My name is Martin Latulippe, and I would like to take a few minutes to write a special message to you without any fanfare.
On this site, you will read a host of beautiful things about me – all true of course – which highlight my career, my mission, and my achievements … (also called marketing:)
But now I would like to tell you what I really want you to know about me, but which would probably have bothered you if it was the first thing that you read about me.
I have always been a dreamer, and let’s just say that for a good part of my life, this personality trait of mine did not help me out much. On the contrary, I got the impression that people spent their time faulting me for it. “Stop being a dreamer” is a phrase I often heard.
In hindsight, I can’t blame them because after all, it is true that I had my head in the clouds and that my results were always very average.
Moreover, there was a time when I felt that everything I did was average.
I was a very average student with my share of challenges and with several labels put on me, an average hockey player who was never the best on the teams (far from it), an average son as I watched the successes of my brother accumulate while my head was in the clouds.
In short, for a long time I had the impression that everything I did was average, and I even thought that this is what life had in store for me. Nothing dramatic, it was just the reality of my perception at that time.
The first book that
At age 16, after being cut from a hockey team that I thought I was predestined to belong to, my world collapsed.
It was thus confirmed publicly that I was average, which fueled the flames of my poor academic results. My self-esteem was at zero at that time.
Desperate in the face of my distress, my father and mother had the brilliant idea to buy me the book “Les Secrets de la réussite des champions” (The secrets of success of champions). Since the book was written by a famous hockey coach, François Allaire, I decided to give the first few pages a chance.
This book changed my life.
After just a few pages, I began to understand that my attitude was at the root of many of my problems. I had just learned, in a few lines, good and bad news. The good news? I was a leader. The bad news? I was a negative leader.
I was so limited by the school system, which constantly reminded me in different ways of my challenges, limitations, and that I would not do anything in my life, that I had started to rebel against the system, the authority, and the people who made fun of me.
I had become hurtful and disruptive, and these defense mechanisms led me to have a few, let’s say, colorful moments in my adolescence.
My encounter with two
One day, still at age 16, a French teacher asked me to stay after class. That was the last thing I wanted to do, but I gave in to her request.
At the end of the class, she said to me: You know Martin, it’s obvious that written French presents many challenges for you (dyslexia), but I want you to know something: Just because you can’t succeed here at school doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed in your life. Your gift seems to be public speaking. In fact, there is a speech contest organized by the Rotary club, and I really think that you should participate.
My entire being did not want to participate in this contest.
After all, I was a hockey player, and just so you know, at that time hockey players were not particularly recognized for their public speaking. But, since I felt like this was the first time that an authority figure in school had said: I believe in you …I decided to believe her, and so I entered the competition.
To my surprise, I placed second.
Of course, I didn’t win this competition, but inside myself, I had just made a big change.
This teacher had just awakened something powerful within me, which is the idea that I can succeed at something else even if school doesn’t represent a success for me. That is the lesson given to me by the first angel that I encountered.
Later that same year, the woman that I stayed with as my host family (in youth hockey, we sometimes have to leave the country and we do not stay at home) wrote me a note that would change the course of my life.
In my high school senior yearbook, you know, the photo book that we ask our friends and teachers to sign, well, Anne-Marie wrote: Martin, you have a real gift for speaking and words, but you will not truly put this gift to use until you stop hurting people with that same gift for speaking and words. OUCH!
Anne-Marie was right.
I had built a fortress around myself, and I used words more often than not to hurt others and belittle them. I was not proud of that, and it was up to me to change things … but how?
The awakening of a passion for
the human side
The years that followed were years of trial-and-error learning. I turned to what had seemed to bring me success: books on personal and professional development. If one book could help me so much, I was making the simple deduction that many books would probably fix many things.
So I continued to read books on motivation, psychology, philosophy, business, while doing my best to apply the lessons I was learning, even if it was not always obvious or consistent with my situation.
I was a bad leader on occasion and learned from these mistakes. While I continued to act inconsistently, I inched my way closer toward consistency. I made bad decisions, and that allowed me to learn the consequences and lessons from them. I tried a thousand and one projects that failed, and each time I learned things. My point here is that despite the investment I made in myself, I found myself empty-handed more often than not.
The only performance indicators I had were the leadership roles I played in ice hockey: assistant captain in 1994 (Voltigeurs de Drummondville – QMJHL), captain in 1995 (Alpines de Moncton – QMJHL), captain for 4 years from 1997 to 2001 (University of Moncton), and captain of the Canadian team at the 2001 Universiade held in Poland (Team Canada).
Because of this leadership role that I was slowly but surely becoming accustomed to, I was asked more and more often to visit schools to talk to young people; and I took the opportunity to give my time and share my gift, as Anne-Marie had asked me to.
Gradually, I developed a real passion for the human aspect – the fears, mechanisms, psychology, restraints, and, above all, the possibilities that come with it.
At that time, I had no idea that this passion was going to turn into a profession and that I would soon swap the time I had invested to become a hockey player to now becoming a speaker.
The final match and the
There are two key moments that happened and changed my destiny forever.
First, in my last year of university hockey, I had the privilege of being selected to represent Canada at the Universiade with the Canadian hockey team, and coach Trevor Stienburg even honored me by appointing me as captain of the team.
This appointment gave me sky-high confidence. It was a sort of confirmation that someone recognized my leadership and that when you invest in yourself, you can transform and improve many things.
My participation in this competition is important for the rest of the story because a key event, which I will explain to you in a few minutes, happened during this hockey championship … but first, let me tell you about the final match.
A few months before being selected as captain of the Canadian University Hockey Team, I developed an unusual friendship with an influential businessman in my area.
I say unusual because we met in an interview as I was applying for a job with the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, which was led at the time by this influential man, Michel Desjardins.
During the interview process, when it came time to speak in English, I totally froze because my English was quite rudimentary at the time. Sensing that I was very uncomfortable, Michel decided to change the subject and asked me if I had any passions other than hockey.
My answer without hesitation was: Yes, books on personal development!
Michel looked at me smiling and said: Really, you read books on personal development?
I then explained that it is more than a passion but a way of life, which has allowed me to deconstruct myself in order to build a better me.
He looked at me and said: You’re hired.
A few weeks later, we went to see the great Anthony Robbins in Boston with his brother Jean-Paul Desjardins, who also is passionate about personal development. These two men, Jean-Paul and Michel, would become exceptional mentors for things to come.
Even though I did not fully understand all the talks in English, I was full of certainty when I came back from Boston: What I just saw Anthony Robbins do on stage is what I dream of doing one day … but in my own way !
So I shared this dream with the two Desjardins brothers, and they immediately suggested the following plan: You will work for a few years after your studies to build your reputation (because right now, you have no credentials), take the time to discover and develop the profession of speaker (try to become good because we do not know anything about it), and we, on our side, will teach you the business world because, whether you are a speaker or not, if you want to succeed in business, you will have to become an excellent entrepreneur.
That was the plan for me. Work for a few years, establish credibility, learn the profession of lecturer and entrepreneurship, and then pursue my dream.
The only two things that now stood between me and the execution of my plan and dream were completing my last semester and participating in the World Hockey Championship. However …
When life has
Arriving in Poland for the World Hockey Championship, I already had this plan in mind. I knew that this competition was my last lap in hockey and then I was going to work on my plan, my dream.
But a key moment in the competition was when life taught me that there was another plan waiting for me.
In the middle of the round robin, in a routine play at center rink, a hard-hitting check applied to an opposing player caused me to get hit by the blade of the other player’s ice skate, directly in the neck.
Within a few seconds, my jersey was soaked with blood, and I could hardly see the Canadian logo.
I didn’t know the severity of the cut at that moment, but I knew that the neck is not the best place to be hit by the blade of an ice skate.
Fortunately, there was more fear than harm, but it was still a matter of millimeters.
This incident had a profound impact on me and on the choice of my mission.
I felt that life had just given me a second chance by telling me: Go ahead my man … go after your wildest dreams, you only have one life to live.
When I came back from Poland, with a silver medal around my neck, I went back to see my two mentors to tell them that the original plan had changed and that I did not have a few more years to go to work – the time to pursue my dream was NOW.
So it was, without a penny in my pocket, without credibility, and without experience, that I launched myself, as soon as I left school, in pursuit of my dream which many people considered impossible.
Some 20 years later, after hundreds of failures, challenges, doubts, and many other entrepreneurial adventures where I was an inch away from giving up everything, I had no idea that my mission would lead me to where I am today.
At the time, I just wanted to help others live to their full potential, and that’s the same motivation that drives me today.
I never thought that I would hold more than 3500 conferences, publish books, sell my products in more than 53 countries, travel all over the world, have more than 2 million views on YouTube, 300,000 Facebook fans, with tens of thousands more on Instagram and YouTube, or that this job would bring me financial independence.
Most of these things didn’t even exist when I started.
There was only a dream that I decided to act on – in spite of the fears within myself.
And this is exactly the same mission that continues to motivate me today – helping people to take action and follow their dreams … because I know beyond any doubt that dreams can come true with good lessons, good support, and a ton of perseverance.
What about you, what is your dream ?