So I've always (secretly) dreamed of being on a TED stage one day, either as a subject matter expert or speaking on some deep feminist issue that I've been carrying around in my "belly" for years.
That day still hasn't come.
However, second best was me going to this years TEDWomen conference in gorgeous Palm Springs, California and truly having the time of my life!
I've been to a lot of conferences in my day and increasingly those that are geared toward women. I've had mixed reviews on either type. I often feel lost in massive rooms where I'm not familiar with anyone. I am one of those extroverted introverts who is painfully awkward at reaching out to strangers at big events (yikes). Also, I feel like a lot of content in conferences just doesn't apply to my lived experience or anything that I am remotely interested in. I went anyway because I had been told that TED events are really powerful in terms of tackling tough ideas and fostering discussion about disruption in many ways.
I wasn't disappointed!
I kicked off on Day 1 with a hike in a canyon. I am not the work-out type! It was raining. It was cold and cloudy. Do you know Palm Springs? It's desert area basically. I almost cancelled. But I went anyhow.
We were guided by the bossiest of BOSSY badasses, Command Sergeant Major (RET) Gretchen Evans, who's been awarded the Bronze Star for valor and heroism in combat in Afghanistan and is now completely deaf due to injuries sustained during the Afghan war. You can click on the link above to learn more about her. Everything about her life before, during, and after the war is exemplary. It's a real testimony of fighting against the odds, winning, an unexpected bombing out, and winning again but in ways you hadn't originally contemplated.
During the hike, she helped us think through what is holding us back from making BIG, BOLD, and AUDACIOUS calls with our futures. She challenged us to get out of our own way and take a leap of faith! This resonated with me completely. I've always felt like I needed to take tiny steps and see where the future takes me rather than taking BOLD steps and envision the future that I want to create.
That's the back of her head, which I just had to capture when I read this quote!
Anyway, the actual conference was superb. Excellent in fact. Just what I needed and didn't know that I wanted. Everyone was super friendly. It was the perfect conference for weird introverts because people will come up to you with a really warm smile, introduce themselves, and connect on the cool TEDConnect app. Everyone you meet is amazing and badass so the annoying "line to meet the speaker" doesn't really matter because everyone is someone to meet! It was wild! I was challenged on contemporary issues of divorce, single parenting, political satire, climate change/justice, racism and the notion of a zero-sum-game, menstruation, the ability in disability, and so many other important topics! I won't bore you here but check out https://tedwomen2019.ted.com/ if you would like to learn more.
Of course, we partied, drank, ate, reflected, and took cool photos in the photo booth (as one does at TED).
My roomie, friend, and fellow Bossy woman, Ada Osakwe!
The closest I've come to the ACTUAL TED stage!!!!
I saved some of my personal highlights during the conference on my personal Instastories, if you're interested =>
Thanks for tuning in,