September 17, 2017
Well today is the day after. The day after I presented the talk of my life! TEDx stage, me standing on the big red circle in all my glory.
The official dress rehearsal was rubbished, so I panicked until my coach reassured me it means the real thing will be perfect!
This is how the actual day went. I was nervous and excited and very happy to be there. I started with a smile, the microphone didn’t catch my first 6 words but after that I was in full flight. I gestured big, I swore a few too many times, but that was me being very passionate. I showed myself and all I had to offer in that 17 minutes, and gave it my all. The first laugh from the audience was so reassuring, they were paying attention to my every word, then I felt like I owned the stage! But it wasn’t time to relax, I still had to remember the next 15 minutes of my story and lay it on them. I moved my body all over that red circle to express my story, I was over the top in true Italian fashion, arms flying everywhere but I got my message across loud and clear. The audience had my back the entire time, they laughed with me, they cried, and the applause was huge. I walked off that stage so sure of myself and confident that all my hard work paid off.
So many strangers approached me throughout the day telling me how much they loved my talk, and they loved the horse portraits. My family and friends and my coaches all were balls of tears throughout my talk, and people that know me best, reported that I was 100% ME on that stage!
I worked freaking hard to make it flawless, let me tell you about the journey.
I had a fabulous coach allocated to me from TEDx team, the gorgeous Sally Dooley who has also presented a TEDx (SALON) talk this year, a very talented leadership coach she helped me write my talk, she gave me confidence and showed me the way to perform at my best. I also got myself a coach of very different kind, a personal coach the adorable Liz Tilley, she helped me on a more spiritual level prepare my mind and body and get into the truth about why horses mean so much to me. Her sessions always made me cry (in a good way) because I was always accessing the truth about my story at the deepest level, but she helped me in many different ways; spiritually and emotionally, to crafting the language I used. Liz allowed me to show myself and bring my most authentic self to the red circle. I also had personal trainer at my local gym and did lots of yoga to help me challenge my mind and body to feel more powerful as I reached the pinnacle of the TEDx event. I did multiple workshops online that helped me enormously 1. “Heroic Public Speaking” (Creative Live) with Michael Port who taught me how to be the most engaging speaker, moving my body, changing my vocal contrast and emotional contrast and so much more, this workshop I would recommend to anyone learning public speaking. The second workshop I studied online was David Nihill 2. “How to be a Funnier Speaker” (Creative Live) David showed me how to craft my speech like a comedic stand up show. How to strategically place the funny bit of the story at the end, for major impact, and that advice worked for me just perfectly! I also read a book titled “How to tell your story so the world listens.” By Bobette Buster recommended to me by Liz Tilley.
The week before the talk, I drank so much water to lubricate my throat and voice, I ate so much fish I was sick of it, I needed all the help I could get (Omega 3) to help my brain function to the highest capacity and I avoided sugar in the lead up. I even bought three versions of red lipstick to find the perfect one! Everything became about the preparation to my TEDx, because I wanted to be the best version I could be. I needed to perform and give my audience the best experience I could master. I changed my planned outfit a day before the show freaking out what to wear at the last minute. The preparation took a lot of focus and shits loads of practising and hard work. I took 2 weeks off work to help me prepare in the home stretch, where I had multiple coaching sessions, I exercised and practices so much I was so sick of hearing my own voice, I dreaded opening my mouth for the 100th practice! I rehearsed in the shower, while boxing, while cycling backwards, while driving, listening back to my recored versions. Over and over….
People asked me did I nominate myself to do this? NO way man! I was found, I would never put my hand up to do something so scary! The licensee of TEDx Canberra the fabulous Ingrid Tomanovits found me through my HORSE exhibition at Nishi Gallery last year where she fell in love with JOCK#2 and invited me to give this TEDx Talk. I felt scared but I immediately said YES, I have this motto “Do it before your ready”. I knew I could figure out how to be LESS scared by the time the actual event came around. I had a good 4 months to prepare.
I also knew that I would be learning a new skill of public speaking and so much personal growth would come from doing something like this. I was right, I was so right. I learned about my limits (there were none) my obsession, and how focussed I really can be when I want to be the best! My husband kept reminding me not to put so much pressure on myself, and that was very sound advice that I didn’t take because putting pressure on myself helps me work harder and I’m fine with that.
There were times I cried when I felt I couldn’t do this, it was too hard to figure out how to remember everything I needed to say and do. I had to come so far and I feared I wouldn’t be able to get there. But the truth is I knew that’s not how I truly felt, my gut knew that I would nail it because I would never let myself down and my audience down.
If you are ever considering doing a TEDx talk I would say, “Do it”. Its the most fun and challenging experience and the people that I have met during this process inspire me and it’s a privilege to know them. It was a new family of friends and community. I loved being part of it. The team at TEDx were so supportive and the coaches they provide are wonderful and so talented. I can’t wait to volunteer next year in some way, if they’ll have me. GO CANBERRA!
Thank you to everyone who came to see me, who laughed at my jokes and gave me positive encouragement. I loved it and I hope the image of the horse penis doesn’t haunt you!!
Thank you also the the friends who supported me but could not attend.
P.s I’m scared to watch my performance when it gets published online in a few weeks..ekk!
Thank you to Gavin Blake the awesomely talented visual scribe who created this amazing piece for me! I love it so much!! Chops man!!
Image By Jules Boag