I hadn’t really given much thought to how someone ends up giving a TED Talk. I suppose I thought the path to the TED stage was paved either by a driving desire to be in the limelight or by the establishment of an indisputable reputation as THE expert on a particular topic. I don’t mind public speaking, and I can wax eloquent on a handful of topics, but I didn’t think either characteristic screamed “TED!”
TEDxCherryCreek has turned my preconceived notions on their head. They were seeking “ideas worth spreading” on sustainability. Well, in that case, yes – I’d like to jump on stage to spread a very simple idea: that everyone should learn more about water. Sometimes the most simple ideas can present the greatest opportunity for transformation.
Surely, this idea – learn more about something that accounts for 60% of YOU, covers 70% of the earth’s surface and is 100% impossible to survive without – should be something humanity inherently grasps. But we do not. For an idea to be worth spreading, it must be easily understood. It must be widely relatable. And it must be compelling. The need to learn more about water ticked all these boxes.
This doesn’t mean I thought I’d be a shoo-in. This was still a TED Talk we were talking about. Weren’t those reserved for the likes of Bill Gates and Nobel Laureates? Not if we’re talking about an idea worth spreading – we all have one of those knocking around in our heads. What TEDxCherryCreek provides is a forum for voicing it (as well as coaching along the way on how best to do so!).
So when my idea worth spreading was deemed just that – worth spreading – by the event organizers, I was thrilled. The only bump in the road would be telling my parents that participating meant we’d have to reschedule the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary. Nothing takes the wind out of your sails faster than having to explain (to the people who gave you life) that, no, really, this is a “big deal” and therefore worth the trouble of rescheduling another objectively “big deal.” But then they Googled “TED Talks” and, as the wonderful parents they are, were proud of their daughter for having the opportunity and happy to rearrange their schedule to see me on the TEDxCherryCreek stage.