September 3rd, 2019
Last week in Speaker’s Playground, we shared what the big vision was for each of us. If you got that speaking thing totally dialed in, and the nerves or the fear or the heebie jeebies or the running & hiding was more like a little fly you got to flick off your shoulder rather than a mighty moat with fire-breathing dragons you had to slay, what would be possible? What’s the big vision?
These visions were great to hear — being able to tell a story with ease any time I want, sharing my ideas on a stage of 2000 people with confidence and joy, just being comfortable in my skin any time I talk.
I shared that mine USED TO be giving a TEDx talk. And last year I gave that TEDx talk.
I got to thinking what got me there, how that talk came to life. And I want to share some of the how with you. It’s sort of magical and awesome.
The short version is Action begets clarity begets action begets clarity…. and so forth and so forth.
First, I named it
Maybe this is a combo of action and clarity. Action is the “saying it” part. Clarity is the “knowing it’s gonna happen” part.
So I said I wanted to give a TEDx talk. I said this was the year. Honestly, when I said it, I didn’t believe it. I thought “yeah yeah yeah whatever. That whole visioning thing. Psssht.”
And I had no idea what the talk was going to be about. I just knew I had one in me.
But I discovered that naming it matters. I could tell in the circle last night that NAMING THE THING YOU WANT actually makes it real.
I don’t know much about how brains work. I’m no neuroscientist. But I do believe naming it makes your brain say, “OK, let’s do it.”
If it stays lurking in the gray area as just a vague, unnamed sense of something that might happen one day down the road, then, well, you know what will happen to that vague unnamed feeling, don’t you?
Second, I applied for a 5 minute pitch contest to win a 20 minute slot on a conference stage.
I didn’t even know this action was a stepping stone to my TEDx talk, but it sure was.
Speakers were invited to make a short video articulating their message and why they should be invited to speak for 5 minutes on this stage.
The winner of the 5 minute pitch contest would get invited to the stage to give a 20 minute talk at the main event later that year, and I thought winning would be great. I love winning.
I didn’t know what I would talk about, but I knew I needed to be on the 5 minute pitch stage.
I knew it would be something about body and voice and story. So in my short video I talked about bodies and voices and stories, how they go together and how much freeing them matters. I talked about the violence we do against our own bodies (and therefore our voices) by hating them and shaming on them.
And I thought “Hmmm. There could be a talk in there.”
See? I took action and found
And they picked me! I got to give the 5 minute talk!
Which meant, THIRD, I had to CREATE the 5 minute talk.
And when you have a date on the calendar when you’re gonna get up on stage and give a talk, you better believe you will figure out which words to say.
I gnashed and I clawed and I rode my bike around talking to myself and I talked into my voice recorder and I squeezed the essence of my still-slightly-vague-but-getting-clearer-by-the-minute idea into 5 minutes.
Even when I had thoughts like “This is not a talk” or “I have no idea what I’m saying” or “This is just weird. People will think I’m weird.”
Fourth, I gave the talk — with confidence.
It landed. It resonated. I felt the audience with me. I felt my own body & voice rise to the occasion and own the room and stand in my story with confidence.
The action was not only giving the talk, but giving it with confidence. Deciding to stand in my voice & my ideas & my body without apology.
I didn’t win. That’s cool. I gave the talk. I did the thing I wasn’t sure I was gonna be able to pull off. I know it landed. I know people were touched by my story and my ideas.
I had another opportunity to give a talk that spring — a 15 minute talk at a private event. “This will be a great opportunity to hone my idea” I thought, and indeed it was.
I gave the talk. (I took ACTION)
I felt myself on fire! (The CLARITY was doing its work on me)
After giving that talk, I had that sneaky little thought thought again, but this time it wasn’t so sneaky.
“This is my TEDx talk! There’s something here! I really DO have a TEDx talk inside me! Let’s do this!”
With that kind of CLARITY, I could do anything, and was definitely ready to take the next step and apply for TEDx.
In writing the application, I found even more CLARITY.
When I got invited to speak at TEDxCherryCreekWomen, I started to work on the talk, and invited friends & supporters & clients into the process.
I took ACTION.
From that ACTION — of moving through the mess, unraveling and unpacking the idea and putting it back together again, asking for feedback, trusting my own thinking, not trusting my thinking, falling apart, wondering what I was thinking in the first place, fearful that I wouldn’t get it right, confident that I would — I got more and more clarity.
The story goes on, but you get the idea.
Every time I took ACTION, I found more CLARITY.
The more CLARITY I found, the more willing I was to take ACTION.
Sometimes when you take action you gotta take a big fat stab into the dark. It’s risky. You just never know how it’s going to turn out.
But every time you do, you get a little closer to your truth.
So take action, get clear, then take more action, and get even clearer.
Can’t wait to see you out there!