On this day last year I did something that scared the pants off of me.

I stood up on a red circle on a stage in front of an auditorium of people, cameras all around, with some giant red and white letters on the stage beside me spelling out TEDxUQ, and I poured out my heart.

Yep, this time last year I gave my TEDx talk about visual storytelling. It seemed like a shame to let the anniversary slip by and not use it as an opportunity for reflection. So today, that is what I have done. I have sat here at my desk and contemplated – what did I learn? And how am I a better version of myself because of it?

The thing that springs instantly to mind is actually remembering the feeling of joyous relief. I’ve never practised so hard for something in my life. Those few months leading up to the event, my talk was all-consuming. The hours spent crafting my messages, the hours and hours spent drawing my slides. The hours upon hours upon HOURS of time I spent rehearsing. But then the joyous relief when it was done and the hard work paid off because I was proud of what I had achieved. Big lesson right there friends – if something is worth doing, it is worth putting in the work and doing it to the best of your ability. Because nothing compares to that feeling directly after when it is done and you are proud of it.

The flow on effect of this, which is the thing I am absolutely most proud of, is that my son was there for all the hard work and it left a lasting impression. When I spoke to him recently about applying himself and working hard at something he responded with, ‘like you did for your TEDx talk Mum?’ ‘Yes my boy, exactly like that.’ I love that I was able to teach him that by example and not just with instructions. Showing him what it looked like to want something that scared me, and letting him see my fear but also see me face into that fear and work hard, well it stuck with him. And I hope it continues to stick with him.

An unexpected consequence of giving my TEDx talk was the incredible diversity of people it would bring into my life, both directly through the event and afterward as my talk reached broader audiences. I have met some truly amazing people through this experience and I hope it continues to do this for me. Meeting kindred spirits, perplexed observers, enthusiastic beginners and intrepid ‘non-creatives’ inspired to have a go. This is what it is truly all about, connecting as humans. And it makes my heart sing.

Finally, I will always be grateful for the experience of having to distil my message into 12 minutes. When given the opportunity to do a talk like this, one that will live on in a giant search engine forever, it is a daunting task to define what your message is going to be – it can’t be everything. So you have to sift through everything you could say and find the absolute core of what you simply must say. What your soul aches to say. I really enjoyed this process of distillation and refinement. It helped me be clearer from that point forward about the value I can bring to the world. And it has inspired me to stand taller and raise my voice louder to bring my message to as many people as I can.

If you haven’t watched my talk please check it out here. I’d love you to share it with someone who it could make a difference for. And if you’re inspired to do so, please leave a comment, it will help me reach more people with my message.