After the cold opening with a Billy Joel “Piano Man” parody set to “CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame”, introducing the night we recognize the latest inductees of the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame, the audience gasped as they realized my beard was taking over the event.
As Host and Emcee of this banquet I should look, and know, better.
Yes, I had grown it for 3 months before committing to then growing it another 3 months on top, from George Michael to Grizzly Adams; from Runway Model to Aristotle; from Moses the Egyptian to Moses of the Mountain; I had fluffed it out using 2 different combs, 3 waxes, and a hairdryer for extra flair.
I had effectively captured the burning bush and strapped it to my chin.
I looked incredible, confident, a bit insane, and promptly took the stage.
In all honesty, we came up with this bit half a year ago, on the heels of having done the same 4 years prior for a women’s convention where it brought the house down. I knew in front of my professional speaking association peers this would be something at least worth talking about…I didn’t anticipate it would go internet crazy for a few days thereafter.
I mean, who takes 6 months to grow out their beard and then shaves it off while on stage in one moment of glory?
Me, I guess.
I told just the show producer, and about a month ago finally spilled the beans to my wife when she cautiously and gently probed, “To what length are you growing this beard, My Love?”
I asked if she was scared and thought it was ugly. She said, “No, I love how you look any way that you are, but it just seems grown over further than normal.”
What a gal! She’s amazingly patient, and she also proceeded to laugh hysterically when I told her what I was planning to do in front of a room of 1,000+ speakers and guests.
The segue on stage went something like this:
“What an honor to be your Speaker Hall of Fame Emcee this evening my friends. We all arrive at the Hall of Fame taking different paths, yet share one trait in common: Commitment.
A commitment to The Craft, a commitment to The Audience, a commitment to The Client.
It is our Promise.
Tonight, you are my Audience, and NSA is my Client.
NSA asked me to revisit my Entertainer glory years, as an impersonator of Sir Elton John. They requested full costume, the authentic experience, the transformation before your very eyes.
And of course I said Yes NSA, I will give you the full experience, and give my all.
Yet, there is a challenge in that, as some of you may have noticed, I have something of a 5 o’clock shadow….
But I am fully committed and want to keep my promise to you tonight as only a CPAE in the Speaker Hall of Fame will.”
And I began to shave the beard.
To the gasps and shrieks of an unsuspecting audience, which alone was worth the price of admission!
Along with the brilliant 29-Time Emmy Winning Show Producer, Keynote Speaker Bill Stainton (who so deservedly received his Hall of Fame induction that night as well), we crafted a script that parodied the levels of commitment our peers go to in order to keep a Promise to the Client.
And the crowd went quite wild as I spoke of those among us doing things that aren’t true, but it certainly was funny and very well might be true!
To that end, and once the beard and mustache were long gone, even as a tuft of mustache accidentally sucked into my mouth and made me promptly choke on a hairball on stage like a cat having an asthma attack, I asked the audience what their level of commitment is to every performance they give.
Do we commit to the bit?
And the crowd went wild as I went from Santa Claus to Elton John before their very eyes.
Questions for you Dear Reader:
What is your level of commitment for One Moment?
I had to literally keep this a secret to every single person that asked and badgered me about it for 3 months.
Perhaps I went too far? But I think not. It was the ultimate lesson in teaching to what lengths one will go for a laugh, to teach a point, to inspire and give another perspective, even permission, when we aren’t sure what our Promises can be.
Yes, it was comedy at its wackiest level.
Yes, it was masked in parody, satire, and every delicious deviance of the pallaso.
Yet, it was smothered in profundity, performance, and promise.
That is what I strive to deliver. I hope you do, too, in your life’s performance.
I appreciate you playing along.
Part 2 will arrive soon, and it is dashed with much flavor.
The Beard was not just a “bit on stage”, yet also an experiment in Human Behavior, Judgment, and the assumptions we make of others, including the potentially hurtful things we lash on the precious beings we throw our well-meaning words at, which scar their hearts.
Be careful how you critique others, and Promise to be KIND, as you don’t always know the backstory.
Part 2 will knock you out.
Leadership Expert * Author * Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer
The Promise: Become a Legendary Leader and discover your Signature Moves
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