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TEDxSFU – Making it Mine!

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TED stands for Technology-Entertainment-Design, but what most people know TED as these thought provoking amazing and entertaining talks that one can watch on the computer – http://www.ted.com/ . It is about sharing ideas in a global context so the ideas become universal. TEDx …or TEDxSFU is a franchise of TED and TEDx’s are these talks that can be arranged locally. SFU has taken the franchise and successfully ran it for three years – http://www.tedxsfu.com/ . I was blessed to be a speaker in the first year. It was a powerful experience – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVNM58H_arI .

At TEDsXFU, being a spectator does not mean turning yourself off to then watch a day of speakers as you would with your favorite TV show. Oh no, you are in the presence of community change makers and you share your passions and it spreads throughout an audience like a wildfire. There is a common thread that you experience while in the presence of so many likeminded people. If there was a way to somehow bottle and capture that energy I experience every time I am at TEDxSFU, the world would be a better place. You can not be anything but moved by the speakers. Every speaker, performer, storyteller has something to say and we all take something different away. The TEDxSFU theme was ‘Make it Yours’ so that you walk away and it was a call to action to say…now what? Based on the speaker, audience and the day, what will you move forward to do? For me, it is fuel for the work that I already do and while I greatly appreciated the day, there were some nuggets of wisdom that will sit with me. There are two that were most powerful (one is an official past TED talk and the other is from TEDxSFU 2013):

“Embrace the shake” Is the title of a TED talk – http://www.ted.com/talks/phil_hansen_embrace_the_shake.html. The story is about Phil Hansen and how he lost the ability to pursue his detailed art through a disability. His hand would shake and he could not do the intricate work that he was so meticulous about. Watch the transformation from limitations and challenges to sheer genius because of the phrase: “we need to be limited in order to be limitless” What this means is that rather than dwelling in the obvious and where we are limited, look for ways to leverage the limitation and make it a possibility. Find ways to get through the obvious limitations!

The other talk, which is not yet available, was Leigh Boyle. Her story was about her journey to Ethiopia and her chance encounter with another person. Both of these people had separate journeys…as far as one can consider but the common thread was loneliness and she embraced an opportunity at a local hospital and showed true caring with a simple act of manicures and the lip stick project was born- http://thelipstickproject.ca/ . Sometimes changing the world can be done with simple acts and tools. In this case, it was to make patients in a country that has so much poverty, hardships and challenges feel a little bit better. What I took away from Leigh’s talk was the power of the human touch. All that people want is your time and the opportunity that you care…you genuinely care. I sat there listening to her story with misty eyes. The souls she has touched and embraced is powerful. Take the time to be present with others.

Finally, TEDxSFU is solely run by a team…sorry, army of volunteers. Right from the person in the parking lot to the registration desk and to those putting the show on, they are volunteers who believe in the words – “Ideas worth sharing” Each person is integral to the success of the TED experience and each has a part to play like a giant jigsaw puzzle that comes together. They actually had us write on foam tiles that came together to be a jigsaw puzzle. We were encouraged to take a piece away as a memento but I could not help myself and took two that spoke to me about the day and they are from the two most powerful talks I experienced. Thank you to you all for helping us gain a more valuable perspective on life. Start watching TED and TEDx talks and Make it Yours!


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