With Kyle Willkom

What I Do.

Life skills and leadership are meant to be actionable. I give speeches, create books, curriculum, and content, and run Leadership Bootcamps to help young people become the best version of themselves.

speaking

All speeches are entertaining and impactful. Through original music and engaging stories, speeches are delivered in a relatable way to ensure they are memorable and actionable.

writing

The purpose of all of my writing is to help young people become the best version of themselves. I use stories to teach important lessons in a way that is easy to consume.

inspiring

Through the Action Packed Life, I provide weekly content to young people across the country to give them tips, tricks, and secrets to help them become the best version of themselves.

About
Kyle Willkom

Kyle Willkom is an energetic and insightful keynote speaker that keeps audiences laughing while they learn. He excels in his ability to engage youth audiences with his accents, music, and entertaining stories.

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Below is an excerpt that inspires me. I’m hoping it will inspire you too.

Before you read the excerpt, I’d like to explain why it is so important to me. Continue reading Do It Now – And Do Not Waste Time



Yesterday, Chris Solinsky retired from professional running. He leaves the sport as one of the greatest American runners ever, and I’ll never forget the time I saw him blow the competition away.

Continue reading NO FIER – How Watching One High School Cross Country Race Changed My Life



There are two things you need to do right now to fix them and make them work for you

I hear people making New Year’s Resolutions every single year that flat out won’t work.

People tell themselves that they are going to exercise every day or lose all the weight they didn’t lose during their last New Year’s Resolution.

These promises are empty and the outcomes are unlikely.

Why?

Continue reading Your New Year’s Resolutions Are Broken



WHY I’M LEAVING TWO GREAT JOBS, AND HOW IT APPLIES TO YOU

I feel like this post needed to be made. This is a personal post about the recent progressions in my life. I’m not making this post to selfishly say, ‘Hey everybody, look at me!’ I’m making this post because I think there are themes in it that can resonate with anyone. I want to take you through what’s been happening for me in hopes that it can somehow help you.

So here I go.

I am leaving my full-time job. I’m stepping away from the consulting position I’ve held for the last three years, and I’m joining an entrepreneurial company in an industry in which I have little experience.

Continue reading The Hardest Part of Ending is Starting Again



Important Takeaways from 50 Cent, Jay Z, and Kanye West

’My momma gave birth to a winner, I gotta win.’ -50 Cent

Confidence is like wealth. It’s typically unevenly distributed, and famous rappers have a lot more than the average person. But I think it’s important to point out what 50 Cent acknowledges here: he had confidence before he was a famous rapper. He felt he was born a winner, and that he shouldn’t be doing anything but winning.

Continue reading Three Times Rappers Taught Us Lessons in Leadership



And what can you learn from it?

Picture1

Why does America follow Taylors every move? Why did Cosmo become a staple in a wildly successful sitcom? Why should you care?

I believe that learning from the success of others is beneficial. Lessons in leadership or tips on how to generate positive interactions are oftentimes found through those who do these things well. So what can you learn from Taylor Swift and Cosmo Kramer that will add value to your daily life?

Most people wouldn’t make an immediate connection between a modern young musical icon and a gallivanting jittery fictional character, yet I think they have something in common that we can all learn from.

They both share something that is often talked about, but rarely personified: charisma.

Think about the last time Taylor Swift received some sort of recognition. What words come to mind when you think about her response?

Surprised?

Excited?

Grateful?

Humble?

Taylor shows emotion in a way that allows others to feel it with her. Her excitement feels like your excitement, and the reason is two-fold.

First, her actions are often big, maybe even toeing the line of over-the-top. She doesn’t hide her excitement. She doesn’t act like she’s used to it. She allows her emotions to flow freely.

Second, her emotions feel genuine (whether they are or not).

I’ve often thought about what it would be like to win as many awards as Taylor Swift. The girl has 20 Billboard Music Awards, 16 American Music Awards, 7 Grammys, etc. To be honest, at some point, it wouldn’t be surprising anymore. It would still be cool to win them, but I probably wouldn’t give the wide-eyed, open-mouthed look of someone who had just been asked, Will you marry me?

But Taylor does. Why? Because any one of Taylor’s fans around the world dreams about winning one of those awards, and when Taylor wins, she acts exactly how one of them would act if they happened to win; this is what I meant by, her excitement feels like your excitement. Her genuine emotions allow you to relate to her on a personal level. Even if she gets accustomed to being famous and winning awards, she allows us to continue to enjoy it with her.

So how do these things relate to Cosmo Kramer?

If you’ve ever watched Seinfeld, picture Kramer stepping into Seinfeld’s apartment (If you haven’t watched it, click here). He never walked in to nonchalantly say, What’s up? He would fling the door open, eyebrows raised, excitement in his eyes. Even when his plans were outlandish, most of America would have loved to have Kramer as a friend.

He shows the same charismatic traits as Taylor Swift. His actions could be described as over-the-top and his emotions feel very genuine.

So what can you learn?

The next time you have a conversation with someone, think about the perception they have of you. Do you seem interested, present, and attentive or do you seem bored, distracted, and indifferent? If the words you come up with are not the most flattering, look to add a little charisma to your day-to-day interactions.

Charisma is not just a word to describe extroverts. Anyone can add charisma to their personality by making genuine emotional connections to those with whom they come into contact.

So get out there, because as Cosmo Kramer said:

I’m out there and I’m loving every minute of it!

For more articles like this one, feel free to follow me on Twitter.



How are your New Years resolutions coming? Are you sticking with it? All those, “I will work out every single day” promises or, “I am going to stop cursing this year” commitments that you made. How are you doing?

People have asked me about my New Years resolutions. And the truth is, I don’t have any.

Why?

New Years resolutions create a scenario where all you can do is mess up. You missed one workout day? Shoot. You lost. You dropped an F bomb when you stubbed your toe? Too bad. Try again next year.

I’m not saying that you can’t jump back on and recommit to your resolution, but every time you mess up, the vision of what you’re doing becomes less and less clear.

I’ve never talked to anyone who said, “Yeah, I said I wasn’t going to curse at all this year. I’ve done it 629 times, but I’m starting again tomorrow; it’s going to be a great year.”

By then, people usually give up. This is the more likely scenario: “Yeah, I said I wasn’t going to curse at all this year. That lasted a whole ten days, but it was hard as *%&$ to keep up.

I’d like to propose a better way: placing the focus on the end of the year instead of the beginning.

At every New Year, people say, “Where am I right now and how can I change?” I’m suggesting we start saying, “Where would I like to be at this time next year and how can I get there?”

So instead of the, “Do this every day” or “I won’t do this” resolutions, write one down that says, “I’d like to have X amount of money in my savings account by the end of the year.” If fitness is your target, “I’d like to weigh X by the end of the year.”

This type of resolution takes the focus off of messing up, and places it on moving forward. This allows you to look at your “resolutions” (they’ve actually become more like goals now) every day and feel less like you’ve taken a wrong turn and more like you’re on the road to victory.

The best part? On those days that you do struggle, all is not lost. There’s no, “Shoot, I messed up. It’s over.” moment. You have an incentive to keep working at it because you’re not looking back on what you’ve done, you’re looking forward to what needs to be done. In this scenario, every day becomes an opportunity to move closer to success as opposed to a recipe for failure.

So I’ll ask you again. How are your resolutions coming? Are you sticking to it? No? Well, there’s always time to stop looking back and start looking forward. Make resolutions that keep your eye on the prize; set yourself up to succeed, and as always, let me know how you do.



Picture1Creating a personal brand can be an interesting topic, and will be presented differently depending on who you ask.

When I was a sophomore in college, I had the chance to meet Mark Cuban. Yes, the billionaire entrepreneur turned Shark Tank star, Mark Cuban. He had just spoken at an event in Milwaukee, and I caught him for a moment afterwards to ask him a question.

“What would you say to young people who are starting to establish their personal brand?”

That was my question. I remember being proud of it. As a sophomore in college, I felt it was a good question that would allow him to give me some pointers on building a future in business.

His response was one I was not ready for and one I’ll never forget:

“Drink more PBR.”

There was an awkward pause as I just looked at him, confused. I was relieved that he didn’t stop talking there.

“Everyone is walking around making all of their decisions based on what other people think. Stop judging yourself by other peoples’ standards. Take a step back, have a beer, or a few beers, be yourself and don’t worry so much about your personal brand.”

Then he asked me a question.

“How old are you?”

“Twenty-one.”

“You have plenty of time to grow up and worry about your personal brand. Enjoy your time with your friends. Enjoy the college experience. Take everything in now. You have your whole life to be boring.”

That’s some pretty cool advice that has stuck with me through the years.

However, what I’m not sure Mark Cuban realized when he was saying this is, everything he said is exactly what makes up a personal brand.

A personal brand is simply the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that others have when they think of you. While I don’t condone underage drinking (for the younger folks reading this), being easy-going, valuing friendships, and enjoying life are all great things to be known for. What seemed almost like “anti-advice” was actually a pretty solid personal branding nugget.

I think my biggest takeaway from meeting Mark Cuban was this:

Have the confidence to be yourself; it will take you a long way.

Spending time worrying about what other people think can deter you from achieving what you’re meant to achieve. Be yourself. Go for it. Who knows? Your original self may just get you further than you would have gotten otherwise. Apparently Mark Cuban made a billion dollars while drinking PBR. Who says you can’t be next?



I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of ascribed intent, or making judgments about the intentions of others based on their actions when you may not have the full story.

Think about this. How many times have you sent a text message and not received one in return? This person probably hates you and never wants to talk to you again, right?

Continue reading The Issue with Ascribed Intent



Picture1I recently realized the true value of social media. This story isn’t actually about social media. It is about how social media can help you be more social for real. Let me back up for a moment.

The idea of social media has always been about connecting people. Mark Zuckerberg connected college students with one another, and now Facebook has connected the entire world. Twitter was founded on the premise that individual thoughts are important, and that others will care about what you have to say. The concept of social media was always meant to be just that: social.

But there’s an issue.

The idea of being social has now become more about interacting with screens than with each other.

We’ve become more interested in how many favorites we get than how many eyebrows we raise.

 

We don’t tell stories because we don’t need to; there’s video for that. We’ve moved toward likes, comments, swipes, and (unfortunately) pokes instead of high fives, hugs, and genuine smiles. While social media has been working to connect the world, I certainly don’t feel more connected when sitting alone in my room reading my Twitter feed.

There is a solution.

I am not anti-social media. On the contrary, I use it every single day. This past weekend, I was given a very clear reminder of the true value social media offers.

While taking a weekend trip to Boston to visit a college friend named Sully, I sent a tweet saying how excited I was to be in the city.

Now, my best friend from high school has done pretty well for himself. His name is Ethan Finlay. He played soccer at Creighton University and was drafted 10th overall in the MLS Superdraft in 2012. He now plays professionally for the Columbus Crew and has worked his way into the starting lineup.

Little did I know that the same day I was visiting Sully, the Columbus Crew was playing the New England Revolution just a stone’s throw away from Boston. Here’s the tweet Ethan sent me:

Not only did I attend the game with Sully, Ethan got us seats in a suite which provided an amazing view for the game-winning goal he scored in the 84th minute. After the game, we were able to meet up with Ethan and his teammates (two of them had played in the World Cup; fun to see them in person).

None of this would have happened without social media. I sent one tweet, got a response, and made it happen. This is the personal value of social media: to help us become truly social.

The next time you are bored, resorting to your Twitter feed for entertainment, use it to make a real connection. Send a tweet that says, ‘Anyone want to get coffee?’ Use social media to build your connections. Use social media to truly get connected.

The real connections that can come from social media just might raise your eyebrows.


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