23 Ultimate Motivational Speeches

23 Ultimate Motivational Speeches


At my Year 12 graduation, we had a guest speaker – a motivational speaker (so-to-say). A person supposed to rally the Year 12 troops, instill words of wisdom, prepare us for the unprepared, tell us “You’ve got this”… you know drill.

Our motivational speaker was the one and only Andrew Gaze.

Now, I know this name may not sound familiar to half of our audience… but… Andrew Gaze was your everyday sporting hero back in the day. He played basketball for Australia, was the flag bearer at the 2000 Olympics, and fronted one too many Kellogg’s commercials.

Anyway, back to grad.

Andrew Gaze wasn’t my preferred choice as guest speaker for a couple of reasons.

1. I wasn’t into basketball (or sport for that matter) and;
2. I was expecting more your famous TV star type personality.

But, when Andrew took the stage, I was in awe. He spoke with such a generosity of spirit. He was warm, goofy but assured. Engaging and confident, he spoke about sport in the general sense, but applied his learnings to me – an 18 year old girl,  about to leave high school forever.

In retrospect, he was awesome.

Since high school I have been widely hunting for incredible motivational speakers. (Don’t judge me, but I have an excel spreadsheet with over 60 YouTube links.) Some days when I can’t find a thing to watch on Netflix/Stan/SBS on Demand/Amazon Prime, I open the YouTube app on my smart TV, and much to my partner’s disgust type in “Best Motivational Speeches.”
Not only do these speeches help me stay motivated, but they fire me up to start something new. To be bold, to except myself, and push myself a little harder. After watching a great motivational speech I feel like I have been cracked open, I cry, sob and then go down a google hole, researching the speaker, their life, favourite quotes, etc.

Trust me, everyone needs a motivational speaker night fix, now and then. Don’t you agree?

A motivational speech can come from anywhere or anyone, but it usually has a specific audience in mind. Whether it’s a graduation speech, an all-company meeting, a championship sporting event, or a conference keynote, these speeches are designed to change the way their listeners see the challenges facing them in the future.

Think about the last time felt generally unmotivated. You may even be sitting in that space now. What brought you out of that feeling? For me it’s listening to someone’s story and hearing how they have mastered (or not mastered) a certain subject. 

Motivational speeches and speakers can come in all different forms, but this is the one thing they have in common — resonance. They hit the right listener, or reader, or watcher at just the right time and in just the right way. Who knows, maybe this article is doing a bit of that for you right now!

To help you stay motivated at this time of the year, I have decided to compile my ultimate list of 24 best motivational speeches from business, sports, entertainment, and more. If you are looking for a catalyst to propel your greatness for the second half of the year, then these are it!

  • Cleo Wade and Elaine Welteroth: “Tribe Building 2.0 Engaging a Conscious Community” (2018)

  • Oprah: Speech at Power of Woman (2015)

  • Gabrielle Bernstein: “The Universe Has Your Back” (2017)

  • Steve Jobs: “How to Live before you Die (2005)

  • Ellen DeGeneres: Tulane University Commencement Speech (2009)

  • Cameron Russel: “Looks aren’t everything” TEDTALK

  • J.K. Rowling: “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.” (2008)

  • David Foster Wallace: “This is Water” (2005)

  • Simon Sinek: Live2Lead (2016)

  • Fearless Motivation: “It’s Not Easy, But It’s Worth It” (2018)

  • Jim Carrey: Commencement Speech at Maharishi University of Management (2014)

  • Brene Brown: “The Power of Vulnerability” (2013)

  • Emma Watson: HeforShe Campaign at the UN (2014)

  • Sheryl Sandberg: Harvard Business School Class Day Speech (2012)

  • Dan Pink: “The Puzzle of Motivation” (2009)

  • Denzel Washington: “Fall Forward” (2011)

  • Elizabeth Gilbert: “Your Elusive Creative Genius” (2009)

  • Madonna: “Madonna Woman of the year” (2016)

  • Cleo Wade: “Want to Change the World? Start by being Brave Enough to Care.

  • Charlie Day: Merrimack College Commencement Speech (2014)

  • Vera Jones: “But the Blind Can Lead the Blind” (2016)

  • Al Pacino: “Inch by Inch” (1999)

If you love these videos, make sure that you share them with your friends.

Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments below. 

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