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speaker

Cam
Calkoen

Overcoming challenges through the pursuit of excellence.

Dream big, achieve more.
Profile

Cam Calkoen dreams of a world where everyone is inspired to embrace their opportunity and our physical being is no barrier to succeeding in our dreams and aspirations. It is dreams that have brought the world to what we see today and our aspirations that will propel it into the future.

No one can walk and talk at birth. Some people like Cam, are presented with this likelihood for the rest of their lives. He chose to defy the odds, and now showcases what can be achieved when we identify a challenge, leverage our opportunities and uniqueness, and indeed live for awesome!

Background
Born with Cerebral Palsy Cam was told that his biggest challenges would be the way he walks and talks, he dreamed big becoming an athletic gold medalist, highly effective charitable fundraiser, social entrepreneur and now a globally renowned inspirational speaker who ignites a connection and clarity between inspiration, dreams and people.

Through strength of human attitude and potential Cam chose to embrace the challenges he was born with, and harnesses his gifts to live in the pursuit of excellence and make life as awesome as it can be.

Current work
He is a living example that life is what we make it, and the values needed to achieve awesomeness are simple - we need to believe! In doing so, we leave no stone unturned. Through charisma, stories and artistic flair Cams presence sees people identify the unturned stones on the path, he ignites, inspires, enlightens and delights others by modeling what it looks like to dream big and achieve more!

Media
Expertise
Talking Points

Dream big achieve more (Goal setting)

Often when we start a dream we think that our most desired outcome is the ultimate outcome and while that’s certainly something to celebrate it often leads us to so much more. At the time I set the goal of representing my country in sport it seemed so distant and that when accomplished it would be the ultimate accomplishment, but through doing so I gained strength, confidence, the ability to travel, friendships, networks, sponsors... which all morphed into creating a new dream, a bigger dream, something I could have never imagined if it hadn't been for the athletics dream. It is often through the process of attempting the seemingly impossible that the most extraordinary outcomes are achieved!

Believe you can but think you can’t (Confidence)

Some people say that they don’t have dreams anymore and I think that in the most polite way, that’s bullshit, everyone has a dream but what happens is we let our perceived reality get in the way, we stop taking risks, we stop doing what’s different. So when I say what do you believe you can do I mean what can you see, feel, imagine if it was right there, but you think you can’t based on the perceptions and experiences of others. We all have a blank canvas and where we’ve been (either as individuals or a group) does not need to be where we’re going. The Wright brothers believed they could, Walt Disney Believed he could, Mother Theresa believed she could and all along there were people with the same vision but thought they couldn't. Let’s ignite the momentum that comes from what we believe.

Embrace the challenge (Resilience)

Often in life we want to forget about the challenging times we’ve faced and “move on” but the only constant in this world is change and with that challenges will continue to arise, when they do we need to embrace everything we’ve learnt from previous challenges to know we can get through this, we need to communicate with people and not feel we have to get through it alone, we need to become opportunity centric. Hearing of other people’s challenges puts ours into perspective but more importantly gives us the strength to see what we couldn’t previously see in ourselves.

People, people, people (Communication)

What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people. This is a Maori proverb I have adopted through growing up in New Zealand and couldn't be truer from my experiences in life. In having Cerebral Palsy, I could have been a victim of exclusion on all levels but I’ve always looked for what is common where most people look for what is different. Difference is a good thing once we connect on similarities (and to be honest we all have more in common than we think) we see value in difference. When communicating and building meaningful relationships it’s about looking for these similarities and not been afraid to ask and to share.

Gooder than good, greater than great (Excellence)

We must be wanting to exceed expectations and we get here by stepping outside our comfort zone and striving towards a personal best each and every day.

Choose to be awesome (Attitude and Experience)

There are words that can be over-used and lose their meaning, and ‘AWESOME’ can be tarnished with that brush. But as with everything it’s about the experience we create around it. We all do what we do but if we can look to create an experience well at that point we might just become unforgettable and / or give a new lease of life to something like the word awesome.

Be a giant, find a giant (Giving back)

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Giants are role-models, people that we look up to and something we can and should all strive to become. It’s through becoming a giant that we often get the opportunity to reflect on our own journey, journeys that are so often future focused but it’s through reflection that we gain great strengths and our success in life is not determined by what we achieve individually, but from how we learn from our experiences to move, to touch and inspire the lives of others.

Turn rejection into affection (Persistence)

No...no...no….I’ve heard it, you’ve heard it, we’ve all heard it, but just because the delivery of that word hasn't seen what we see doesn't mean we should give-up. Often it’s about being able to see things from different perspectives and repackaging a thought or an idea into their vision, not by changing or watering down our offering, but changing the positioning.
Topics

Business

  • Mastering Leadership
  • Change Management

Motivational

  • Challenge & Adventure
  • Inspiring Stories

Politics & Advocacy

  • Leadership
Feedback
Cam was incredible - he not only has a powerful story to share but his passion, energy and humour are infectious. Our team was captured by Cam and he made many fans through his electrifying presentation. Yes we were awe struck - and as you describe it Cam, it was awesome! With many thanks from all at ChildFund New Zealand. ChildFund New Zealand
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