Picture this: Huntington Beach, California, summer sun, wide lane highways and tourists abound. This was my backdrop as I landed tired and wired after long haul flights from Australia and then the UK.
I had finally landed here six months after being accepted onto the TEDx stage to share my new innovative idea on the theme of POSSIBILITY. The trip to the USA was only a fraction of the adventure this epic journey was to take me on. Had I known the challenges that lie ahead, I might have prepared myself better.
Overcoming The Hurdles
Let’s get real. The road to my TEDx talk? Definitely not a straight highway. It kicked off with me questioning not just the norm out there, but also battling my own inner demons. Cue the self-doubt party. I questioned if my ideas were bold enough, if I could genuinely shake things up. It took some soul-searching and a pact with my higher intelligence to break through those mental roadblocks.
It’s funny how the toughest moments become the catalysts for growth. Each stumble wasn’t a setback but a setup for a more impactful comeback.
My journey wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. Cue late-night rewrites, monthly video submissions that had me hitting panic mode, and ‘TEDx on my mind’ becoming a daily mantra. It was a whirlwind of emotions and effort, but you know what they say – the messier the journey, the more epic the story, right? These hurdles were a daily reminder that the journey is as vital as the destination.
The Four-Year Odyssey
It took a total of four long years, starting from my initial tentative and less-than-perfect applications, to finally step onto the TEDx stage. Rejections came knocking, but instead of backing down, they became my fuel.
Each rejection became a challenge, pushing me to refine my message, turning doubts into stepping stones. It was like a crash course in self-discovery and personal growth, paving the way for the moment I owned that TEDx spotlight. So, while it wasn’t the smoothest ride, it made the victory that much sweeter.
The four long year drought was finally broken with an acceptance from TEDx Huntington Beach. I’d finally made it! or, so I thought. But it turned out, the journey was far from over.
At the time I received the acceptance from TEDx Huntington Beach I had one major hurdle to overcome that really was out of my control. Post COVID travel restrictions. Being based in Australia, attending my TEDx talk required catching a flight. But at that time, the general population was restricted from entering or leaving the country. I was left to hope and pray that these would be lifted in time.
Six Months of Preparation
The next six months were a wild rollercoaster of preparation – think rigorous training, constant tweaks, and shaping every word, pause, and gesture. This wasn’t just about standing on a stage; it was about delivering a talk that would jolt minds out of their comfort zones. Bearing in mind that for most of this time I still didnt know if I could even get there to do the talk.
I took my own advice and acted ‘as if’, and fully accepting whatever fate had in store for me.
The Rigorous Training
TEDx isn’t your average stage show; it’s about sparking new possibilities in the minds of the audience. So, I rolled up my sleeves and dove into intense training, unlearning old habits, and embracing a new, impactful style of communication. I wanted to do TEDx and myself proud.
Rewrites and Refinement
The script? It went through more makeovers than a Hollywood star. Collaborating with mentors, colleagues, and the TEDx team, we fine-tuned the narrative and cranked up the volume on the core message. Adapting and reshaping ideas became the name of the game, ensuring the final script packed a punch.
The pressure was unrelenting. But each stumble and stumble-through in my monthly video homework submissions was a step closer to finding my voice, refining my message, and ultimately landing that coveted TEDx spot.
Then a break in the clouds – a miracle unfolded. The travel restrictions lifted, transforming the impossible into a tangible reality.
The mere notion of being able to fly to America, breaking free from the confines of borders, felt like an extraordinary moment of serendipity. It struck me as remarkably apt, considering my talk was on ‘Reimagining Possibilities Through Higher Intelligence‘.
The theme of ‘possibility’ manifested in the miraculous lifting of travel restrictions, serving as a poignant affirmation that when we embrace the power of potential, doors once closed swing open. It was a testament to perseverance and a reminder that sometimes, against all odds, miracles do happen. The weight lifted off my shoulders. Finally, I could breathe easy, knowing the stars had aligned. I had got my green lights and was now on track to share my TEDx message with the world.
Cue the spotlight
Stepping onto the TEDx stage in Huntington Beach wasn’t just about public speaking for me; it had been a full-on adventure.
It’s the 23rd September 2023. The big day finally dawns, kicking off with a crazy 5:30 am hair and makeup session. Then came the endless hours of rehearsing my speech over and over. Memorisation was the name of the game – no cheat sheets or prompts allowed. My biggest nightmare? Forgetting my lines. I lost count of the nights that fear kept me tossing and turning about this. And there I was, on the brink of facing that fear head-on, clueless about how it would play out.
As the clock ticked closer to showtime, I did the last-minute hustle – got dressed, gathered my stuff, hopped into my oversized rental car, and bravely hit the road, trying not to mess up on the ‘wrong side’ of the street.
Our event was at a local school, and I couldn’t help but love the poetic touch of doing a TEDx talk in a place of learning.
Walking into the green room was like diving into organised chaos – noise, setups, cameras, and people everywhere. All the speakers gathered for a last-minute huddle and a pep talk from our rockstar organiser, the incredible Dr. Izdihar Jamil.
Before I knew it, the room was buzzing with energy as the audience streamed in, lights and cameras locked and loaded. Our awesome support team was in position, and there was no turning back. It was showtime. No turning back now!
As I approached the stage to step onto that infamous red carpet, I took a deep breath and grounded myself, told myself I would be just fine and stepped up to take my place.
A mix of nerves, anticipation, and sheer exhilaration raced through my body. And then as I took my spot something incredible happened. The part of me that was nervous and jittery left and was replaced by an air of total calm. I knew I was ready.
My talk? An homage, if you will, to the virtues of ‘unconventional thinking’ and the exploration of higher intelligence. It extends an open invitation to the listener, beckoning you to embark on a profound journey of self-discovery, a pathway to unlocking and harnessing your utmost potential.
You can watch my TEDx talk HERE.
It’s not flawless, and watching myself is not easy. Yet, I stand by my words and message with my whole heart. I’m certain and completely aligned with that. You see, perfection is no longer a goal of mine, it’s authenticity. That is my personal anchor these days. I embrace the imperfections because they tell a real and relatable story.
Seeing myself on that stage is like seeing the journey unfold in real-time. It’s a testament to growth, to pushing through discomfort, and to the resilience needed to stand in the spotlight.
So, the next time I cringe at those early attempts, I’ll do it with a knowing smile, grateful for the evolution and the journey that brought me to that TEDx stage. Because, in the end, it’s not about perfection; it’s about the genuine connection and impact we make along the way. And that, I believe, is something truly worth watching.
From a shepherd’s daughter to standing on the TEDx stage. It’s a journey I could’ve never imagined in my wildest dreams and one I am still coming to grips with.
If my idea in this video resonates with you, please share it with your network. It is my hope that we can join forces in uplifting people worldwide out of conventional wisdom and into limitless possibilities.
TEDx Speaker | Best Selling Author
8-Time Award Winning Mentor & Thought Leader