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With my youngest son leaving the nest and heading to college in August, it seemed like a brilliant move on my part to accept the invitation to do a TEDx Wilmington talk in November. After all, it would provide a challenge and new focus for me in his absence.

Little did I realize that the honor of doing a TEDx talk would be pushing me out of my nest—my comfort zone. I’ve spoken in front of audiences my entire career. But, like my son, who is preparing to explore new terrain, so am I—such as making a meaningful impact in just 8 minutes!

And then, just like that, some cocoon full of butterflies let loose in my stomach, and I realized they were NOT flying in formation just yet.

How could the idea of a little 8-minute talk have unleashed them? And what was I thinking when I decided to talk about Transition Fog while I was in my own transition fog? This ranked right up there with deciding to talk about stage fright (while simultaneously experiencing it) in front of my college freshmen Speech classmates.

But, what a great opportunity to live my message. Remembering that fear and excitement co-exist when trying something new. That the anticipation is often far worse than the reality. That fear is best contained by focusing on the here and now. And that all great feats happen one step at a time.

I’ve written a book one letter and one word at a time. This was no different. So I just got started. Buy and read Ted Talks. Check. Create title. Check. Put deadlines on calendar. Small wins. Big checkmarks. Send headshot. Easy one. Reach out to coach. Check. Don’t compare self to others. Harder. Write this blog. Another check. Use passion as my fuel-- be authentically me. Ah, yes.

And then the butterflies, who are born from their own soupy cocoon homes, started to settle down. Are they flying in formation? Nah. I mean, butterflies don’t really do that, do they? Instead, they burst forth from their dark cocoons of comfort, transformed. And birds leaving their nests for the first time can be a bit tentative, but they do fly.

On November 2, let’s spread our wings and explore a world of exciting ideas worth spreading--like Navigating Transition Fog. There’s simply no shortage of opportunity to practice this art of dealing with uncertainty. (But if you are experiencing a shortage —you may want to apply to do a TEDx talk!)

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