Celebrities are often well "guarded" at events like these. Organizers don't want their keynote speakers mobbed by fans. However, I remember what Harris Sensei always says in Aikido class, "Be sure to always offer a committed attack." Now, to be sure, I had no intent to "attack" either of these conference guests, but I did have every expectation to directly and confidently approach them with an intent that said, "I'm supposed to be here" and "You'll want to meet me." That's exactly what we did.
We enjoyed listening to Ted Turner and Daryl Hannah participate in their respective panel discussions on "green" or environmentally-friendly technologies. Then they stood up and exited the stage. Surprisingly, nobody in the room full of well over 100 people got up or even attempted to approach them. "What should we do now?" My girlfriend said.
"Let's go meet them!"
"Really? You think they'll let us?"
"Let's just act like we are people of authority here."
We "offered a committed attack" and walked directly up to them. I walked off to the side of the stage where they had exited with an "authoritative posture" and a "I belong here attitude."
I've used this "walk with authority" and "offer a committed attack" before. Many years ago, I was working as a technician at a Blues Traveler concert. I had an 8 x 10 photo of Blues Traveler that I had taken at a previous show that I was hoping they'd sign for me. Chris Barron, the lead singer of the Spin Doctors, made a guest appearance at the show, too.
After the show, I went back stage into the "band tent" where singer John Popper and the rest of the band were discussing how the show went. When I interrupted them, Chris was in the tent, too. I turned to him, looked him straight in the eyes, smiled broadly and said very matter of factly, "Hi Chris, how are you doing?" He looked a little surprised and said, "Oh, hey, man. How are you doing? It's nice to see you again." Now I was surprised! Apparently, he assumed that I was someone of industry importance, which I was not.
This funny exchange and experience was a product of carrying myself with authority (something I had learned to do in Aikido class) and acting like I belonged backstage. My Aikido teacher at the time would express this principle frequenlty in class. It parallels Harris Sensei's "always offer a committed attack" teaching and is similar to what Aikido student Len Silverston expressed in his article appearing last month's philosophy corner.
Traditional Japanese Martial Arts for Adults
IRIMI: How I Used Aikido to Meet One of the World's Richest Men and a Beautiful Actress
by Sean Hannon
I was a attending a business conference in Aspen, Colorado late this summer. Two of the keynote speakers were billionaire philanthropist, Ted Turner and actress and environmental activist, Daryl Hannah.
"Won't that be great to go see them?" My girlfriend said.
"See them?" I responded. "I intend to meet them!"
"How do you propose to do that?" She said.
"We'll make it happen." I replied confidently.
The next thing I know is Ted was tell me a joke or two about his ex-wives and my girlfriend and Daryl were exchanging compliments on each other's shoes. Daryl is about 6 ft tall and was also wearing these 6" heel shoes, so she had to really bend down so have her picture taken with me since I'm under six feet.
I would encourage you to heed Harris Sensei's advice, not just on the Aikido mat, but in your everyday life, as well. Who knows, maybe you'll get to meet some of your favorite celebrities that way, too!