Standing at the edge, waiting for my name to be called. I was soo nervous. My heart was pounding, my mouth started to go a little dry so I took a sip of water to alleviate that nasty feeling and I promptly inhaled it. Chocking and coughing, the man behind me put her hand on my shoulder and whispered “its gonna be ok, you are gonna do great”. I tried to explain I was choking on water but he couldn’t tell what I was saying. The guy before me was about to exit so I knew it was my turn. The announcer called my name and I stepped up to face my fear. Not jumping off a cliff or a building or a bridge. Something even more nerve wracking and scary… Speaking to a group of 1,300 people at TedX, having never spoken publicly before (except for 15 or so teenage boys at a summer camp once).
I was invited by TedX Melbourne and Experience Series to fly down to Melbourne Australia to participate in the amazing “stuff of dreams” event. Joining 17 other speakers from all over the world to help educate and inspire their largest audience yet.
I was given a month and a half to prepare for my talk. Picking my subject was easy, something that I had tons of personal experience with and oddly enough something that I would struggle with throughout developing my speech. Social and Self perceived limitations we face, Bias we experience and how to push past it all to follow our dreams. Being a BASE jumper I had so much experience with this, but practicing my speech proved that I am surely not a master at it.
It was only 1 week before the talk and only days before I had to get on flight from San Diego to Australia and I was pretty confident. I had a few places in the 12 minute talk where I got lost but that was ok because I would have cue cards. That is the exact moment when I was informed that we (the speakers) would not be allowed any additional notes, cue cards or any form of speakers aid except the slides that would appear behind us. My heart sank and in that moment I was so sure that I wouldn’t be able to do this. But with the help and encouragement of my wonderful boyfriend Alex, who would quote sections of my speech back to me when I was feeling incapable I decided to give it my best shot.
Leave it to me to jump in at the deep end. Having no experience and making my first public speaking appearance at Tedx, I was beyond excited but nervous as well. The days leading up to the event were filled with travel, meetings, practicing, interviews with the Today Show and stressing but the moment was finally here. I had a brief moment where I looked at the brightly illuminated EXIT sign and had a fleeting thought of running and bursting through those doors never to emerge again but I knew that wasn’t an option. So I took a deep breath. Stepped onstage and began the most frightening thing I have ever attempted. Oddly enough it was super easy, the moment I opened my mouth to talk it just flowed and I felt totally and completely comfortable.
So here it is, My first time public speaking, my TedX Talk.
Thank you Experience Series, TedX Melbourne, The Today Show and everyone else involved in the wonderful event that scared me more than any BASE jump ever has.