It appears that I am at a crossroad for my blog. I have always been conflicted about the internet. It has, of course, changed our whole world, both literally and metaphorically. It has also opened a Pandora’s Box. Today, you can call yourself an expert without any credentials and even worse, you can find affirmation for anything even if its illegal, immoral or simply irritating. One of my favourite, incredibly disturbing subjects is how child pornography has become huge on the internet and most bizarre, the sheer number of these freaks has made them believe what they believe is okay…Yikes! Of course, the positives of this techno-miracle outweigh the negatives.
Through the internet, I have increased my visibility and profile and my website and YouTube have showcased my musical talents and other gifts I give to my audiences everyday. It has brought me countless inquiries and dozens of speaking engagements. If you didn’t know this, I have been taking the podium since 1976 when I was appointed Saskatchewan’s Easter Seals “Timmy”, a representative of the province’s handicapped children. It was without question the first step towards a remarkable career. I have been honoured to not only exhibit my gifts but even more humbled by sharing my story of life without arms to inspire millions.
Over the years, I have essentially given the “same” speech over 5,000 times. It certainly isn’t a robotic repetition and strangely, other the Timmy days, I have never written it down. People want to hear how I was born without arms, how I was given up for adoption and then raised by my incredible foster-parents, Hilda & Jack Law, how I learned to use my feet and how I became a musician. Cover that history and you don’t have much time left! In fact, a bothersome flaw emerged over the years that saw me speak for longer than I was asked or planned and that was viewed by many, especially meeting planners, as pure ego. Well, there was some ego but in fact 90% of it was my desire to “give” people what they’re paying me for.
Well, for those that may care, I don’t go overtime anymore as I have learned that no matter what my motives, finishing on time is more important than my opinion. And that opinion is where I am taking this particular blog.
At 53 years old, I have had some time to formulate my belief systems and ironically, my stark honesty on stage has transformed my program. I have been accused of not being very good at the “politically correct” and in fact, that is an incorrect observation. I am extremely aware of the policies of the politically correct, but I simply disagree with much of it! I don’t do it to be argumentative or difficult and I certainly never do it to offend. I believe firmly that if people are offended by me, that is largely their own problem. I have stated over and over again that I am a Professional! I am a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) which is a recognized accreditation through the National Speakers Association (NSA) and the Global Speakers Federation (GSF) and I am in the Canadian Professional Speakers Hall of Fame (HoF). I would absolutely never cross the line on stage as I am not just representing myself, I am representing my client and I take that very seriously. I also believe that being a Professional Speaker also means, at least for me, that I do tremendous research on the subjects I approach before anything comes out of my mouth. But even more important, I have “been there, done that”!
For example, when it comes to my opinion on Bullying, not only was I bullied a ton, I overcame it and therefore, I believe I have a credible opinion. I have visited and spoken at more than 5,000 schools since the 1970’s so I believe that gives me credibility on subjects around education. The problem has sometimes been that my opinion isn’t always popular and I respect those who disagree. But thus, the crossroad.
My wife, Darlene who if you didn’t know, is also my business partner and most vocal supporter and critic. She had as recent observation that on stage, people sense my energy and when I occasionally “rant”, my audience can sense my emotion and tone and realize, I mean no harm. On the internet, there is a the potential for a misunderstood interpretation and most important, I can come across completely differently that I intended. I can even come across as being bitter and vindictive and although some things piss me off, I am the least bitter person I have ever met. I have also gone to extreme lengths to explain that my intention for my blog was akin to a columnist in the newspaper who has a weekly “rant” to provoke some discussion. It seems the problem is, “ranting” isn’t why people enjoy my talks so even though I am doing it unwillingly, I am not going to be writing in my style of late and will be reframing my voice online so stay tuned for a much more positive and inspiring blog akin to the style that has become synonymous with the Alvin Law on stage.