Stay Positive in Times of Doubt With These Speakers on Grit


With all the twists and turns the recent challenges have presented, find speakers who can motivate your group to persevere – particularly with messages of mental toughness and grit.

COVID-19 presents a whole new set of every day worries, trials, and tribulations that we are forced to confront. These obstacles can leave us feeling uneasy, nervous, and sometimes fearful. But humans always have choices. Together we must choose to overcome these hurdles, obstacles, and challenges to become stronger and achieve the impossible. And we don’t mean putting on jeans instead of sweatpants every day, although that sometimes feels impossible.

Keep reading to discover keynote speakers who are experts in staying positive and maintaining grit during times of doubt. From exhausting polar expeditions to breaking world records, these motivational and inspirational speakers are experts at keeping their minds in check, and helping others do the same.

  • Darcy Gaechter, Adventurer & First Woman to Kayak the Amazon River
  • Sarah Robb O-Hagan, Legendary Business Leader, CEO of EXOS, Former CEO of Flywheel Sports, Former Global President of Gatorade, Former Marketing Director at Nike, Founder & Author of "Extreme You: Step Up, Stand Out, Kick Ass, Repeat"
  • Mick Dawson, Rowed Across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to San Francisco
  • Bert Jacobs and John Jacobs, Co-Founders of “Life is Good”
  • Lisa Jaster, Army Ranger, Leadership and Peak Performance Expert
  • Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Legendary Business Leader, CEO of EXOS
  • Tim Peake, First British Astronaut to the International Space Station
  • Cal Ripken Jr, “Iron Man” of Baseball
  • Ben Saunders, World Record-Breaking Polar Explorer and TED Speaker
  • Sebastian Terry, Author, TV Host and Founder of 100 Things Philanthropic Movement
  • Erik Weihenmayer, World-Class Blind Adventurer

Keep scrolling for a more in-depth look at these fantastic keynote speakers.

Darcy Gaechter

Adventurer & First Woman to Kayak the Amazon River

An adventurer, record-setter, and boundary-breaker, Darcy Gaechter is best known as the first woman to kayak the Amazon River from source to sea. Her three-person team also became the first team to kayak the entire river, where all previous expeditions had either hiked around or rafted portions of the whitewater in the Amazon River’s headwaters. The journey required her crew to paddle over 4,000 miles across the widest part of South America, a voyage that took 148 days to complete. The successful traverse of the entire Amazonian watershed relied on Gaechter’s team’s ability to balance many factors: physical endurance, an ability to work with the locals to assuage their fears of outsiders, patience for interpersonal conflicts arising from three people spending every waking moment together for five months, and a mental toughness that allowed no room for quitting to be an option. Without a doubt, the Amazon was as much an intellectual and emotional undertaking as it was a physical challenge.

Sarah Robb-O'Hagan

Legendary Business Leader, CEO of EXOS, Former CEO of Flywheel Sports, Former Global President of Gatorade, Former Marketing Director at Nike, Founder & Author of "Extreme You: Step Up, Stand Out, Kick Ass, Repeat"

Described by the media as everything from “Superwoman undercover” to “The Pied Piper of potential,” Sarah Robb O’Hagan is an executive, activist, entrepreneur, and founder of Extreme Living—a company designed to help individuals, teams, and organizations play to their highest potential. She is now the CEO of EXOS, the world leader in elite performance training that helps people reach higher and achieve more.

Mick Dawson

Rowed Across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to San Francisco

In 2009 he skippered the first and still the only rowing boat to cross from Choshi, Japan, rowing almost 7,000 miles, to The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. A voyage of over six and a half months – in addition to being one of the ‘last great firsts’ – also set a remarkable Guinness world record. As companies deal with the forthcoming periods of isolation due to social distancing and remote work, Mick shares his lessons-learned on how to manage isolation, and the specific coping mechanisms he developed to deal with such an abnormal existence.

Bert Jacobs and John Jacobs

Co-Founders of “Life is Good”

Bert and John Jacobs are co-founders of the $100 million lifestyle brand Life is Good. When they started the company in 1994, they had $78 in their pockets, lived out of their van, and sold t-shirts on the streets of Boston. Ever since they sold their first t-shirt 25 years ago, Bert and John have been on a mission to spread the power of optimism. Bert and John thrive on the notion that we have the ability to use these times of darkness to come together, to see each other as humans (not just co-workers or clients), build unbreakable bonds, and innovate like never before.

Lisa Jaster

Army Ranger, Leadership and Peak Performance Expert

Lisa was the first female Army Reserve officer to become a Ranger. She completed the training, which 36 percent of male and female students fail within the first four days. According to Lisa, “There is no quitting.” In keynote speeches, Lisa describes how she stayed motivated during those dark moments, and why “Once you think about quitting, you let the quit in you.” Filled with humorous stories and moving anecdotes, Jaster leaves audiences inspired to push past adversity, no matter the cost, and better their lives.

Sarah Robb O’Hagan

Legendary Business Leader, CEO of EXOS

A rare blend of fierce business woman and high-energy innovator, O’Hagan experienced what she calls a “canyon of career despair” in her 20s – using major back-to-back failures to learn, to grow, and to motivate herself forward to eventually lead a $5 billion global business by the age of 38. Former executive at Virgin Atlantic, Gatorade, FlyWheel, and Equinox, O’Hagan explains why turnaround success stories are not the result of one person’s vision, or a team of all-stars, but rather an expertly pieced together team of uniquely focused skill sets working together to create the future.

Tim Peake

First British Astronaut to the International Space Station

Tim Peake was the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station, where his work during mission Principia captured the hearts and minds of millions. One of Tim’s most cherished moments of his mission was having the opportunity to talk with the late Professor Stephen Hawking from the ISS. Tim shares how his experiences gave him a unique insight into what it takes not just to survive but to thrive in isolation. According to Tim, "It's important to embrace your new surroundings and make a positive mental adjustment in order to ‘normalize the abnormal.’”

Cal Ripken Jr

“Iron Man” of Baseball

One of the true legends of baseball, "Iron Man" Cal Ripken, Jr. broke several professional records during his 21 seasons, but none is as sacred as his consecutive-games-played record. Shattering Lou Gehrig's streak of 2,131 games by more than 500, Ripken displayed perseverance, endurance, and an everyday work ethic that endeared him to fans, transformed him into a national icon, and some argue, even saved baseball at its darkest moment.

Ben Saunders

World Record-Breaking Polar Explorer and TED Speaker

Best known for leading one of the most ambitious polar expeditions in a century, Saunders was the first to successfully complete an epic, 105-day, 1,800-mile trek on foot to the South Pole—equivalent to running 69 marathons back-to-back. He enthralls audiences as he touches on themes including challenging the status quo, pushing past self-imposed limits, the disconnect between ideas and action, communicating with your team, and managing change (the landscapes he travels are in constant flux).

Sebastian Terry

Author, TV Host and Founder of 100 Things Philanthropic Movement

Affected by a curious mind and the death of a close friend, Sebastian experienced a moment in his life where he asked himself a simple question; ‘Am I happy?’ The answer was NO and so he decided to pen down a list of 100 Things that he’d always wanted to achieve. Following his heart and armed with nothing but a list, Sebastian's incredible story has grown from an entertaining tale of adventure into a global philanthropic movement that engages a growing tribe of hundreds of thousands to not just set meaningful goals, but also pull the trigger and achieve them – all while helping others do the same.

Erik Weihenmayer

World-Class Blind Adventurer

Despite losing his vision at the age of 14, Weihenmayer is an accomplished climber, paraglider, skier, and kayaker who never allows blindness interfere with his passion for pursuing an exhilarating and fulfilling life. Erik brings audiences a powerful message about harnessing the power of adversity as fuel for greatness. Erik understands better than most that barriers are real, not merely perceived, and that that obstacles encountered can either stop us in our tracks, or we can figure out a way to harness them and propel ourselves to new places that we would never get to in any other way.


These Leading Authorities inspirational keynote speakers are constantly amazing audiences around the world with their undying pursuit of staying positive. If you are interested in booking on of these inspirational speakers for your next event, give us a call today at 1-800-SPEAKER to talk to a member of our sales team. Would they be a good fit for your group? Please let us know!

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