Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Just Dave

Yesterday I gave a lecture up in Midland, about an hour and a half drive from home. I was a bit nervous about the day because I'd been asked to recreate a lecture that I had thought was a 'one time only' one that I had written and delivered at a major conference. Luckily I had my notes and even more fortunately they were still legible. Sometimes I write notes in a code that makes sense to me only for the time it takes to deliver the lecture - then, even a day later, I'm completely lost as to what I meant by "OH YA!!".

When we got to the lecture hall it filled slowly with arriving attendees and I was able to relax a bit, they are just human after all. I have never really grown comfortable with the role of lecturer. I still have fear of presenting in front of others. I require a strict routine and even stricter mental control. Then there are the rituals that I put into place to make myself feel comfortable with the job that needs to be done. Poor Joe has to deal with these but at least he understands them and seldom complains.

The thing about the lecture yesterday which was a little different was that several people came up to me, several being more than 10, to say that they had never heard me lecture before even though they'd ... heard of me, read my books, read my blogs, studied me in college. They all said how 'honoured' they were to be there, to hear me and to meet me.

All this is nice, very nice, indeed. But it's a tad odd to me. I guess because I live with me, know me from the inside out, I don't get the slight bit of 'awe' or 'reverence' with which people approach me. I'm 'just Dave' after all. If you listen to my stories, I fail as often as I succeed, make a fool out of myself as often as not, learn from moments of bright insight brought one by personal dimness. So while I think it's wonderful that people have the capacity and courage to approach someone to say something really nice - I'm surprised when that person is me.

The only thing that worries me about this is that I think sometimes my words are given too much merit, too much weight. I'm very careful at work when expressing an opinion during a discussion because, while it's just an opinion, it can easily become 'Dave Hingsburger says ...' and that's the end of it. I don't want to be a conversation stopper, I don't want to interrupt the flow of ideas, I just want to participate equally and be able to say dumb things and have them seen as such.

The same is true here on the blog. I don't think I got yesterday's blog quite right. I know, in my mind, exactly what I meant to say but I don't think I said it in a way that made my meaning clear. That's OK, it's a blog after all, but a few people seemed worried about disagreeing with me, explaining differing points of view. This distresses me a bit. I started this blog so that there would be conversation sometimes controversy and that there would be contradictory opinion. I think I've always been open to that - I really think so.

So please, here at my blog home, it's Just Dave. If you disagree, do heartily, you need not apologize for saying so. I appreciate that I've been around the block, I appreciate that I've spent a lifetime of focus on what I do - this doesn't mean I don't make mistakes, don't have the occasional brain fart, don't need someone to say 'I don't agree with you ...'

To those who spoke to me at the conference. Thank you. It's nice to know that my work means something. It's nice to know that there are people with the capacity to encourage and to say 'thanks'. Just remember, for myself or any speaker, we're all still growing, still fumbling to get it right, still needing critical feedback.

Oh my, after this, I'm going to be afraid to open my comments! Oh well ... onwards.


Anonymous said...

You know Dave, I talk about this all the time, both when I work as a Trainer for DSP's and when I do hands on DSP work. I think it is important for the people I work with to know NOBODY is perfect - I don't care who you are. I like to think I learn from my mistakes, but sometimes the hard lessons need to come from messing up a few times. I hate nothing more than to have a director come to me and say staff said you said and what were you thinking. My reply usuall is - you weren't there and it is hard to tell what I was thinking at that very moment. Bravo on an honest blog!!!

Heather Simmons said...

Hi Dave
I'm thinking that a lot of this thing about kindness is really about your intention and perspective...
I definitely think it's possible to observe an act of kindness (the store clerk helping out with the change) and name it as such without that being patronising.
It's just an acknowledgement and naming of the act for what it is...and I think, in the world we live in it's good to 'bear witness' to some of the good things that happen...however small they are.
It's something else again to identify yourself as the agent of an act of're in real danger then of disappearing up your own arse...
Holding the door open isn't really the's a small act and it was a decent think to do...for me the jarring part is where she sees ( and names) herself as being kind.
And it is reveals her 'deficit thinking' about how hard it must be for you in your neediness and how good it is that she and others like her are willing to come along come along and fill your lack and emptiness with their 'kindness'.
I never really understood the slogan of the Disability Rights Movement in the UK until now...I don't want to offend people, but really...
Piss on Pity...

Kristin said...

Honestly Dave, before I found your blog through ICLW, I hadn't heard of you because the field you work in isn't one I study. But, I've spent a couple of months reading your stories and I think that "Just Dave" is pretty damned cool. You have a keen insight into human nature and a knack for telling a good story. And, it takes a strong person to invite disagreement in such a public and open forum.

Thanks for inviting us into this little part of your world.

Belinda said...

I love what Marshall McLuhan said: "I don't necessarily agree with everything I say."

It is through dialogue that we stumble our way through to what we truly believe--and that always has to be subject to revision, otherwise we have become totally closed minded.

And someone has to be brave enough to put something "out there" to begin with, don't they? And it is "just (like) Dave" to be brave enough to stir the waters and make people think.

Anonymous said...

I have been aware of your work and attended seversal of your presentaions over quite a few years. Hold you in awe - no. But I have developed a deep and abiding respect for you. Mostly becuase of your willingness to admit your mistakesa nd learn from them. (In reading some of your books I've often recognized that I've made the same mistake and wished I hadlearned as much from it as you). You have helped me learn to be more honest with myself about my weaknesses and my strenghts and to keep moving forward. Perfect ya ain't. But would a perfect person be worht listening to????

Anonymous said...

I, too, have been well aware of your work and have over the years working in this field read many of your books. I've also heard from 'higher ups' the comments that stem from ' well Dave Hingsburger says ...'

While at the lecture on Tuesday, I must say I very much appreciated your bluntness, your willingness and ability to say things just as they are. We are all not given a forum to do just that; and added to that, what you do have to say not only is a teaching tool and an element for us to delve deeper into really what we do, but more so your words really entice and can't help but spur growth on.

I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone that was sitting in the lecture that day, that was able to just walk away and go back to the 'daily grind' without being in some way changed in way of thought, action, ambition and all of the above. Sure, it was 'Just Dave,' that we were listening to, but being 'Just Dave' is a pretty amazing thing - having the forum to lift your voice ( and despite not being comfortable in that role), using the forum to share the stories that have appalled you, have enlightened you, have taught you, have shaped you.
That we, too, may be changed. That we may learn. That maybe we, too, will have our voices opening up to a world of indifference, apathy and ignorance.

Anonymous said...

I, being a trainer for DSP's and a 20 year person in the field have seen your "Ethics of Touch" training video a couple hundred times.. I have trained with that video for several years and it never gets old to hear your passion for people.. I could pretty much word for word it but it's seeing the light bulbs go off over the heads as we train with YOU.. Those aren't my stories or my experiences... I have often said that I would love to see a live seminar that you do.. just because your passion and knowledge is contagious.. I also learn from reading your blog.. I ordered many many Words Hit cards from reading your blog and we still hand them out to our staff during training.. Even though I know that your "Just Dave" I did feel compelled to tell you thanks for giving me things to think about over the years..