I have wanted to see a TEDx event live since watching my first TED video in middle school. I never imagined then that I would attend an event, let alone that the event would be comprised of brilliant minds and talents from around the natural state and that I would live in the town where it was hosted.
Arkansas Fellows from around the state traveled up to Northwest Arkansas for TEDx Fayetteville, joining me and the other Fellows that live in the area. Believe it or not, the slate of local speakers was actually curated by our own Class 4 Fellow Geneva Brock. Geneva started clueing us in on the topics that would be discussed at our summer retreat, so I was itching to finally experience the day.
I got to the event early, picked up of ticket and t-shirt, and grabbed my seat near the center of the row. Other Fellows trickled in after waking at a reasonable hour and grabbing coffee. We listened to nearly a dozen speakers that Saturday, taking a the few allotted breaks in between sessions to stretch our legs and grab lunch.
Though we spent the whole day there, I think my favorite talk came in the morning. She was an entrepreneur who took something she was doing for her friends for fun and turned it into her career. Amber Taggard used her psychology-counseling background to help cluttered people make sense of their closets and pantries and lives.
Part of what I appreciated most from Taggard’s talk was the actionable advice she gave us during her talk. Her 15 minutes or so was followed by a leg-stretching session, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to turn to the other Fellows and talk through her advice.
My favorite tip: reverse engineer. I’d recently read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People per the recommendation of my Board mentor, and the notion of beginning with the end in mind was top of mind. Taggard encouraged us to be less arbitrary with our time schedules. Instead of setting your alarm for 7:00AM to arrive at work at 8:00AM because it’s a nice round number, list out all you want to accomplish before arriving at work. Think through the time it takes to accomplish each task, walking back from your final step to your first. Create time you need for your morning routine–going on a run, reading a chapter of your book, having a proper breakfast, etc.
Another tip: if you have something to do that can be done in 2 minutes, do it. Taggard’s guiding principle there was that we let dozens of these small tasks pile up throughout our day, reach the end of our day with a couple dozen tiny tasks and put them off. Rather than letting our lives become cluttered, stressful and less productive, take the initiative in small moments to enjoy a larger payoff.
Taggard is just one example of the thinkers at the event that inspired each of us to be more proactive in our lives. It’s something we talked about over lunch: what do we do differently after today? Also, what would be our TED Talks? We left lunch agreeing to create our own miniature TED talks, taking the knowledge we’ve gained in our individual professional experiences and sharing them with each other sometime in the Spring.
I’m looking forward to that, and to hearing more from the bright folks with whom I’m so fortunate to share this experience. TEDx Fayetteville was one of my favorite events of the year, and it’s only an early event in a long process of learning and growing together as Fellows.