“How did it go?” everyone asks. Truth is, I’m not sure. It was somewhat an outer body experience to take the red carpet on November 2 in front of a sold out theater and live streamed worldwide audience. Cameras poised to capture these 8 minutes that could live on forever.
What I do know for sure is it didn’t go as expected or planned--from issues uploading my demo video, fog machine controversy, an unexpected flurry of competing priorities, and 2 disorienting weeks leading up to the talk. Instead of practicing my talk, I found myself sitting quietly by my 97-year-old grandma’s bedside for a week as she made her peaceful transition “home.” Instead of nailing down what I’d wear on the TEDx stage, I was dressing for the service to mark this inspirational lady’s life. Instead of practicing my talk in front of my TEDx notes wall at home, I was delivering a eulogy.
My preparation time and plans were being disrupted at every turn. So, you could say I was living the topic of my talk—uncertainty and a whole lot of a fog. I was also experiencing the emotions that come with it—fear, worry, and anxiety. But it reminded me why I wanted to give this talk in the first place—because life is uncertain, and we have no choice but to navigate it.
At the dry run, one impressive, experienced speaker after another took that stage. We took turns struggling through our talks and supporting each other. We were strangers sharing 2 common bonds—a major case of nervous energy and important messages to share.
And the next day, we did. We prevailed.
So, back to my original question, how did it go? Well, the first person to greet me when I left the stage asked if she could hug me. I panicked. Was it that bad? Then she whispered in my ear, “I’m in the midst a big life transition, and your message was just what I needed to hear right now.” And with that, I hugged her back and smiled at the red carpet for giving me the space to help others find their way in uncertainty and fog, while navigating my own.