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Event Recap: TEDx America's Finest Cities San Diego With CEO and Speaker Reid Carr

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I had the honor of presenting at the TEDx America’s Finest City event on October 5th and can’t tell you how impressed I was with what I found. I want to share my experience with you in the hope that you choose to attend a TED event yourself someday either as a speaker or as an attendee. First, it is amazing what can be accomplished with a vision, a model to follow and some wonderful volunteers. The TEDx volunteers were passionate, caring, thoughtful and professional. As an attendee I felt that I was woven into the fabric of something bigger and more enduring than this single event. Their execution was respectful to the idea and heritage, but also uniquely San Diego (which I assume is similarly unique in other cities). I saw many familiar faces in a pack of solidarity. Everyone there was trying to make things better, either by sharing something or by receiving it and passing it along. Everyone contributed to the energy there and, I expect, they contribute regularly to the energy around them every day. While I could get into the details of each speaker I saw (I unfortunately missed the presentations immediately before and after my presentation, too, so it would be incomplete), I instead took away several themes which I would like to share. I do encourage you to watch the videos.

Words are powerful
Stories and ideas vividly come alive with the right words. A professional storyteller gave us useful words to use in questions to deepen our connection with others (Karen Dietz). I was introduced to the idea of tolerance versus acceptance related to the military’s bygone “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (Kristen Kavanaugh) as well as the idea of a possibility model versus a role model (Kim Woozy). Or, that “wonder” is the opposite of “judgment” (Alepho Deng). Use the right words and you can  show your respect for others and even empower, inspire or encourage them. A lot of speakers chose their words carefully and encouraged adjustments to our language to make things better for those around us.

TED events create awareness for things you might not normally seek out
I have watched a lot of TED videos and I always learn something from them. However, experiencing the ideas in an event format created awareness for things I hadn’t planned on seeking out. What I learned was no less interesting than those that I have watched before and they expanded my thinking beyond what I might normally set out to understand.

Everything is connected
This isn’t just about business or just about the environment or just about social issues or just about science. It isn’t just about anything.  The ideas covered a lot of ground, but I took away the theme that we are each connected to one another and our environment. It is our connections that can either make things better or worse.

Sharing ideas empowers others
People share their ideas to allow others to embrace them and apply them in their own unique way. I saw a lot of talks that were ideas born from other ideas and experiences. People see problems, have ideas for solutions and, ultimately, pass those ideas along to other people who can build momentum.

Hops have calming properties
When I arrived, greeters gave us each a badge with our name on it. They had a spot on that badge that let you fill in what people should talk to you about. The concept was interesting and I saw a lot of people put ideas like “love” or “hugs” in the spot. I put “nerves” as it was where my mind was at the time. I was a bit nervous about presenting my idea worth spreading. The funny thing about putting out something revealing is what you get back. My badge basically told each person I talked to that I was nervous. As people read my word and realized that I was a speaker, I got a lot of encouraging words, of course, but I also got one special remedy from Greg Koch, CEO of Stone Brewing: Beer. Specifically, hops. At first, I thought it was a joke, but he let me know that it wasn’t the “alcohol” per se, but that hops, in fact, have calming properties (look it up). Stone sponsored beer at the event and I obliged with one Stone IPA about 30 minutes before I went on. I was definitely calmer as a result, but I also felt the benefit of vulnerability when put in front of such a warm audience. Thank you, Brene Brown. For information about this event click here

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