Last Friday I did something I’d been thinking about doing for months and months. Something that kept me up at night and occupied an increasing part of my brain as the spring and summer progressed. Something I was exhilarated and terrified of doing.

I delivered the Vancouver Creative Mornings talk on the August theme of failure.

I was exhilarated because it was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to speak at an event that was not in some way crafts-related. And because I got to explore ideas I wouldn’t otherwise have given myself the time or space to explore. And because I had a time constraint, and I knew the talk would be recorded and distributed, and it was a big deal.

I was terrified because this is my topic, man. I had to get it right. I had to say something important. I had to nail it. It would be recorded and distributed. It was a very big deal. And I suck at giving talks with slides. I just suck at slides.

After two years of writing and speaking about the ugly voice in our minds that tells us we suck, I eventually decided not to talk about that at all. I had realized there’s another voice in our minds – our inner monologue. And we sometimes use that voice – our own, deliberate voice – to tell ourselves stories. Stories about failure. Stories we have full control over, and that we have a tendency to believe as true.

What might happen if we started to listen to that voice more closely? To tease that voice apart from the ugly voice? To exert some power over it to alter the stories we tell ourselves with it?

So here’s my talk. (The sound improves dramatically at around 2:45.) If you enjoy it, please click through to the Creative Mornings site and click the little heart (hover over the video to make it appear on the right). Go ahead and join the site, too. Creative Mornings is pretty wonderful. Hopefully you have a chapter in your city.

That part where I throw my hands in the air and exclaim, “How fascinating?!” Before the talk, a group of wonderful people led the room in an improv exercise that involved everyone throwing their hands in the air and exclaiming “How fascinating!” whenever someone screwed up. I’d like to always have the room do an improv exercise about failing before I speak. So much less nervous! Everyone was laughing! And it gave me something to say when I did, indeed, screw up. (Click to embiggen.)

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I know some of you have been following along on the bullet journal adventure; it’s my bullet journal that I’m holding throughout. Without it, I would have failed at slides even more spectacularly than I did with it telling me when to click.