Deciding to be worthy to give a TED talk |

Deciding to be worthy to give a TED talk

Over the Christmas holiday, I was invited to give a TED talk for MileHigh TEDx in Denver. They call it “the talk of your life.” The whole affair is an exhaustive process from the initial call to the actual live event. If all goes smoothly, my presentation could be as early as 2016 or as late as 2017. I’m told there’s a series of preliminary interviews and a little coaching to help flush out my content, followed by a lengthy round of edits and rehearsals. My presentation is outlined, molded, polished, studied and practiced ad nauseam until it’s ready for a live audience. I’ve never been so honored and so likely to throw up on myself at the same time.

Naturally, I’ve turned to the most-viewed TED talks of all time for a little inspiration. It hasn’t helped. The top-rated TED talks are a who’s who of global icons, and only further illustrate why I’m probably not worthy. I’ve been casually watching TED for years, but never with this intense scrutiny and manic analysis. I now hang on each speaker’s every word and gesture — meticulously evaluating every detail for some strategic nuance designed to solicit a favorable response from the audience. I rewind the moments just before a big laugh and dissect the setup, interpret facial expressions, and pore over the timing and delivery of each punchline.

I have now created a comprehensive litany of plausible excuses for dropping out, passing out or tossing my cookies right here in my living room. In my mind, I’m incoherently muttering:

I’m not smart enough. I’m not experienced enough. I’m not good looking enough. I’m not funny enough. I’m not a New York Times #1 bestseller. I’m not an Ivy League university professor. I haven’t struggled enough. I haven’t helped enough people. I’m not witty enough, or articulate enough, or brave enough, or compelling enough. I didn’t overcome enough or discover something miraculous. I’m not quick enough on my feet and I’m not brave enough. I’m not talented enough and I could never prepare enough. I’m not known enough. I don’t really know my content well enough. I’m not wealthy enough. I’m not deprived enough. I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough support. I’m too introverted. I’m too neurotic. I’m too old. I’m too young. I’m too bald. And my ideas are just not that interesting.

Well, I’ve recently rewatched two top-rated presentations that positively affirm my new resolve to do it — and hit it out of the park: 1) Dr. Brené Brown’s TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability” and 2) Amy Cuddy’s TED talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.” Brown’s talk reveals the best way to feel authentic belonging is to explore social vulnerability and simply decide that we are worthy. Cuddy’s talk examines the psychological boost we get when we assume powerful postures designed to convey strength and authority. She talks about faking it until you become it — making intentional choices to stay in the game, playing as though you belong — until you realize that you do.

My friends, our tired rant of pitiful excuses for not playing big are so last year. As we approach 2016, decide that those lies no longer serve us; we’ve simply outgrown them. They’re no longer our truth. Sure, we have flaws and weaknesses. Our imperfections make us delightfully human. What makes TED truly awesome is that it is a symposium of real people — mortal human beings — authentically sharing the ideas that collectively inspire all of us in our own becoming. My truth is that I am worthy. Of course I am. TED called me. So, as we spring out of the frigid waters of 2015 and ease into the promising hotness of 2016, try this on for size: You are worthy. You are ready. This is your year to shine. You are OK. And don’t worry, I’ll be sitting right there next to you (not throwing up) mumbling the same damn thing! “I’m OK. I’m OK. I’m OK.”

Evan Zislis is author of the bestselling book “ClutterFree Revolution: Simplify Your Stuff, Organize Your Life & Save the World” and “Aphrodisiac: Clearing the Cluttered Path to Epic Love, Great Sex & Relationships that Last.” He is founder and principal consultant of For more information, like ClutterFree Revolution on Facebook, call 970-366-2532, or email

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