Come May 9th of this year, yours truly will take the stage at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury to give a Ted talk, on a theme near and dear to me: Misfits and Pioneers.
To say I am thrilled to pieces would be a huge understatement.
Pause. Rewind to 2013.
I sat my writer-speaker self down and wrote three lofty goals:
These goals seemed next to impossible. Unachievable. Especially, the TEDx talk. But I felt, strongly, it was important to get them down anyway. To announce to the universe – and affirm to myself – that my end game was bigger. Better. And now, out there.
Fast forward to present day, 2015.
Somehow, with a lot of hard work, and a sprinkling of serendipity, one of those goals has come to fruition, and the second – the TEDx Talk – is soon to be a reality also.
As a professional public speaker, writer, coach and disability advocate, this isn’t my first stage by any means – but, it’s a TEDx stage. That makes a world of (wonderful!) difference. Because TEDx talks have profoundly impacted me over the years. They have mattered. A lot.
This compounds my nervousness, the pressure and personal expectation, to be my very best. But, while it may be somewhat daunting, the promise of that stage is, in even greater measure, exhilarating!
Beyond the actual talk (and the honour of being part of such a strong lineage, of course), the utter joy of this journey has already been fulfilling beyond measure. And so, I am excited to share it. The whole shebang! All the unique bits, from being asked to be a speaker to taking centre stage, to whatever may happen as a result of the talk.
The first step on my path to TEDx: Being invited.
I was approached to be a speaker by Devi Clark. I know Devi from her amazing Outsiders Network, and we’ve worked together before, but I never imagined our paths would intersect the way they were about to. She emailed to inform me she was setting up a TEDx event. That the theme, Misfits and Pioneers, was a great fit for me. That she’d like to book me for the talk.
There it was.
I went from casually editing an article to reading an invitation I’d been longing for for almost two years. My head spun. It was somewhat surreal. Sometimes, it still is.
Since then, I’ve been moving through a formal process: refining my idea worth spreading. Getting feedback from Devi and her team. Receiving TEDx coaching. Prepping my words, my voice, my memory (and of course, my outfit!) have all been instrumental in this, most beautiful journey. Each step has been a lesson. A delight. A gift.
And it’s inspired me not only to share my experience with those closest to me, but also to write a series of blog posts on my own site, detailing the entire, incredible adventure.
It was #2 on my list:
Speak at TedX.
So it begins.
Here we go!