Mike Pinto's Other Job: Motivational Speaking

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By WSIL Sports

MARION -- When you can't find Southern Illinois Miners manager Mike Pinto in the dugout, it's because he's most likely speaking to some of the country's largest financial companies as a motivational speaker.

"There's definitely an endorphin high that comes from doing them," Pinto said. "The crowd gives it to you when they respond in the ways that you're looking for."

Pinto started speaking to crowds 21 years ago, long before his days in baseball. The Chicago native was working as a successful real estate agent in California when he was asked to speak to a group of more than 400.

"I went up and was nervous as could be," he said. "I had some opening lines and everyone laughed and I said, 'This is important to your career, write this down.' People started writing and I thought this is pretty cool."

Pinto eventually left real estate to speak full-time, booking more than 150 gigs a year. His baseball schedule doesn't allow that now, he only speaks about 40 times per year, but he routinely talks to some of the world's biggest financial companies such as Prudential, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. Last year he was the featured speaker at John Hancock's national convention in Toronto.

"You know, you're talking crowds of five or six thousand people so it's very rewarding."

Pinto encourages people while also entertaining them. During a speech at Auto Credit of Southern Illinois last month, he ate fire.

"It's not a magic trick to learn how to eat fire, it's about getting past the fears in your life," he said. "So much of what we do or don't do or are
capable of comes down to what we believe about our fears."

Pinto doesn't give motivational speeches to his team, but relies on a lot of the same techniques. So far it's worked out pretty well for likely the only fire eating manager in all of baseball.
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