Yesterday I had the honor and the privilege of speaking to over 400 high school students for Anti-Bullying month about how to be kinder to themselves and each other in order to create a community of kindness, love and respect.
I spoke about learning to love yourself, having people in your life that you can talk to and trust, including others by saying hi, choosing kindness everyday and to focus on your goals and dreams when things get hard. I told them that when you do all of these things, you are more able to stand up for what you believe in and stand up for each other.
I am so grateful for Alisa Weddle and Sue Robinson from Nooksack Valley High School who gave me a chance yesterday to speak to their students, who believed in me and knew that I could do this. They never doubted me, not even for a moment, even when at times I doubted myself.
Lessons & Reflections
I have been reflecting a lot on the talk that I gave yesterday - which was my first time delivering that content to the largest audience I have ever spoken in front of yet. Many people have been asking me - "How was it?" or "How did it go?"
Here is the simple answer - IT WAS AMAZING and hard AND POWERFUL and scary AND INCREDIBLE!
It was all the things!
I have spent months preparing for this talk. Thinking about it, brainstorming, writing it all down, re-writing, outlining, practicing in my living room with friends, getting a high school friend to design graphics for the slides and the handouts, and the most important - TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE HECK TO SAY!
I kept thinking - okay - I have 45 minutes to connect with these students, get them to like me, so that they will listen to me, share a powerful message that they will hopefully connect with and relate to, have tools to walk way with and be inspired to actually go out and make positive change in their school - WHEW! That is quite the list of things to cover in 45 min!
During the writing/prep process, I kept asking myself questions like, "What is it that I really want them to know? to feel? to walk away with?" "How can I communicate with them in a way that will help them to care about this stuff?" "How do I learn to be more funny and less cheesy?" So many questions!
Could it have been better - YES, of course it could have - but the important thing is that I was proud of myself for going beyond my fears and following my heart and my dream of inspiring young people to be more awesome to themselves and to each other. To treat each other with kindness and love and respect. To say hi to each other, include each other and most importantly, to be kind.
Putting this talk together and delivering it yesterday was a practice in trusting myself, my knowledge, my passion, my words, my ability to inspire and let it all hang out. To put it all out there in the hopes that it might in fact change one persons life.
Because, really that is the whole point of all of this craziness. To speak truth into someone's heart and someone's mind and to leave them moved, inspired and empowered to make positive changes in their life, in their families, their schools, their communities and eventually the world. And, while I might not be able to change the world (yet), I know that I can change someone else's world or at least make a positive impact. If that happened for even only one person yesterday - then in my mind - it was a success.
The goal is to give more talks to more students with a combo of inspiration and action! I am on the lookout for more opportunities to inspire students to create communities of kindness and give them the tools in order to do that. I have a million other ideas too (of course)... develop school curriculum to go along with the talk, lesson plans, video pep talks, online mentoring programs for students, leadership training programs... the list goes on and on. This is only just the beginning and I am excited to see where it goes from here. I would love to hear any thoughts or ideas you have as well in the comments below!
Also, if you know of any high schools who may be looking for a Youth Speaker to bring some inspiration and action to their school, feel free to send them to my booking inquiry form on my website.
I am so grateful to everyone out there for all your love and support and encouragement. I could not have done this without you.