It’s been nearly a month, but what with the excitement, the exhaustion, the cleaning, and all that Christmas brings, I haven’t been able to tell you about the Great Day Out. The TED day out. TEDx Belfast Women, held in early December.
Of course I had hummed and haaaed. What would I be doing at something like that? That’s for grown up thinkers, or creative young people, not for sleepy sorts like me… I can’t remember to do the ironing, how can I change the world?
I took my courage in my hand, I paid the money and I had a bit of a panic. Then I realised Auntie Sadie was going, so I’d know one of the creative energetic young people. She could poke me if I started to snore.
TEDx events have a combination of local speakers at the venue and shared videos from the main TED site, an interesting mix. You can watch all of the talks here.
Jenny Radcliffe- the lie woman- wondered about her job, “does it serve me?” What a challenging thought. When I had a job, what would I have answered? Another thought that resonated, “I don’t want to be helpless. I want to be a superhero.”
Lady Christine Eames talked about the importance of working with people in “their here and now.” This was echoed in the later talk from Jane Chen in San Francisco, who spoke about developing medical technology for infants to be used by mothers rather than doctors, “who cares about the problem most?”
I was fascinated by Catherine Clinton, and wished she’d been around when I studied history. I may have attended more lectures. She talked about the importance of creating a voice, the development of consciousness as part of education, and the need for resilience, creativity and future planning.
We saw a video about Dame Stephanie ‘Steve’ Shirley, the first freelance computer programmer, who spoke of gender discrimination, working from home and maths. She had escaped from Germany via Kindertransport and spoke movingly about her need to “make sure my life was worth saving.” Goosebumps.
Those creative young people were represented by Maya Penn. She’s 13. She’s properly awesome. See?
From San Francisco, we saw Diana Nyad talk about her Cuba- Florida swim. By now, I was a little overwhelmed. All these people, all these remarkable, inspirational achievements. This woman just kept on going. She had a team, they found a way and she just kept on going. How hard can that be in life? To just keep putting one foot in front of the other?
Susan Hayes asked “What makes you different?” Listen to what people say about you, believe in your strengths, focus on what you can do. Articulate how you are different- if you can’t do that, how can anyone else? Recognise your achievements, every day. What 3 things can I do next week? Her talk was well timed: I was reminded that I needed to think about me, not just be awed by other people.
Sadly, though, my head was full. My notes become even more patchy after that. I know Sheryl Sandberg inspired me to buy her book, Lean In but you’ll have to wait until I’ve read it for more deep meaningful insights.
I was exhausted by the day, but I’m exhausted by most days. Importantly, I was nourished and challenged. These events are for everyone. I’ll be back.