Jasmine_AllardMy TEDx experience has been nothing short of terrifying.

When I first started thinking about possibly doing a TEDx talk I had no clue what I wanted speak about, only that I wanted to do one. I don’t regularly write speeches and give them to a massive audience of unknown size, but I do occasionally perform for smaller audiences and since I’ve always been a huge fan of TED talks, I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I was scared, but I knew if I didn’t take this opportunity, I would regret it for a very long time.

So I took the plunge and signed up, and in a way, it was the fact that I took the plunge that inspired my talk.

I think a lot about what I wish I would have known when I was going through difficult times in my life. Of course I’ve seen dozens of TED and TEDx talks on things like anxiety, self-confidence, and depression, and although they did help me a lot, they weren’t quite what I had really needed, which was direction. They were personal stories or vague guides to life that were hard to follow; inspirational, but not helpful for the kind of thing I was going through.

Now I realize I was far from alone in this human experience of worthlessness. It affects so many people, young and old, across the world, and the idea that I could help them by giving out what I had learned in the process to healing myself and getting back into life again really hit me. I know that self-confidence is really quite simple once someone decides to have it, but the problem is that it’s so hard to get and maintain, and it’s crucial to everyone’s life. I want to help people who either feel they were “born without it” or lost it somewhere along the way in life.

My desire to help others did not make preparing a TEDx Talk an easy task. I’m one of the youngest speakers in the group – which is extremely intimidating, – I have to write and memorize and give the talk all by myself while juggling school during the busiest month of the school year (since I am a senior I am applying for colleges and preparing final school projects), and I will have to stand up in front of a crowd and give my talk confidently while fighting internally with my own social anxiety. Still, taking this terrifying plunge is a welcome feeling opposed to the regret I would feel from passing up this wonderful opportunity and never even trying in the first place. After all, what’s the use of having self-confidence if I don’t use it to make the world a better place?

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