Terror, Triumph, and Taking the Stage: Lessons from TEDxBirminghamSalon

Dear friends,

A funny thing happened when I started writing about what it was like to speak at TEDxBirminghamSalon: I kept using plural pronouns. I kept writing, “We traveled, we spoke.”

Don’t worry, there’s a simpler explanation than schizophrenia. I wrote in the plural because I felt your excitement and encouragement as a tangible presence at TEDx, and I cannot thank you enough for that.

Plus, you helped me choose my topic; I based the talk around this post. Your thoughtful responses galvanized me to write and speak about our shared struggle with perfectionism. I’ll post the text of the talk within the next few weeks, along with the forthcoming video. Until then, here’s what I learned.

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Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

Have you ever had your life get flipped, turned upside down?

No, really – I want to know. This isn’t just an excuse to quote the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. I want to know if you’ve had every shred of confidence swept away. I want to know if you’ve stood in the clearing, terrified of the emptiness around you.

And most of all, I want to know if you’ve come through stronger than you were before.

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What Would You Do With No Arms and No Limits?

Have you ever seen someone whose courage just took your breath away?

Well, I have; his name is Richie Parker. At the time of this writing, Richie is in his 30s, and he works as an engineer for Hendrick Motorsports.

Before I share the rest of the story, though, I have to tell you that this is not the post I had planned for today. But my birthday is coming up; this week, I’ll be 29. And people keep asking if I’m worried about nearing the big 3-0.

Part of me understands the anxiety. But another part of me thinks that there’s something wrong with the question.

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Spend It Offering Light: Week 1

Today is the day: our new series, “Spend It Offering Light” (#OfferLight) starts NOW!

This recent post inspired the idea, and the stories I’ve received have been breathtaking. “Spend It Offering Light” features real people turning their fears into something that helps others, into light.

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