As an author, 2x TEDx speaker, coach, and philanthropist, Darryll Stinson is on a mission to help people turn their messages into movements. It isn’t simply about having stage presence or the right body language when delivering a talk; if you want people to resonate with your message, you need to be willing to get vulnerable.
“I believe the highest form of speaking is not being a speaker — it’s being a vessel,” says Stinson, who is also a former Division 1 college athlete and suicide survivor. Through his trials and ultimate recovery from an opioid addiction, Stinson has now dedicated his life’s work to empowering people to share their stories and reach their full potential.
In a conversation with Ramon Ray, Stinson shares his insights on inspiring movement through motivation for those looking to step on stage with a high-stakes talk and make a difference.
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“I’m all about full expression, because I lived a lot of my life in suppression, so now my life’s calling is to help people fully express,” explains Stinson, who recalls one client who was a businessperson responsible for helping turn around organizations that were struggling to grow. He would intervene to provide solutions and was a “numbers-oriented” guy.
In talking to this client, Stinson uncovered that the man had a passion for music and, more importantly, could sing. Yet he never thought to incorporate his talent into his work.
It was a mind block that Stinson helped the client work through. Eventually, the client began using his singing talents in his work and inspiring change with the power of his voice — ultimately transforming himself from just a finance guy into an in-demand speaker who inspired changes within organizations.
“Emotion is how we influence behavior. People won’t move unless they’re motivated,” Stinson notes. “And what I love is his results were better. People listened more, they implemented it more, and there was more impact that was made.”
Emotion is how we influence behavior. People won’t move unless they’re motivatedDarryll Stinson
Stinson had experienced an injury during his freshman year of high school that resulted in emergency back surgery. He later elected to come back to the field, all the while numbing the pain with opioids “all because I didn’t know who I was outside of football,” he says.
Growing up, Stinson got teased a lot, and sports became a place where he earned love, respect, and acceptance. “I knew people liked me for my gift of athleticism; I didn’t believe that they liked me for me.”
To put things another way, Stinson didn’t know about vulnerability. He suppressed emotions and ultimately imploded. Eventually, his opioid addiction caught up with him on the field, and he was kicked off the team. A dark depression and attempts to end his own life ensued.
What Stinson discovered was that he had his identity so wrapped up in his sport that he had lost himself. People may go through similar experiences if they’ve worked careers for a long time, lost a relationship, or experienced changes during the pandemic — where their identities have been fused with a job or relationship for so long that they lose themselves.
It’s possible to find your way back to your true self and even host TED Talks of your own by implementing a few steps, outlined below.
Stinson is proof that showing vulnerability on the stage can become a superpower rather than a weakness. Stinson recalls a time speaking at a youth conference when a young lady pulled up her wristbands to reveal cuts on her wrists. After being dropped off at an orphanage by her parents with no explanation, the girl began cutting herself to deal with the pain.
By listening to Stinson’s talk, she gained the strength to share her own story. That’s the power of vulnerability. “She taught me the power of being focused on my impact instead of being concerned about my image,” says Stinson.
Be a vessel, not a speaker. “When I concentrate on speaking, I’m focused on what I have to say,” Stinson says. “When I’m being a vessel, I’m focused on what there is for me to say.” In other words, he finds what people need to hear instead of focusing on the message he came to deliver.
Becoming a vessel makes you available to the wisdom of God or your higher power, allowing for the Divine to flow through you. In time, you can stand more powerfully in your truths so that you can be of divine service.
If you focus solely on body language, vocal skills, or other mechanics of speaking, you’re going to lose the point of your talk. While mechanics are foundational for well-delivered presentations, they are not the be-all and end-all. “Mechanics will never make you a master. It will only make you a robot,” Stinson says.
Take a sheet of paper, and draw a line down the middle. On the left, write “me as a speaker,” and on the right, write “Me as a spiritual vessel.”
See what comes up when you view yourself as a speaker with a message to communicate versus you as a spiritual vessel. Is there any difference?
Your talk needs to be about an idea worth spreading, and you need to be able to communicate that idea in one sentence or less. Think about the word TEDx, which stands for the following:
- T: Talk
- E: Elevator pitch
- D: Delivery
- X: Multiplication factor of X
To learn more about Darryll Stinson and the power of vulnerability through authentic communication, visit his website DarryllStinson.com. You can also visit ZoneOfGenius.com and RamonRay.com for more small business tips and ways to improve your quality of life.