Since my first speaking proposal was already turned down, I might as well be rejected again by an even larger event. As it turns out, sometimes one has to be careful what they wish for.
My primary motivator for applying to the TEDx University of Nevada, Reno had more to do with the topic of my proposed talk and a specific person who could help me live and perpetuate my “big idea”. Social media had me following Dr. Bret Simmons for years.
He has a Ph.D. and is a business management professor at the University of Nevada. I met Bret when he spoke at one of our Coaching Summits and was immediately attracted to his humility, organic friendliness, his forward thinking ideas, and the uncomplicated way he communicated his sage wisdom. Due to the above, I approached Bret and asked if he would consider coaching me if my talk was accepted, and he kindly agreed - hopefully out of mutual respect as opposed to “wow, do you need help…”
The submission process was challenging, but the power of the collective, though obvious, again proved itself. The following month I received an email from the committee letting me know my talk was accepted, which would not have happened without the EcSell team’s involvement in every iteration of the application process. This was truly a collaborative journey that was not just appreciated, but also humbling.
Comfort can ruin you and only in a state of discomfort can you continually grow.
This was the “big idea” that was accepted and around which my talk is centered—said another way, order (understanding inputs that lead to predictable outcomes) drives comfort and complexity (changed inputs that drive unpredictable outcomes) leads to discomfort.
TED refers to the “big idea” as a “through-line”, it is like the trunk of a tree from which everything branches, it keeps the talk focused and always moving in the proper direction. The challenge is taking a complicated concept around which I could spend hours keynoting and boil it down to 12 minutes (YES 12 MINUTES!) I can spend more time than that introducing myself!
Earlier I mentioned how the talk’s “big idea” was also a reason I wanted to work with Dr. Simmons. If discomfort is the only way to grow, I needed someone to help me get very uncomfortable to find a way to explain this concept in 12 minutes.
My traditional approach to speaking prep had to be thrown out and a new way of preparation introduced. Again, the entire EcSell team has been involved and Bret has been brutally candid with how I prepare and use my 12 minutes. He has frustrated me, challenged me and applauded me. He has helped me become uncomfortable in order to help me grow.
The collaboration needed to deliver a successful talk has perpetuated EcSell’s team spirit and further exemplified how the discomfort caused by complexity causes growth. Though the talk’s success will ultimately be measured by number of views, regardless of the outcome growth has already occurred and will continue for all involved—certainly for this gray haired old dog who is still willing to venture into complexity and learn a few more tricks.
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