Scott Shellstrom teaches people how to look at things differently. Every week, our family looks forward to his What Is It Wednesday challenge… where Scott shares a “close-up photo” on Facebook of a random object, and everyone tries to guess what it is.
Scott’s creativity really inspires me because he is such an amazing artist. I can’t even draw a dinosaur to make it look anything like a dinosaur, but Scott can paint a masterpiece painting… in four minutes… upside down! In his programs, Scott also teaches creativity, which is a very important lesson in middle school because we have numerous projects.
For my 8-part Summer Speaker Series, and to learn more about Scott’s life as a professional speaker, I interviewed him on the following topics:
CJ: What was your first job?
SS: I repaired bicycles when I was 14 at a bike shop. At 15, I washed dishes at a restaurant, and was promoted to a busboy and finally a waiter.
CJ: How did you become a professional speaker?
SS: My journey to speak is a culmination of many experiences. When I was 16, I danced on Soul Train and soon competed in dance contests to pay for college. I have been on stage since I was your age Connor, and when I got older, I appeared on stages as a comedian as well.
As an advertising executive on Madison Avenue in New York City, I was the “Go-To Guy” to pitch ideas to some of the world’s largest companies. Not only did I make commercials, but I appeared in commercials for Coke, UPS, and many more. I was also a television host for the Travel Channel.
And no matter what I was doing, I was always creating art. By the time I was 30, I was lucky enough to have artwork hanging in some major galleries and museums.
Speaking to others about creativity and innovation is something I have done my entire life, and it seemed a natural progression to do it professionally.
CJ: What is the main message of your keynote programs?
SS: Inside all of us is the innate power to create, and my message is to help you unleash it!
CJ: How did the COVID-19 quarantine affect you as a professional speaker?
SS: Creativity and innovation help with the ability to solve challenges that happen with change, so I enjoyed the challenge of COVID. This time has given me the opportunity to paint commissioned work, build a studio to virtually speak from home, start a book on creativity, and be open to new horizons.
CJ: What is your favorite thing about painting?
SS: Your dad is an incredible artist – ask him how it feels when he is creating one of his beautiful pieces. You are amazingly creative as well. What do you feel like when you set your imagination free? Isn’t it wonderful when you go for a journey in your own mind? That’s my favorite thing.
CJ: How would you encourage a middle school student to get creative?
SS: You are so lucky to be your age. Many of your schoolmates are starting to feel that they aren’t as creative as others, becoming more and more self-conscious about their ability. Most adults who think they’re “not good enough” bury their beautiful talent right around middle school. NOW is the time to promise yourself to protect that vulnerable imagination. STOP and remember this moment for the rest of your life. When you’re an adult and faced with a difficult challenge, ask yourself, “What would 12-year-old Connor do?”. Don’t ever forget that. Remind yourself throughout life’s journey of the spectacularly inventive Connor you are today!
Thank you, Scott!
If you are struggling with creativity and want to teach your employees how to reconnect with their 12-year-old imaginations, hire Scott Shellstrom.
Our guest blogger Connor Joyce is a rising 7th grader from Huntersville, North Carolina. With a keen interest in learning more about the professional speaking industry, he produced an 8-Part Summer Speaker Series for www.MichelleJoyce.com. He is the firstborn child of Founder and President, Michelle Joyce. When he’s not interviewing speakers, he enjoys football, Fortnite, and watersports.