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It was an amazing experience to give a TEDx Talk last weekend and I can’t believe its over!


A shot from the dress rehearsal

Even being such a shameless musical theatre ham that I am, this was the most nervous I’ve ever been.  Actually, I didn’t realize how nervous I was until I was done…and I started basically hyperventilating!


But I’m really happy with how it went, and as of June 16, its finally up!

Celebrating a year (or a few) of hard work…

It took a long time to get to this point. In celebration (and in GRATITUDE) of amazing year of taking Gutless & Grateful on the road, here’s some clips of some highlights from the past year on a “beautiful detour”…

So anyway…

“How do you get a TEDx Talk?”

Many people have reached out to me and have asked “what it takes” to “get” a TEDx Talk.


Instead of replying to everyone individually, I decided that maybe it would be best to write a post about it, because I think this is a pretty important lesson.

Something I’ve learned along the way, like everything else, and I hate to say this, but there is no “quick easy way” to get a TEDx Talk…or anything else, to be honest.  When I make up my mind I sort of take on an all or nothing mentality. Moderation is definitely not my forte!


I like food…

“Getting” a TEDx Talk took hours of googling calls for speakers for a few months, then writing a ton of essays – an application for TEDx is basically like applying for college. You have to write many well-crafted essays and it’s really not just about being a good motivational speaker with an inspiring message.


A TEDx talk tells a story.  Like their catch phrase says, TEDx is all about “ideas worth spreading.”

Who is TED?

ted tals talks

Ted is not a person, although I’m sure he would be a very cool person. TED actually stands for Technology Entertainment and Design.

TED Tips


I won’t go into the little nitty-gritty things in crafting the most terrific Ted talk because the truth is there are some wonderful sources around the internet including the TED site itself.

Here are some of my favorites:

  1. The Top 5 TED talks on how to give a great TEDTalk
  2. The 7 Steps To Delivering A Mind-Blowing TED Talk
  3. The TED staff answers: What Makes A Great TED Talk
  4. The Science of a Great TED Talk
  5. 10 Steps to Create a Standing Ovation Worthy TED Talk

And of course, watch some TED talks and learn by example, or at least get majorly inspired!


Here are ten of my favorites in some TED roundup posts:

But how to “get” a TEDx talk?

I’m just going to tell you the most important secret:

You know the old saying that getting into Carnegie Hall takes “practice, practice, practice?”

That’s my secret:

  1. Do your research.
  2. Practice Practice Practice.
  3. Never ever give up.
  4. Rinse, repeat.

You’ve found a talk!  Now…

Slow and Steady

This mixed media piece of mine was called “Slow and Steady” (hint…)

Now, once you find a TEDx call for speakers, you actually have to have an “idea worth spreading.”  Although my story is crazy, it is the idea behind my story that I was speaking about – the idea that I only started to talk about fairly recently: A Detour is Not a Dead End.


My idea? That someone who follows life’s unexpected detours and searches for the flowers along th way to make their journey meaningful is, in fact, a Detourist.

Detours Worth Spreading

I felt that this idea was worth spreading, simply because when I started to approach my personal journey as just a detour in life that I could navigate  myself, it really made the bumpy ride ahead of me  a lot easier to manage.

If life's taken you down an unexpected path, you're a Detourist

So I figured it could help other people too.

Once you develop your idea, write all of the essays and design your slides, you might get a call back for the TEDx talk.  This is usually an interview audition.

If at first you don’t succeed…


To be honest, I applied for a bunch of TEDx Talks at other places and I totally messed up on.  I didn’t realize that they wanted a pretty polished idea before they even considered you.  So by the time I applied to Syracuse I had really worked on what idea I wanted to be “worth spreading.”

Then once I worked on my idea I made an outline, a full speech and some more potential slides for a PowerPoint.

-A Detour is Not a Dead End-

I submitted it and I felt very lucky, honored and thrilled to “get” the talk.

Now, that’s just getting the talk. Once you get the talk, that’s when the real work begins.  It’s a lot of practicing, rewriting, revising, adding, taking away,  fine-tuning and making sure your idea really tells a story.

Telling Your Story

TED is not only about ideas, it’s about stories.  A fine balance.  Just like my  Detourist idea is about sharing stories, and finding strength in learning about the detours of others, (check out Why Not Wednesday) TED is about sharing an idea through a story.

I always feel we learn the best through personal stories anyway.

Calf Moon

So, thats the “secret” not just for TEDx, but for anything in life.

Just like a detour does not automatically turn into a beautiful, meaningful and spiritual journey, everything takes work. Like I wrote in a recent essay, Four Hardcore Skills for Resilience, even hope can be a job that you have to constantly work for!

Life is a job.  

But that is what makes it so much more rewarding.  I must say being up on that stage and getting to share my story for a whole crowd of people makes the hard work pay off.

How do you get a TEDx Talk-How do you find an -idea work spreading--How do you speak with confidence and heart-

Want a free 11-page guide to getting a TEDx Talk?

So go out there, love your detour, and what the hell, get a TED talk too!

What is YOUR idea worth spreading?

-A Detour is Not a Dead End-

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