My TEDx Talk

March 2017. Originally copyrighted and posted in "Type for Life" by the Center for the Applications of Psychological Type, Gainesville, FL. Used with permission.

Every once in a while, I am reminded that the advice for aging gracefully includes the necessity of mixing it up, of doing things differently, and of taking on risks and challenges. So I answered the call, literally and figuratively, and agreed to do a TEDx Talk at my alma mater, Grinnell College.

I thought it would be a good stretch for me. And I thought it would be a way to expose a wider audience to personality type. We'll see about that one!! The YouTube video does keep track of the number of people who have watch it, and I'm going to try not to take it personally if my numbers are really low!

Five alums were invited to give talks and I was 20 years older than the next oldest one and 45 years older than the youngest ones. But they were a real treat to get to know.

Another alum served as a coach; I think her role also was as a "wrangler." She was supposed to keep us on track and rehearse us so that we'd be ready.

We were to write and memorize a 15-18 minute talk and it was to be on the theme of "When the Bubble Bursts." One woman, a dancer, had her dream burst when she suffered an Achilles heel injury. One man's burst was when his wife died of cancer, leaving him with two young children. You get the picture.

I wasn't wild about revealing an intimate bubble burst to a wide audience and tried to back out of it. But the wrangler didn't let me out of it! What was my setback? You'll just have to watch!

When I give a presentation on the MBTI® framework, I prefer to have hours. You can imagine my consternation at getting it down to 15 minutes. Will my colleagues lambast me for simplifying the message? Can I do justice to the concepts? You get to be the judge. And I did stretch it to 21 minutes.

I wrote up my ideas and began rehearsing them first via telephone with the wrangler/coach and then in front of friends and family. Everyone had constructive criticism that I really appreciated. Each time I got to the part about my bubble bursting, there were fewer tears and breaks in my voice. ESTJs especially don't like to lose control and I certainly did!

So I got to campus and met with the coach in person. She had a few suggestions, but basically I was ready to go. During dress rehearsal, it was apparent that I had really prepared (a hallmark of ESTJs), but the others were still working on theirs.

The actual taping was part of a four-hour program — we had student emcees introducing the various segments that included really, really good Ted talks on tape, interspersed with our live ones (you be the judge). It was a relief to get it done!

There was a big red circle on stage. We were to remain within that space. Somehow the sound was difficult to regulate on mine and there's a slight squawk in the middle. It was much louder at the time but the tech wizards did their thing to soften it.

It took three months for it to be posted. Apparently it has to be technically enhanced, then sent to the TED people who review it, and then they post it. TED talks began at a 1984 conference merging the concepts of technology (T), entertainment (E) and design (D); they are "ideas worth spreading."

When I got word of the link, I was nervous. Could I bear to watch it? I hate to make mistakes…will there be some? Whew -- I watched it and basically felt okay.

I wished when we had rehearsed that I could have seen some of how it looked on the screen. On the tape, I know I was squinting into the lights, so thought I looked a bit angry or upset, when actually I was having fun by the time I was on stage. I could have corrected that had I seen myself beforehand. Ah well…ever critical (yes, another ESTJ characteristic!).

And now I have to resist the temptation to see how many people view it and whether they liked it or not. It is what it is. Another ESTJ challenge…letting go!