A little over a week ago, I gave my first TEDx Talk—The Dance of Collaboration. While I did tons of speaking in my corporate career as a Trainer, Relationship Manager, and Director, this was the first time I stepped on a stage as an entrepreneur. It was also the first time I spoke passionately and expansively about what I’m here to do.
The final talk was the result of extensive preparation, weekly team practices that lasted eight hours or more, and years of experience summed up in 18 short minutes (give or take a minute). Long before the practices started, there was a knowing that I’d give a talk. In fact, I wrote the first draft of my talk more than a year before the prospect of a TEDx Talk was even on the table. I was certain and I moved forward until the cooperative components (supporting people, circumstances, and collaborations) arrived.
Was it scary? No. Not one bit. There was no question to me that I was born give this talk (and many others).
However, when I got the photos back, I was disheartened. The first thought that entered my head was “Damn, I should’ve worn better shapewear.” I was disgusted by the lumps and bumps showing under my dress.
Then, I saw this. The first photo from the photographer of me on stage giving the talk.
Do you see that smile? That’s pure, unbridled joy coming directly from my heart. Then, there was this:
I cracked up at the image of me and Oprah in the same stance adorning the audience with gifts. Who doesn’t love getting a car or a brilliant stamp? And no, I didn’t plan the red dress to look like Oprah. I totally didn’t put it together it until I saw the pictures.
Then, there was this.
I saw more joy, more love, and more connection. By this point, my concern about the shapewear was gone. Do I have a great graphic designer who can Photoshop the lumps and bumps out? You bet your ass I do. Would I do that? Hell no.
Here’s why: A large part of my talk is based on
I’ve been there and done that (and it wasn’t so pretty). Last week, I was talking to my friend Joumana about two different people who look an awful lot alike, yet one person is attractive to me while the other is not. She replied with something very profound. She said, “It’s not about how they look, it’s about how they make you feel.“
Ok. That’s it. The thing is, I felt fantastic on that stage. By the look of the audience, they were feeling pretty great too.
I’m here to remind you that there’s life (and imperfect shapewear coupled with extraordinary impact) after depression and it’s brilliant.
Please don’t hold your gifts back and refrain from putting yourself out there because of perceived imperfections. None of us are perfect—even those we perceive as such have nagging thoughts about imperfections. Most times, we don’t even notice what they’re concerned about—because we’re so entranced by the way they make us feel. At the same time, let’s give each other some grace and put the focus where it belongs (on the joy, love, and connection) and not superficial things. Deal?
Life is too much fun to waste time worrying about lumps and bumps. Go rock it! I did—and I can’t wait to do it again.