Kyle Scheele is an inspiring author, speaker, and cardboarder who has challenged tens of thousands of students across the nation to build a better world.
When he’s not on a plane or a stage, Kyle is at home in Springfield, MO, where he lives with his beautiful wife Lindsay and their four crazy kids. He’s still not sure how he ended up with such an incredible family, but he’s trying to lay low in case this whole thing was some sort of mistake.
In his free time, Kyle enjoys reading, writing,
and building weird stuff out of cardboard.
Want more info than that?
Scroll down for an enlightening Q & A!
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS!
Q. How’d you get into speaking?
A. Same way as anyone else, really. I started saying “mama” and “dinosaur” and that sort of thing, and before you know it I was stringing together entire sentences. It took a few years, but eventually I became fluent. I know some pretty big words now.
Q. I meant professional speaking, smartypants.
A. OHHH. Okay. My bad. Back in high school, I was Student Body President – and before that I was the guy who helped lead all the assemblies–so I was always standing in front of a bunch of people and giving announcements and that sort of thing. During college and afterwards, I continued to get offers to speak at various events here and there, and I always loved it. Eventually I decided to take the plunge and do it for a living.
Q. What do you talk about?
A. Great question! I always tell people it’s funny that I became a motivational speaker, because I wasn’t a big fan of the speakers that came to my school. They’d come in and say “Don’t do drugs! Don’t drink! Don’t smoke!”
That’s all good advice, but I already wasn’t doing any of those things. And when it came to advice about what TO do, they didn’t have any.
When I became a speaker, I decided to take the opposite approach. Instead of focusing on all the things NOT to do, I talk to students about the fact that our lives are defined by the things we DO: the actions we take, the people we help, and the lives that we change. I challenge students to think about the things they can do NOW to start living an incredible, world-changing story.
That’s the ten-second basic answer, but for more specifics on what my speeches are about, check out my speaking page.
Q. How long does your talk last?
A. Typically 45-60 minutes, but it all depends on how much time is available. I’ve done speeches as short as 20 or 30 minutes, and as long as 2 hours or more. At the end of the day, my job is to serve my clients, so I work with the time I’m given.
Q. Can you customize the content of your talk?
A. Of COURSE! The talks I list on my Programs page are meant to be a starting point. With every client, I want to make sure that my presentation is a perfect fit for the audience, the event, the theme, etc.
Before I give any speech, I want to know who my client is, why they’re hiring a speaker, and what they hope to accomplish through their event. Then I use all of that information to customize my speech specifically for them.
If you’re looking for a presentation on a topic you don’t see listed on my site, get in touch! I’d be happy to create a custom program to fit your needs.
Q. Who are your biggest influences?
A. Man, there are so many. My family has always been a huge support system for me. My wife is amazing, my mom and dad are incredible people, and my brothers aren’t too bad either.
My pastor and youth pastor both believed in me when I was just a punk kid, and that really inspired a lot of confidence in me. My student council sponsor taught me a ton about what real leadership looks like. Wayne White taught me everything I know about cardboarding. My old boss, Chris Lewis, who showed me how to be gracious when there’s nothing in it for you. This list could go on forever.
Q. How did you get into cardboarding?
A. I watched a movie called “Beauty is Embarrassing” about the artist Wayne White. In that movie, he makes a mask out of cardboard, and I thought “That looks like fun!”
I started making cardboard masks, and they were TERRIBLE. But I really enjoyed it.
Later, through a crazy set of circumstances, I actually got to MEET Wayne, and he showed me all sorts of cool cardboard tricks. Then I was hooked, and I started making cardboard stuff nonstop.
Q. Why cardboard?
A. You know, I’ve thought a lot about this.
At first I used cardboard because that’s what Wayne used in the film. Then I kept using it because its cheap and easy to get. People will literally give you old boxes for free. That’s not true with other materials.
But the longer I’ve worked with it, the more philosophical I’ve gotten about cardboard. Here’s why I use it now: because cardboard is an everyday material that most people would never think of as “artsy”. It’s cheap, it’s disposable, and by and large people don’t think a lot about it.
And to me, there’s something really cool about taking a material like that and transforming it into something beautiful. There’s something magical about taking literal garbage (I started out by making stuff out of old Amazon boxes that were headed for the trash) and turning it into something beautiful.
It’s really very similar to the work I do as a speaker. So many people see themselves as worthless, used-up, everyday stuff. I try to show them that they can actually be something truly amazing.
Q. Favorite Movie?
A. Secondhand Lions. I want to be like those guys when I’m old. I also love The Brothers Bloom, Beauty is Embarrassing, The Barkley Marathons, Deceptive Practice, Remember the Titans, the Shawshank Redemption, Dave Made a Maze, A Beautiful Mind, and a whole bunch of others.
Q. Favorite TV Show?
A.To be honest, I don’t watch a ton of TV. I have too many other things I want to do in life. I do like Discovery Channel stuff though. And Stranger Things. And occasionally Survivor. I swear I could win.
Q. Favorite Book?
A. NOW you’re speaking my language! The Night Circus, Struggles & Triumphs, the Bible, anything by C.S. Lewis, really good fiction (Harry Potter, Princess Bride, The Martian, Ready Player One, The Hike, The Kingkiller Chronicles, etc.)… I also like biographies (Steve Jobs and Jim Henson are two favorites). I read about a book a week, so I have LOTS of favorites.
Fun Facts About Kyle
1. When Kyle was 3 years old, he was kicked in the head by a horse. He survived, but the horse went crazy and had to be put down.
Final score: Kyle – 1, Horse – 0
2. Kyle once got out of a traffic ticket by using a “Get Out of Jail Free” card from Monopoly. Even better, the police officer let him keep the card!
3. Kyle once held a fake marathon. Over 1000 real people from 24 countries around the world participated, Groupon sponsored the race, and it was written up in Runner’s World magazine.
4. Instead of having a 30th birthday party, Kyle held a Viking funeral for his 20s. He built an enormous cardboard Viking ship, invited a bunch of friends over, and set it on fire.