Stop Asking for things, Start Building them

Soon after leaving 10 year long career as a business development professional in the corporate world, I found myself setting a new and exciting goal. I wanted to speak on a TED or TEDx stage. At the time I didn’t have the faintest clue how to take the first step towards this new aspiration. Undeterred by my lack of knowledge, I began reaching out to every TEDx curator I could find on LinkedIn. After months of countless emails, unreturned phone calls, and a seemingly endless stream of online speaker applications, all I had to show for it was a short list of “We regret to inform you…” response emails. Frustration seems like too light of a word for the emotion I was feeling. I truly believed that I had something valuable to bring to world and I thought the TED/TEDx platform was the ideal place to do it. Why wouldn’t anyone give me a chance? Why didn’t they see my value? What’s wrong with me?

All these question swam around my head. I would sit and wallow in self-pity. Daily I would transition from frustration, to anger, to self-pity, and finally to self doubt.

Maybe I wasn’t insightful enough for a TED/TEDx talk? Perhaps I didn’t have enough ‘value’?

One day I was going though my emotional roller coaster. I was frustrated with the situation and then I became angry. On this day, however, something shifted. Instead of transitioning from anger to self-pity, I found myself questioning the people that wouldn’t give me a shot on their TEDx stage. Perhaps it was those people that were unworthy? With my newfound courage I asked another question: Could I do it better? The internal answer I heard my innervoice should was “Absolutely!”.

That was when I decided to not allow others to have a say in my future or my value. I would host my own TEDx talk and it would be spectacular. After their lengthy application process, I finally received a license to host my very own TEDx. What you may not realize is that TED/TEDx events do not allow for organizers to speak on the stage. It was this rule that helped me realize another aspiration. I wanted to bring amazing ideas to my community. Instead of giving a single talk, I would be able to coordinate many talks with many amazing ideas. What started out as a small goal to share my single idea grew into something much bigger than I had originally dreamed. 

Now many years later, I am proud to say that we are about to host our 4th TEDx event and we have had the privilege of bringing 50+ speakers to our community.

What I realize in hindsight, we cannot wait around for others to help us achieve our dreams. Instead, we must go build our dreams ourselves. Many times it we come face to face with how big our dreams could be and that allows us to positively impact so many more people than we ever thought possible. 

It’s time for us to stop asking for things and instead, go out and build them.

Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Assess, plan, list
    1. Assess where you currently are and be brutally honest with yourself. Then develop a flexible plan to start moving towards your goals. Next, list the exact steps that need to happen chronologically.
  2. Action
    1. What is the next step you need to do? Take it!
    2. Once the first action is complete, reassess and then take the next logical step.
    3. Repeat!
  3. Enlist others (specific tasks items)
    1. Asking for help is smart, not weak.
    2. Learn to delegate tasks that are not your strong-suit.
    3. Build a trustworthy and devoted team.

 

Stop asking others, start building. Do it now! Don’t wait, don’t complain, don’t hesitate. Start building right NOW!

Go be awesome!

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