(CNN) – Former President George W. Bush made his debut as a motivational speaker Tuesday night, telling a Fort Worth, Texas crowd it’s futile to waste energy chasing popularity.
“It’s so simple in life to chase popularity, but popularity is fleeting, it’s not real,” Bush said at a “Get Motivated!” business seminar, a multi-city event its organizers describe as an “energizing, action-packed, star-studded, fun-filled, spectacular stage show.”
The president himself saw wild popularity swings during his eight years in the White House, garnering nearly a 90 percent approval rating in the months following the attacks on September 11, 2001 and exiting office with only the support of 31 percent of Americans, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll.
The former president was greeted enthusiastically by the 11,000 attendees of the event, according to the Fort Worth Telegram, and he spoke casually for about 20 minutes.
Event organizers declined to disclose how much the former president was compensated for the appearance, though former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani received $100,000 for a similar speech at the event two years ago.
Bush, who has made few public appearances or statements since leaving office nine months ago, also took the opportunity to reflect on his presidency.
“Every single day, I was honored to be your president by bringing honor and dignity to the office,” he said. Bush also added later that his faith played a large role in guiding his decisions: “From a personal perspective, I don’t see how you can be president without relying upon an almighty.”
Colin Powell, the former Bush Secretary of State who spared with many members of the president’s inner circle over the invasion of Iraq and endorsed Barack Obama’s presidential bid – also spoke at the event and offered high praise of his ex-boss.
“We are safer than we were before 9-11 because of President Bush,” Powell said.
The former president is also scheduled to participate in another “Get Motivated!” seminar in San Antonio, Texas on December 2, according to the company’s Web site.
“For a limited time only,” the Web site says, tickets are available for that event at $4.95 per person or $19 for a group.