It was a huge honor to be invited to speak at MisfitCon in Fargo, North Dakota—an absolutely weird event with a collection of absolutely weird people.

Misfit’s ringleader, AJ, continued to insist on its weirdness, with random exclamations of “This event is so fucking weird!”

And it reminded me of something from deep in my box of memories.

When I was 12, my dad brought home a new computer—a 386 with a beautiful color monitor and running Windows 3.11. I was so thrilled that I fired up Word and wrote the following. I’m simultaneously proud, embarassed, and convicted by this work, which I titled, A Prepared Speech Upon Weirdness:

The biggest problem today is that not enough people indulge in insanity. Has it become almost unheard of to be weird? I have looked deeply into this subject and concluded upon the fact that nobody has any fun any more. To be weird is not a curse it is more of a gift….a talent if you may. After injected with the miricale medicine (sic) of fun, you can truly experience life without having to worry about what others think of you. You can look at things nobody else could EVER see. If you just daydream and let your mind run through the field where Kevin Costner is you just may find the answer to a problem. Once loosened up, you can then go about solving your problems in a more enjoyable fashion. If people in this world were to lighten up and see through the media’s negative poison and goof off a couple hours day, do you know how many people’s lives would be saved?…how many wars would be stopped?…how many starving people could be saved? How can you know unless you allow yourself to kick back and relax an act like a total moron, but not worry about it.

There are pieces of it I’m a little embarrassed of (I’d just watched a lot of Field of Dreams—that’s where Kevin Costner is), but there’s some really convicting wisdom in it. I still use it every so often as a reminder that taking myself too seriously and being afraid what people think is the entire problem.

In this spirit of this, some time ago, I taught my daughter that ‘weird’ is not a derogatory description. Sometimes Katie catches me using it that way and she’ll remind me, “Weird just means special, daddy!”

Special indeed. Misfit is a conference and a company unlike any—period.

From a treehouse to an art gallery to an inspiring graffiti-filled school, vulnerable talks combined with acting performances, violin, cello, and chanting, and with hip-hop, Shakespeare, and inspiration everywhere. No event I’ve ever heard of has been more perfectly diverse or more brilliantly set the table for serendipity.

There aren’t a long list of companies that I’ve looked at and said, “I wish &yet was more like them.” Not because I don’t want to have role models, but because we’re really weird ourselves.

But when it comes to Misfit, not only have they become a role model and an inspiration, the mere introduction to them has forever changed my life at the exact moment I needed it—and I’m grateful.

From the first moment I met him on a Talky a couple months ago, AJ Leon felt like a brother. I think we hugged about 120 times at the event. This man is unquestionably at the top of my list of heroes.

The generous Misfit team who made this event possible—Melissa, Jessie, Cebow, and others—gems.

And the people the Misfit team gathered? Wow. I met so many people who I am thrilled beyond description to have in my life—people who I need in my life.

I have a lot more to unpack from this event and expect to be doing it over the next year, but I wanted to say a thank you from the bottom of my heart to the Misfit team for the gift this event is to the world and for inviting me to it.

MisfitCon played the how to this Stella’s groove—it’s back. And thank God it’s weird.

Here’s the slides and audio of the talk I shared at the event.