For years “they” have been raining on my parade. In fact that seems a bit of an understatement. I have had to weather typhoons, tsunamis, tropical cyclones and horrific lightning storms. In life and business one would imagine that if you get or have a certain amount of success in an industry, you will gain the respect of your peers. Never in your wildest dreams would you imagine that your peerswould be the exact people who would maliciously want to drag you down and destroy you.
I have been scoffed at and dismissed, being called almost every name under the sun by many speakers in the industry. They have discredited me, spoken against me, taken out adverts in an attempt to embarrass me, and on and on, all in an effort to put me down to their level or perhaps change me to their way of thinking!
For 19 years, “they” have lectured me about content versus process. “Take-home – people must have take-home”, they condescendingly smirked. “Ra-Ra is a waste of time! Content, data and facts move people” (Even if it puts people to sleep!) The only people impressed with these intellectual, boring speakers are them themselves. A sort of self-indulgent, self-pleasing, self-promoting, self-aggrandizing but excruciatingly painful experience for anyone within earshot. They are easy to spot. The longer the name-dropping, credential mentioning, title filled introduction or CV, the more painful the experience.
I was recently asked to speak at a speakers showcase and, because, as usual, I had a paying gig on the same day, I decided to speak first. I walked on stage without my pants on; I did this before many years ago and decided to do it again at the Showcase to ….
1st: to get a laugh.
2nd: to get the audience’s attention.
3rd: to shock a few people.
4th: to make a point. (Leave it!)
5th: to create a memory peg, for the audience. (Again, don’t go there!)
6th: to be outstanding. (You just can’t help yourself can you?)
I did my set about being different and having a positive attitude! While leaving the venue I noticed the next speaker starting to remove items of clothing – I overheard 2 of them speaking in the green room earlier discussing how one of them now removed his shirt and tie during his presentation to illustrate new business culture and how the world has changed.
So these very same intellectuals and their elk, who had blatantly judged me and ridiculed me for doing things differently on a stage, for dressing differently and giving the audience an experience as opposed to a boring, statistical monologue, were now losing their ties and formal shirts and playing YouTube videos. I think I may just have changed an industry.
So from being a kind of black sheep of the speaking industry for putting process before content it seems that everyone now wants to be me. (Tongue, clearly in my cheek!)
Please don’t misunderstand! Content is a very important! But HOW we get content across to people, how we get them to engage, wanting the content and more importantly how we get it to stick, is paramount! Give people a fun experience with content and you have a winning formula. In the two decades of hitting the stages, hotels, venues, trains, planes, buses, car parks and basements I have seen people with hardly any content, wow an audience, because of their delivery and connection with the audience. I have also seen hundreds of people with fantastic content bomb spectacularly. You know them; you’ve heard them, the intellectual “Valiums”.
SO WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
Just in case you start thinking that this is a “poor me” piece, it definitely is not. It is hopefully a way to get you to understand that no matter where you go in life there will be people who will speak ill of you. They will attack you, laugh at you, belittle you and try everything in their power to hurt you and stop you from following your passion, ideas or beliefs. In every walk of life you will find people wanting to rain on your parade.
My process has always been based on the wise teaching that “people hardly ever remember what you said or did, they will however always remember how you made them feel”. Read that again and let it sink in!
Here are the rules, lessons and laws you must adhere to in your life and business. The ones the haters don’t understand and intellectuals have been missing.
Big funny = Big money
Making people smile, laugh and feel good is a noble cause and calling. Making people happy makes them want to do business with you and keeps them coming back for more.
Stand out in everything that you do! Stand out, if only by just being authentic! And if you’re being authentic, be absolutely authentic! Please remember however, that as soon as you stand out, you become a target. People, (especially those who can’t, don’t, won’t or who just sit at home criticizing from their armchairs) will pull you down to justify their own insecurities, lack of originality, style, class or guts.
Expect it! Prepare for it! Don’t be surprised by it! But most of all, keep at it!
Believe in yourself no matter what the haters, insecure, jealous, scared little people think or say. Put your chin down, put on your raincoat and keep walking in the rain. Don’t stray off your path or point of view. Keep walking and you will find that
you will make it through the rain. And when the sun comes out, you will find yourself respected by others who got rained on too but also made it through.
It will rain, there will be storms but rain can be good. It teaches you perseverance, it shows you who your true friends are and those who are not. Do a rain dance, because it really pisses them off. Weathering the storm gives you courage and humility and the respect of respected people.
Love Light and laughter