Six days before the TEDxCherryCreekWomen event, I had an anxiety attack. It was not my first anxiety attack, but it was by far my worst. It was the first time I experienced involuntary hand clenching, which I later learned was due to hyperventilation, but at the time I was afraid that there was something seriously physiologically wrong with me. I had no control over what my body was doing, which was a metaphorical reminder that we have very little control over life.
I don’t share this to be an extremist, but to share the whole story – because sometimes from the outside it all looks ideal, but that narrative might not be telling our whole truth.
My anxiety attack made it very clear just how nervous I was about my TEDx talk, and that there was more going on internally then I had given time and space to acknowledge. So, the night before the event I had a session with my friend Bella, an anxiety coach, to process some of these emotions and center myself on what was most important.
What came out of our session was that if I was able to reach just one person with my story, then it would feel worthwhile. That the experience was not about my own significance or ego, but an effort to try to help someone else feel less alone and more connected.
Being the last speaker of the day, meant that I had to do a lot of self-management around my anxiety to get me from 8am, when I arrived at the venue, to when I would speak at around 7:45 pm. This included making sure I was hydrating, meditating, and trying to be as present as possible. Yet, what also helped me were all of the amazing women that kept me supported and inspired throughout the day. Every person that I encountered – from the amazing group of speakers and performers to the volunteers to the caterers – was positive, engaged, caring, and empathetic. They listened and asked questions and supported one another in a very loving way.
Pat Jacques spoke before me, and backstage we were talking when, with tears in her eyes, she said, “For me, this talk isn’t about me. It is about trying to help just one person. If I can do that – I’ll be happy.” It was just what I needed to hear, in that moment, to remind me of what was most important in this process. To take me out of my head, and connect me back to the heart-centered work that was at the very core of my message.
I spoke about spreading the idea that, as individuals and a society, we need to change our narrative from “follow your passion” or “what do you do?” to “how do you want to BE in the world?” But – the application of First BE, then do is not something that just happens, but one that takes practice. I am grateful that TEDxCherryCreek not only gave women a platform to share their stories, but also created a community where this practice of First BE, then do could be implemented so naturally and organically.
I’m sharing this part of my TEDx story, because our stories of BEing have the power and potential to connect and unite us. My hope is that by sharing mine, someone else will be inspired to BE the author of their story and share theirs.[Watch her TEDx talk here: https://youtu.be/7JhJ5bCCpQE]