Last Friday I relived some very fond memories.
I trod the path to the Brighton dome to attend TEDx 2018. I was full of excitement and nostalgia, as just two years ago I was preparing to take to the stage and deliver my own TEDx talk having had only 48 hours to prepare.
But this year I was also full of pride, because my clients Ben Clench and Jules White were taking their place on the stage and preparing to speak to 1500 people.
I didn’t sleep the night before out of excitement for them, and they were absolutely incredible on the day. I whooped cheered and hollered from the audience, not only for their stellar talks (which were moving, inspiring and down right brilliant by the way.) It was the perfectly curated line up of each and every speaker that had me in tears of sadness, inspiration and laughter throughout the whole day.
I knew I would walk away feeling inspired, but I wasn’t prepared for the level of transformation that occurred last Friday.
I was very personally moved by the key messages and themes rising from each talk. For where I am in my life right now, these messages hit me right between the eyes. I left the day armed with clarity, gratitude and an action plan for what I was going to do!
So I’m giving my top takeaways from TEDx Brighton 2018 right here….
Key message 1 – You are capable of achieving more than you think is possible
I was left completely in awe of Azeem Amir, the visually impaired olympic athlete who didn’t let not being able to see get in the way of anything. Azeem, amongst many other accomplishments, including playing blind football, has completed tough mudder – one of the most difficult obstacle courses of all time.
Azeem’s message ‘I’ve seen more than if I can see’ made me feel incredible grateful for everything I have and put into perspective just how much we take the things we have for granted. He also motivated me to go for more things that scare me. I may even take part in Tough Mudder next year!
Key message 2 – Stories are our future and a force for good
I was on the edge of my seat with excitement listening to Alex Stephany’s rousing talk about his crowdfunding platform Beam, helping homeless people get back into work. Alex had me listening to every word in awe as he deftly illustrated the importance that work provides homeless people to get off the streets.
The other success of his online platform, was the the ability to connect with each member through their story. This connection provided a link between the person donating and the member, so that they could really get to know each person, fund their training and help them secure work. As I’m all about the stories, I absolutely LOVED hearing this. And particularly in this context, where the use of stories is contributing to a greater force for good. https://beam.org/
Key message 3 – Follow the patient
Client Ben Clench gave the most incredible talk, telling the story of his recovery from a major traumatic brain injury. I’ve worked with Ben closely over the last 4 months, and know his story (I have also read his fantastic book which is an absolute must read)
But nothing quite prepared me for the way he told his story on the TEDx stage. I am so proud of every step that Ben has taken and continues to take on his journey. So many people need to hear the inspiring messages he has to share that centre around following the person, rather than the rules. Huge congrats Ben you smashed it!
You can book Ben to speak here.
Key message 4 – We are built from every mistake we make
I was lucky enough to hear client Jules White’s incredible story at my annual conference Entrepreneurial Leaders Live this year. But hearing her deliver a new version on the big TEDx stage was such a moment for me. I was moved to tears hearing how she has overcome so many obstacles to get to where she is today.
Jules gave the powerful message ‘we are built from every mistake we make.’ Judging that she is now a best selling author, sales coach and leader, I think she is right! I’m so proud of Jules and also very inspired by her. Her talk spurred me on to keep going, keep making mistakes and becoming stronger for it! You can buy Jule’s amazing book Live it love it sell it here. And find out more about working with her here.
Key message 5 – Keep going just one more day
Perhaps the most moving talk for me was given by Sophie cook, Ex-RAF, motorbike racer, newspaper editor, Premier League football and rock photographer, Parliamentary Candidate, self harm and suicide survivor and transgender.
Sophie helped me to put my current challenges in perspective and know that no matter what challenges we all face, there is always another day to try. Sophie has created a movement with the hashtag #NotToday after making a pledge to herself after living with suicidal thoughts for years that she would tell herself ’not today’ every time she felt in despair.
Thank you Sophie for giving me the boot up the bum I needed! http://www.sophiecook.me.uk/
Key message 6 – Reach out and ask for support
The biggest takeaway I took from the day wasn’t from a talk. It was from getting out from behind my computer and connecting with real human beings. From chatting to strangers in the queue, to having some heart felt conversations with Shelli Gafan and Jules White over lunch (thanks girls you are just awesome!) I realised just how easy it is to isolate yourself from support and human connection when you are head down in work mode and juggling everything that life throws at you too.
Going to TEDx gave me the space to realise that I need support right now. I haven’t been admitting it, or reaching out for it and all that changed on Friday.
I always encourage my followers and clients to show up authentically, so I am going to do that by saying that things aren’t great right now, but I’m now doing something about it. I’m finally asking for help from those around me that can provide support. It feels so good to come to this realisation!
So my biggest take away?
Reach out, speak up, don’t isolate yourself thinking that you are bothering people. The best thing you can do when you are finding life/work challenging is to connect with others around you. Don’t shrink back, move towards.