How to Step Into Your Potential with Saul Blinkoff

June 26, 2024
Jess interviews Saul Blinkoff, a Hollywood filmmaker and Disney animator, who shares his journey to becoming a Disney animator.
How to Step Into Your Potential with Saul Blinkoff
June 26, 2024
Jess interviews Saul Blinkoff, a Hollywood filmmaker and Disney animator, who shares his journey to becoming a Disney animator.



Jess interviews Saul Blinkoff, a Hollywood filmmaker and Disney animator. Saul discusses his journey to Disney animation, emphasizing the importance of differentiation, pursuing dreams relentlessly, and sharing one’s unique voice and experiences.


Saul Blinkof – Disney Animator & Inspirational Speaker

Hollywood Producer Saul Blinkoff works for many high profile clients including; DISNEY, DREAMWORKS, NETFLIX and travels the world as an Inspirational Speaker sharing transformative tools of clarity, tenacity, resilience & discipline to empower others to live their dreams! He is an empowering Life Coach and Podcast Host of the motivational podcast LIFE of AWESOME! Saul lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their four children.


Saul Blinkoff has turned his dreams into reality. He’s worked at some of the biggest names in the animation industry, including Disney Studios, MTV, ABC, Netflix, Mattel, and DreamWorks.

But that’s not all.

He’s also a life coach, a speaker, and a podcaster, helping others unlock their limitless potential. Today, we learn his story of the power to dream and gain self-belief despite setbacks and adversity.

Rate Amplify on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and leave a review for Jess Ekstrom.

Amplify with Jess is produced by Earfluence, and brought to you by Mic Drop Workshop.


[00:00:00] Jess:
Hello, hello. Welcome everyone. Come on in. Come on in. I am so excited for today’s episode. So originally I’d been calling this show Speaking with Speakers, but I think we are changing it to the Mic Drop Workshop show because what we’re finding is, yes, people are coming here because they want to become great speakers, but a lot of people are coming here that just want to get Presenting confident at work, confident in their job. Speaking is certainly a part of that, but there’s so much else that goes on behind the scenes, uh, to get that confidence in order to speak. And today’s guest has a really interesting story behind that. Before I bring Saul in here, I want to give one quick. Tip that can help you with that confidence and delivering your message, um, efficiently and effectively and with power.

And I actually learned this tip when I was in middle school at volleyball camp. I’m not sure if any of you are volleyball players or played sports in middle school. If so, let me know in the chat. Uh, but I like to call this tip bump, set, spike. So if you’re. at all in the volleyball game, you know that that is the three things you do when the ball comes over the net.

But I think this is also a great three step approach to speaking and delivering your message with confidence. So what I like to call the bump is you’re setting up the audience for the lesson. You’re telling them why this is important, why they need to listen, and why they should stop what they’re doing and listen to you. That’s the bump. The set is setting the stage. So tell a story or a time where this lesson really came into play. Oftentimes as speakers, uh, we have to share the moments where we were the students, not the expert. So set the stage. When was the time that you learned this lesson? Third step is spike it. So that spike is your hard hitting one liner takeaway that an audience can walk away with, put it in their back pocket and say, I’m going to remember this lesson because he or she summed it up for me in such a concise and clear way after the bump, the set, and now the spike. So try that three step approach. Let me know how it goes for you. But without further ado, I want to welcome our guests for today. Saul Blinkoff. We have a modern, uh, uh, relationship where we, I think, just started following each other on LinkedIn. I was drawn to him at first, one, because of his speaking, but two, we have, uh, a very fun thing in common where we both worked for Disney. I was an intern with the Disney college program. He did a little bit more than that. You might’ve heard of the movie. Pocahontas, which he helped animate and design. He has quite the story of how he got to the Disney stage as an animator. He is now a Hollywood filmmaker, world class speaker, which I can’t wait to talk to him more about, and then podcast host of Life of Awesome. Definitely. If you’re not following Saul, do so go to his website, saulblankoff. com, which I’ll share more at the end, but let’s welcome our new friend, Saul, to the stage. Hello. Thank you for being here.

[00:04:05] Saul:
Thank you so much, Jess. So good to be here. And I just want to thank. Thank you for carving out time for me and also just everyone listening, everyone tuning in. Uh, thank you for showing up, carving out time. Look, there’s so many things that pull us from different directions. So I always tell people like if you’re carving out time to go listen, to learn wisdom, to hear a speaker, a talk, a podcast, it already shows that you’re steps ahead of most other people that you’re really hungry to grow and hungry to learn. So welcome everybody. Thanks.

[00:04:38] Jess:
I totally agree with you. You know, I think that we are in an age of distraction, so it’s now like easier than ever to create. It’s harder than ever I think to capture, you know, like capture those people’s attention. Everyone has a microphone, which is wonderful. So how do you stand out?
And that actually brings me to the one of the first things that I had written down that I wanted to talk about. You had this dream that a lot of other people had the same dream of being a Disney animator. A lot of people have a dream of being a speaker. So can you walk us through the story of becoming a Disney animator and what was it that made you stand out from the rest where so many people want to do that? And maybe there’s something we can take away from it in how do we stand out as speakers?

[00:05:24] Saul:
Sure. Yeah. Um, well look, you know, every one of us is living our own story. Right? That’s, that’s reality. We’re all living a story. Um, for me, my story really began, I was, um, growing up in New York. I was far from Hollywood. I wasn’t around people that were creative. You know, my dad was a doctor, people I knew had businesses and, um, I didn’t know anyone that had a job creative. I didn’t even know that was something you could do.

VO: Ok, so we’re all creatives here in our own way, and I imagine your dream job growing up might have been to work at Disney Animation, Disney Studios, MTV, ABC, Netflix, Mattel, or DreamWorks; or maybe you dreamed of working for yourself. Well today’s guest Saul Blinkoff has done all of those things and more, and now he’s a life coach, speaker, and podcaster, who’s helping his clients actualize their limitless potential in all aspects of life. He has an amazing story to tell, and it all starts with one of the most iconic movies of all time.

[00:06:00] Saul:
I saw the movie E. T. when I was 11 years old and I’m watching the credits of the movie roll. And I remember tapping my mom and I said, mom. [00:06:00] That’s what I want to do someday. And I remember my mom saying, what, you want to leave planet earth in a spaceship? I’m like, no, no, no, no, no. I want to do movies. And so I was 11 years old. I was so inspired. I leave the Spielberg movie and I go get a camera and I learn about filmmaking. I get my twin sister, my older brother and start making movies with kids in the neighborhood. And I, I really never stopped doing that. I was going to be a director, but things changed when I saw the movie, The Little Mermaid. Uh, many years later, I was 16 when I saw that. I remember watching The Little Mermaid. I’m like, you know, that combines my passion, my love of drawing, my love of filmmaking, put it together, animation. And that’s when I really had my goal. I want to be a Disney animator. I was a junior in high school. And look, if you if you have a goal, If you have a dream of something you wanna accomplish today, you go to a thing called Google and you type in, how do you become a Disney animator? Yeah. Back then, in the olden days, as my kids call it, there was no internet, so I didn’t have that. So how did I find out how my mom took me? Not my sister, not my older brother, took me on a trip to Disney World just to ask the Disney cast members, that’s what they call their employees, as you know. Right? Yeah. By the way, I was a college program too. Summer 92 I sold ice cream. Oh, yes. at Disney MGM Studios. My wife also, she was great movie ride, uh, a year or two later after me.

[00:07:23] Jess:
Oh my god, is that how you

[00:07:25] Saul:
guys met? No, that’s another podcast. Okay, okay, another

[00:07:28] Jess:
podcast, got it. Yeah.

[00:07:30] Saul:
By the way, when you were in college, did you take those pictures with Mickey Mouse in front of the castle?

[00:07:34] Jess:
Oh, yes. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We did it all. It’s so cool. I still keep in touch with people to this day, you know, that were in my college program. It’s such an amazing experience.

[00:07:42] Saul:
plug for the college program. But like there, my mom took me to Disney World and asking the Disney cast members, how do you become a Disney animator? Now we were actually getting on the, it’s a small world boat ride. It was very embarrassing. My mom’s like saying to the Disney lady, how does my son become an animator? Can you help him? The lady’s like, man, this is a boat ride. Like we don’t hire animators here, you know? So after we do the boat ride, the lady says, look, all I know is if you want to work at Disney, you got to go to the Disney Casting Building.

It was five minutes away from where we were at Disney World. I don’t know if you remember this building, Jess, but it’s like this beautiful office building. Yeah. Do you remember the doorknobs from Alice in Wonderland and the front ones that are made out of brass? So you open the door of that building and I walk up this ramp.

Painted on the ceiling is Peter Pan and Wendy flying off to Neverland. I remember the inspiration just walking in there. I’ll never forget. Even the smell in there had like this Disney smell like pixie dust in the air. It was amazing. I go there for the interview and the lady’s like, can I help you? I’m like, yeah, I want to be a Disney animator.

She goes, well, we don’t hire those here. Like, well, who do you hire? She goes, well, we hire people that work the rides in the park. You know, people that make the teacups spin around. And I’m like, that’s not my dream. She goes, hold on a second. She walks out, comes back in two minutes later and hands me a piece of paper.

That piece of paper. Became the most valuable piece of paper I have ever held in my hands. It was a list of eight schools, eight art schools that Disney recruits their artists from. And she said the words to me, if you want to be a Disney animator, you need to go to one of these schools. Boom. That was it.

You know, so often I meet people and I ask them, what’s your goal? What’s your dream? And there are those that are lucky enough to have that clarity, but then I ask them a follow up question. How are you going to achieve it? You go to a great restaurant. You taste an unbelievable dessert. Tiramisu, creme brulee, whatever you like. You want to make it at home. Well, you can do it if you have the recipe Well, that’s what that paper was. That list of schools was the recipe and in my head Jess I saw it like an equation Solve plus go to one of these schools will equal dream of becoming a Disney animator And I end up going to one of these schools in Columbus, Ohio The Columbus College of Art and Design one of the best design schools in the world And I remember the first day I went in The first week I’m sitting in the auditorium and there’s a Disney representative who was one of the original animators on Sleeping Beauty. His name was Bill Matthews, must have been 65, 70 years old. Used to hang out with Walt Disney himself. It was amazing to meet this guy. He comes out on the stage and we’re in a giant auditorium filled with over 500 students. And this Disney guy comes there and he’s there to tell all of us, how do you get into Disney? And before he starts his presentation, he looks out to the, to the audience and he says, let me ask you guys a question. How many of you want to be Disney animators? Every hand went up. He said, well, just so you know, out of the 500 of you in here, maybe, just maybe four of you will ever work there. That’s how competitive it is. And when he said that, I remember thinking one thing. I wonder who the other three are going to be. You know why? Because look, in life, you either believe in yourself that you can accomplish or you don’t. Not what you post on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, not what you talk about. I mean, deep down, do we really believe in ourselves? And I will tell you at that point in my life, I did believe in myself. Maybe it was because my parents gave me this belief in myself, they supported me, or maybe I was delusional. Either way, I believed. Then he said, if you want to work at Disney, you got to get the internship. No internship, no Disney. And he said, what you need is a portfolio filled with hundreds of drawings of humans and animals from life.

No cartoon characters. We want all life drawing. So I worked for the first year, incredibly hard on drawing. And I remember I met this guy named Andy. Uh, he was in my freshman year and he was by far the best artist in the school. And he was so good. And I realized, you know why he’s so good? Because the guy never stops drawing. We’d be at college parties and he’d be there with a sketchbook. Like while everyone’s partying and dancing, he’d be like drawing people. I remember going up to him like, what class [00:12:00] is this for? He’s like, it’s not for a class. I’m like, so why are you drawing? He says, because I want to get better. I’m always drawing. And I will tell you, he became my best friend. And because I was friends with Andy, I became a better artist. Because who you choose to be friends with actually affects who you become. Who you choose to surround yourself with, their values will become your values, right?

[00:12:26] Jess:
Yeah, 100%. So many things from this story I’m pulling out of like, yeah, these, The path that you took to get from A to B, you know, once you set your sights on something, a lot of those methods are now what you can then copy paste for the next thing.I think one of the things that really resonated with me was like, who cares if it’s delusion? Having a delusional belief in yourself is one. Always, always working on your craft. And you know, like, for example, like as a speaker, I mean, I’m always. I call this in Mic Drop Workshop, moment to meaning. It’s like, what are the moments in my day and how do I make them mean something to others and just practicing that craft all the time of moment to meaning. And then the third thing that you said about how you got there that I think can really apply to speakers is who you’re surrounding yourself with and Speaking and, and this idea of just going for it can be competitive or collaborative, and that is up to you how, which approach that you go. And. In my approach, I’ve gained far more from a collaborative energy than I have a competitive energy.

I am innately competitive. I’m not sure if you, uh, have taken the Enneagram test, but I am definitely an Enneagram three and very competitive.

Definitely an effort for me to see people like you who are out there crushing it in the game and say, Hey, how can we support each other? How can we work together? Um, which to your point is, How you got to where you are today.

[00:14:09] Saul:
Remember is every time we ever see somebody accomplish anything, anything, it should always be a reminder to us that we can accomplish anything. When I’m watching a documentary about Michael Jordan, all that is is The goal of that and my experience of watching The Last Dance for the sixth time when I fly, every time I watch Jordan, I’m on the plane, right? Because when I’m in the air, I gotta watch Mr. Michael who was in the air. But every time I watch that, I’m not supposed to shut that off after go, wow, wasn’t he amazing? No, you know what it is? It’s a reminder. If he could accomplish that, what can I accomplish? Look, I’m a parent. I got four kids. You know, what’s amazing about a kid from 11 months old to a year old for most kids, you know, it happens at a year old that they couldn’t do it 11 months old. What do they do? They take their first steps. You have a little one now, right? How old is yours? Yeah, I do.

[00:15:05] Jess:
She’s 7 months. So those first steps are coming. She just started crawling yesterday.

[00:15:10] Saul:
Right. And, and, and you were excited by that, weren’t you?

[00:15:13] Jess:

[00:15:14] Saul:
Oh, you think crawling is cool? Just wait till those first walking steps and you’ll tell everybody and you’ll do a social media post and it’ll be the most incredible thing in the world. And then as her vocabulary changes and every change happens, the difference in months between a child, huge, the change. Every time that we see a child take their first step, you know, that is, that’s the creator of the world reminding all of us, what steps are you taking now that you couldn’t take yesterday?

We can all grow every day. The other thing to remember is this is so important. I say this to my kids all the time and I remind myself, every one of us is unique. There was a woman, Margaret Mead. She had an amazing quote she gave to her kids, and this is something we all need to remember. You were created unique and special, just like everyone else.

Just like everyone else. You think being special is I have to be better than anyone else? No. Because every one of us is unique. That means we all have a unique purpose. You know what that means? There is no competition. There is no competition because only you can accomplish what your role is in the world. That’s it. So when you see someone else successful in your field, you know what that should tell you? Yeah, they’re, they’re, they’re killing it as a speaker because they’re sharing their unique voice. All that is, is a reminder. I can share my unique voice and be successful and make an impact. That’s it.

[00:16:45] Jess:
I love that.

[00:16:46] Saul:
And by the way, when I was in school, you know, I told you I was, I was working hard on those drawings and Andy, I sent my board for my portfolio to Disney my sophomore year, and I got rejected. I got rejected the first time I tried it. I wasn’t even [00:17:00] discouraged. I just wanted to go through the process. I remember putting that letter up on the wall that Disney sent me and had my name typed on Disney stationery with that gold leaf Mickey. Look, I was happy that Disney company knew I was alive. They had my name printed on it. Yeah, that they gave you the time

[00:17:13] Jess:
of day, exactly.

[00:17:14] Saul:
That was so cool. Another year goes by. Andy and I are drawing all the time. And one day, I got to share this story with you. We went to the Columbus Zoo. It was freezing, bitter cold, gray skies.

And we’re drawing elephants. And there’s 15 students with us. Everyone gets to the zoo. We all go into the Wendy’s Cafe that used to be there. And it’s freezing out there. It’s bitter cold. While they’re hanging out in the zoo, Andy and I sharpen the pencils and we go and we find The elephants, and these elephants are just awesome. They’re walking back and forth and they’re repeating the same motion over and over again, and we’re drawing them. It was amazing. We go back on the bus, I’m showing Andy my drawings. He’s showing me his drawings. Then I said to one of the other guys, when he did, we never saw any of you at the elephants. What animals were the rest of you drawing? This guy looks up to me and he says, well, none of us ever left the Wendy’s. We couldn’t leave. I’m like, what do you mean you couldn’t leave? He goes, we couldn’t leave. It was too cold. I’m like, Oh, it’s too cold. Wait a minute. I thought you said earlier your dream was to work at Disney.

This was the guy that was wearing all the Mickey Mouse sweatshirts, right? Who loved Disney, had posters up. Easy to have a dream, not easy to put in the work. And I will tell you when he said the words, it’s too cold. Those are the greatest words I ever heard in my life. Cause I knew at that moment, Oh, I’m going to get in one day.

Cause I’m going to outwork every single one of these people. And I’m telling everyone listening, you could forget everything I’ve said up until right now, every single thing I’ve said up until now, except for thank you, Jess, for having me. Cause if you walk out here, remembering one thing, it’s this, whatever your dream is, if you want to be great at it, not good at it, if you want to be great at it, it’s going to take an insane amount of effort.

You know what that goes for? Everything in life. I have a son. Sometimes he says, dad, I want to try this. You think it’d be easy? I’d be like, well, it depends how good you want to be at it. You want to be good at it? No, it won’t be it won’t it’ll be easy. You want to be great at it? Yeah, it’s going to be hard.

[00:19:12] Saul:
I will tell you have the mindset that it will be struggle. There will be pain But the magic is you know what the magic is. You don’t have to go through pain you get to grow through the pain You You get to grow and you know where you’re going to use that in every aspect of life.
You’re married, you want to have a good marriage. You see one of those couples, they seem to have that perfect marriage. You know why they seem to have that kind of marriage? Because of one thing, they work at it. We want to be great in life. We want to go from good to great. We want to go from great to awesome.

It’s going to take an insane amount of effort. And let me tell you, when you have the expectations that something’s going to be difficult, I think it’s motivating. It’s energizing. Yeah, it’s going to be difficult. Bring it on.

[00:20:01] Jess:
So did you feel, I love this. I’m curious about. The, okay, so now you have somewhat of a formula of like, these are the things that I did to get my dream job, but we evolve as humans. You know, I started, my dream was starting my first company Headbands of Hope. And then once you’re in that dream, you kind of start looking, it’s like you keep building up on a pedestal. And kind of climbing and seeing, Oh, look at all this other stuff out here. Look at speaking, look at writing, look at all these other things.

And now you have a profound speaking business, uh, that, you know, you’re one of the world’s best. What was the path from going, Hey, I’m going to take my life experiences and what I have done, and then make it matter for other people, as a speaker. Like, what was that leap for you?

[00:20:59] Saul:
Let me tell you, let me tell you.
Um, thank you for asking that. It’s a great question. Um, look, you know, when I tried to get into Disney the first time I got rejected, just so you know, the second time a year later, Andy and I tried again. It was my second time trying his first time. He gets into Disney and I get rejected the second time

[00:21:20] Saul:
Oh, it was worse than tough. It was, it was terrible. And, and then I gave up on my dream. That’s right. People listening correctly. Do not adjust your, your mics, your headphones. I actually gave up on my dream because this reality set in my, my head is that Andy was an awesome artist. He was talented and I’m just this average guy.
I give up on my dream. Five days later, I see a movie. You know, sometimes you see a movie and it like changes how you think.

[00:21:47] Jess:

[00:21:47] Saul:
You see a movie at the right time. So I see the movie Rudy. Remember that movie?

[00:21:51] Jess:
Of course. The true story of the football player movie.

[00:21:54] Saul:
By the way, anyone listening, if you haven’t seen the movie Rudy, today, right after this, get your kids, great family movie, show them the movie.

Show yourself the movie. It’s a true story about a guy who’s five feet tall. He doesn’t have an ounce of athletic ability. He wants to play football at Notre Dame and I will tell you if you were friends with the real Rudy Ruediger and he told you his dream was to play football at Notre Dame as his friend you know what you would have told him dude I love you get a new dream but Rudy’s like yeah well we’ll just see about that he tries to get in rejected second time rejected third time rejected Rejected.

But fourth time, you know, if you look at the movie poster for the movie, Rudy, it says when people tell you dreams don’t come true, tell them about Rudy and he gets into Notre Dame and tears are streaming down my face. Cause I was thinking one thing, if an unathletic kid like that could get into Notre Dame with an insane amount of hard work, then untalented artist like me, could get into Disney.

With an insane amount of hard work. And I vowed to never give up again. As a matter of fact, I called up Disney the next day. I get the guy on the phone that runs the internship. And I asked him, how close was I to getting in? He said, Saul, we got over 4, 000 portfolios from around the world. We picked 17 for the internship and you made it to number 20.

I only missed it by three. Do you know how many times in our lives we could be so close to achieving something? We feel we’re miles away and all we needed to do was push a little bit more. And then I asked him the million dollar question. Why did I not get in? What was I missing? You see, the thing that we all have in common is we’re human.

That means we’re going to fail. And when we fail in life, if you find out why, that is the answer key to growing. That’s where you got to have a mentor. That’s where you got to be vulnerable. You got to open up and ask people who know more of you, Hey, how can I grow? By the way, same thing in relationships.

Ask your husband, your wife, Hey, what can I do to make this marriage better? What can I do to be a better parent? How do I control my anger? How can I be more patient? Whatever it is, I take that new recipe. That Disney tells me what I need for my portfolio. They’re telling me, Oh, put more perspective in this.

I send my drawings in and I start my dream at Disney as an animator on movies, like you said, Pocahontas. But right after I got in, I remember working in the parks in Disney world, you know, the place.

[00:24:20] Jess:
Mm hmm.

[00:24:20] Saul:
And people would find me, I’d see people drawing out in the parks, and I’d go start giving them advice.

And I realized all this pain and struggle that I went through, I gotta help people who are going through the same. And I started as an intern helping as many people as I could around the parks try to get into Disney. I still remember like senior level animators walking out at night, we were working on Mulan, And I remember them looking at me like, who is this young?
Like kid, the startup guy who’s helping all these young people. Like he knows something he just got in. Right. But I’m like, whatever, you know, you have the responsibility to share. If you know one day’s worth of wisdom, you have a responsibility to share. Cause what does that give us? And I say this to my kids and I say this to myself, don’t share because it’s the right thing to do.
Don’t share because you think it might be the right thing to do. No share, because it’s going to give you meaning.

[00:25:20] Saul:
know how meaningful it is to impact another person? One person, one person. If you could, if you could see the light switch go off in one person’s head of, I don’t believe in myself to feeling empowered, there’s nothing better.

I’ve spoken on stages up to 3000 people. I’ve spoken for seven people and I’ve, To me, just give me one, just give me one person. You see that light switch go off in their head. It’s so empowerful. It’s so impactful and empowering. So for me, after I started getting to Disney, I started sharing tools to help people achieve their dream.

Then somebody said to me once, Hey, come speak at a university. I’m like, what am I going to talk about? Like, you know, just like, just tell your story. I’m like, all right, if you think it’ll be interesting. So I tell my story and. You know, as a speaker, I always say to me, the best talks that you will ever give are like jazz, you know, where you’re going, but how you get to those points, no matter how much you’re rehearsed, you got to be open.

You got to see what comes out. I’ve had times where I give a talk and it’s like, you know, I’m going through the motions. Like I know the words I’ve said before 10, 000 times, but every time I give a talk. Wherever my mind is, whatever the faces, whatever the reactions, who I am, who I am today. I wasn’t that person a week ago.

Things Emotionally connect to me differently and the best talks that I give as a speaker now are when I’m open to those Spontaneous ideas that come in. Don’t be afraid of that. That’s what makes it great. That’s what makes it like music That’s where the rhythm starts to happen. You with me?

[00:27:01] Jess:
Oh, I’m so with you.
I think there’s a fine level, like there’s a fine line between perfecting your craft, getting those reps in, and also staying open, fresh, and creative. And I sometimes find myself trying to, you know, I have a lot of like, You know, when you’ve been doing this for a while, you get these like word packages that you’re like, this is how I say this.

This is how I say that. And then you realize, yeah. Then you realize it’s like, wait, I’ve evolved since this. I created this word package three years ago. How can I riff on this? And that’s why, you know, in my drum, Yeah. Yeah. We, we teach a method, you know, we call it the sandwich method where it’s, it’s more big picture bubble ideas of creating your talks and, and very much discourage typing and scripting anything.

Because when you’re trying to just memorize word for word, you’ll get tripped up. You’re like, that’s not how I wanted to say this. Um, but that you set a, Line, and I want to make sure that I get it right. When you know something, you have the responsibility to share it. Is that, yeah.

[00:28:11] Jess:
so happy you went back to that line.
I love that line. Um, and the thing is, and this is what I wanna leave people with and I want you to have, uh, leave people with some advice, is a lot of times we get in our head about becoming a speaker because we think that we have to. be a Disney animator, or we have to have a TED Talk with millions of views, or we have to have this huge knowledge of, of something where we’re revolutionizing the world.

So often our expertise and our knowing comes from The times where you tried to get the internship and failed, or comes from the time when you tried to start a business out of your dorm room in college and eventually got it running. Like it’s the little things of the knowing that we build on that are so important to share as speakers.

So if you’re listening to this and you want to become a speaker, don’t wait till you feel like you’re qualified. to start sharing your knowings just like you did, you know, at a young age. So Saul, I’d love if you could, yeah, yeah, go ahead.

[00:29:21] Saul:
I was gonna say, and you have to take every opportunity to speak, especially when you’re starting out.

Yes. So many times I would be somewhere or be even at a dinner party. And someone was sharing something and my wife would be like tapping me under the table. She’s like, you have to share something right now. I’m like, honey, I just want to sit here like a simple person just eating my dinner. She’s like, no.

And there’s a, there’s a quote that I love. Uh, my kids know it. We, it’s our family motto in a way is that responsibility is really the ability to respond. Wherever in life we have the ability to respond, that’s the responsibility. So what does that mean? It means if [00:30:00] you have knowledge, it’s not your choice that you get to decide whether you’re going to choose to do that or not or share it.

No, no, you’re obligated to share it

[00:30:09] Jess:
because you have knowledge.

[00:30:09] Saul:
Responsibility is wherever you have the ability to respond. That’s where you’re responsible. You have to share it. That’s why you have that knowledge and ultimately there will be nothing more meaningful in our lives. If you ask 99 percent of the world out there, what do you want out of life?

Everyone will tell you the same thing. I want to be happy. I want to be happy. The problem is that happiness is usually contingent on outside experiences. Oh, if I get that extra zero in my bank account, yeah, I’ll be happy. If I meet my soulmate. Yeah. If I get to speak on a Ted talk stage yet, then I’ll be happy.

Better than a life of happiness is a life of meaning and what’s meaningful. One thing. And we learned this from the movie, the Lion King, Simba learns about it. Remember his father says at the end, remember who you are. You know, he’s telling us, he’s telling us, you know, what being a King means, you know, what [greatness is waking up with the responsibility to change the world.

And if we feel that obligation and that motivation, it’s not about us. It’s about them.

[00:31:13] Jess:
It’s about them.

[00:31:14] Saul:
If you want to talk about tools about speaking, the number one mindset a speaker has to have is for whatever reason, the stars are in line that I have been given an opportunity to impact them. And I’m telling you, if you’re a speaker right now listening to this or want to be, and you really don’t care about the audience and I’m being real, you got to be, if you don’t care about them, then you’re not going to make an impact.

It was a beautiful line I once heard, more than an audience. Will ever care how much you know? They want to know how much you care. Boom.

[00:31:50] Jess:
Oh, what a mic drop line to end on. That is that, you know, we talk about that at mic drop of like shifting from a spotlight speaker to a lighthouse speaker. It’s like the light’s not on you.
It’s on them, you know, we’re there. You know what i’ll tell them.

[00:32:07] Saul:
Yeah, I’ll tell you one more quick story When I was in school, I found out the greatest disney animator who ever lived is a guy named glenn keen Okay, you don’t know his name, but you know his characters These are the characters that he animated and designed ready.
Watch this the little mermaid. Yeah, he designed and animated her aladdin The Beast, Tarzan, Pocahontas, right? And many more. These are his characters. And when I was in art school, I found out that Glen used a certain pencil. And I thought if I could get the Glen Keane pencil that I could draw like Glen Keane.

So I call up the company that manufactures the pencil. I get this guy on the phone. I’m like, hi, I’d like to order some of the tomboy fifties, whatever they are. The guy on the phone was like, I’m sorry. You should have called yesterday. We’re all out. I’m like, no problem. I’ll wait. When are you getting more?

He’s like, no, you don’t understand. They’re discontinued. We’re never getting more. And yesterday there was [one guy that bought the last 12 cases. I go, his name wasn’t Glen Keane, was it? He’s like, how did you know? True story. So I couldn’t get the pencil. Three years later, my first job at Disney, I’m working on the movie Pocahontas.

I get called into the office of none other than Glen Keane himself. He takes out a piece of paper. He starts drawing with the pencil. And I’m enamored by it. He could tell that I’m distracted by the pencils. He’s teaching me how to draw Pocahontas’s face. He goes, what? I’m like, is that the pencil? He’s like, yeah, that’s the pencil.

I’m like, can I hold that? He’s like, yeah, you can hold it. I’m looking at it. It’s like half used. It’s got teeth marks from Glen Keane. It’s amazing. You have to understand if someone does something extraordinary, then the tools that they use to accomplish it become extraordinary. Michael Jordan sneakers, Michelangelo’s paintbrush, right?

This amazing Glen Keane’s pencil. He takes the pencil out of my hand. He says to me, Saul, it is not the pencil that makes the animator. He points to two words on his desk. He goes, these are the words that were passed to me from the nine old men who animated Bambi, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Cinderella, 50 years ago.

And I’ve kept these on my desk all the time. And he showed me those words and those words said, be sincere, be sincere. And he says to me, you know what makes the great animator? He says, you know what be sincere means? You know what makes the great speaker? You know what makes the great spouse, the great parent, anything you want to accomplish in life?

You know what makes it great? You gotta be sincere. And you know what it means? If you don’t feel it, they won’t feel it. Before you put one step on a stage, before you walk out into a boardroom, before you enter your day, every day, you wake up in the morning, you’re married, you have a job, whatever it is, you gotta be sincere.

What does it mean? You gotta feel it. Remind yourself what you care about. What do I feel about? What do I care about? If you care about something, guess what? That’s going to motivate you. That’s the ability to respond. And if you do that, you won’t have a life that’s good. This is how I end all my podcasts.

You won’t have a life of great. You will have a life of great.

[00:35:22] Jess:
I love it, Saul. Thank you so much. I’m literally like furiously tagging things, taking notes. So much of your path from A to B, I think can be replicated to whatever anyone is going for, whether that’s a speaker, job, whatever your goals are, and I just appreciate you sharing your time and your talent.

Everyone listening, definitely shoot Saul a follow. He has a video right now on Instagram that you must check out. Absolutely. Watch and be one of the, what are we at now? 2 million people that have seen that Michael Jordan video.

[00:35:55] Saul:
2. 7. Yeah.

[00:35:59] Jess:
And check out SaulBlankoff. com. Saul, thank you for being here. And I am excited that we are bringing our relationship to real life and I hope to work more together soon.

[00:36:09] Saul:
Thank you so much. And again, to all of your audience, I hope you take, uh, any inspiration that you have and turn it into action, uh, turn it into a mindset and turn it into a change in what you do, not just what you think, but what you do. And, uh, again, thanks for showing up. And Jess, a huge thank you to you.

And like, yeah, even though we’ve never met in person, I feel like we have, and I wish you such continued success on the impact you’re making and changing the world. Continued success to you guys.

[00:36:37] Jess:
Thanks, Saul. Thanks everyone.


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