It seems like 2016 was a draining year for just about everyone - mind, body and spirit - am I right? I’m not going to lie, it was a bit of a rollercoaster for me too.
Although I’m very proud that it was the year I got into the Masters program (third time’s a charm), and made it through Tough Mudder (half) alive, I was hoping beyond hope that my dreams could come true in threes - and that I’d be able to get up on stage to speak at the 2016 TEDxGastownWomen event. But, it wasn’t meant to be…because something just as amazing was in the making - sheTalks!!!
Speaking of public speaking (say that ten times fast), can I ask you a question? Is it a myth or are there really people out there who are more afraid of public speaking than they are of dying? I’m really curious. Because despite the Tough Mudder stuff and doing Karate for 14 years, I’m actually (secretly) a very cautious and anxious person. Like, I’m the person who looks at the menu online before having to go to a new restaurant to prepare myself in case there isn’t anything I like, but I don’t want to look like an immature child with a juvenile palette partial to Kraft Dinner and hot dogs. Ok, that was a really embarrassing confession; pretend you didn’t read that…I ask about people and how they generally feel about public speaking because, despite all odds, I actually kind of love it. So, either I’m a glutton for punishment, or I’ve stared death in the face so many times that I know public speaking really isn’t THAT scary.
I get giddy being with a group of people who are so excited to learn from each other. There are so many stories waiting to be told, so many perspectives waiting to be explored, and so many people you get to meet who can end up enriching your life. Events like sheTalks give people the opportunity to learn how they might be able to make the most of their lives and how they can work at becoming the best versions of themselves - how cool is that?!
I’m so grateful that so many of you will be there supporting me as I take you on the journey I took to figure out: what “strength” really means and whether you can actually pin a definition on it. The answers I came up with really surprised me and I’m interested to hear what you think.
Do I feel a little pressure, knowing that my words will either have the power to inspire people or make them feel like “those were eight minutes of my life that I’ll never get back”? I mean, I am human so, of course, but life begins at the end of your comfort zone, right?
I can’t wait to share this day with you and to meet all of the other speakers. Fun fact - one of the other speakers also has Spina Bifida!
SheTalks would like to thank Jenna for allowing us to re-print her blog here. Check out more of her articles here.
We're looking forward to hearing Jenna's story next Saturday.Jenna will be a guest on SheTalks Radio on Roundhouse 98.3FM on March 18th - be sure to tune in.