Ok ok, it was a TEDx (the “x” means that it was independently organized). So, instead of standing in front of 1000 people, I stood in front of 300. As I learned, 300 is arguably scarier than 1000. You can see their eyes, hear their responses, and, if you live in a town like mine, see all 300 of those people later that day in the grocery store.
Preparing for TED is like getting ready for any athletic event. You get a coach and support staff, begin planning for the event several weeks/months/years ahead of time, and fail over, and over, and OVER again until it feels almost-but-not-quite finished. You stress and procrastinate, oscillate between extreme confidence and diminished self-esteem, and get to the start line wondering if you’re ready for game day.
You know that if it goes well, it will go fast. You will finish, look back, and wonder why you got so stressed in the first place. However, if it goes poorly, it will be agonizing. Seconds will inch into minutes as you wonder why in the world you signed up for the thing in the first place.
For me, this talk began on the trail. Later, these sentences strung themselves together in a thesis carrel, then were tested at the start gate, before they swung back into the real world with an altogether new purpose. These ideas are neither new, nor ground-breaking, but, for me, in this context, they were life changing.
When I finished speaking, I expected it to feel like the end of a race. Instead of that fast/slow feeling, that relief/agony balance I expected, it felt nothing like a finish at all. Rather, it felt like it still needed more. More thought, more growth, more practice, more questions. I plan to get to all that eventually, but, for now, I can feel quite proud of this thing:
Much love and happy holidays,