How Presenting a TEDx Talk Can Improve Your Love Life
Presenting my first TEDx talk pushed me way out of my comfort zone. If you want to improve your love life, it’s important to take emotional risks, too.
This is a story about how I gave my first TEDx talk. It’s about pushing yourself way out of your comfort zone to achieve a goal. It’s about not giving up, even though every cell in your body is saying, “I can’t do this”. It’s about stretching yourself beyond what you think is possible, and how that helps you rise up to ‘be so good, they can’t ignore you’, as Steve Martin has said. But this is really not about my TEDx talk. It’s about you. It’s about hope. And it’s about finding love again.
How Did I Land a TEDx Talk?
The short answer is: Five years of hard work.
The longer answer is: I walk almost every day with a good friend. One day, back in early December of 2012, I mentioned how much I loved Brenè Brown’s TED talk on the power of vulnerability. She said, “What’s TED?” I explained that TED was a non-profit organization devoted to ideas worth spreading. The anual TED conference is a prestigious event, and some of the top speakers in the world have delivered amazing speeches that have inspired me.
Two days later, my friend saw a post on her Facebook wall by a friend who was organizing a TEDx event. These are local TED events, which are organized all over the world. Her friend posted, ‘Do you know anyone who’s passionate about something? I’m looking for speakers for my TEDx conference in April.’
My friend, who would not have had a clue what a TEDx was, immediately thought of me, and she connected the organizer with me via Facebook messaging.
The rest is history. I submitted a proposal, it was accepted, and then I…FREAKED OUT!!
I was filled with tons of limiting beliefs:
- How could I deliver a talk at such an important conference? I am not a seasoned speaker like everyone else at TEDx.
- My ideas are not unique. They are not worth spreading. (That was a recurring sabotaging thought).
- I am terrified of public speaking…without notes…with lights shining in my face…with cameras rolling…with 300 people in the audience. Yikes!!
And then I took a deep breath. And instead of shutting down, I asked myself, “In order to give the best talk I can give, what do I need to do?” “Oh, of course. I don’t have to do this all alone. I need to get support.”
So, I hired a speech coach. I worked with Debbie Fay of Bespeak Presentations. She helped me stay focused so I was able to stick to one theme (I have a tendency to see connections in everything, and had to work hard on taking things out of my speech to keep it clear).
I joined Toastmasters International, an organization devoted to helping people become effective speakers and better leaders.
I worked on my speech for four months, driving my friends and family crazy as I rehearsed in front of them, and edited again and again.
And then I rehearsed in front of Toastmasters, in front of a divorce support group, and in front of my wonderful friends again. Oh, and in front of the mirror, in the car, and in an empty stairwell.
I fought my fears. I stretched way beyond my comfort zone. And I triumphed. I was ready on Friday, even though I made huge edits the night before…at midnight!
How Overcoming Fears Can Improve Your Love Life
TEDx was a goal that was so far out of my comfort zone, I didn’t think I could do it. I was afraid of looking like a fool. I thought I’d forget my speech, my voice would shake, I’d look stiff and would sound flat and not be engaging.
I was the kid in school who was so quiet and reserved, I didn’t raise my hand. I was always shy. I got three words in the school play, and even that scared me.
So, this was a HUGE stretch.
Taking big risks and moving past your comfort zone can stretch you to places you never knew you could achieve. It grows your confidence by leaps and bounds, and it gets you ready for the next stretch.
You learn that you’re much more capable than you thought.
Your Newfound Confidence Will Improve Your Love Life
When you believe in yourself, you make much better choices in a mate. You attract better quality people into your life.
I was a victim of failed relationships for most of my life. I am a child of divorce. I got divorced myself. But I set out to learn how to have success at love and relationships this time around.
I researched how to be a better date, and most importantly, I learned how to be a better person.
I took risks; with online dating, by getting out and socializing with strangers, by moving past my comfort zone and attending singles events. I got out of my house, I tried new ways of meeting men, I learned how to improve my online dating techniques instead of giving up, blaming men, or shutting down.
And I got support. I hired a coach, I read books, I talked to friends.
Just like I did to prepare for my TEDx speech.
If the shy girl who moved past her paralyzing fear of public speaking can do a TEDx speech, you can move past your comfort zone when it comes to dating.
I hope you’ll be inspired to stretch yourself and do a few uncomfortable things in order to find love. It’s so worth it!
What will you do today to stretch out of your comfort zone on your journey to true love?
My TEDx Talk: I Used to Live My Life as a Tootsie Pop