Mike Kinney, a UPS Business Development Supervisor, and a former indie pro wrestler and promoter, delivered a talk on gaining confidence for TED, which reveals how his unconventional career helped him to become the person he is today.
Kinney became infatuated with the sport when he was a child, when he would watch it on TV with his father. He soon started to act out scenes in his living room, and later attended local shows in Minnesota. His desire to learn more about the athletes prompted him to talk to those that visited, and ask to help them set up before their shows. When he began to wrestle, he was able to develop his own theatrical persona, and received the unwavering support of his father who would attend every show.
One day, Kinney's father passed away, which deeply affected him. This tragic event prompted him to really think about who he was, and the person that he wanted to be. Despite not being a "chiseled athlete" like some of the people he worked with, Kinney chose to embrace a more revealing costume to create a unique character, which was more comical than intimidating. By embracing this persona, Kinney was able to exaggerate his sense of humor, one of the parts of himself that he was most proud of, making for a genuine performance that wowed audiences.
Eventually, he formed connections in the WWE, and started working as a security guard at shows. Although he didn't actually get to wrestle for the WWE, Kinney was proud of the fact that he was getting noticed for his work, which further helped to boost his confidence. When he suffered a soldier injury and his wife became pregnant with their first child, Kinney decided to leave the sport behind, however he found that the sense of empowerment that it gave him remained.
With his talk on gaining confidence, Kinney highlights the importance of teaching children to reach their fullest potential, and to amplify and fully embrace the qualities that make them different.
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