Consultant Feature - Erik Stolhanske
Posted: Friday, January 13 2017
Q&A: Getting to Know Senior Consultant Erik Stolhanske
Senior Communication Consultant Erik Stolhanske is a nationally recognized actor, comedian, writer, and producer. He is best known for starring as “Rabbit” in the hit movie Super Troopers (which he co-wrote).
Erik has been a long-standing voice for the game on curriculum and embodies the heart of the game on message. We are so grateful to have him as part of the team. We had the opportunity to ask Erik a few questions to learn more about his experiences and inspiration.
Tell me how you first got involved in acting/commentating/public speaking/coaching...
When I was in high school, I was mostly an athlete, until my senior year. I saw a flyer on a bulletin board at school announcing auditions for the spring musical, Grease. So, I showed up, sang my heart out and to my surprise, I got cast in the lead — as Danny Zuko. After opening night my best friend told me, “You’re a pretty good actor, but you should never sing again in public.”
I appreciated his honesty because he saved me many future embarrassing moments. Feedback is not always fun to receive, but crucial and can be incredibly helpful. Today I am still acting/speaking/coaching, but only sing in my car when I’m alone and positive that no one is watching.
What do you find most challenging about your work?
As an actor and consultant, every job is your last. When each project ends, you immediately need to start looking for your next one.
How would your best friend describe you? (or share three words you believe others would use to describe you)
I reached out to my best friend from childhood and this is how he replied,
“Creative, resourceful, resilient, kind, thoughtful and an independent thinker. A high tolerance for uncertainty / ambiguity. High discipline / stamina and ability to remain focused on very long term goals. Willing to stand apart from the crowd even when it's uncomfortable. Extremely high emotional / social IQ and related networking abilities. Essentially an artist / entrepreneur with highly developed social skills, and an incredible lifelong friend.”
If you weren’t in the current profession you’re in, what would you like to be doing instead?
Is it too late to join AC/DC, Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath? Definitely would like to be in a rock band.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
People are still surprised when they find out that I have an artificial leg.
What’s your most memorable client experience since you started working with game on?
At a USO gig in Dallas, I was explaining ‘Coins’ - a game that explores the things that are important to you and add value to your life. Those things that bring an immediate, genuine smile to your face.
I gave a couple of my coins as examples, then asked the audience if they wanted to share any of theirs.
Without hesitation, a man raised his hand, smiling ear to ear, and said,
“I have a young son at home. And every morning, it’s always hard to leave him to go to work, I love him so much. So, I keep one of his Matchbox cars in my pocket and throughout the day it reminds me of him.”The man then pulled the Matchbox out of his pocket and lifted it up for everyone in the room to see, then proudly declared, “My son’s Matchbox car is my coin.”
It was the perfect explanation of what “coins” mean and how valuable they are.
Who is most influential person in your life? Why?
My wife, Barbara. She is the one who listens and advises me when I come home every night.
If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?
Growing up, I always wanted to be ‘The Flash’ because he was the fastest man alive (I’m sure there’s a TED talk in there somewhere, growing up with a wooden leg). However, NOW I would like to be ‘The Amazing Wanderlust’ — a simple man possessing the superpower to instantaneously move about any county without the hassles of customs, security, or airports. When I retire, I dream of traveling the world.
What do you do to reset and regenerate?
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved going up to the lake cabin, surrounded by nothing but wildlife and nature. To me, there is nothing more soulful than the woods of Northern Minnesota. It’s breathtaking up there.
Once my wife Barbara and I finally arrive at the cabin, after the long drive, we light a fire in the big fireplace and enjoy the three B’s - Birch Trees, Bacon and Books. A weekend of the three B’s and we are reset and regenerated.