The Life and Times of A Remarkable Misfit
Interviewing AJ Leon was a very special event for me. My name is Martyn Sibley and alongside Lou Shackleton from the YouCan Hub, we organised and delivered a special Cambridge night at Hot Numbers recently. Here’s my take on the night.
My introduction for anyone not familiar with my blog or Disability Horizons magazine is this – I’m a dude in a wheelchair, who travels the world, runs e-projects on disability matters and just loves life.
Enough of my story though. None of my blogging, tweeting and world changing exploits would be possible without AJ, his awesome wife Melissa and his groundbreaking company Misfit-Inc. Back in July 2009 I approached AJ at the Institute of Fundraising convention following a breathtaking presentation. I shared a vision of empowering disabled people, and he saw potential. After a Starbucks meet up; we chatted, dreamed, agreed to collaborate and stated to never give up!
AJ and his crew run a digital agency, carry out social humanitarian work, encourage artistic creativity and travel the world beyond belief. They’re never in their New York home!
Having launched his book: the event, a Cambridge Misfits meet up if you like, brought together like-minded people and gave me a personal chance to show my gratitude of AJ and also find out some new things too.
The former part was easy. Since the Misfits supported me creatively, strategically and instilled confidence we have chatted, laughed and got drunk numerous times. Our friendship runs deep and dreams remain.
The latter was an interesting one. Lou and I had base questions. However the best of interviews and questions tend to be off the cuff. I enjoyed asking him if everyone should be Misfits, to which he replied “yes but not everyone will be”. I also loved his recounting of how we must live this one life the best way because even if you believe in reincarnation, we only get one chance. In acknowledgement of his depth but also the seriousness in the room I lightened the atmosphere with the random statement “I agree, it’s not possible to tweet when you’re a snail”. A testament to our philosophy and humour.
I felt as though the audience were stunned as to what AJ stood for, what he has achieved and how his character embraced everyone. More so, the questions showed intrigue, an appetite for more Misfit gold dust and a general demand for more of this vibe of an evening.
Working with Lou was a pleasure. She’s a true Misfit too. I hope we can recapture such an evening again in the future. Whilst AJ returns to his life journey I know he sparked people the way he did with my dream in 2009. On leaving Hot Numbers, the buzz in the room was incredible.
For me, the key take-aways were: dream big, never give up, love life!
Want to see more about the night? Check out the storify here.