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Have you ever had the potential for something big, but didn’t want to share with others until it was a for sure thing? I’m one that prefers to share exciting news when I know it’s going to happen, rather than have to retract and show my disappointment publicly. However, today I’m going to be transparent about something I was sitting on, the result, and the lessons I learned in the process.

The back story…

You may know that I have been doing some public speaking. I’ve found it to be exciting for me, and I’ve received great response from the audience. By sharing my story, I’ve been educating and inspiring others, and I had begun reaching out to people to partner in future events. The ironic thing is, I’m an introvert by nature and have to re-charge myself with alone time. When I look back, I was drawn to the stage with dancing and theater throughout my childhood, and even into young adulthood.

In late February of this year, I was contacted by a colleague, Dr. Terry Wu, who suggested that I apply to be a Tedx speaker. Many are aware of TED Talks available on YouTube, but have you ever noticed that some of the videos are labeled as Tedx? TED Talks started out as an annual conference to bring together the fields of technology, entertainment and design. As TED has grown, the mission is to nurture and spread powerful ideas. When you see the “x” in a video, it means that the talk was done at an locally organized TED event. There are groups all over that organize one day events with the TED license. Speakers apply and those chosen go through a coaching process before the big day. Dr. Wu was a speaker in 2019, and his TED Talk is, “Neuromarketing: The new science of consumer decisions.”

Talk about being on stage!

When the idea of doing a TED Talk was first brought to me, I hesitated. Internally, actually, I panicked. It felt like a great opportunity, and at the same time, the idea terrified me! Although I have done some public speaking, having a talk in front of a large audience, having it recorded, and put out into the world was scary! Plus I had a short window to submit my application before the deadline. I was drawn to express my conflicting thoughts to someone I trusted, but who I also knew would be frank with me. And boy did she call me out! She knew I gave talks about facing fears, and here I was hesitating about a great opportunity because I was scared. Don’t you just love people like this?! Elaine Goepfert of I Love Photography LLC, was the mirror I needed to take the leap, and I did, in fact, submit my application. She is also the photographer of my beautiful headshots, by the way.

Applying is step one, which is where I was at when the pandemic closed things down. If I had been chosen to speak at this particular event, it would have been held a few weeks ago, on May 9. Although I had not even been notified if I had been chosen as a speaker, it was disappointing to receive the email that the event was cancelled (due to the pandemic). When May 9 did roll around, I also found myself feeling like I was supposed to be somewhere. Once I had gotten over my fear, I had become excited about the idea of not only the talk, but the process.

Lesson 1:

Trust your instinct, but in doubt, find a mirror. When presented with the idea of applying to be a TEDx speaker I knew I should do it, and I knew I would love to do it, but I doubted myself. Thankfully, although I ignored the instinct to take action at first, I followed the instinct to talk with someone about my doubts. Our own self doubt can stop us from taking steps forward, but others have a way of showing us what we know deep down.

Lesson 2:

Opportunities may present the unimaginable dream. I had never thought about the process of applying to be a TED speaker, let alone dream about being on that stage. However, once the idea was presented to me, and I got used to the idea of it, I realized this was something I did want. To date I have no idea if my application would have been accepted, but I’m grateful to Dr. Wu for believing in me.

Lesson 3:

Disappointment doesn’t mean it’s the end of the dream. Life is full of disappointments, that’s a fact, but that doesn’t mean the dream has to end. Maybe it’s on hold or maybe it will look differently. If the disappointment is due to something falling through, perhaps the time can be used for self improvement or continuing education. Then when a similar opportunity presents itself, you are prepared to jump with both feet into the dream. Or, maybe it means a change in direction, a re-direct, which just may result in an even bigger dream presenting itself.

In my case, I’m choosing both options. I’m studying and practicing, so that if events are held again, I’m prepared to jump in with both feet. At the same time, I’m looking at all my options. It’s a matter of controlling I can control and adjusting along the way. Even though the pandemic has brought much change, uncertainty, and perhaps disappointment, there are lessons to be learned that may lead to an unimaginable dream.

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