I had a great conversation on the phone today (yes, I am of the generation who has long phone calls with friends). The person I chatted with is another professional speaker who is working hard to grow his business. He is someone I have build a friendship with over the past few years, and I always appreciate our conversations. Scott Shellstrom is an expert on creativity and innovation. He has an artistic side that is unique. I have been to his home, and his paintings hangs on the wall. Wow…. AMAZING. But more amazing is what he does on stage. He is an advocate for fun at work, but even more, Scott triggers creativity at work.
His keynote is called “Unleash Your Inner Da Vinci“, and if you visit his website you will see that his talks are full of content but also fun. I think that is the key to success in any business: have fun at work. Combining real enjoyment and memorable experiences into your work is what I love about my job as a speaker. But fun is even better when it launches creativity. This is also what I try to bring when I speak at a conference.
People Make Work Fun and People Inspire Creativity
I like talking with Scott as he has had an eclectic life and career. He did many of the creative things in his early days that I wish I had done. He also worked as a creative director for a major agency and hosted a TV show. After our conversation I got to thinking about what really makes work fun. I realized it is usually your co-workers. The people we spend the most time with are the catalysts to our fun and creativity.
Hmmmm, I work alone. I don’t really have “co-workers”, and thus this is why my relationships with other professional speakers matter so much to me. People like Scott Shellstrom have become my team. While we are miles apart, these calls on the phone, skype, or just chats on social media or text with any one of about a dozen “speaker friends” allow me to have fun at work. I have many days spent in hotels, airports, or coffee shops. It can be lonely, but I am never really alone.
Sharing Your Journey
Scott told me about his upcoming travels (International Keynote… boom). We laughed about the adventures of growing a business, and looked at how some of our peers have tweaked and grown their speaking careers in recent years. This is a hard business, and finding the right path is unique for each person. I always like looking to the cool people who are successful and what they have done to find their wins.
We talked about my journey into doing stand-up comedy, something I began over the age of 50 (why did I wait so long? Because I was too scared to try an open mic night when I was younger). My leap into the comedy world (I have now been involved in over 50 open mic nights, and been a featured comic in two shows) has profoundly changed me. It has impacted my skills as a speaker (Even after 800 keynotes and 450 podcasts, I found stand up the biggest lesson of using language). Yet the biggest thing is how it has impacted me as a person. I am having fun doing stand up and it is making me a more creative person.
Embrace the Fun
Too many people go through life not embracing the fun. They see other people as a problem, not the answer. Sure, sometimes there are difficulties that make life hard. But when you have cool people who you can talk to you can navigate the choppy parts with ease.
Find your people. Make friends with others who are on a similar path. It is like when I go hiking: Alone is cool, but with other people it becomes something better. For me hearing about the success of my friends is almost as cool as when I get a new piece of business. The speaking world is highly competitive, and most people are not really open to sharing and giving (some say they are … but are not). I long ago stopped holding my cards close to my vest. I am an open book about the good and the bad, and the right people have appeared and guided me to more success. My friends are all givers. We all cheer for one another.
Having friends in the meetings industry makes my work fun. Sharing the good and the bad with them makes me feel like I am in the right business. No matter what you do for a living there are others who will “get you” and understand your long path. Find those people and cultivate relationships.
(I recently blogged about Humor in the Workplace)
To have more fun I have begun to hunt for inspiration. After a call with a friend like Scott I visit their website and invite innovative ideas to come forward. Scott has some great videos about creativity on his page. I watched four or five of these short clips and it made me excited about my own fun and creativity.
Inspiration is a great way to get over feeling low. Before Scott called me I was having a frustrating day, but after our conversation I am fired up. This is why people matter. Without peers to converse with, fun at work and creativity at work seem to take a back seat. When you know people who are doing cool things, and have your back, the excitement level goes up. Scott one of those people I am cheering for that he gets to the next level on his ladder.
Looking for an amazing creativity speaker / innovation speaker? Check out his website at www.ScottShellstrom.com.
Thom Singer is a funny keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies / event EmCee. He is the host of the “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast and the author of 12 books. He can be to speak directly or via your favorite speakers bureau.