Sunday, March 23, 2014

Failure Coach XL

Dress Rehearsal

“I’m delighted to be here at your end of the year meeting. I appreciate the invitation. I want to share with you today some highlights of my next book which will be available (hopefully) at a bookstore or online retailer of your choice as some point next year.” Alan agreed to this meeting at the Missouri Athletic Club West for two reasons: 1.) He kind of liked the familiar surroundings of the venue and 2.) This was an opportunity to test drive his new material. The group, ExecLink, was an organic local group of executives who hoped to leverage quality programs for membership growth, sustainability and sponsorship and and was trying to build a following.  

After he showed his customary introduction slides and as he broke the ice with this smallish gathering of 50-60 folks seated in rounds of 10 at the Missouri Athletic Club West in this meeting room tucked behind the dining area and bar where a few club members still lingered, he showed an outline slide by which he was able to frame his talk.

What is Negative Space?

Three examples in art
  •  The Last Supper - by Leonardo daVinci
  •  Henry Moore – Reclining figure bronze sculpture
  •  M.C. Escher – Sky and Water
Three examples in environment
  • Nature vs. Nurture
  • B.F. Skinner and radical behaviorism
  • Stanley Milgrim’s obedience Experiment
  • Your positive space
  •  Your negative space
  • Reconciling the positive and negative
Alan had encouraged some colleagues on the book and speaker circuit to show up on short notice however he was as not successful as he had hoped. Kimberly Schnieder was in Ireland, Bill Ellis was in Dubai, David Hults was at an human resource professionals meeting, Bill Donius was talking to a group of bankers in California, Dixie Gallaspie was in town but recording an interview for a radio program, Jeremy Nulik was writing copy for an advertising campaign and Chris Riley was in Kansas City meeting with a business prospect. He had not been able to attract much of a crowd on his own. All had politely excused themselves. This was okay by Alan. He knew that some others were not present because it was not possible to be everywhere you wanted to be. He had personally experienced this dilemma, especially when it comes to supporting a fellow in the process of working through new material. In the language of stand-up comedy, no one is anxious to see you die. On this occasion, Alan did not die. In fact, he was assured that his Negative Space concept would resonate with failure fans and that book three would reinforce the Alan Edgewater franchise another year at least.

The presentation was an easy sixty minutes reinforced by powerful ideas that motivated Alan and animated him as a speaker. He knew his team would help him secure images, copyright, permissions, etc. for such things as compelling visuals of art, abstracts from research on heredity, behavioral science and overall fact-checking. The subject matter, Alan is certain, will appeal to business executives. He answers a variety of questions about art, behavioral science, business, books, publishing and the story of his career journey.     

 “Mr. Edgewater, can you elaborate a bit on your Failure First Scholarship Fund and why it is structured with as an unconditional award full ride scholarship to the college or university of the winner’s chosing? Couldn’t that money be better used to offer need-based or merit-based scholarships?” It was the last question of the evening. It was one Alan had not anticipated and it was coming from a writer of whom he was not familiar. The structure of the question, the determined note-taking and follow up suggested a reporter on assignment.

Alan knew he would have to talk to this guy further to get a sense of what he is after. His answer on this day would be acceptable for most. “Our scholarship winners through the Alan Edgewater Failure First Scholarship Fund are granted unconditional awards that allow them to pursue any educational path they choose and the college or university of their choice. Through the generosity of Coach Robert Siena and supporters like you, we have made two awards so far. The program is unique to be sure.”

As expected the reporter was polite but wanted more. Alan took his business card and agreed to schedule a time when they might talk more fully about the AEFFSF. Alan could not wait to dish this card to Jan Abbeshire.        

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