Here are a few of the thoughts that have been running through my head as I prepare to give my first keynote speech in May:
"Is this shit real?"
"How am I going to write this shit?"
"Will my speech be shit?"
.....and so on......
Now I know it's only March and I have (roughly) two whole months to prepare but please do not underestimate the ways in which I can over-analyze, stress out and rewrite a speech of this magnitude for these next 60 days (holy shit, 60 days....that's basically tomorrow). Let's also remember that I will be giving this speech to a group of college seniors, who are probably attending this event against their will and, at the time of my speech, will be about 2 weeks from graduating....and can you say "SENIORITIS"?!...so I'm going to have to try extra hard to keep their attention.
In my moments of (preemptive) panic, I find comfort in TED Talks, as I usually do for most of life's curve balls. (also see: this book) And by comfort I mean guidance and by guidance I mean TEACH ME YOUR WAYS WISE TED TALK GIVERS!
Should you ever find yourself in this situation, or in any situation life throws your way, really, I highly recommend these TED Talks to ease your fears and give you the courage to tell your story.
By Ash Beckham (at TED X Boulder)
We all have our own versions of "hard". I love how Ash talks about how she chose to be authentic and write her own story rather than throw grenades at people for not understanding her or her choice to come out. "Hard things are just hard".....such a great lesson in being empathetic and meeting people where they are. Sharing our stories, being brave, being authentic....so many great lessons from this talk.
BY GLENNON DOYLE MELTON (At TED X Traverse City)
I just love how vulnerable and raw this speech is. I love how she started showing up for herself, for getting messy and do the right thing....even when you're shaking. This is my favorite part: "It's braver to be Clark Kent, than it is to be Superman." I also find it endearing how she paces back and forth on stage because she's suffering from stage fright. Glennon, I relate.
By Andie Mitchell (At TED X Claremont Colleges)
Andie is one of my favorite people, and her book, "It Was Me All Along" was my favorite read of 2015. I have often asked myself "can you make it through today?", not tomorrow, not next week but just today.....and it's helped me to be more in the moment, more present and more focused. I also love how she learned how to deal with her problems from the inside out, not the other way around. I also think she and I would be best friends if we ever met.
By Sam Burns (At TED X Mid Atlantic)
I just love Sam Burns's view on life: how he always found a way to overcome obstacles to happy, fulfilled and inspired. I love how he embraces his disease and chooses to thrive because of it. I am so inspired by this talk.
By Brene Brown (At TED X Houston)
If you haven't watched this one I'm not sure we can be friends. This is probably my favorite TED Talk of all time (and also the most watched TED Talk of all time). Seriously, just watch this and let the wisdom wash over you. If I have ONE goal for my keynote speech it's to as relaxed, humorous and relatable as Brene is in this talk.
By JK Rowling (Harvard's 2008 Commencement ADDRESS)
I randomly stumbled upon this talk about a month ago and couldn't believe I had never seen it before. There are Harry Potter puns, truth bombs about dreams and failure and all the while I just can't help but have a deeper and more profound love for JK Rowling. She is just such an amazing woman with an incredible imagination.
Now let's get out there and write a keynote speech!