A few months ago I received a voicemail from Kelly in Traverse City, Michigan. In her message, she briefly explained a conference where I was invited to give a short 12 minute presentation. At first thought I was only mildly interested. It was a long way to travel. Besides, what can I say in only 12 minutes anyway? But when I returned her call and listed to Kelly explain what a TEDx conference was, I became more and more excited. TED talks are limited to such a brief time so that they can pack the day with inspiration from a variety of voices. Kelly shared with me TED’s history, its goal of spreading wonderful ideas, and an impressive list of past TED speakers. When she was finished she asked if I had any questions.
“Just one,” I replied, “How do I fit in with all those amazing people?”
I spent the next few months watching as many TED talks as I could to prepare for the opportunity to give my own TED talk. I wrote many drafts of a speech in attempt to emulate what amazed me about the other TED speakers. But realizing that I cannot be anything but myself, I finally settled on one speech that I drafted last minute that I didn’t agonize over. I spent a few days rehearsing it so that I wouldn’t talk longer than the allowed 12 minutes, and finally, nervous and excited I boarded the plane to Michigan still believing that I would be out of place among most exceptional minds.
But when I got to the TED conference, my mind began to change until I finally decided that this was exactly where I belonged. Most importantly because of the amazing experience I had and excellent new opportunities and connections I gained.
In 2008 I dreamed of living on a boat and being a writer. I wanted to have experiences that challenged my conception of humanisms and convention in the world I inhabit. Most of all I wanted to write it all down and by doing so, pass that challenge on to someone else and invite them into the conversation. So I moved aboard and began playing with words on a blog. I never expected so many would read it.
When I asked Kelly , “How do I fit in with all those amazing speakers,” she said, “Because your blog has inspired so many.”
She is wrong, I thought, its the blogging that has inspired me.