I love public speaking, I come from a long line of teachers and storytellers but in July, this was pushed to the limit with an equally terrifying and exciting opportunity to speak at TEDx in New Plymouth.
Thanks to a series of connections and coincidences, I don’t doubt that this was the platform I needed to get my message out worldwide. You often see TEDx talks online but like me, don’t often see or know about everything happening leading up to that 12-18 minute performance.
For me, it started with an Optician.
A few months ago I was getting my regular eye exam at Judd Opticians and ran into the man himself, Andrew Judd who had recently given his own TEDx talk. I struck up conversation with him and mentioned that I had really enjoyed his talk. He told me about the process and how he became involved and I thought to myself (and said to him) that sounds absolutely terrifying. Andrew’s words were that I should ‘give it a go’.
I left there thinking about connections and how I believe that every encounter happens for a reason and that, what harm was there in ‘giving it a go’. If it happened, I know it was meant to and if not, well that’d be so much easier!
That afternoon, I searched online for TEDx New Plymouth and wrote to them and asked if they were still looking for speakers. Later that day I was told that the line up was full and that I should try again next year.
Yes! Phew! I didn’t have to worry about it for another year.
Until, two days later I get a message saying that they would love to squeeze me in and did I think I would still like to be involved?
When I got that message I was the most excited I had been in a very long time. The thought of having an opportunity to share my message, was incredibly exhilarating! To be able to stand on the TEDx stage next to those giant red letters was an opportunity not to be missed. So of course, as you know – I said yes.
It wasn’t until later that day that the anxiety set in. I had a month to write and perfect my talk and perform it on stage at the beautiful 4th Wall Theatre.
I dived into it full tilt, putting everything on the back burner and writing and studying my message. Every word was memorised and no prompts or slides were used and so I had to really challenge my 40 year old brain to memorise my words. I would be driving down the road talking to myself, saying my speech in the shower, performing it for my very disinterested cats and slightly interested husband.
To say this wasn’t a stressful experience would be a lie. Though it was an opportunity like no other, the pressure was also there to do it justice.
Meanwhile, while I was preparing and studying, back in Canada I knew my father had only a short time to live. I was always prepared, and ready to have to make the trip home, should things progress quicker than anticipated. Between the tears, I’d be rehearsing. With not just the message on my mind but the moments spent talking to mom.
One of the awesome things about TEDx was the opportunity to work with a coach and to get to rehearse on the stage at the gorgeous 4th Wall Theatre. The fabulous Jayeta Valentine was mine, a talented Artist from Taranaki. Luckily, my talk was fine, but my pacing was something to work on and so visions of imaginary Velcro on my feet were set in.
The day before, we went through a thorough dress rehearsal. We had to wear what we were planning to wear on the day and perform like 100 people were watching. For me though, it was just Logan, my husband, who is my biggest fan and worth 100 or more. I also got to have a glimpse into some of the other speakers' talks and am still blown away by the talent we’ve got here in Taranaki and the strong messages they had to share. The day before, and I was still making mistakes though and this was playing heavy on my mind.
Show day. I've had many comments about how well presented I was for my talk (thank you so much) but many would never know that that morning I was in a chair, bent over with my head between my knees fighting off waves of nausea. Many would not know that I had gotten a call from mom that dad had only days to live and I was in the process of organising my trip back to Canada. And yet, what’s that they say? The show must go on.
Waiting in the green room at 4th wall, sharing a space with the other speakers was great. The lovely Pounamu had her essential oils out and we were breathing in the relaxing scents of lavender and other oils. Meanwhile, one of the musical performers was practicing “Hallelujah” and my nerves just started melting away as I got ready to go. I was next. I went backstage, got hooked up to mics and paced and practiced until I heard my name and walked out on stage.
As the last words came out of my mouth. I was tearing up. The stress, the excitement the sadness over dad, it was all hitting me. The relief, the gratitude, the humble feeling of being a part of this event. Through it all, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m so grateful to the New Plymouth team for taking a chance with me. I’m grateful for those who came out and supported me and for my husband for being, as cheesy as it sounds, my rock.
The next day. Dad died. I didn’t make it home in time. But I know that he was watching and I know that he is proud and I know that he will be right behind me as I continue to share my message about Empowered Eating to the world.
Everything I do revolves around this message. My Empowered Eating course, it puts it all into action with practical steps and confusion-free nutrition. I want to teach you to be your own expert. To tune out the noise and to be free, no longer feeling like food has control over you.
Thank you for watching and reading. xx