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How Giving a TED Talk Helped Me Step Outside My Box?

TED: The Power of Sharing Ideas

When the opportunity to participate in TEDx Talk event came in my email, it sparked my interest. The theme was "perception" and they needed a speaker to deliver a speech regarding the perception of domestic violence. I knew that anything with big red TED letters would be a fantastic opportunity to add to my portfolio. I was not sure if this was out of my league or not.I do many public speaking/workshops; however, I know TED speakers do not use notes and PowerPoint presentations, etc. It made me a little nervous, knowing I would not have the "security blanket" of a podium to stand behind or my notes to keep me focused. The speaker that stands on that red circle, must be vulnerable and transparent, its what makes the "TED Talks" so interesting. Knowing all this, I went for the opportunity to step outside my box and overcome a challenge. I submitted my all my information and waited to hear back. When I received, the news out I was accepted /chosen as one of the 10 speakers...everything got real...real fast!

They instructed us on when our first draft of our speeches was due. I began to write my speech (something I don't usually do). We had plenty of deadlines and rehearsals to keep us on target. Everything was very well-organized and planned out from start to finish, but it was a huge time commitment. As a keynote speaker, I am used to just showing up at events and doing what I do best...talking! This process is one that required my TEDx Talk speech to be timed (which is extremely hard for me) hahahahah. I kept reminding myself, and I took on this experience because I wanted to be challenged.. and it was definitely doing that! I learned so much through this process about myself and perfected my craft; if it taught me one taught me discipline.

I remember my first rehearsal. I was so nervous to get up on stage and recite my written speech. When I finished, the organizing committee and speaking coaches in the audience said they loved it and gave me great feedback. I continued to stand on stage as they asked me many questions about my family and my experience of overcoming domestic abuse. As I answered their questions and shared a little more of the intimate details; they suggested I share some of those things in my speech. They believed others could relate to the details that not most people are willing to share.

I had to go back to the drawing board and add specific things such as when my dad used to tell me:

"You don't want to get married to him; you're just in love with the idea of being just want to have what everyone else has".

The speaking coaches though that so many women could relate to sacrificing a bit of themselves for the image they thought they wanted. So I added it!

When the big day came (6/22/16), I was not nervous...I was excited to get the experience behind me! My entire last month had been focused on nothing but TEDx! There was friends and family in the audience that were there to support me. The most important person that evening was my mom- she had never seen me on stage or speak before; therefore her presence on this special night meant the world to me.

As my turn to go on stage approached, they put my microphone on me, and I sat backstage waiting to go next. I was at peace. God had covered me with a profound sense of peace. I knew that although I had practiced and rehearsed many times. In the end, He was going to speak through me to reach who He wanted to reach in the audience that evening. He knew who needed to hear the message I had to share, so I just let go and let God use me.

During my speech, I said several things I honestly, had not planned to say, such as:

God had saved me when I thought I was at the end of my rope, and how he gave me energy to keep on, even when I felt I was defeated.

My TEDx Talk was a success!! I saw many of the audience crying and nodding their heads in understanding as I spoke. In the end, I received a standing ovation (from what I understand, I was the only one that received one that evening). I have had many people tell me how strong I am, and although hearing it always warms my heart and makes me smile;

I don't do what I do for the recognition...I just do what needs to be done. If my message can save and empower ONE person then it is well worth it! Who knew such a painful experience, could produce something so beautifully, life-changing??!!

I am grateful for the experience Ty and Lauren Debevoise and their TEDx Yearling Road committee gave me. I was selected out of a ton of other people; therefore I am appreciative and fortunate they believed not only in my message but also in my ability to change the perception of domestic violence. This experience has been one I will never forget and proven the reward for hard work pays off.

You can watch the video here or by clicking below:

Here are some photo's of the extraordinary evening with my family and friends:

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