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Team motivator inspires companies to empower a championship environment

JJ Birden

travels from USA

Former NFL pro offers strategies for seizing opportunities and overcoming obstacles, where he inspires resilience and positivity in audiences throughout North America.

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About JJ

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Viewing obstacles as opportunities, keynote speaker and former professional football player JJ Birden inspires leaders to incorporate winning principles for success in beating adversity. Helping listeners to focus on obtaining a victor's mentality, JJ leverages his experience overcoming obstacles on the field and in life to master thoughts, overcome failures, and maintain determination in the face of challenges. His message resonates with audiences who are inspired by JJ's engaging keynote addresses. Offering continuous improvement strategies, he helps listeners avoid complacency and improve productivity in personal and professional experiences.

Reasons to Book JJ Birden

  • Audiences relate to Birden’s captivating story about his experience in overcoming challenges to join the National Football League as a professional player and play with the best competitors in the business.
  • His presentation equips listeners with practical strategies and key actionable takeaways, which audience members may immediately incorporate to obtain a winner’s mindset.
  • As a best-selling author, Birden shares an inspirational book, called When Opportunity Knocks 8 Surefire Ways to Take Advantage. Focusing on proven strategies for enhancing performance and improving productivity, he inspires audiences to reach their full potential.

Birden joined the National Football League as a small man compared to his teammates and competitors. At just 5’10 and 157 lbs, he played nine seasons in the league. After earning a walk-on position with the University of Oregon football team, Birden faced several challenges. He encountered doubters, injuries, and unremarkable stats. However, with determination and hard work, he eventually earned an NFL Combine invite.

His performance at the Combine led to an NFL draft pick. Unfortunately, injuries and setbacks cast doubt on his ability to play and four NFL teams rejected him. Still, facing one of the toughest tests of his career to date, he dug deep and moved forward. In 1988, he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in round 8 of the NFL draft. During his career, he played for the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, and Atlanta Falcons.

Leveraging his experience in overcoming obstacles on the field and in life, Birden shares insights into how resiliency and determination can take a person from a mediocre to an extraordinary life. Focusing on topics from leadership principles to strategies for thriving in business, Birden imparts practical tools for overcoming obstacles to win. His inspiring presentation offers listeners a powerful message about succeeding regardless of the circumstances a person faces.

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Keynote by speaker JJ Birden

JJ Birden: From Underdog to Alpha Dog

The average NFL career is less than two years. The average NFL player is 6’2, 245 pounds. JJ Birden played nine seasons at 5’10, 157 pounds. Talk about beating the odds.

In spite of everything stacked against him and everyone who thought otherwise, JJ Birden, the undersized wide receiver with unimpressive college stats, became one of just 20,000 men to ever play a game in the NFL’s 100-year history. His unexpected and unlikely rise to the top of the football world is a testament to his winning principles and strategies, which he now shares to help professionals in other fields achieve similar levels of success.

JJ’s engaging keynote presentations tell the story behind his success on the field, and explain how the mental skills and strategies that propelled him to the top of his game can help others succeed in business and in life—no matter how unlikely or unexpected success may seem. He skillfully explains how the lessons in his life apply to all arenas of life and demonstrates how achievable success really is for those who are hungry to win.

JJ provides actionable insights that empower leaders to solve some of the biggest organizational problems, including:

  • Low team morale.
  • High employee turnover.
  • Work environment and company culture.
  • Lack of strategic planning.
  • Poor strategy execution.
  • Decreasing or stagnant productivity.
  • Shrinking margins and increasing competition.

Inspire your team, elevate their performance, and motivate the workers of today to become the leaders of tomorrow. Book JJ Birden and unlock the full potential of human performance within your organization.

Keynote by speaker JJ Birden

Success is not going to be given to you, you have to go get it!

Businesses have always aimed to get more out of their people, but it is becoming increasingly hard to provide resources, instruction, and encouragement that actually motivate employees to show up and give their best. To truly succeed in today’s extremely competitive business world, organizations need employees who are genuinely motivated to give their best, improve each day, and do whatever it takes to win. Unfortunately, not everyone has this capacity; JJ Birden does, and he can help anyone develop it, too.

Seize Your Opportunitiesfocuses on the individual and what one must do for success as part of a larger group—no matter the odds, and no matter how much hard work it requires.

As a former NFL wide receiver, JJ knows what it takes to reach the highest level of performance and have the capacity to maintain it. Many of the success principles he learned as a professional athlete has helped him thrive in the business world as an entrepreneur and professional speaker. In this presentation, JJ shares his winning principles and strategies and teaches audiences how to maximize and seize the opportunities in their lives.

Success is not going to be given to you. You have to achieve success; and once you have it, you can’t stay at that same level. You have to continue to work to fight mediocrity and complacency. JJ will show you how.

Key Takeaways from Seize Your Opportunity: 

  • Finding, defining, and defending your Why.
  • How discipline and self-motivation lead to success.
  • Achieving your breakthrough through adversity.
  • Developing championship focus and resolve.
  • How complacency can destroy momentum.
  • Avoiding complacency by continuous self-improvement.
  • The Joe Montana Effect – what JJ learned playing with one of the greatest athletes of all time.
Keynote by speaker JJ Birden

Before you can lead others, you must have the ability to lead yourself

Leadership is a popular term and hot-topic in the business world, and rightfully so. Leaders have a direct impact on how successful an organization is; unfortunately, not all leaders naturally have the skills to set the pace, set the bar, and drive a group’s collective efforts towards accomplishing the most important goals. As impactful as good leadership is, poor leadership can be equally impactful, albeit in the opposite direction. Leaders who fail to recognize the role they play or the impact they have on others can leave employees feeling lost, unmotivated, and paralyzed to step outside their comfort zones. The results? Decreased revenue, low morale, and poor performance overall.

In There Better Be An “I” In Team, JJ Birden explains the principles of leadership and team dynamics he learned playing at the highest level in the NCAA and NFL. The heart of his message is clear: “To lead a team, it’s imperative you can lead yourself first. The team’s success is dependent on your success!”

This dynamic, engaging keynote presentation will help develop and strengthen the leaders within your organization.

Key Takeaways from There Better Be An “I” in Team:

  • Defining your personal leadership style and communicating it to your team.
  • Clearly stating your expectations as a leader.
  • Creating a championship environment.
  • Identifying “star players” on your team and elevating their game.
  • Empowering and inspiring your team to do whatever it takes to win.
Keynote by speaker JJ Birden

The key to success is seeing obstacles as opportunities

Low productivity is a recurring issue for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Keeping employees motivated to give their best is a challenge even for the best leaders; however, it’s not always up to leaders to inspire their teams, and even if it was, it’s not always possible. Unbeknownst to supervisors, managers, directors, and other leaders, employees may be dealing with their own deficiencies which can prevent them from raising the bar themselves. They may feel they don’t have the skills, talent, or abilities to succeed, or they may be experiencing the lingering self-doubt that comes with failure. It’s called the “underdog mentality,” and it’s held many back from reaching their true potential.

The difference between the victims and the victors in life, between the underdogs and alpha dogs, is not a lack of adversity but rather how they approach adversity. No one knows this better than JJ Birden.

An undersized wide receiver with unimpressive college stats and an early career plagued by injuries, missteps, and lack of opportunity, JJ defied staggering odds just by reaching the NFL—and overcame even more by playing almost a decade as a small man in a big man’s game. To put JJ’s career and success into perspective, he was about 42% smaller than the average NFL player; he had to reach the top of the game despite being at a disadvantage. This is the key to JJ’s message, and it’s why he resonates so well with audiences that feel they don’t have the time, the training, the education, or the resources to succeed.

In this inspiring keynote presentation, JJ shares the winning principles and strategies that helped him achieve success in spite of unbelievable adversity, heartbreaking failure, and herculean obstacles. Audiences learn that no matter what they are dealing with if they want to win badly enough, they too can succeed in spite of everything (and everyone) against them.

In Spite Of… is an empowering message that helps audiences develop the habit of conquering the “setback” moments in their lives and seeing them for what they truly are: opportunities for growth.

Key Takeaways from In Spite Of…by breaking down the acronym F.A.S.C.O. (Failures, Adversities, Setbacks, Challenges, Obstacles) you will learn:

  • What is it?
  • Why is it important?
  • When JJ faced it?
  • How he conquered it?
  • What can you do?
  • Your action steps!
Keynote by speaker JJ Birden

To get the future you want, you must bring your best every day

The economy is changing fast. The jobs of the future mostly don’t exist yet, which means the people who are most likely to thrive are the ones who are prepared to improvise, adapt, overcome, and continually grow. Unfortunately, the youth of today may not have the resiliency skills to get the futures they want–but they can develop what it takes to get there. The key is developing a set of core life skills to manage school, work, and outside interests while being responsible, dependable, and accountable adults. Those are the skills that helped JJ Birden overcome astronomical odds to reach the NFL, and they are the same skills that can help the youth of today become the leaders and high-achievers of tomorrow.

In this captivating and empowering keynote presentation for students and athletes, JJ helps his audience understand the importance of giving their best every day so that when the going gets tough and all eyes are on them, they will have the capacity to succeed and breakthrough to bigger and better things. In Every Day is Game Day, JJ shares actionable tips and strategies that help young people approach every day like an NFL Pro.

 Key Takeaways from Every Day Is Game Day:

  • Mastering your thoughts and overcoming the underdog mindset.
  • Avoiding the entitlement trap.
  • Benefits of creating the right “positive” social media trail.
  • How you react to F.A.S.C.O. (Failures, Adversity, Setbacks, Challenges, and Obstacles) can lead to either a breakthrough or a breakdown.
  • Why having a mentor is the ultimate shortcut to anything you want in life.
  • Even though you may be winning now, complacency can cause you to lose.

JJ Birden 2021 Virtual Keynote Sizzle Reel

National Sales Meeting Motivational Speaker 2022 | JJ Birden

See keynotes with JJ Birden


Earlier this month our office had the pleasure of hosting JJ Birden for a lunch presentation. His message was impactful, direct, and relative to all of our employees. He weaves stories from his athletic life and blends it with his business acumen to deliver a presentation that is consumable and enjoyable to a wide audience of people. In addition, he and his wife are kind and responsive individuals. So if you have a group of employees, students, athletes (really his message can work for any group) I would highly recommend JJ to speak at your next event.

Douglas Adams

Vice President Morgan Stanley

Thank you so much for speaking to our office earlier this year. You were highly motivational and communicated with our financial advisors in a way that they connected with. Your humanity, compassion, and enthusiasm really come through in your presentation and it’s clearly one of the best I’ve seen. I was at a dinner party Saturday night and 2 people were talking about your presentation, even though it was several months ago. Thank you so much for the positive impact you’ve had on our people!

Merrill Lynch

Overland Park Kansas

JJ Birden was excellent to work with and did a great job learning about our company and the audience he would be presenting to. He tailored his personal experiences to our audience in a way that they would relate to and learn from. I would highly recommend JJ Birden!

Jean Broders

Sr Brand Manager

JJ recently spoke to our group about his story and how to seize opportunities, even in the face of adversity. JJ Birden is a highly effective speaker who captivates his audience with his infectious positivity, poise, and seamless delivery of his life story. Although his past struggles and setbacks are plentiful, his relentless perseverance is admirable. His story takes place in the NFL, but his message is universal. Sports enthusiasts or not, your audience will connect with JJ's story on a personal level and will hopefully siphon some of his "can do" attitude!

Laura Parlagreco

Astro Box Corporation

JJ took the time to understand our industry and personalities of the group and speak directly to our group. His energy kicked off our conference perfectly. He was the talk of the conference!

Christy Sipos

Manager CIVILTEC engineering inc.

In September, my company Pension Advisors hosted a Client Appreciation. We wanted to have a non-industry speaker to motivate, inspire, and connect with our clients. JJ did that, and beyond. My clients ranged in industry, location, and age, and JJ was a Home Run. JJ’s message to me why about hard-work, and persevering, and while a former professional athlete, he was very humble in how he talked about his approach to overcoming tremendous odds to get where his is today. I would absolutely recommend JJ to anyone. He is the real deal, and a joy to deal with. He is personable, fun, engaging, and one of the most professional people I have ever dealt with.

David Krasnow

Pension Advisors

JJ delivered an exceptional presentation! He was prepared, confident, engaging, and compelling. The Sales team was inspired by his message. From initial planning to message delivery, JJ was a fantastic partner!

Michelle Diekroeger

Director, Sales Enablement

JJ was a phenomenal speaker whose message really resonated with our crowd (High School Graduation Ceremony). He was prepared, on time and provided a clear and concise message to everyone in attendance. We had multiple families express their gratitude after the event for his speech and the message he delivered. I would highly recommend JJ to anyone looking for a dynamic public speaker capable of captivating a room.

Ron Campton

Primavera Online High School
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Keynote topics with JJ Birden