Photo courtesy of TedxColumbus

Photo courtesy of TedxColumbus

After months and months of planning and preparation, TEDx Columbus is now complete. Picking up where my last report on TEDx left off, I spent the final few days practicing my talk with a few groups. I want to thank the folks at Village Academy and the Wellington School for providing me the chance to present my talk, as well as all of the parents at Locker Soccer Academy who observed and provided valuable input. Thank you!

As I attended the main rehearsal at the Capital Theater on Thursday, it was an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with our surroundings for the main event on Friday. Having practiced my talk so many times, I was surprisingly relaxed. This was somewhat opposite many of the speakers who seemed to be frantically trying to make last minute preparations on their talks.

As I went on stage to present my talk to a handful of observers, I was feeling pretty comfortable. I got through about two-thirds of my talk, and inexplicably, I froze. I could not remember my place and spent the next two minutes, which seemed like hours, trying to figure out where I left off. While frustrated, I took this as a positive sign that I needed to just tighten up my talk. I spent that evening and the next morning going over my talk, and even writing out the beginning sections of each part of the talk.

As I drove to the Capital Theater on Friday morning, I had a healthy level of nervousness, a level that I believe kept me sharp. As all of the speakers gathered in the “green” room, you could cut the air with the tension. Everyone was nervous. Again, I felt ready.

When it was my turn to speak, I walked onto the stage, and with a bit of nervousness, I began my talk. Amazingly, with all of the lights, it was difficult to see the audience. I recognized my family sitting near the very front, and kept glancing towards them for reassurance. While I could not see their expressions, it was comforting to know that they were there.

My talk seemed to be well received, especially some of the funny anecdotes that helped to tell my story. The audience was very supportive and seemed to enjoy the message. With only one other talk after mine, we found ourselves very quickly in the first intermission. As we joined the audience in the lobby for refreshments, I quickly found my family and friends. When I told my wife that it was nice to have her in the front row, she responded by saying that they were actually seated several levels up. I knew the lights were bright and it was difficult to see the audience, but was shocked to learn that I wasn’t even looking at my family as I had thought.

I joined the audience for the remainder of the talks, and as usual, was completely blown away by the passion and delivery of all of the talks. It was an amazing day. With each passing talk, my level of relaxation grew. I could still feel the anxiety leaving my body into the next day, and as our family boarded a plane for Sedona, Arizona, I was reaching new levels of peace with each passing moment. The hikes we enjoyed the past few days have been great, and it’s wonderful to be returning to normal.

I can’t wait to see all of the talks on the TEDx Columbus website in the next few weeks. Ruth Milligan did an incredible job organizing the entire event.

I hope the conversations continue.

- Steve Locker