It's funny how life works out. I started the year with a lot of different plans about where I'd be this October 23rd. It was early spring when I submitted a speaking proposal to a brand new conference in Seattle, which didn't work out. My new mantra for things not working out as planned has been,
If not this, than something better!
Then I thought a great alternative would be getting a portfolio review at PhotoPlus here in NYC that weekend instead, but because the portfolio reviewers weren't fully listed yet, I didn't sign up right away. Then an email from the lovely Christine arrived, asking if I'd accept a nomination to submit a proposal for TEDxOU on October 23rd!
I'd given talks on big stages before, but was I ready for a TEDx Talk? I've always loved watching them- and because I'm a geek, I consider watching a stream of TEDx talks a great alternative to watching TV. But THOSE people always seemed smarter than me, or that they'd achieved much BIGGER things than I had. An invitation to do this is a gift and an honor.
If I don't do it now, I may never get the chance again.
The thought of potentially not getting another chance helps me leap over a lot of the other fears and insecurities about whether I'm ready or if I'll be good enough. I never want to look back and say "What if?" I'd much rather look back and say "I gave it my best."
Once I accepted the opportunity, I had to figure out what "ideas are worth spreading"? Suddenly, talking about something photography-related seemed too limiting for such a broad audience. Christine had mentioned how my journey itself has been inspiring, which resonated with my deep desire to see more people pursue their dreams, and was in line with what I had originally planned to speak about in the spring.
I believe that if everyone can make a living doing what they love, in a way that aligns with their soul, the world will be a more peaceful, empowered, and inspiring place to live.
Since the only story I'm qualified to tell is my own journey on the path toward pursuing dreams, I submitted the proposal based on my favorite big dream question:
"What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?"
The details were still a little fuzzy at that point, but I knew that several reflective questions had played a big part in helping me make pivots toward my dreams and finding the right path for me. The proposal seemed easy to write, but once my proposal was accepted, saying yes to the actual invitation was harder because it meant I was truly committing to this message and sharing my personal story with hundreds and potentially thousands of people. ACK!
As of today I've probably put in about 20 hours of thinking about, rehearsing, recording, and reviewing my talk. This is where my former experience as an actress and musician come in handy- making the most of practice time. The outline and stories were there immediately, now it's just refining my pace, tone, and fluidity. I'm still tweaking it every single time, and probably will be until the very end, with the final acceptance that whatever happens on stage is what is meant to happen.
The article below gives a tiny intro to my talk, but if you happen to be in Michigan on October 23rd and have always wondered what it's like to attend a TEDx event live, I'd love to see you there and give you a big hug for being a part of this crazy journey with me!