Fascinating Finds: Meaningful Messages for May

May 27, 2015

Kaleigh and I just attended TEDxGrand Rapids a couple of weeks ago and we are both feeling inspired and energized from a day of intellectual and gastronomical stimulation. (Yes, the food was spectacular, and, yes, I’ve been raving about it almost as much as the talks!)


Since I am still riding that wave, I thought I’d focus this month’s fascinating finds on topics related to TED and TEDx (and my experiences with them).

  1. Last year was my first time attending our local event and I was terrified. I am a networking-loathing introvert who was suddenly in the middle of the biggest social interaction event I’ve ever willingly participated in. I’ll admit, I hid in the corner for the period before the curtains opened, alternating between shoving a croissant in my face and taking selfies in front of the cool architecture inside the Civic Theater. Finally, a kind gent from Barcelona took pity on my and engaged me in conversation. By the end of the day, I had broken out of my shell a little. But, if I had seen this article “Networking When You Hate Talking to Strangers”  sooner, I might not have been such a ninny.
  1. This year I did much better: I actually approached people. And, more significantly, I approached women. Men are my comfort zone and always have been. Last year, I don’t believe I talked to one woman deliberately. This year, once I did it one time, the floodgates opened and I was hurling myself at every female who didn’t have sense to turn and run. What a refreshing experience! Who knew?! If I haven’t convinced you that exiting your circle of safety is worth it, check out these “6 Reasons To Step Outside Your Comfort Zone.”
  1. But, enough about me—for the moment! One of the factors that makes the TEDx events so exceptional is how well they’re curated. Our Grand Rapids team puts on a top notch production from location, to theme, to diverse speakers, to food (yep, I have to mention that again). I was reading this article “Here's Why TED and TEDx are So Incredibly Appealing”  and I was struck by this statement:

    “TED and TEDx are powerful events because their organizers and staff don’t do it for the money or the fame—for which there is neither. They do it to make a difference. And people that do things out of passion, do them better.”

    Since we’ve been talking so frequently about employee engagement—and I feel strongly that it has very much to do with how much opportunity we have to make a difference in our work—this resonates with me. What about you?
  1. This next find is a series of TED Talks on how to Work Happier. I don’t recommend watching them all at once, or necessarily at work (though you can probably make a great case for R&D if you do). But do watch them. There are so many ah-ha insights on how to make our 8-5s more joyful and rewarding—and who doesn’t want to know more about that?
  1. And, finally, there’s this: Sarah K’s poem “B”—an excerpt from what is arguably my favorite TED Talk of all time. Well, maybe. I’m sure I have another favorite I’ve forgotten about. But, to me, what’s special about this spoken word epic is that it embodies what these talks are meant to do: to stir emotion, to incite action, to elevate our sense of possibility, and, most of all, to make us think.

If you have one of these events in your area, consider giving members of your team the opportunity to attend. Anyone from any part of your organization can benefit from a day of mental revitalization. And, the spark that ignites them could end up kindling your own ideas worth spreading!


Allison is currently living out the elaborate fantasy she described to her now-former staff and colleagues in early 2001. With a hearty dose of courage and absolutely no plan of action, she abruptly left her middle-management job to become a writer—and today she is doing just that in her role as Baudville's Senior Content Writer. She's here to tell you everything she's learned in her 20-years+ professional life, plus a lot more. She's wordy like that!

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