When Ignite Phoenix started several years ago the goal was to create a venue for people to share ideas and topics they loved. There are now a lot more events and groups in the Valley that encourage people to share in different ways, and Ignite Phoenix has evolved. There are still two aspects of it, though, that are incredibly important to me, and why I keep investing time in this crazy thing.
Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary
We rarely share the things we truly love with each other. We talk about work, politics, and the weather, but what about the things we obsess over until the wee hours of the morning when we know we should be in bed? People think nobody wants to hear their weird passion, and that’s just plain wrong.
When someone gets past the things they like, and past the things they love, and into the things that really consume them, we all want to hear it. We connect with that energy. When people share their passions they start waving their hands around, they talk faster, and they lean in. And we see that and lean in ourselves to listen. There are many stages for professionals and luminaries to share their ideas from the top down – Ignite is a stage where we can share them with each other.
Ignite Phoenix brings people together in unplanned ways. We don’t have enough happy chaos in our lives. We go to the same places, same jobs, same social events, with the same people. Our lives have patterns. The range of topics at Ignite means someone may come because they are curious about storm chasing, but leave blown away by 3D printing. Or vice versa. You will meet people you have never heard of, doing things you never knew existed. Ignite Phoenix doesn’t have an agenda other than to bring people together in unusual ways.
When I hear people have started a new hobby, changed careers, launched a business, or made new friends because of something that happened at Ignite Phoenix, it’s because that little bit of chaos and serendipity entered their lives.
I love ideas and hearing people talk about what drives them. I love it when experienced speakers get nervous because for once they’re talking about something really important to them. I love it when people who are scared stiff still walk out on that stage because they want to tell people their message. I love it when people tell me months (even years) later that they did something they never would have otherwise done if not for their Ignite talk.
I love it when I find myself looking at my friends, myself, and community around me in a new way because of something I learned from presenters and their topics. I love it all.
If you’ve never been to Ignite Phoenix, you should come. If you have an idea you want to submit, you should do that.
But whatever else, figure out what your own passion is and tell people about it.