An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Allow your personality to shine. People love authenticity.

Out of all five tips I am giving, this one ranks at the top. I can vividly remember when I first started speaking. I was rigid and scared of making a mistake; I never allowed my personality to shine. Once I did, the flood gates opened. I began to have people recommend me to their bosses, co-workers, and family. I became known without doing anything but being myself, being vulnerable, and authentic.

At some point in our lives, many of us will have to give a talk to a large group of people. What does it take to be a highly effective public speaker? How can you improve your public speaking skills? How can you overcome a fear of speaking in public? What does it take to give a very interesting and engaging public talk? In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Public Speaker” we are talking to successful and effective public speakers to share insights and stories from their experience. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Chad Osinga.

Chad Osinga is a high school dropout turned college graduate, special operations sniper, and combat applications instructor for the military. Chad grew up in a drug house with a mother addicted to crack cocaine, who later died due to an overdose. Never knowing his father, he turned to the streets for the better portion of his early life.

Chad joined the US Army, becoming a sniper and eventually teaching combat applications to every branch and the FBI, US Marshalls, DEA, and SWAT teams. While stationed in Germany, his five-year-old daughter had a massive stroke caused by a rare disease. German doctors misdiagnosed her before transporting her to Hamburg, where she would undergo surgery and initial testing. During this crazy time, Chad’s pregnant wife would go into labor, complicating his family’s situation.

Chad and his wife would have a fourth child a year after his daughter’s stroke, but life would become harder as his two youngest sons were diagnosed with Autism (ASD). After sustaining multiple injuries, Chad was medically retired in 2015. Once he exited the Army, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder seemed to attack him as he had never experienced it. He turned to one of the drugs that destroyed his mother’s life, alcohol. What started as a nighttime remedy soon became an addiction that would almost cost him his marriage and his relationship with his four kids.

In 2015 Chad was taking a left turn when a car ran a red light and plowed through him, placing his body into a guard rail. Most thought he would not make it through this incident, but God again had different plans. It took him almost a year to get back on a motorcycle, but he was determined not to allow fear or this wreck to control his future. Shy of two years later, in 2020, he was riding with a group of friends when a van came into his lane. He was propelled into a construction zone as his motorcycle was pinned into a jersey barrier. Chad died on the way to the hospital and before his second surgery.

Though Chad’s last accident placed him in a position of hardship, it also spurred a change in him and an understanding that God had a purpose for his life that was bigger than him. He quit drinking cold turkey, quit smoking marijuana (which was an ounce-a-week addiction at one point), and began unearthing the power within himself. Chad can relate to almost any scenario from war, special needs children, marital problems, and physical setbacks.

Now Chad uses his time to speak on podcasts such as “Good Life Great Life with Brian Highfield” and writes for publications like “Authority Magazine & The UpJourney” as a life coach/mentor and a motivational speaker. His main initiative is to help empower people by revamping their mindset. He believes the fight for success, failure, mediocracy, or greatness is won or lost within our minds.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Life has been somewhat of a challenge since birth as I was born in the beautiful love state of Virginia with Erb’s Palsy. My mother worked vigorously to retrieve mobility to the left side of my body. Once I regained the strength on my left side. My mother relapsed into her first love of drugs and alcohol. Entering school, I was labeled a “special education” student early in life. I remember a teacher vividly telling me I was dumb because I did not comprehend the lesson taught in class. Comments like this throughout my early life would shape my subconscious — embracing the “special education kid” and allowing those words to define me.

I became a loner, began to rebel against authority and became angry at the world. Before I knew it, life spiraled out of control, my mom had become entirely dependent on crack cocaine, and her dealers moved in with us. I was barely going to school, which raised quite a bit of suspicion.

At fourteen years old, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies raided my home. It was one of the scariest moments in my life. Our home had so many people inside that they did not have enough handcuffs. Instead of going to a juvenile detention center, I was placed on probation and shipped to Oklahoma with my aunt and uncle I barely knew. Before I arrived, I had been declared anemic due to the lack of nourishment I received. The drug dealers ate most of our food, leaving me with just scraps. Not realizing the circumstance forced upon me would lead me to another abusive scenario. While in my new environment, I was abused (physically, mentally, and emotionally) for minor incidents caused by my cousins. They would quote scripture and declare the name of the Lord to feel guiltless for their abuse. Meanwhile, my mother was sentenced and sent to federal prison.

Roughly a year and a half went by. Realizing I was just a paycheck and tired of my current state of affairs, I hitch-hiked to the airport, making my way back to Virginia. Breaking probation, willing to face the circumstance of jail, I was released in the custody of my grandmother.

My mother was released from prison and fell victim to her addictions. This time the drugs took her life. The ironic part is that she passed while doing drugs at a friend’s house from Alcohol Anonymous (AA).

I continued down a similar path as the woman who brought me into this world. I dropped out of high school after the ninth grade. During this period, I met a young lady unlike anyone I had ever met in my life. Despite the negativity swirling around my life, she was a bright light to a guy surrounded by darkness. This young lady would be the one who convinced me to stop selling drugs, get an honest job, and support my leap of faith to the US Army. She would become my wife, my rock, and the mother of my four children. Life growing up was quite the journey but made me the man I am today. I am thankful for the lessons that I have been fortunate to learn and overcome.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have two stories, actually; For years, friends and family members have tried to convince me to step out and talk about my life. My life has been unique because I have had to endure hardships consistently throughout my life. Whether it is how to overcome obstacles in your personal life, marriage, with your children, mental struggles, or physical injuries, I have been through them and fortunately overcame them. However, outside of the courses I was teaching for the military, I would not speak in front of people. I did not want to allow my fight to be known by everyone until my last two life-changing incidents.

After being medically retired from the United States Army, I began riding motorcycles to combat what I like to call “demons” (PTSD).

In 2018, I took a left turn at a stoplight on my motorcycle. As I was looking into the turn, a driver who was not paying attention blew through a red light. That driver plowed into me at forty-five miles an hour, putting my lifeless body into a guard rail.

Most of my friends thought I would die that night, but I didn’t. It took me a little over a year to recover and get the courage to get back on a motorcycle.

In 2020, just shy of two years after my first wreck, a van hit me again. While I was on I-95 with a few buddies riding, the driver, not looking in their mirrors, changed lanes, and my bike went into the jersey barrier as I went into a construction zone.

This wreck broke my femur, pelvis, and hip and fractured my neck. I died on the way to the hospital and before my second surgery. Yet, somehow I am here in this interview today.

While recovering from this incident, I realized that I had a purpose bigger than me. I knew that all I had been through was to help others. Moreover, to empower people by assisting them to maximize their potential through changing the way they think. I knew it was time for me to take action, and help as many individuals as possible.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

When I began speaking, I did so in a military setting. I was teaching Soldiers. Up to this point, my clients were close to the base where I did most of my engagements.

I was doing a week-long course, and on the last day, a student walked up and introduced herself. She went on to say she had flown from Fort Brag to learn from me.

Taken back, I asked why and how she heard about me? The tiny but motivated woman said that my credentials spoke volumes at the highest level of her command. She then went on to tell me she was a Lt Colonel at Fort Brag. I had no clue that people were recommending me or that Soldiers were willing to travel to learn from me.

The craziest part was following that course; I began to have people fly in from all over the country to be taught by me, including the U.S Marshalls.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I spoke in front of roughly forty people; this was the most audience I had been in front of to date. Everything was going well, and boom! Brain dump, I went completely blank, turned bright red, then began pacing. It felt like all forty people were staring a hole through my soul. After retrieving some notes, I finally got it together and was able to finish strong.

The main thing I learned from that moment was to relax and trust in my preparation. I had everything down before that class started. Once I got a little stuck, I allowed the moment’s pressure to affect my flow. I also learned that stuff happens, no one is perfect, and to push forward regardless of the mistake; if I drive on rather than allow the error to affect the overall performance, the audience rarely notices the minor mishap.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

A few people have strengthened my resolve, encouraged my entrepreneurship, and ultimately just believed in who I could be. One of whom is a phycologist I have known for seven years. One afternoon, he and I were talking about life in general. Before Covid-19 had hit the world, I was teaching at-risk children basketball. I relate quite a bit to these children, so I gladly went twice a week before school to help these kids learn the game. The only condition was that they had to do well in class, listen to their teachers, and respect their peers. Honestly, teaching those kids was like a form of therapy for me.

As we sat there and discussed life, I mentioned how I wanted to impact the lives of these children. Moreover, to grow my capacity to assist special-needs families as well. “There are considerably fewer finances with this type of work, but the joy it brings is genuinely priceless,” I told him. He looked at me and said, “you are an outlier.” I asked what he meant he said, “most that have experienced a life of such adversity do not have the same moral compass as you do. I see men who have far less adversity to them yet allow a singular event to alter their morals or beliefs regarding the world.

On the other hand, you have endured more than most on multiple different fronts of your life; the difference is that you have not permitted those struggles to poison how you view others. Nor have these hardships caused you to abandon your goodness toward those in need.” Little does he know that those words inspired me to move forward with my career as a speaker and mentor.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging and intimidating. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

Fall in love with the process. No matter how much success one achieves, there is always another level to attain. Understand that you either win or learn; the only time one fails is when we refuse the lesson. Know your “why” and cultivate the right belief system. I am not referring to anything religious instead, what we believe about ourselves. As an entrepreneur, you will face setbacks. If you do not know your “why” or your belief system is not changed, the friction felt will derail you from success.

Allow me to unpack what I mean by belief system. If we associate every mistake with failure, then every time we make one in the future, we will believe we failed and quit before giving ourselves a real shot. It is no different than why we associate alcohol with happiness, death with pain, or television with relaxation. One must revamp their thought processes to find success as an entrepreneur.

Lastly, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” I preach action; however, it is unwise to “place the cart before the horse.” Let me explain; Floyd Mayweather (Professional Boxer) has some of the most vicious and accurate jabs in boxing. He tears opponents down with this punch. I can watch a YouTube video on throwing correct jabs, yet, it will not be anything like Mayweathers. Why? It’s simple; he has spent thousands of hours learning how to throw that one punch so effectively that he can revolve his entire style around it. So invest in yourself, learn, and never stop perfecting your craft. Do not rush the process, remember, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”

What drives you to get up everyday and give your talks? What is the main empowering message that you aim to share with the world?

I did not have someone to help me see the greatness within myself for most of my life. To help me see that everything I have ever needed I already had. To help me create and enforce the right belief system.

Despite rough beginnings, physical challenges, or a lack of opportunities, I could not just achieve my dreams but reach heights unimagined.

So I wake up each day in pursuit of empowering and being that individual I did not have. To strengthen the resolve of every listener, helping them target the foundation of success, their mind.

I hear many people talk about struggling in different areas of their lives and they have tried to no avail to achieve or stop something in their lives. The root of the issue is our beliefs, which is why even when people take action, they quit. Consistency can only be attained through the right mindset.

The aforementioned leads me to the message I aim to share; our decisions are tied directly to what we believe about this world, our lot in life, and ourselves. Moreover, changing our belief systems and maintaining what we believe is imperative to maximize one’s potential. Once people tap into the power of rewiring their mindset, there is truly nothing they will not be able to conquer or achieve.

You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

I am very excited to announce that I have started working on my first book, “The Legend Of An Outlier.” I also have been asked to be on a Podcast called “Good Life Great life” with Brian Highfield, and I m very honored to have such an opportunity.

Over the next year, I have several goals I will be setting out to accomplish. One is to start a podcast that focuses on revamping mindsets. Honestly, I can see no limits to where I will go from here.

As I mentioned, I am writing a lot now and will begin writing and publishing several different books I have had in my heart. However, the most significant accomplishment I will be setting out to tackle is helping my community. I am from an area where poverty has tremendously affected the youth. We also have many special needs children who do not have the resources to succeed. I have already started a yearly motorcycle rally that aims to raise money and provide items these kids need to live a better tomorrow. The next phase is to place mentors in their lives and give them a glimpse into the possibilities that await them if they put forward the effort.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?


This quote resonates to the very core of my being. Not because I have not accomplished a lot throughout my life, but rather because I have had many setbacks trying to place limits on myself and my fantastic family. A limit solely based on fear and doubt. From my daughter’s stroke to my wife having our third child while my daughter was in the Intensive Care Unit in Hamburg, Germany, until my last motorcycle accident, where I died twice.

Fear has been a predominant force I have had to face. Doubt has arose shaped in many different forms along this journey.

Many think I am crazy for getting back onto a motorcycle after being in two horrendous accidents, mainly as they were based on drivers not paying attention. For myself, however, it was about facing my fear and slaying that beast. Bringing the power and control back to me and proving I could do it.

I believed that I was cursed for longer than I wanted to admit. From growing up in such a challenging situation, all my injuries, and the struggles my kids faced, it seemed as if we would never have anything better in life. This type of thinking was based on fear, and I allowed it to control not just me but my family.

I found that the things I thought I couldn’t achieve or were too scary to try were all built up in my head. Once I started to take action, I saw how attainable it was and how brave those “things” were. It was all a figment of my imagination.

We were trapped until we found the skeleton key. The solution was taking action, and oddly enough, we gained freedom I had only heard about from afar. In the Army, we say “move or die”; doing something is always better than doing nothing.

Ok, thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Public Speaker?” Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Understand who your audience is.

For example, when I speak in a room full of combat leaders, I am super poised; however, I cuss and use military slang that only they understand. Furthermore, if you do not understand whom you are speaking to and their needs, wants, or expectations, you cannot provide an impact.

2. Tell Stories.

I believe stories connect with our audience. Furthermore, it becomes a bridge for information to pass through. For instance, when I speak or coach entrepreneurs, I like to tell a story of my first failed business and stories of current deterrents. I have found that my relatability increases when I am vulnerable, equating to the listener’s overall growth.

3. Use verbiage that everyone can understand.

How we speak is crucial; if I am in front of Church staff speaking on leadership and begin to use profanity, I will lose the audience quickly. Additionally, our verbiage needs to be clear and concise; remember, you are the subject matter expert. How we speak confirms said expertise — using conciseness and a calm flow when speaking demonstrates our expertise to our listeners.

4. Ensure your message has a flow and is organized.

When I first started speaking, my thoughts were cluttered. I did not have my delivery structured. When I opened the floor for questions, it put me at a disadvantage. The audience was confused about what they would do first, second, and third. I went back to the drawing board and worked on not just organizing the information but bringing a personal flow. In return, this allowed my organized data to be personal and professional.

5. Allow your personality to shine. People love authenticity.

Out of all five tips I am giving, this one ranks at the top. I can vividly remember when I first started speaking. I was rigid and scared of making a mistake; I never allowed my personality to shine. Once I did, the flood gates opened. I began to have people recommend me to their bosses, co-workers, and family. I became known without doing anything but being myself, being vulnerable, and authentic.

As you know, many people are terrified of speaking in public. Can you give some of your advice about how to overcome this fear?

Everyone is different, and I believe in “different strokes for different folks.” But, a few things helped me when I began speaking. First, practice until you know the material by heart, and then practice some more.

Secondly, ensure you know the topic you are discussing. One thing people cannot stand is clueless individuals on whatever topic the attendees came to get instruction on. Being the subject matter expert is essential.

Lastly, and probably what has helped me more in my career in speaking and life in general, is envisioning my success. I learned this tactic from an old Green Beret, who told me the key to passing any selection course is to see yourself on the stage, graduating with your peers. I do this before every speaking engagement and in almost every area of my life. I don’t just envision the end of the event, but I imagine myself actively speaking and delivering my message with excitement, clarity, and a contagious fire. Doing this as many times as I need is imperative for my success, and I encourage you all to give this a try before your next speaking engagement.

You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I was someone who struggled with my mindset, how I perceived the world I lived in, and how I saw myself. The most significant adaptation I did for myself was renewing how I thought. Therefore, the most remarkable impact on people is mindset alterations. This would have to be the movement I would aim to lead.

Take a few minutes, stand in front of a mirror, close your eyes, and envision every obstacle holding you back from achieving your desired life. Now I would ask that you remain with your eyes closed and imagine what you need to overcome your current situations and what is required in order to grab hold of that better version of the life you want.

Now open your eyes and look straight ahead into that mirror. You are staring at the source of everything needed to get to the place you just envisioned. Furthermore, what is in front of you has perpetuated and given strength to what has kept you from not rising above the circumstances that have held you back. Need a better relationship with your spouse or your kids? Everything starts with us. The same applies to finances, education, and entrepreneurship.

I had not attended formal schooling in over a decade when I went to college. Moreover, I was considered an individual with a learning disability. Knowing that I was much more than a label, I not only finished my Bachelor of Science in three years, but I made the Dean’s list every semester for the entirety of the three years.

Everything we have ever needed is within us; once people realize the power they hold within, there is genuinely nothing that person cannot accomplish. Therefore, I will spend the rest of my days shining a light on mindset and the power it can produce in our lives when utilized.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

There has been a person I have been following for several months now. I will be candid; I do not impress easily, as I have served with some of the bravest men in the world. However, this individual has impressed me with what I can see of his character, the ability to be himself, and most importantly, his mindset. Ryan Stewman would be the person I would love to sit down and have a bite to eat with. Every morning I read Ryan’s blog posts, listen to his podcasts, and anything else I can get a hold of that he has produced. In fact, I even joined his Break Through Academy/Apex Entourage, which has truly elevated my life. It is nice seeing successful people be givers, have a solid moral compass, and, most importantly, be themselves no matter the audience.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?

Join My Facebook Group~

This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

Thank You very much for this opportunity.

Chad Osinga: “Allow your personality to shine; People love authenticity” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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