For months I’ve had a secret that I’ve been aching to tell you.
Last January I learned that I would be speaking at a Tedx event in Bend, Oregon. However, I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement saying that I wouldn’t announce it publicly till the day of the event.
That day was April 18, last Saturday.
Giving a TED talk had been a longtime dream. It was on my bucket list.
The talk itself went smoother than I ever could have imagined. The audience was incredible. They laughed, absorbed, and even clapped furiously when I introduced the idea of the multipotentialite!
At the afterparty, I couldn’t take two steps in any direction without someone coming up to me to say that they are a multipotentialite and feel much less worried about it now. Amazing.
Today I want to talk a bit about my feelings about public speaking. A few people at the event asked me if public speaking was one of my “natural potentials.”
The answer to that is a resounding NO.
I grew up shying away from the spotlight at every turn. I never raised my hand in school. I was terribly shy, a complete introvert, and had very bad anxiety. I had pretty low self-esteem in high school too, and actually hated the idea of people looking at me at all.
So how did I end up on stage last weekend, speaking to 1,400 people? Well, I obviously worked a lot on my confidence in my mid-twenties, but in terms of this talk specifically, it really started about two and a half years ago.
Back in 2012, Puttylike was growing. But I was beginning to sense that if I really wanted to get this message (that it’s
okay awesome to do many things) out to the world, I needed to address my fear of public speaking. I knew that the idea of the multipotentialite could help a lot of people, and that really motivated me.
I booked a room at Portland State University, plastered flyers around college campuses, and put on my first seminar. It went fine. Nothing spectacular. I was pretty freaking nervous. But I got through it, and people seemed to enjoy themselves.
I slowly began getting more speaking gigs: some high schools, a liberal arts college, an educational organization. I was starting to get more comfortable on stage. I was also refining my ideas and the structure of my talks. I gave a handful of talks over the next two years.
That whole time, the idea of giving a TED talk was in the back of my mind.
I applied to speak at a TEDx in 2012, and got rejected. It was too soon, I wasn’t ready.
But last December, I tried again. I applied to TedxBend, got a phone interview, and, miraculously, they chose me. Then it hit me… I couldn’t believe what I was about to do.
I was terrified. Happy, but terrified. The fifteen year old inside of me wanted to die.
My talk last Saturday was for all of us. But it was also important to me on a deeply personal level. I felt so comfortable on stage. I actually had a blast up there! It was, without a doubt, one of the greatest experiences of my life. It also showed me just how far I’ve come. I’m still not 100% comfortable with public speaking, but I think I may have inadvertently gotten the bug.
My TED talk will be posted online in a few weeks, and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Thanks for all of the love, support, and inspiration these past few years. I couldn’t have done it without my multipotentialite family here at Puttylike!