Richard McCann, a renowned inspirational speaker in the UK, joined Derek Arden for an insightful interview. The two first crossed paths 15 years ago in Holland at a Dutch-speaking convention, and since then, Richard has become one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in the United Kingdom. In this interview, he shares his compelling life story, highlighting his journey from the tragic loss of his mother to the serial killer, Peter Sutcliffe, at a tender age of 5, to his transformation into a motivational speaker empowering others to overcome their challenges.
Richard’s life took a devastating turn when his mother, Wilma McCann, became the first victim of the notorious serial killer, Peter Sutcliffe. At just five years old, Richard and his sister, Sonia, embarked on a heart-wrenching search for their mother when she failed to return home. This early trauma left an indelible mark on Richard, leading to a long struggle with low self-esteem and a profound lack of confidence.
The negative portrayal of his mother’s death in the media and society’s perception of the victims, including Wilma McCann, as prostitutes, only exacerbated Richard’s feelings of shame and self-doubt. He kept his true story hidden, even lying about how his mother had died to avoid judgment and negativity. It wasn’t until he wrote his book, “Just a Boy,” that Richard began to confront his past and find his voice.
The process of writing his book was a cathartic experience for Richard. It allowed him to explore his early years and the traumatic loss of his mother. While the book helped him process his emotions, it also liberated him from the shame and embarrassment he had carried for so long. The positive response and support he received from readers further boosted his self-esteem, and he finally felt proud to share his story.
Richard’s journey into motivational speaking was not a straightforward one. His initial attempts to secure a book contract were met with rejection, but he persevered. A chance encounter with someone who had turned their life story into a successful book and film gave him renewed motivation. With the support of an agent and a bidding war among publishers, his book was eventually published in 2004.
However, it was not until a speaking engagement that Richard realized his true calling. During a presentation at a college, he realized the potential impact of sharing his story with others. Encouraged by this, he began attending meetings of the Professional Speaking Association, where he found a community of like-minded individuals. It was at one of these events, particularly a talk by William Mitchell, that Richard decided to leave university and pursue a career as a motivational speaker full-time. This pivotal moment set him on the path to becoming the influential speaker he is today.
One remarkable aspect of Richard’s journey is his determination to continuously improve. He compares his pursuit of excellence to the Japanese concept of “Kaizen,” meaning continuous improvement. Whether it’s refining his website, perfecting his showreel, or enhancing his brand, Richard is relentless in his pursuit of personal growth. This drive to improve himself and his message has led to significant success in his career.
Richard McCann has also faced personal setbacks, one of the most challenging being his involvement in recreational drug use in the early ’90s. This period of his life saw him arrested and sentenced to prison, an experience that would have crushed many. However, Richard’s ability to reframe his situation and find a silver lining in adversity allowed him to emerge from this dark chapter with newfound wisdom. He believes that none of us will ever reach our full potential, as there is always room for growth and improvement.
In his speaking engagements, Richard conveys a message of resilience and the belief that there is always a way back from setbacks. He challenges his audience to create their own “bounce back graph,” showcasing the ups and downs of life. Through this exercise, he helps individuals recognize that they have already overcome numerous challenges in the past, giving them the confidence to face future setbacks.
Richard’s impact as a motivational speaker extends beyond the stage. He has received countless letters and messages from people who have been inspired by his story to overcome their own challenges, whether related to addiction, trauma, or personal setbacks. This feedback reaffirms his belief that his mother’s death was not in vain and that he can make a significant difference in the lives of others.
In conclusion, Richard McCann’s journey from a young boy who lost his mother to a serial killer to an accomplished motivational speaker is a testament to the power of resilience, self-belief, and continuous improvement. His message encourages individuals to embrace their challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and transformation. Through his story and his work, Richard exemplifies the possibility of finding light in the darkest of circumstances and the potential for personal growth and success.