I’m becoming like Ed. He drove the “limousine” (what I would probably refer to as a “15 passenger van”) with just little ol’ me in it from the airport to the hotel last night, and then this morning from the hotel back to the airport. He was a friendly old feller, so I sat in the front seat so we could talk. And he liked to talk.
On the 20 minute drive back to the airport this morning, Ed repeated 8 of the stories he had told me the night before. I was pretty sure he recognized me, and I even started asking the same follow-up questions to jog his memory. But he kept going, telling of an ice storm, his philosophy on freeway speeds, and about his career owning a flower shop, all with the same mellow and simple enthusiasm.
I’m starting to feel a bit like Ed, in that I tell the same basic things to the groups I talk to. Sure, I change up the details, tailor each talk to the audience, and add new things each time. But I’m losing the Ed-like ability to keep it fresh for myself.
The difficult thing is that what I’m doing and saying seems to strike a chord with people, and they want me to talk about creativity, whole-brain learning, 21st century skills, and so on. In fact, the description of my talk gets sent out at least a couple of months ahead of time so people can print programs, flyers, and plan accordingly.
Andrea Peterson, the 2007 NTOY, says that when people call her up now to come speak, they specifically ask her to “tell the pencil sharpener story.” It’s a great story (and continuing to evolve in amazing ways), but I imagine it’s tough to keep it fresh after telling it 80 or 90 times.
Maybe I’ll hire Ed to fill in as my stunt double. He could tell the one about how the wind blew him across the ice when he went to go warm up his van – I mean… limousine. I’m sure there’s a great educational analogy in there somewhere.