On March 20th, I spoke at the TEDxFSU conference at Florida State University. I was extremely humbled to have been chosen to give a talk at this prestigious conference. After a rocky start to my introduction and a welcoming ovation from the crowd, I really got into my talk. I came onto the stage filled with emotion about the women whose stories that I was about to share. I was full of anxiety and excitement. When the moment came to share those stories, I was brimming with emotion. This led to my introduction not being as smoothly delivered as I had rehearsed. By not going through my introduction by the letter, it allowed me to explain to the audience my passion for my talk and how much it meant to me to be in a position to give it. Essentially, I got to go off-script.
My talk was titled Mountains & Valleys and it was about two women who have experienced unimaginable tragedy and then achieved incredible success. Their stories are powerful and I felt like the person in charge of them, at least for that brief period of time. I was the steward of their stories and I wanted to do them justice. Once I got into the talk, I felt like I gained my confidence and I didn’t look back. I delivered that talk to the best of my ability and I am proud of it!
What I will take away from this experience is the beauty and support of a group of strangers who want to see you succeed and who are willing to give someone an ovation when they are stumbling through the very first part of their talk. It was the love and support of strangers that got me through my talk. At first, I wished that I had never stumbled in my introduction, but now, I’m not so sure. I learned so much about myself and the goodness of others from that imperfection in my talk that I’m not sure I would take it back. Personally, I learned that I don’t quit, give up or give in. It also made my talk memorable. At least fifteen people came up to me afterwards to tell me how moved they were by my talk. I was described as “authentic” and “vulnerable” and was told that these qualities reflected well on my talk. In the end, it is what is. I’m very proud of the work that I did for TEDxFSU and I was honored to be a part of their conference.
Thank you to all members of the TEDxFSU committee! All of you deserve medals for your valiant efforts and strong work ethic in putting together such an awesome conference. It was my privilege to be among you. May we forever go Against the Current.
In the Spirit of TED!