What is a golden misfit? We’ll get back to what that means in a moment. First, let’s talk about you and your past. Have you ever felt like a misfit? I think it’s fair to say that we all have. The bigger question is where did you feel like a misfit? What group? What did you do with it?
Growing up, I felt invisible, I wanted to be an athlete like my brother, but I usually ended up on the bench. I wanted to be smart like my sister, but that wasn’t happening either. Even in college, many were joining fraternities, but it just wasn’t me. Most of my life I felt like an outsider that didn’t belong.
You may know some of my story. When I pursued standup comedy, even though I did standup for years, I never felt at home or like I belonged. I did everything the other wannabe comedians were doing, but never really felt like one of the boys. I felt like a misfit most of my life. I resonated with the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV program’s Island of Misfit Toys. This was where all the toys gathered that no one wanted. They were the same toys, but together they didn’t feel as alone. They had a common bond, they were not wanted.
If you don’t know the story of the Las Vegas hockey team, the Golden Knights, it’s inspiring even if you aren’t a sports fan. Last year an expansion team was formed. That means that they added a new team to the league. The way they do that, is they choose players from each of the existing teams. Those teams are allowed to protect eleven of their best players and the Knights get to choose from the rest. The unprotected. How would you feel if your team did not protect you? Would you feel wanted?
Las Vegas has not had a major professional sports team. The Golden Knights were it. Vegas wanted them. This city was excited. They were our heroes. I’m not even a hockey fan myself, but I did get caught up in the excitement, especially when they started winning. One of those players was James Neal. He started a group text with all the players in it. The title of the group text name stuck and went viral. He coined the term “the Golden Misfits”. Individually, they were not wanted, together they bonded and were on a mission. They had something to prove. They wanted to show the people who did not protect them, they were wrong.
In 1994, I attended my first National Speakers Association convention in Washington, D.C., I still remember the opening night to this day. I was blown away by the opening keynote speaker, Captain Gerald Coffee. His story was so inspiring. I could see the lives he was touching and admired how his story moved the audience. I remember the feeling I had that night. Meeting so many speakers who had this weird desire, like me, to be on stage and serve. I was overwhelmed with emotion. You see, even my closest friends back home just didn’t understand me or what I wanted to do. They just didn’t get it. These other speakers did.
I walked out to the pool after hours with a pad of paper and wrote my mom a seven-page letter. I told my mom, for the first time in my life I felt like I found home. I didn’t have to be brilliant or an athlete, that’s not who I was. I was a speaker. These are my people. They were weird in the same way I was. I finally felt like I belonged. I wanted to put my mom at ease, since she had seen me throw my college degree aside and pursue this crazy dream. Everyone I knew thought I was not cut out for being on stage. I finally found my island. I was still a misfit, but I didn’t feel alone anymore. I knew somehow, some way, I would be in this industry for the rest of my life. That was over twenty-four years ago. That’s one reason I created Stage Time University. https://stagetimeuniversity.com
I wanted other speakers like me to know they aren’t alone, and that what we do matters.
Do you still secretly feel like a misfit at times? There are people in your audience who do as well. Probably more than you initially suspect. Some of them mask their misfit with their ego, I did too. I tried to mask it anyway.
The Vegas Golden Misfits did prove to the world they were special. They helped bring a city together after our biggest tragedy. Though the Knights did not win the Stanley Cup, they became the first expansion team in the history of the four major sports to make it to the championship round. Like Rocky Balboa, they went the distance and that is amazing, especially for a group of misfits.
If you are an author, speaker, or presenter, chances are that you in some way or form, are a misfit. OK, if you are a serious presenter, let’s get serious. What if it’s because you were a misfit that people can relate to you? What if that’s actually the reason you lived the life that you did? The message inside of you can be delivered uniquely by you, because of your past. It’s your story. If you have the strength to be open and authentic, you will change lives. You have a story that only you can tell.
You are a Golden Misfit when you take the stage and the audience is changed because they heard you tell your story. This is true when you are not from a place of ego, but of delivering a message that matters. You are golden when the misfits in your audience don’t feel alone anymore. When they are inspired and leave different than when they sat down, then you are in fact golden. You are also a Golden Misfit when you have a mission bigger than you. Own that you are a misfit and make your message matter.
Are you a Golden Misfit? Anything you need to change?
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