The EPIC journey truly begins with one step, and you have the choice to take that step or not. Would you do it? In this podcast episode, Zander Sprague, a motivational speaker and author, shares insights into his new book launch plan, “Epic Starts with One Foot Forward.” Zander discusses his unique approach to writing, emphasizing the spoken author concept. He details the process of documenting his journey to become a more impactful speaker, reaching millions worldwide. The episode explores the challenges of traditional book writing and introduces the idea of discovering book content through weekly interviews. The working title of Zander’s book is “Choice Champion,” reflecting his commitment to inspire others with motivational messages. Tune in and witness some of his ideas take shape in real time!

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EPIC Begins Part 2

There are going to be those miles in this epic marathon that I’m on, which are going to be hard, where I may start to doubt, “What the heck am I doing?” I can tell you that in all of the endurance events I’ve done, Aurora, it always seemed like a good idea but when I’m doing it, it didn’t seem quite as good.

I want to emphasize this because what’s different about this show is that it’s not like a podcast interview where you’ve got a polished author who’s been media-trained with his book that’s already out. It’s reversing that. You’re seeing a book and a speaker develop in real-time. It’s got some elements of a podcast and some elements of interviewing an author after his book is out. It also has some elements of a reality TV show.

You’re seeing an epic journey in real-time. The value of reality TV shows is we don’t know what’s going to happen but we’re playing all out. Zander, experience plays all out and that can be very interesting useful, valuable, and inspiring to others to play all out, and also to see the things that you might also think were good ideas at the time but didn’t work out well for you. We’re not going to hide those things that could potentially be seen as missteps because we don’t want you to go down that rabbit hole if it doesn’t have a payoff. Reality TV show meets podcast meets book author/speaker.

There are things that don’t work out but also how you deal with the fact. That awesome idea last time isn’t going to work out. My goal is to fill up stadiums and talk to tens of thousands of people. I can’t do that now. I could say, “Until I can do that,” but that’s a cop-out to say I’m putting my dream on hold because of this. I’m having to shift how I do it. Ladies, gentlemen, and everyone, the we that I am talking to, I have no idea how I’m going to do this but here’s what I do know.

I am going to do this. I am on this epic journey. I have taken some steps forward. The amazing thing is that it isn’t nearly as difficult as you think it is. You simply have to have a plan that you can then execute. You’re going to be seeing that plan. You’ll hear Aurora and me talking about what those plans are and then it’s like, “I didn’t do it.” That happens.


EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward | EPIC


Big Plans

We have great plans. People at home can implement the parts of the plan that work brilliantly and skip the parts that don’t. We do have a whole big plan which I won’t burden the audience with. I have big plans for you, Zander. You’re going to be a best-selling author if I have my way with you, and I will have my way with you. I might be small but I’m bossy.

The epic journey isn’t nearly as difficult as you think. You simply have to have a plan that you can execute.

What else do you want to share about this show? Here’s something important. It’s circling back to the decision point. A lot of people believe that they are better off by having wiggle room. Studies show that if you make an irrevocable decision, you’re happier, which is surprising. They did the study with paintings and brought people paintings to choose from.

EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward | EPIC

EPIC: If you make a decision that’s irrevocable, you’re actually happier.


They asked them to rank the paintings in their order of preference. I believe there were six paintings. They didn’t allow them to choose painting number 1 or 2 but they allowed them to choose from painting 3 and down. People would choose the painting that they wanted to keep. These were old folks in an old folks home. They had Alzheimer’s and wouldn’t remember which choice they had made. They would leave the room and then come back not that much later. They asked them to rank the paintings in terms of which one they preferred.

I forgot an important part of the story. They could either keep with their choice or change it again later. I’m mixing up two stories but the point stands. Back to the old people in the old folks home. They brought the paintings back in and asked them to rank them in order of preference. Even though they had no recollection of ever seeing the paintings before, they chose the one that they had chosen like number three or down as the top-ranked one.

The other experiment was somewhat similar but it was with the college students. At the end of the semester, they were allowed to keep either any one of their paintings or works of art that they had created during the class but they had to decide right then and there. The story was the professor was leaving and it was a final choice.

The second group could change their minds and switch it out. The results were surprising. The young adults were told, “That’s it. There’s no going back.” They liked their choice. They were very happy with it. Whereas the people who had been told, “You can reverse your decision and make a different choice within this window of opportunity,” were less happy with either choice because they agonized over it.

To add a personal story about not being able to change your mind, I remember when I was about twelve, I was at a camp. We went to this quarry and had the opportunity to jump off a 60-foot cliff into the water. I stood on the edge and was scared. I stepped off. The thing that went through my mind at that moment was I was fully committed. I can’t change my mind. Gravity has got a hold of me. I can’t grab anything or stop this. I fully commit to it.

When you don’t have another choice and you have to do it, you figure out how you’re going to make the best of it. I survived into the water and that started a whole lifelong journey. I love doing stuff that scares the bejesus out of me and pushes me. I’ve done bungee jumping and skydiving. I love to ride my road bike downhill as fast as I can. I love that feeling and that adrenaline rush. I have that same adrenaline rush thinking about the journey that I’m beginning here and that’s important. We all have to do it. I hate to be so cliché all here but here’s what I want. I’m going to go for it. The parts that aren’t successful are okay. I’m trying. We’re never 100% successful in everything that we do.

When you don’t have any other choice, you figure out how you’re going to make the best of it.

The only thing you can be 100% sure of is you will fail at everything you don’t attempt. I want you in a second to paint a picture of your long-term goal and vision for that. While you’re thinking about that, I want to share that another client of mine, Audrey, realizes that anything that scares her is the thing she has to do. She’s writing her book and working with me on another program because the idea of writing her book scared her. She’s like, “I got to do it then.” Can you paint a picture of what you’re going for? What is your big, bold, and beautiful goal?

The only thing you can be a hundred percent sure of is you will fail at everything you don’t attempt.

I want to be able to help and inspire people around the world. I want people to realize that they have a choice in their lives. That choice is so powerful. When we utilize choice, epic things can and will happen in our lives. I want to be able to give speeches around the world. I want to have millions of people start to do big or small, whatever your epic journey is, to realize that you are the captain of your ship and you can do this. All it requires is for you to take that one step forward.

Here’s something that I’m going to tell you that I’ve learned. That first step is not nearly as difficult as you think it is. Once you do it, you’re like, “Wait a minute. I can do that. I’ll do the next step.” Here’s the thing. I’ll keep coming back to the marathon but I had no idea how I was going to do the marathon training. I was handed a schedule. All I had to do was look at it and say, “It’s Wednesday. I need to go run for 45 minutes.” I can do that. I didn’t have to worry about the rest of how the whole thing was going to happen. I just had that one task to do. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we take it one bite at a time.

It’s amazing what we can achieve when we take it one bite at a time.

It brings us to the present moment, which is the point of power. Having the big epic vision and then taking one step forward, usually, people get all stumbled up because they’re trying to figure out all the different steps that they’re going to take to climb the mountain and that is overwhelming. What is one meaningful step to take forward on your goal or anyone’s goal is usually pretty clear. Even though we do have a big master blueprint plan for launching you to the next level as a thought leader, Zander, it’s going to be like a river.

It will meander a little bit but each step will, once taken, reveal the next step We’ll find, by using a sailboat, lifts and opportunities where things go well. We’ll get some hits where things don’t go well. Sometimes the current will be for us. Sometimes it’ll be against us but it’ll always be clear what to do with that one step forward. Being in the present is such a powerful place to be. Focus on running that next step or point of the 26-mile marathon. Run in the present moment. You can’t run it in the future moment. That’s where the power is. It’s in the present.

I can only run the road that’s in front of me. I can think about the next 5 miles but I have to run what’s right in front of me. Here you and I are. I can only deal with what’s going on now. I can think about the stuff in the future but frankly, until I get to it, I can’t cross that piece of road.

This may turn into the title of your book because I love this. EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward. We’ll stay tuned on that. Do you have a couple of tips for the audience or something they can do?

EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward | EPIC

EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward: How To Plan, Achieve, and Enjoy The Journey

EPIC Goals

People are prepared for different things so I’m going to give you beginner, intermediate, and advanced. If you are intrigued by this idea and are like, “Where do I start,” choose a goal. It’s so much easier to get someplace if you know where you’re going. If you decide to go to the store, you have a destination so it’s easy to get there. Very rarely do I get in the car, start to drive around, and hope that I end up where it is that I need to be. None of us can get there.

Have a goal. If you’re intermediate, set a goal and choose a date that you’re going to try and hit that goal. Deadlines are helpful. Aurora, it’s coming back to not having a choice. Once I had signed up and paid for a marathon, I had a date. I knew here’s where this is happening. If I decide not to do that marathon, they still have my money. I don’t get it back. I don’t know about you but once I pay for something, I want to at least try and get my money’s worth out of it, or I may not. It’s possible when you go to run a marathon that something happens. You get injured and you can’t finish but at least you tried.

It’s something you’re so focused on about having a date, even knowing that you were going to talk to me in this episode. Momentum happens.

For the advanced, get an accountability partner. You’ve set your goal and a date. You need someone who is going to help keep you accountable.

Those are three very easy and profound action steps. They’re not to be underestimated in value. Set a goal, something that inspires you. If you’re more intermediate, also set a date. If you don’t take any action, it’s a dream, not a goal. Get an accountability buddy or coach. It’s somebody to hold you accountable. Those are three easy things and good. I like that. It’s very doable. Anything further to add on the general topic of this show? Let’s see if we can choose our topic for our next interview.

EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward | EPIC

EPIC: if you don’t take any action, it’s a dream, not a goal.


Take that step. Repeat. Once you start, it’s not as difficult as we all make it. There are big things that we want to do in our life. We all make stuff so much more difficult than it needs to be.

We get all stuck in our heads.

You take that first step and go, “That wasn’t that hard. That was okay.” Let me give one more analogy that may help people. I’m all about you, everybody. I will give you 52 different analogies because something will land with you and you’ll go, “I get that.” I call it the pizza analogy. I love pizza but when I go to eat a pizza, I don’t eat the whole thing all at once.

It’s sliced up for you, you eat one slice at a time, and then you’re able to eat a whole pizza or half a pizza. That’s how we eat any food. It’s in bite-sized pieces. Rarely, do we shove the whole thing into our mouth unless it’s popcorn and it falls everywhere but that’s a different episode. My point is if you break it down into bite-sized pieces, it becomes a lot easier.

We have a couple of gifts for the audience. People can go to ZanderSprague.com where they’re going to get some epic sayings and stuff. People can also go to thought ThoughtLeaderLaunch.com and get the Thought Leader starter library. You can stay tuned about Spoken Author because that’s not available yet. Zander is my number one case study. Do you want to tell a little bit about your gift to the audience?

On the website, you’re going to find sayings that I have found to help inspire me for my epic journey. I hope you will find some that resonate with you.

These are so valuable. They can print it out or put it on their fridge, car, or places where they will see it. We all need little reminders about being epic and taking that one step forward. That’s a super valuable little gift. Go to ZanderSprague.com, put your email in, and grab those gifts. Go to ThoughtLeaderLaunch.com, put your email in, and get your starter library to get you going on your thought leader journey for free. Those are our two gifts for you. Zander, do you have anything else you want to add before we talk about what’s coming next?

I think I’ve said a lot.

You are a natural-born speaker.

I’ve yet to find a mic or a camera that I don’t like to talk into.

When we have live events, it’s always hard to get the mic out of your hand because it belongs there. Do you have our chapter list? I didn’t decide what we would do in the next episode. I didn’t have a suggestion. Do you know what you want to talk about next?

In the next episode, we will be talking about how to boldly proclaim your intentions and dreams.

You want to catch the next episode as we continue this epic journey with the amazing, wonderful, and fantabulous Zander Sprague and Aurora Winter. We’ll see you in the next episode.

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