Meet the Speakers: Cynthia L. Dougherty for TEDxWilmingtonWomen
I am a TEDx Speaker, wait, what?
Every year, I write a list of my goals for the coming year. In 2018, one of my goals was to give a TEDx talk. I was clueless as to the application process.
I could picture myself on the TEDx stage sharing information about the brain and resiliency. I wanted to inspire others and share my personal experiences and knowledge about overcoming obstacles and adversity. I kept this quote by Wayne Dyer on my desk.
Believe what you want is already there, the more you’ll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate to transform your dream into your reality.
This spring, I discovered my friend nominated me for a TEDxWilmington. I took a pause. It was a clear sign. I prayed that I would be a presenter before my mom, who was battling cancer passed.
In July, I received confirmation that I was a finalist for an upcoming TEDX event. I felt like I just stepped in gum. I was excited and yet, my inner chatter was warming up. This is a normal process. I almost feel like an imposter.
A few weeks later, I received confirmation, I would be a finalist for the November event. This is when, I looked up and saw my second favorite Wayne Dyer quote,
“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.”
In August, I was scheduled to work with my speaking coach. The day before I left my mom passed, but not before encouraging me to keep my appointment. So many great things come from adversity in our lives.
Three weeks later, I was formally invited to speak at the 3rd annual TEDxWilmingtonWomen. I am enjoying every step of my dance with gratitude and excitement. We have submitted all of our documents, headshots, first promotional video. Now, it’s our first blog and outline of our talk. Every day is a learning experience. I would highly recommended prospective speakers attend a TEDx event. You can visualize yourself giving your own talk. I learned so much that day. You must be soulful and authentic to yourself on stage. Your passion will flow and your anxiety will lessen. It’s not a talk. It’s sharing your knowledge and experience with other’s to make a difference.
the TEDx process: Cynthia L. Dougherty for TEDxWilmingtonWomen
It was a dream for me to give a TEDx talk. The confirmation email lead to apprehension and excitement all at the same time. I knew in my heart, my topic of resiliency and brain re-wiring would be helpful and of interest to many, while in my head I wondered if it was a fit for the Women’s event. The mixture of emotions during this process is consistent: does not excitement, doubt, fear, joy, pride.
I am now a month into the TEDx process. I think about it constantly. I find myself waking up at night wanting to make changes to my talk. I have learned so many things about the process.
This is not a speech, it’s a talk. I have lots of experience with speeches and workshops. But a talk? 10 minutes talk filled with ideas and stories. A balance of facts and experiences. A process that exposes my vulnerability. My ideas, beliefs and experiences are melded into a one-time opportunity. I started with an idea: how our brains lies to us. I wrote a book on mindfulness and re-wiring. Condensing all of the information into a 10 minute talk, which is about 1300 words is the most daunting and mind boggling task!
Identifying key ideas and knowing they will change over time is the biggest challenge. It’s important to share ideas with a few trusted friends at the most three, use a coach that is familiar with the TEDx format. After the key idea and objectives are constructed, the most difficult part is adding the narrative. I am great with the science and facts, it’s adding my voice, stories and hooks to my audience captivated that is my personal challenge.
I have re-written my talk more times than I would like to admit. The bottom line is, write from your heart and soul! Speak to your best friend sitting in front of you. Make a difference for one person!
Then comes a video. One piece of advice. It’s about the content. Don’t make 5 or more attempts, because your dog wants to be in the video.
One more month ahead! My journey is still in the works!
Reflecting: Cynthia L. Dougherty for TEDxWilmingtonWomen
Well, it’s a few days after the 3rd Annual TEDxWilmingtonWomen. A time to reflect on the journey. A year ago last December, my son challenged me to give a TEDx talk. I was clueless about the entire process. However, I quickly put it on my intentions list. Guess what? In April, I was nominated by TEDx speaker alum Theresa Bodnar. It was the spring board to my uncomfortable zone. We all need these zones in life, to grow and reach. To become a greater self. My brain was building and strengthening neural connections. Talk about firing and wiring those neurons. They were on fire. My Talk was on the lies that our brains tell us, and mine was relentless. My brain attempted to reward me with self-doubt and overthinking. Instead, my best advice is stay positive and enjoy the process. You will meet the most incredible people, who are in the same space. There is so much diversity and opportunity in that room. Kindness, love and most of all, people who want you to succeed. Remember, your intent! I was practicing in Starbucks. Afterward a young man approached me and thanked me for my message. Isn’t that why we are doing this event in the first place! It fired me up!
I would also highly recommend using a TEDx coach. I have to thank Jill Wesley for her TEDx advice and Ben Patwa TEDx coach and angel. Ben you showed me the power within.
TEDxWilmington is a gift of pure love, to empower people. The team is dedicated and beyond talented. They are passionate and share the intent of making this planet a better place. So many of the staff volunteer their time, like the amazing Executive Producer Ajit Mathew George. His staff is brilliant, Assistant Producer Elissa Ben-Eli and speaker curator Jake Voorhees. They will be there to support you during the entire process.
Last but not least, thank you friends, family and love ones. It’s a labor of love for all of you as well.
Watch Cynthia L. Dougherty’s TEDx talk HERE.
3rd Annual TEDxWilmingtonWomen: Showing Up // 30 November 2018