My Favorite Speech of All Time

In my 50-year career as a speaker and trainer, my all-time favorite speech was called “Fire in the Belly.” I developed it in the early 90s and delivered it to corporate and association audiences in the Bay Area and around the country. 

I loved the responses I got from two people at a National Speakers Association presentation: 

Patricia Fripp: “That was the best speech I ever heard.” 

Susan Page: “I was so excited after your talk, I couldn’t breathe.” 

As corporate demand for the PowerSpeaking training increased, I stopped doing the speech and moved on to other projects like “Speaking to the Big Dogs,” or, “Speaking Up.” 

Now in retirement, I’m sorting through decades of video and audio tapes. I came across a clean audio of Fire in the Belly and decided to resurrect it for my blog. I hope you will take time to listen to it. 


• The audio is augmented with photos and two video clips

• Key points: the “Hero’s Journey” helps us understand change.

    – When you go on the journey, you change

    – Mentors will show up to help

    – It gets messy, Let ‘er Rip

Jenny Parker = Dena Pappas. When I first gave this talk I had not found my old sax teacher, Dena Pappas. I nicknamed her “Jenny Parker.” Same person. I later found her on her deathbed in Mesa, Arizona and visited with her. Her amazing story:

Bob Dreher was a huge mentor for me. See his story:

Bottom-line take away: 

“Pursuing Your Passion is Life’s Greatest Adventure.” 



1 thoughts on “My Favorite Speech of All Time

  1. Tom Burns says:

    Rick, I truly look forward to reading your opinions, rants and adventures, and I must confess, I’ve been neglectful in providing comments and feedback. However, I have to say, "Fire in the Belly" brings back many fond memories of working with you, Mary, and the whole Power Speaking team. You had a huge impact on me and my career at EMC and I am forever grateful. With your permission I will share this speech with my son (working at EMC) and daughter, in their prime earning years.

    I am still amazed and inspired by all that you continue to do in your "retirement." Wishing you and Mary many more years of lettin ‘er rip!

    All the best,


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