget about the target audience. Your presentation was tailored for our student-athletes. They also thought many of your ideas were practical and could be implemented in their day to day lives.
I particularly liked the presentation because it reinforced a lot of what we are focusing on as an athletic department. We have discussed many of the ideas that you presented like the value of hard work, leadership, focusing on what you can control, mentoring, etc. that you covered in your presentation. Sometimes it takes a different voice to be heard, and I believe with your real life experiences and instant credibility, the students listened to what you were saying.
Routinely, I attempt to educate and challenge our student-athletes. I have brought in guest speakers in an attempt to assist with this. You were exactly what I was looking for and exactly what was needed to kick off the spring season. Your professionalism and friendly demeanor were appreciated. I appreciated your flexibility to work with our schedule. Thanks again for the excellent presentation.
Mike McGurk, CMAA
Assistant Principal/Activities Director
Lee’s Summit North HS
Thank you so much for speaking to our office earlier this year. You were highly motivational and communicated with our financial advisors in a way that they connected with. Your humanity, compassion, and enthusiasm really come through in your presentation and it’s clearly one of the best I’ve seen. I was at a dinner party Saturday night and 2 people were talking about your presentation, even though it was several months ago. Thank you so much for the positive impact you’ve had on our people!
Kent W. Baker
Senior Vice President – Wealth Management
Senior Financial Advisor
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc.
Earlier this month our office had the pleasure of hosting JJ Birden for a lunch presentation. His message was impactful, direct, and relative to all of our employees. He weaves stories from his athletic life and blends it with his business acumen to deliver a presentation that is consumable and enjoyable to a wide audience of people. In addition, he and his wife are kind and responsive individuals.
So if you have a group of employees, students, athletes (really his message can work for any group) I would highly recommend JJ to speak at your next event.
In teaching and coaching for more than thirty years, I worked with thousands of students and athletes. Of all of them, JJ Birdens' story is the one that most needs to be told. He was an inspiration to me when he was a young man, and he is even more so now.
If a person could be assured that every classroom or athletic team would be full of JJ Birden type kids, everyone would want to a be a teacher or coach!
Lakeridge High School Track Coach
When JJ Birden talks everyone should listen. I had the opportunity to see JJ compete in HS and then later coach him at Oregon. He not only had great athletic ability but he also was bright and introspective. He has always had a plan and he was smart to take a steady and thought out approach to be successful. The discipline he brought to practice every day was a major part of his success. He was a quiet leader but when he spoke you knew it was very important. As a coach he was one of those you never needed to worry about doing the right thing. The combo of football, track, and academics were no problem to juggle for he had a plan.
Former Oregon Ducks and St. Louis Ram Football Coach
It’s a two way street.
I believe a true story about an individual will potentially uncover parallels in your own life; put a framework around experiences for personal growth, as well help you see new opportunities to open doors….. And run through them. It is true that JJ was born with some incredible god given gifts which allowed him to become the multi-sport star athlete in High School (Triple jump champion, All-State football player) and then on to Division 1 Track & Football and to a lengthy professional career in the NFL.
Yet for me, as a high school friend and teammate I was privileged to know JJ and be affected by him on the ‘other side’. What I mean by this is after 31 years; to this day JJ tells me I had a positive effect on what he became as a football player. What we accomplished on that 1982-1983 Lakeridge football team; helped him become what he was as a player. What I look back on is how JJ had such a positive effect on me as I moved from high school to college and into my business career. In fact it was what JJ did as my HS receiver that gave back to me; JJ opened doors for me as I went on to college at Oregon and into my first job. JJ helped instill confidence that I could accomplish my own personal goals, by staying positive, working hard and believing in myself; I could be successful in whatever I pursued.
JJ has continued to carry this message from his playing days into his professional career. He manages all aspects of his family life and business ventures with a drive to be the best, to make himself successful; while leaving a positive impact on those we works with and on the businesses they touch together. I am fortunate I had the opportunity to grow up with JJ, spend time with our friends in HS, be a part of him and Raina’s growing family and watch his constant drive to be the very best in all that he does!
JJ’s Lakeridge High School Quarterback
Poise, pride, patience and perseverance. A few come by those naturally, while others only strive, and most never succeed. The 15-year-old JJ Birden that walked into my classroom was already hard at work building those character traits. He was and is a natural leader and teacher who inspires those around him. Both personally and professionally, having the right tools and knowing how to implement them at the key moment makes all the difference.
Lakeridge High School Teacher
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