“What is the biggest event you can get if you’re a corporate speaker?”, is a question I am often asked by those not in my industry.
The answer has always been MDRT, The Million Dollar Round Table. Their conference is “The Olympics” for a speaker like me.
I just came off stage from my MDRT experience as their closing keynote speaker.
The standing ovation was my gold medal moment, 15,300 people laughing, cheering, crying, and high-fiving, this was a fulfilling experience to say the least. To be told by those that have been attending for between 30-50 years that it was the single greatest presentation they’ve ever had on the stage was humbling.
The connection for me, however, was even deeper.
During my entire youth there were MDRT plaques lining the hallways of our home. My Dad, John Hewlett, being in the upper echelon of the most successful in the world in life insurance and financial planning fields, his lifetime membership in MDRT made it my goal as well.
I thought I was going to be an insurance salesman, because that’s what he was and thought I’d be.
When I cautiously brought the idea to my parents in the year 2000 at the age of 22 that I had a dream to be The Entertainer and Speaker the MDRT awards in my Dad’s office loomed from above. I knew insurance is what I should do for the legacy of my family business, but I knew in my heart where I would succeed and that was on a stage.
Thankfully my parents agreed and supported my decision to follow a crazy dream, and here I sit, 18 years later, having just turned 40, with dreams fulfilled most can’t imagine.
When I began my career in 2001 looking for big stages to perform on, asking my Dad where I should begin, he recommended MDRT because they had the best speakers at their conferences he’d ever seen.
So I called the MDRT office in Chicago.
“Hi”, I said, “I’m John Hewlett’s son, and I’m ready to perform on your stage for your annual event.”
The voice on the other end said, “Oh, that’s interesting. Do you know that our stage is reserved for the best in the world?”
Naively I pronounced, “I am very soon going to be considered the best in the world, I’d like to begin that journey on your stage.”
The voice responded, “We welcome your submission until you’re ready to be selected by our committee.”
End of conversation.
I was ticked. I thought this was going to be easy!
Long story short, I have submitted to be on the MDRT stage for 17 years now.
2,000+ events and performances, tens of thousands spent on coaching, 20,000 hours of practice and work on my craft, countless sleepless nights and travel the world over…
I finally made it to the MDRT stage on June 25, 2018, one day after my 40th birthday.
To have my Dad in the audience (who is no longer in the same field but rather started a successful new business), to share his story in my presentation of The Promise as a success in their industry, to have him seen on the big screen and given a rousing ovation by 15,300 of his peers, was one of the highlights of my life.
Pretty soon we were unable to walk anywhere as thousands of attendees from Asia, India, Australia, South America, Canada, the world over wanted to take a picture with him.
It was his Beatlemania and I just stood back and enjoyed the moment.
It was also my Olympic moment – to think I had finally earned my way onto this stage, with yes, the best speaker lineup I’ve ever seen at a corporate event that isn’t specific to speaking only (such as the National Speakers Association event Influence, where the lineup is uncanny).
What does all of this have to do with The Promise? I believe quite a bit.
I promised myself someday I would be on that stage, and it took me nearly 2 decades of very focused work.
I promised my Dad when I began this journey I would share his story and legacy in my presentations as an inspiration to others.
I promised to follow a dream that most said would not be possible and only few believed could happen, and honor those amazing people who never saw less than the best for me.
What is your grandest stage? What amount of work do you need to put in to accomplish a great dream and promise?
Today I bathe in gratitude. It’s amazing when a promise is fulfilled even if, or perhaps especially when, it takes decades to achieve.
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com
Please click here to learn about how Jason Hewlett, Speaker Hall of Fame, introduces the opportunity for you, or someone you love, to have the gift of learning how to create a Career From the Stage and begin moving toward fulfilling a lifelong dream as a full-time speaker, performer, or entertainer.
14 thoughts on “The Olympics of Speaking: MDRT 2018”
Looking forward to Dallas
Yes sir! Excited to be there soon with you my friend!
So awesome! Congrats Jason – I remember you when you were keeping your promise with a bunch of young kids in Kennesaw Georgia! I love The Promise, keep it going.
Thank you so much Todd, those are great memories! Hope you’re well.
Love you brother!
You continue to impress me beyond and above, after all these years I never realized this Dad connection, so glad you made the GOLD!
It’s great to have known you since the beginning of your journey when you called me in Vegas! ; )
Keep up the ‘Awesomeness!’
Thank you Larry, means a lot, we go way back, I’ve always looked up to you.
Amazing!! What a wonderful story of love (your parents willingness to accept your path) and perseverance!! Congratulations!!
Thank you Brenda, they are extraordinary parents, very blessed.
You are a ROCK STAR! Congrats! I bet your Dad was busting all his buttons as he saw you perform. Keep us the GREAT work.
Thank you Scott, yes it was a special moment for both of us!
Awesome! Congratulations on the accomplishment.
Thank you so much my friend! A great honor!