Richard Hight performing before keynote speaking at a SHRM (Society For Human Resource Management)) event in Washington D.C.
A Wonderful Walk on the Wildside
As an artist, motivational and keynote speaker, I have been fortunate to meet incredible people across America and around the world. Each person I meet touches me, and in turn, I hope that I am able to touch them. I am always learning new things especially from people involved in professions with which I am not very familiar.
I recently met, and got to know a person who greatly inspired me with his knowledge, enthusiasm and warmth. It was Jack Hanna who earned his fame by first his long association with the prestigious Columbus Zoo, and then his numerous appearances in movies and on television and radio. He brought the world of animals and the fascinating things about each animal into our homes. By getting to meet and understanding each new species, we were better able to understand just how beautiful this world could be and how important a role each one of us plays in protecting the animals of our earth.
In getting to know Jack and his philosophies, I was once again put back in touch with important principles I love to teach to my audiences as we all create together. I will call these principles: “Walk on the Wildside” and “Go Wild.”
Walk on the Wildside
Walk on the Wildside does not mean we need to burst into a Karaoke song at the next staff meeting (although it might be fun!). If we think of the Columbus Zoo, for example, although we know we’re in a zoo, many of the settings and exhibits have been created to take us out of our normal zones, and transport us to something completely new and different. In those wonderful minutes we are able to spend in unusual habitats, many of us begin to think differently and to look at the world through different eyes. Don’t ever be afraid to get off that couch and go for a hike, try a new kind of food, learn a new language or meet someone from a very different background. You may be surprised where all of it can lead.
When I speak to my audiences, and we begin to create together and transport ourselves from our usual roles into a creative and more free-flowing world, we are lifted out of our comfort zones. Sometimes the shyest of people come up with amazingly bold and brilliant ideas. Sometimes those who have absolutely convinced themselves they lack one, single shred of creativity, are able to produce a thought, an idea or a concept that is so out-of-the box, everyone looks at them and says, “Brilliant!”
When we allow ourselves to get out of our comfort zones amazing things can happen to us. They happen in our friendships, our workplaces, our communities and even when we travel and meet new people.
Sometimes ignoring the rules (in a positive way) can be the best thing that has ever happened to us. Just today I was reading about the sport of wheelchair basketball. There was a time when physicians, all with the best of intentions, told men and women confined to wheelchairs that they shouldn’t play sports. Much to everyone’s surprise, the sport not only blossomed but greatly improved many lives. I have a friend in the pizza industry who remembers the first time someone suggested pineapple topping for pizza. People laughed at first, and now millions of people get pineapple toppings and the pineapple industry sells millions of pounds. Then there was the car designer who had the audacity to suggest the SUV! Or how about the person who came up with the idea for a computer to computer means of communication called “email” instead of mailing letters by using stamps! In each case, there was a leap of faith and ignoring the rules. Never be afraid to think big. Never be afraid to go a little wild.
When I speak to a group, I encourage my audiences to walk just a little on the wild side and to not be afraid to go wild from time to time. From allowing and empowering ourselves – and each other, to be innovative, creative and bold, great things can happen!