Inspiring or Inspired?

Inspiring or Inspired?

I leapt from the 217 feet tall World War One Museum, landed in front of the media, presented the American flag to a Vietnam Veteran and then helped him raise it – you can see links to one of the news reports in my last post.  It was inspiring stuff.  But I was inspired too.


Alastair Macartney live on stage at TEDxKC.  Photo by Don Ipock

Alastair Macartney live on stage at TEDxKC. Photo by Don Ipock

We then got a call from the Mayor’s Office.  He wanted to meet me.  The 5 minutes I had scheduled in to see him quickly became 30 minutes. Mayor Sly James loved what I and my team, Jump4Heroes, did and wanted to meet me.  “I’m glad things went well,” he said to me.  “Me too,” I replied, smiling.

So, of course, I slipped into conversation, that his 30 storey City Hall building would be perfect to jump off.  “How long do you need to set that up?” he asked, thinking it would be a few weeks.

“Oh, well…” I said, thinking.  “I haven’t packed my gear yet from the jump from the Memorial this morning.  About…. 15 minutes.”

The cogs started turning and he was definitely game.  But, we decided a return trip to focus on that would be a better idea.  We’d done what we needed to achieve with the jump that morning – there would be another time.

I got to preview the opening video for my talk which the team of professionals at VML did an amazing job in putting.  See below:

Now I had to focus on giving the best talk of my life.  TEDxKC was to be the largest TEDx event in the world, surpassing TEDxSydney which had moved into the Sydney Opera House.  I’d be talking in front of nearly 3,000 people, infinite amounts via the internet livestream and it would be serialised on TV to an estimated 200,000 viewers.  I’m not sure what was making me more nervous – standing on the edge of the World War One Museum, 217 feet up in the air, or standing in front of a crowd that is expecting to be inspired.

So, I did it.  I walked out and gave the talk of my life.  It wasn’t text-book perfect but it went pretty well.  In my business, when jumping, it’s normally a one take gig – no chance to re-shoot that take if it doesn’t go to plan.  Speaking in front of a live audience is the same.

Alastair Macartney spreading his wings at TEDxKC. Photo by Don Ipock

Alastair Macartney spreading his wings at TEDxKC. Photo by Don Ipock

Most people got it.  They revelled in the journey that I took them on and I loved sharing it with them.

I was then lucky to join the audience and watch the other speakers.  They were amazing.  Mike Lundgren, the curator who had bought us all together, had done a fantastic job.  Quite how he’d found this eclectic mix of speakers and performers, every single one of which provided amazing insights into completely different, yet, somehow, complimentary topics, was outstanding.  These were seamlessly weaved together and they all, without exception, inspired.

You can still view the talks via the livestream, which is still up.  To see my talk, fast forward to 1 hour 26 minutes.  Update: Watch my TEDxKC talk in the video below.

Kansas City rocked.  From the positive vibe, the life-blood energy and the character of both the City and the people, this was a truly memorable experience.  I must, of course, thank the people that made it the experience it was, the organisers of TEDxKC (and VML for their courage and leadership to make that happen), the City of Kansas, the World War One Museum, sponsors and the countless others that did so much behind the scenes.

I’d gone to Kansas City and to TEDxKC to inspire.  I’d returned having been inspired.


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