Motivational speaker wants students to soar in ’04

His mother was told she had a narrow birth canal. His father was shot twice in the back and left for dead during the Vietnam War. It’s no lie Delatorro McNeal II’s chances to come into this world were not promising.

But there he was. McNeal, a self-proclaimed motivational speaker, addressed an audience in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center Ballroom on Wednesday afternoon to encourage people of all ages to realize “It’s never too late to change.”

McNeal II ended his two-year career with USF on Dec. 31 in order to commit himself to a career as a motivational speaker, according to friend and former co-worker Pat Geisler, office manager of Organization Development and Training at USF.

“(McNeal) worked in the office of Organization, Development and Training as a consultant in the department. He worked in leadership development and team building-type events around and for the university,” Geisler said.

Wednesday’s lecture entitled “Get Ready to Soar in 2004,” was meant to be a motivational speech, McNeal said, inspired by his work at USF to encourage students and faculty alike to realize their potential and dedicate their lives to their passions.

“I’ve been at USF for a little over two years, and this speech is my way of saying ‘thanks’ to the students, faculty … and staff for allowing me to make the impact I made,” McNeal said.

McNeal graduated from Bloomingdale High School in Valrico. From there, he said he continued his education at Florida State University, receiving his bachelor’s degree in interpersonal and speech communication, and his master’s in instructional system design.

While working at USF in the organization, development and training office, he said he resolved to pursue his speaking career by traveling and lecturing at high schools and private companies.

“I decided to formalize my true love of speaking, and go after it. I’d work at USF during the day, and spend my nights and weekends building my speaking career,” McNeal said.

He is also the author of two books: “Robbing the Grave of Its Greatness — Eight Steps to Birthing Your Best Right Now” and “How to Achieve Unlimited Success,” along with several inspirational CDs and videos including “101 Gems of Greatness” and “Better Your Best”.

McNeal encourages students to realize that “money’s just an idea determined by other people. Other people determine worth based on what they see. It was a good thought.”

“Pursue your dreams,” McNeal said and “money will come to you.”

“Can I get an ‘Oh Yeah?'” he bellowed into the microphone.

McNeal used simple metaphors for life and anecdotes to impart lessons to his listeners. For instance, McNeal told the following anecdote: “Three frogs are sitting by a pond. One decides to jump. How many frogs are left?” The audience shouted a confident “Two!” to McNeal, who smirked while revealing, “Nope. All three are left. One only decided to jump. (It) didn’t take any action on (its) decision.”