Over the past seven years, I’ve spoken at a lot of schools with our Dance Floor Theory Student Leadership Training program. I’ve always considered myself more of a theory/practice type of speaker than motivational/inspirational. It’s not that I don’t value the motivational/inspirational type talks, it’s just that every time I tried to go down that road, it didn’t feel natural to me. So I stuck with being the “smart” speaker.
Yesterday, however, at the closing keynote for the #SAtechBOS conference, I decided to try on a new hat and see what it would be like to mix more motivation/inspiration into a “smart” talk. The talk was brand new and one I’d never done before which made me extra nervous. It was in front of a lot of people I truly respect and was streaming live on the internet to anyone who wanted to watch. I also didn’t finish the slides until 2am the morning of the talk because I kept wanting to shift things around. Needless to say, I was nervous.
In the end, the talk came together in a way that totally blew me away and based on the comments that filled up the Twitter Backchannel (see below), I walked away from the conference totally humbled by the impact the talk had on the group. I’ll remember this talk for a long time to come.
P.S. The video of the talk should soon be posted online at which time I’ll also share the slides.
“Here’s the thing that makes life so interesting. The theory of evolution claims that “only the strong shall survive”. Maybe so, maybe so.
But the theory of competition says, “just because they’re the strong doesn’t mean they can’t get their asses kicked”.
That’s right. See, what every long shot, come from behind, underdog will tell ya is this: the other guy may in fact be the favorite, the odds may be stacked against you. Fair enough. But what the odds don’t know is, this isn’t a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. One where passion, has a funny way of trumping logic.
So before you step up to the starting line, before the whistle blows, and the clocks start ticking just remember: out here the results don’t always add up. No matter what the stats may say and the experts may think and the commentators may have predicted, when the race is on, all bets are off.
Don’t be surprised be if someone decides to flip the script and take a pass on yelling “Uncle”. And then suddenly as the old saying goes, “WE’VE GOT OURSELVES A GAME”.”
Speaker friend, Jon Vroman, asked me this question on Facebook, and since it’s something I’ve actually thought about a lot, I knew it needed more than just a Facebook response.
Going back to the beginning of my college career, I had this idea planted in me that I’d find “the one.” Not in terms of love, but in terms of mentors. I’d have “the one” teacher that, almost like an awe inspiring alarm clock, this person would show me a whole new world I’d never seen before. I waited, and waited, and waited, but “the one” never happened. Well it almost did.
He was an older adjunct teacher for my intro to entrepreneurship class at Aurora University. He’d created and sold multiple companies. He truly seemed like my “something from nothing” hero.
On the first day of class, he filled us with motivational war stories from the front lines of entrepreneurship. I couldn’t get enough, I was in awe and knew there was no where else I was interested in being. Then it happened…
We were in a discussion about who should sit on a board of directors and my newly minted hero said, “for me it was always filled with men because there just wasn’t a need to have women in the boardroom.” My head sank. The whole class went up in arms.
Turns out his views on women were from an era gone by and no one told him. To his credit, he did actively listen to the criticisms of the class and by the end of the term he had changed…a bit. But the damage was done. My hero was no more.
Beyond him, no one else came close to being “the one” for me.
I continuously hear people talk about how a specific person changes their life forever. As if it were some magical moment where this perfect image of a person came down from above and it was meant to happen. Maybe I need to keep waiting because it makes me feel like I missed out on something in my life.
In the mean time, I’ve built up an amazing support group of people, and networks, around me. Theses are people who individually each have something that is awe inspiring to me. But as well have flaws and things that I know I don’t want to emulate. Put each individual piece together and then I’d have “the one.” It’s piecemeal on my part and maybe that’s ok, because no one is perfect by themselves. We all have our flaws.
Which brings me to my final note on this topic. I know some people I’ve connected with look up to me in awe and use my life as inspiration (or maybe I just think they do). And I’ll do my best to be their “the one,” but they should know that I come with my flaws too. I hope that what you like about me doesn’t blind you from my flaws and you piecemeal the best parts for your life instead of an all or nothing approach.
I lied, one more thought. This is also why I don’t find myself gravitating to any one religion or way of life because in each I find the pieces I like and pieces I don’t.
“When you get to the point where all you want to do is be successful as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
RIP Steve “THE Crazy One” Jobs
K´naan – Wavin’ Flag
Rarely does a commercial engage my creative senses the way the FAGE (fa-yeh) Yogurt commercial below does.
“Plain was the same as it ever was the same.
Plainly plain, samely same…
But then someone lit the flame.
Plain rode away on lion’s mane.
Where plain met fruits with strangely names.
Such wonderful things they did contain.
A shot of life to a hungry vein.
The captive beast who broke the chain.
And there upon that fruited plane,
is where plain became what plain became.
So much more than more than plain.
Plain will never be the same.”
Click here to see all the songs I’ve dug at some point.
Gregg Breinberg’s work at PS22 continues to show me the impact one teacher can have on a whole group of students. Kudos to him and the work he’s doing with these kids. The Oscars better get ready because I know he and his students are going to rock the house.
Click here to see all the songs I’ve dug at some point.