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Former NFL Pro
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. Read More >
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. Read Less ^
There BETTER Be an “I” in Team
When Opportunity Knocks: A Conversation with Former NFL Player JJ Birden
The key to success is seeing obstacles as opportunities. Read More >
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…
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. Read Less ^
Success is not going to be given to you--you have to go get it! Read More >
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: Read Less ^
Before you can lead others, you must have the ability to lead yourself. Read More >
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: Read Less ^
To get the future you want, you must bring your best EVERY day. Read More >
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. Some key takeaways include: Read Less ^
"During the COVID-19 Pandemic, our team shifted gears from our normal operations to a work-from-home setting. During this time, we wanted to place a strong emphasis on personal and professional development. With the uncertainty of the situation, we called on JJ to connect with our staff on topics of motivation, overcoming obstacles, and developing a positive mindset. JJ delivered an outstanding presentation that related directly to our current situation. Not only was he well-prepared and engaging, but his lessons were authentic and unique. Although his background is in the NFL, any business or personal setting can be compared to the messages he depicted. I cannot think of a single person or group of people that I wouldn’t recommend JJ too. He radiates positivity, grit, and authenticity!"
"Here’s what I love about JJ Birden. He brought energy and excitement. But he brought alignment to our team and what we were looking for. More importantly he gave our team the confidence and the courage to go out there to get to the next level. Me as a business leader, you’re always looking for some aspect of that and he nailed all three!"
"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!"
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 my 16 years in sales leadership, I have heard from some of the best motivational speakers in the world. JJ Birden was by far one of the best motivational speakers I have ever heard. His passion, content, and stories were so relevant to any sales-person or leader. His passion and storytelling had my team of 300 Aflac associates and managers laser focused on every word. JJ is a true professional who took the time to speak to me the week before my meeting to understand our company and culture. I would recommend any sales organization to bring JJ into your next meeting if you are looking for a lift. A week later I still have Aflac associates talking about his motivational speech!"
"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."
"JJ Birden was excellent to work with and did a great job learning about our company and the audience he would be presenting to. He tailored his personal experiences to our audience in a way that they would relate to and learn from. I would highly recommend JJ Birden!"
"JJ Birden spoke at our sales meeting. he kicked off our first day with a high-energy presentation that blended a variety of topics from life lessons to challenging yourself on a daily basis. It was a fantastic start to our day and our meeting. As our individual presenters spoke during the remainder of our meeting, they referenced thoughts or ideas planted by JJ on day 1. This was not a request from our leadership, the impact and energy JJ brought to our meeting was infectious and had a lasting impact over the next few days. It was terrific hearing how our sales and marketing team were using the foundation set by JJ on day 1 to springboard and attack the year to elevate our performance. JJ researched our organization and addressed that knowledge throughout his presentation and connected with our team. JJ’s presentation was a home run and set the stage for a high-energy meeting! I highly recommend JJ to others and enjoyed working with him before and during our meeting."
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