My productivity had sunk to an all-time low.
I hate to admit it, as I’ve always prided myself on my ability to get stuff done. I’ve built businesses and websites, written books, and published hundreds of articles. For years I’ve been able to juggle multiple big projects without cutting into my sleep or family life.
But I couldn’t seem to squeeze out more than an hour or two of quality effort before I wanted to throw in the towel.
So what changed? My environment.
I’ve been working from home for more than ten years. And during that time, I’ve lived…
At just 24 years old, my confidence was at an all-time high.
Graduate school had forced me to think critically and wade through deep discussions. Entering a university career kept my mind sharp. I felt alive with new ideas and bold assertions. With the belief that I had earned my wisdom badge, I was eager to share my knowledge with my students and coworkers.
I was young and bold — buoyed up with a conviction that if I didn’t have all the answers, I knew how to find them.
Now at 40, I’m not so sure about anything.
That’s how many views TEDx talks have accumulated on YouTube since 2009.
Speaking for TEDx is a coveted opportunity for many leaders and innovators. While most speakers won’t have the kind of life-changing fame of Brené Brown or Simon Sinek, the process of applying, writing, and presenting a TEDx talk is a worthwhile practice that can catapult your message to an eager audience.
Imagine standing in front of a crowd, all eyes on you. The audience is silently waiting to hear what you have to say.
Whether that scenario pumps you up or freaks you out, in today’s world where everyone is talking at once, this kind of undivided attention is a gift to any entrepreneur or business looking to stand out.
In today’s world, it’s not enough to be good at what you do.
For every Brené Brown, Gary Vaynerchuk, Stacy Abrams, and all those leaders with millions of fans, there are thousands of equally talented people who remain virtually unknown.
A green crayon changed my life.
In junior high, I was always just outside the cool kids’ circle. Sure, I had plenty of friends and a rockin’ personality, but I spent most of my time one step behind the trendiest clothes and popular parties.
Then, in ninth grade, our all-girls choir traveled to a local mall for a performance. After singing, we headed to the food court, where a bunch of us half-jokingly ordered kids’ meals for lunch.
To our delight, those kids’ meals each came with a small box of crayons.
As I sat down with my food, I…
Smartphones, zippers, sliced bread — our world is full of things that began as a blip of inspiration and grew into something we can’t live without.
They are the defining characteristic of human life. Our imaginations have created magical worlds, mind-blowing technology, and strategic systems that bring out the best in humanity.
But let’s be honest. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming for anyone looking to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. I mean, how do you compete with the likes of Bill Gates, Maya Angelou, or Martin Luther King Jr?
We all know not all ideas…
We’ve all been there.
Company meetings. Classroom lectures. Online webinars. We all know the torture of being 15 seconds into a presentation and wanting to escape as the speaker slowly kills your joy with their dull, monotone, and predictable flow.
As boring as these tired talks may be, it’s the standard we’ve accepted. It feels safe hiding behind a polished (albeit uninspiring) slide deck because it’s what people expect. We stick with the status quo in an attempt to fit in with the professional world.
But it isn’t a great way to stand out from the crowd.
If you’re a…
“I still don’t understand,” I said as kindly as I possibly could. “I feel like you’re hovering around something important, but you’re not clarifying what that something is.”
As a university professor, I spent a lot of time trying to help students improve their writing. When you’re a teacher in the Department of Dance, you get many passionate students who are sometimes better at structuring choreography than a Dance History paper.
Still, over the years, I noticed that the students who were best at creating compelling works of art on stage were also some of the best writers in the…
I looked up at the clock. 11:58. Only two more minutes before the world’s most boring meeting would finally end.
As I started quietly gathering my things, I felt my spirits lift at the thought of my lunch waiting for me in my office. All was good until I heard her voice.
“Can I just say something real quick?” she said.
Oh no, I thought. Not Linda.
Linda was brilliant, kind, and a great asset to the team, but she never said anything “real quick.”
She was notorious for minute-long pauses in between thoughts as she carefully crafted her ideas.
“Uh, Tracy? Your camera is on,” I said quietly.
The rest of the group awkwardly averted their eyes as Tracy fumbled to disable her video. But it was too late. The pink bathrobe, giant bowl of Fruit Loops, and yesterday’s mascara smeared under her eyes seared an image in our brains forever.
Nobody looked at Tracy the same way again.
Hopefully, you’ve never committed this kind of video conference faux pas. But even subtle movements can change the way people see you. Your message is more than the words you use — it’s amplified or destroyed by your body language.