Our words, be they spoken or written, can have a lasting impact. A friend recently reminded me of a talk I gave about 15 years ago at university. She remembers how I peeled an orange and used it as an analogy for my topic of choice.
How often have you heard someone give a talk and been moved?
It happened to me recently at the Edinburgh bloggers conference. It was by Gavin Oattes, founder of The Tree of Knowledge.
With a background in primary school teaching and a successful career in stand-up comedy, Gavin is now regarded as a highly talented keynote speaker. He spoke about leaving a lasting impact. A positive one, not a negative one. He challenged us about how we want to be remembered.
A couple of days later, I sat listening to my little girl’s nursery teacher. He described her as caring, funny and kind. He said the class all missed her when she was on holiday because she makes people feel good. Wow – at four years old that blows my mind.
I think of all those she will meet over the years and I hope her teachers and friends have a positive impact, Gavin Oattes-style. One of the things I hear parents say is: “I hope my kid gets that really positive teacher, not the grumpy one.”
I have been chatting with Gavin since and I wanted to know how he copes when life gets tough. Because despite his incredible energy, I understand that he is only human. He uses running to help him with his physical and mental health. This was music to my ears. He switches his phone off from time to time. He writes. As a comedian he understands the power of laughter too and not taking life too seriously.
He grew up obsessed with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer and did his first proper gig when he was 18. With a young family he hasn’t played the Fringe since 2015 but he misses it.
I have a feeling he will be back, and when he does I’m definitely getting a ticket, so look out for him. In a world full of critics, what impact do you have? Make a difference.
Jojo Fraser is a mental health ambassador and author of the popular blog mummyjojo.com