I have always found comfort in putting myself in situations that make me feel uncomfortable. In fact, one of the premises of my talk discussed how it’s important to challenge ourselves with discomfort personally and professionally. But those words went right out the window during the process of doing my very first TedX talk. I have never been more uncomfortable, discouraged, anxious and humbled in my entire life…honestly. I remember every time I sat down to practice my talk, I literally would get physically ill. And a reminder, as part of my role at the Colorado Women’s Chamber, public speaking is a regular practice.
So why the gamut of emotions? I learned a really important lesson in this process. I got so caught up in being seen as a perfect speaker, I lost sight of the reason why I would even consider speaking in the first place. Now that I’ve had time to reflect, it occurred to me that I certainly am not a perfect speaker and honestly don’t even strive to be. The reason I wanted to participate in a TedX talk was because I had something to say, something important to share. It was never about my speaking capabilities; it was always about the message. I see now that’s really what TedX is about. It’s about people who have incredible messages, brilliant minds, amazing stories. I’m still and forever will be in awe that I could be amongst them. And of course, we had some pretty talented individuals that ALSO perfected the art of speaking that I truly admire. But my takeaway is the messages and knowledge that was shared that day and the camaraderie, bravery and brilliance of the speakers.
I also get the gift of walking away from this experience knowing that my message resonated with a few people in the audience. I think this is the memory that I will take with me always moving forward. I had an individual share with me that he will never again be ashamed of his difficult journey and upbringing. He will pull upon those experiences moving forward to get him to reach even higher for goals than he has today. And the look on the face of my son in the audience giving me a standing ovation, well there are no words. I’m so thankful for this life-changing experience and encourage anyone with a message to share to go for it. There are people that need to hear your story and they are out there waiting.