07th April 2022
When I first met Jan Carlyle (organiser of TEDx Winchester) she told me excitedly that she would love for me to speak at TEDx Winchester in 2022. I was flattered, but it didn't really register with me, as I think we met in 2020!
Finally on 5th April, 2022 this became a reality. It was an incredible day, filled with emotional, inspirational stories and talks from incredible speakers. At times I had to pinch myself to believe I was in the same company as some of these people.
Public speaking is a difficult and (at times) terrifying experience, but as I mentioned in my talk ('Going Beyond'), when you push yourself, extraordinary things can happen. Throughout my career I have tried to push myself beyond what I think I can do, get out of my comfort zone and do new and exciting things.
I have to admit I left it a little late to write my talk, having contracted Covid in December 2021, the time I had set aside for writing quickly disappeared. I then went into sheer panic; what would I speak about? Would I have enough time to write it? Would people listen? Eventually I landed on what I thought was a good subject and the writing began.
Jan was amazing, as always, helping me craft the talk and giving me confidence at every step. The next panic was learning my lines. TEDx is a very different gig to most of my speaking events, where I had previously relied heavily on visual slides and engaging apps to help me through (and of course to distract people from looking at me!).
Once I was completely happy with the talk, it was all about learning my lines. I have never practised so much in my life! In the last three weeks leading up to the event, I was dreaming about my talk, waking up and reciting it, recording myself speaking it out loud and then playing it back to myself in the car on my way to work every day. I am sick of the sound of my own voice!
The rehearsal didn't go brilliantly, but that's the point of a rehearsal, right? I had some wonderfully kind and supportive people there (thank you (the other) Simon Harmer, Kenzi Benali and Mum!) to watch and even shed a tear.
The day was brilliant - every speaker smashed it and it was an absolute honour to be included in that list of people. So thank you to Jan and Simon from TEDxWinchester, all of the volunteers and everyone who came along to listen. Finally, thank you to my daughter, Jess, the true inspiration behind my talk.
Remember - go out there, go beyond, achieve incredible things and inspire other.