I am a magician. Thats what it says on my business card. That title is only the tip of the iceberg of what the job entails. Underneath the surface I’m in the real estate market (shows have to be hosted somewhere), I’m in the marketing industry (do people come to shows they don’t know about?), I’m in the event planning market and underneath all the substrate, gravel and sediment that make up the base of what it means to be a magician – I’m also in the business of public speaking.
Public speaking is one of the most lucrative industry you can get involved in. Lots of traveling and the pay can be awesome. In order to be a public speaker, you must have something to talk about that people will care to hear about. You must have knowledge and expertise in your chosen subject. You must have credentials to go with your name. At least that is what many public speaking courses and gurus teach.
The Neurodiversity community is diverse with different minds and each mind in the community are specialists in a given subject but so few people with ADHD, Autism Spectrum, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Tourettes Syndrome, etc use their voice – even the verbal ones! I can’t speak for everyone but the biggest hurdle for me was the famous Imposter Syndrome! Even though many people with a neurodiverse condition are geniuses in a given subject, very few are vocal and I think I have found one reason – its the internalized self doubt many of us have about our own expertise. Very few people with ADHD graduate from university – roughly 5% – 30% graduate compared to non-ADHD neurotypicals.
When I was drafting the first draft of the ADHD advocacy magic show, the Imposter Syndrome was really bad! I am not a licensed therapist. I only possess a Bachelors Of Science in Psychology – I thought for a while that I had no credentials to back me up. I wrote the script and the show debut on September 1st 7PM EST at the 2022 IndyFringe Festival and it exceeded my self doubting expectations. I had 3 recordings of the show that I sent to a peer of mine for review and feedback, Taylor Martin rang me up after watching the video and told me what I am about preaching now… The lived experience is the best credential one can have.
There are a LOT of Say No To Drug magic shows. The PROBLEM with those shows is, unless the magician is a recovered drug addict, he has no authority or expertise on the subject. That magician has a canned script he got from some other magician who got it from someone else and there is no authenticity or expertise. It matters not what your academic credentials are, if you never suffered – you can never relate to your therapy clients who have. No empathy no progression in treatment – your academic credentials mean nothing if you don’t personally have that experience.
When I do my introduction to my show, I make a point that not everyone in the audience has ADHD BUT they probably know somone who does. That shared commonality creates the empathy that is shared between me and the audience. Pathos is one of the most powerful communication strategies a speaker can use. It wins elections, funds causes and wins alliances. You may not have the credentials of a neurosurgeon BUT that lived experience is where the empathy and pathos comes from and that is more powerful than any entry into a peer reviewed journal.
Your weakness can be your strength.
Magic is good medicine