Yesterday I had the privilege of attending, photographing, and speaking at the B Corp Leadership Development Conference (BLD) in Boulder, CO. The Denver, CO (and surrounding areas) community came together, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. As a photographer, to be surrounded by people with my same passion for philanthropy and my same drive was just nothing short of amazing.
Funny thing though...I'm not a public speaker...never claimed to be nor ever wanted to be. I just want to be a photographer who focuses on philanthropy (that whole "photography meets philanthropy" thing is totally a registered trademark now, btw). But life is funny sometimes, as it will occasionally lead you down a road you've never imagined.
Months back, back in January, after I had officially become a B Corp, I received a call from my sister in law, who also had her friend Shelia (who I'd never met) on the line. Cara introduced me to Shelia and Shelia began to open the flood gates as to what was going to happen over the course of the following months. Shelia was getting these images (visions, if you will) of me in front of large crowds speaking stories of inspiration. She went on a tangent about me being in front of these crowds, and seeing these wings (which I'll totally admit freaked me out....first question I asked her "Are those ANGEL WINGS!? I ain't ready to die yet). I sat back and eventually kind of chuckled about all this, and we parted ways and hung up the phone. I decided to go back to my book I was reading at the time....and the first page I opened up was this
okay, okay okay. I get it. WINGS. Whatever. So my 'wings are budding'. But what about this inspiring people through my speaking (in front of large crowds no less) thing, that Shelia mentioned? I mean where do you even begin with that?? So this book I was reading talked about journaling that day, so I did. I journaled all about public speaking and if that was TRULY my path, I needed guidance on how to get there.
Not one week later, I received an email from B Corp, a "Call for public speakers". *INSERT STUNNED FACE EMOJI* I couldn't help but laugh. So what did I do? I applied of course. No fancy application, just simple and to the point. I made it known I'd never done this before, and the only public speaking experience I had was teaching small classes.
After applying, my husband told me to go google TedX talks about public speaking. I'll be honest. The last thing I love is someone telling me what and how to do something. I just rolled my eyes at him and scoffed. But then I ran off and grabbed my laptop and googled TedX talks on public speaking. I pull up the first one and started to listen. The individual was talking about really tapping in to your audience and using emotion to connect. He had an example of this.....*wait for it*.....Lou Gehrig's retirement speech after he was diagnosed with ALS. (Even as I write this my stomach gets all crazy and I go weak remembering it) ALRIGHT. ALRIGHT. I get it. I exited out of that Ted talk and moved on to the next one. That one had a similar premise...tapping in to emotions, using words to speak to those emotions. This person's example??? Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" (Troy's mom's favorite song). I closed up my laptop. Literally waived my arms in the air saying "I GET IT!"
Weeks go by and I didn't hear a thing about my application to speak at the leadership conference. But I woke up on the first Monday of April and had an email waiting for me- "Congratulations! You've been selected to speak in our Stories of Inspiration group!" You guys, I totally celebrated that night. Troy even made me Korean food (a couple quick things- Troy is the best cook you'll ever meet, and I love Korean food).
Well, here it is folks. After the most crazy roller coaster ride the past few months (and I'm only getting off the coaster for the weekend, and then back on I go to the NEXT adventure), here is my Story of Inspiration. Just me, the little old wedding photographer, the family photographer, the photographer who lives in the 'burbs of Denver and loves philanthropy. In all my nervousness, my fumbling through slides, through the tears and the fears.....here it is. I've yet to hear from anyone who hasn't cried watching this, so maybe grab a tissue.