Ignite Detroit And The Lessons Learned There

Ignite Detroit And The Lessons Learned There

(Timothy Gay, 4./15/2011, originally published at http://successevolution.wordpress.com)

I just came back from Ignite Detroit and I’m super excited and pumped up. The event was absolutely amazing and very energetic. Why?

Well to give you a little background, Ignite is a speaking forum event that began in Seattle and has slowly made it’s way around the country. It features various speakers from all walks of life and they give a speech. Some are hilarious, others are quite serious. They have 5 minutes featuring 20 PowerPoint-like slides that switch every 15 seconds so it really keeps the speaker alert. This was the second year for the Ignite event in Detroit… and I almost didn’t go.

I recently started a job working from home and during the beginning of training, the power at the house was cut off (late bills, that sort of thing). Naturally, I panicked and immediately decided to run to my parents’ house to continue training. It wasn’t a pretty drive but I did manage to get there and get back into training. I later talked to my trainer and she told me it was best to go get my computer so that I can start taking calls. So I ran back home and packed up my computer. While, I was at home, I decided on a whim that even though I was having a sour day, I think it would be a great idea to go to Ignite.

I planned it already, so why not? I packed some clothes, ran back to my parents’ place and finished training to get on the phones. It was an interesting first time on the phone but I did make a sale (Yes!). I proceeded to get dressed, and head down to Ignite Detroit. I entered the event, had some free food, connected with some of the local business owners and sat down to experience the event… and then the magic happened.

Did I ever experience an event! There were 15 speakers that night and for some reason, they all seemed to be speaking directly to me. There were various topics like “how to learn how to fail,” to “doing the impossible,” to “starting something new right now,” even “creating from your sexual energy!” All of these speakers had something to offer and they all said something within their presentations that touched me in a very special way.

Every speaker said something that had relevance to something I’m going through in my life. Whether it’s my business, my music or my job, it was relevant all the way around.

There were breaks between groups of speakers so I went to speak and connect with a number of them and they were as nice as they were professional. They gave me their cards and we were even able to discuss and exchange ideas.

After the event, they held an after party in another room, so I decided to stick around. Even more magic happened there. I networked more, opened up more and created more of a sense of community but the highlight to that evening, were two people I spoke with. We had a very in-depth conversation about various different topics but one mainly dealing with how to impact massive change in our communities.

The gentleman used Egypt as an example of how using a movement of energy can help change the situation. We all agreed that we have to come together to have a common understanding that we are the same at all levels. It was a wonderful conversation and I got their contact information as well.

After that, I said my goodbyes and left for the night.

I connected with so many people that night and I will be, over the course of the next few days, contacting folks and connecting with them via Twitter, Facebook and possibly, LinkedIn. On my way home, I realized that I really LOVE networking! It was not what I was going there to do but it ended up paying off.


So why did I start my post with a story about my day? Because it actually ended up setting the tone for the evening. My bad beginning of the day actually encouraged me to go to Ignite Detroit. Had I not had that day, I’m not sure I would’ve gone. Also, this entire day and evening, ended up teaching me various lessons that I learned. Some came from Ignite, others before it. Here are some of them:

A Bad Day Is A Bad Day If You Allow It To Be.

As my day went on, I let the events of earlier fall away. This allowed me to go into Ignite with a clear, open mind and an open heart. I was able to learn new things and receive some wonderful advice that I will now carry with me and can now share with others. The reality is that I made a choice to let go the earlier events. I choose to be open, attentive and energetic and it allowed me to experience a phenomenal event. Had I allowed those events to bother me, I might not have attended and then possibly kicked myself for it later. Think about that the next time you’re having a bad day. In the end, you are what you think about.

Put Yourself Out There.

Despite the common belief of, “no one wants to see me,” there are those that do. Someone wants to see you. Someone wants to hear you. Someone wants to know who you are. Someone is interested in your voice. Someone cares about your beliefs. You have more power than you think you do but if no one sees you, your power is worthless. Get out, network, communicate with people and you’ll discover a world of opportunities.

On that note…

Learn to Communicate, Network and Build Relationships.

I never understood the power of networking and community building until that night.  Everyone has something to offer and share. If you learn how to communicate effectively, people will open up to you and offer their assistance. With that knowledge, you can also help them out. Share information. Learn about people and their lives and businesses. You’ll be surprised at how much you have to offer them, whether directly or indirectly. Everyone is always looking to expand. Help them to do so and they’ll help you too

Have An Open-Hand Attitude.

As you give, so shall you receive. By allowing me to be attentive, I was able to share my ideas and energy with the presenters and many of the other people I networked with. Never close yourself off to ideas. The one thing you miss could be the one you need.

Use Public Tools.

One of the presenters talked about this. He was able to defeat a billion dollar company by posting the issue on his blog and getting it reposted on other people’s blogs. Not long after that, he received all kinds of help from law firms around the world. He even got interviewed by a number of newspapers including the New York Times. Eventually the company backed off. How did he do it? He used his blog as a platform.

Don’t be afraid of using public resources as a viable way of communication. Most people think that Twitter is one of the most mindless tools ever. In reality, they’re scared of it because it moves so fast. Most people are also scared of blogs but another presenter used blogs to bring international awareness to people back in his home. The point is, these tools are a way of gaining attention and creating movements. Especially if you have something you are doing for a community or a movement, you owe it not just to other people but to yourself to get this information public where it can be seen. If it can’t be seen, it’s dead.


Timothy Gay is a 25 year old saxophone player from Royal Oak.  His blog http://successevolution.wordpress.com/ is a personal one, about which he wrote “I created this blog to document my journey to success and the lessons I learned and are learning along the way. It’s also a way to help others hold me accountable for the things I do and say. I know I’m putting myself out there to the world but if I’m going to put myself out there, I might as well offer helpful and useful information along the way.”

Original blog link: http://successevolution.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/my-experience-at-ignite-detroit-and-the-lessons-learned-there/

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