TEDYou: My Journey

March 23, 2011

Earlier this month, a few of us at HopeLab attended the TED2011 conference (at both Long Beach and TEDActive in Palm Springs) to partake in the annual inspiration feast. This year’s theme was The Rediscovery of Wonder, and the talks ranged from David Brooks’ social, economic, and political commentary (who made me LOL for almost the entirety of his 18-minute talk), to Sarah Kay, a 22-year-old spoken word poet who imparted life wisdom from beyond her years, to surgeon Anthony Atala, who printed a 3D kidney on stage!

As a first time TEDster, it was a remarkable experience to actually be at the conference and be amidst the empowered energy that radiates from everyone.

I was particularly struck by the community TEDActive draws. It’s a smaller group, coming in at just under 600 people. (Apparently quite intimate, compared to Long Beach’s 1500+ attendees.) The engaging TEDActive projects, inspiring dialogue that flows as a constant state of being, genuine openness to get to know people, satiating food trucks, frisbee playing, art making, fun loving group is irresistible! They even have their version of TEDUniversity, called TEDYou. It’s an opportunity for any of the TEDActive attendees to submit and idea for a talk.

Astonishingly, I was selected among my peers to share my personal photography. I use the word astonishingly because I was truly…astonished! It was completely unexpected and I didn’t think the TEDYou gods would select lil ole me from Redwood City. But they saw something that I couldn’t quite see at the time. They saw that I had something valuable to share and opened up an opportunity for that.

And so, I was allotted four precious minutes on stage. In preparation for those four minutes, I curated three years worth of photographs, timed it with a beautiful song called Mile Marker by Amy Seeley, and paired it with an articulation my life journey. And to my delight, emerged this piece:

The best part of it all isn’t that I can now claim my “I spoke at TED event” button (they have those right??). The best part was feeling overwhelmed with love and support from people who I respect and adore. What a gift! Sharing my story at TEDActive was simply the best fruit dessert you can imagine – juicy and delicious. The entrée was the journey before it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and watch the piece.

I’d love to hear your reflections and reactions.