TEDxSan Diego Experience

I recently attended TEDxSanDiego and LOVED the experience! If you are not familiar with TED Talks, please do yourself a favor and visit their website (www.ted.com) or download the free app and watch some of the talks. TED Talks are all about “ideas worth spreading” and each speaker brings a unique voice to their message. The talks cover a wide range of topics and professions and showcase not only the talents and passions of the speakers, but also the great ideas surrounding each of us everyday.

The theme of San Diego’s TEDx was Cause and Affect. Affect, not effect. The spelling was intentional, as Jack Abbott explained during his introduction. “Let this experience be the cause that affects you to change the world.” I was hooked from those opening remarks!  The speakers were broken up into four sessions:

1. Cause/Belief

2. Cause/Action

3. Affect/ Awareness

4. Affect/ Possibility


I have no intention of sharing everything I heard throughout the day. The day was broadcast live and is probably archived online by now. Instead, what I would like to do is share a few of the highlights for me. I am still digesting the whole day, but have had some reflections marinating since I left the conference. I hope my thoughts give you ideas to ponder yourself. Feel free to share!

Mathew Emerzian talked about his chronic anxiety and the advice from a therapist, who said, “It’s not about you. It’s about serving the world”. Imagine if we all realized this? What if we taught all children this concept? What kind of world could we create (or sustain) if everyone lived to serve others, to make the world better, to think less about themselves and more about others? At the same time, Mathew shared the importance of telling someone that they matter. I would love to end a meeting they way he ended his talk. He had a group (of unknowing volunteers!) stand up and say, “My name is ____ and I matter because___”. WOW. I think we all need reminders about why our work, our contributions, our strengths matter.

Dr. Edith Eger, an Holocaust survivor, shared amazing stories of personal strength and triumph. But these two lines resonated with me more than all others: “When you share your secret, you are no longer in the concentration camp in your mind,” and “You have a choice- pay attention to what you’ve lost or what you have”. Her words were incredible. The image conjured up by the phrase “concentration camp in your mind” is scary and powerful. And for someone who has experienced what she has, to be able to recognize what is most important- that which you have, and not what you have lost- is powerful.

Scot Chisholm said something that reminded me of the value of collaboration: “What do we want to accomplish together?”. Seven little words with a big impact.  We are so much stronger together than we are alone. This was the same message that Ken Blanchard shared in his phenomenal talk at the end of the day. “With the speed of change today, we can’t afford to learn alone.” Ken shared two elements of collaboration:

– essence: the heart-to-heart, value-to-value of the work

– form: the structures of the work (where and when will we work, whose name will appear first, etc.)

If you don’t start with the essence, your collaboration will not be successful. So often in education, we jump right into form, forgetting about the essence. How powerful would our collaboration (teamwork, PLC’s, etc.) be if we spent time truly discussing the essence of our work first?

While the music by Unknown Lyric was touching and energizing and passionate and creative, the words the guitarist spoke were even more amazing. “I want to inspire others to do and be greater than me.” Along the same lines, Ken Blanchard ended with this question, “What is your strategy to make a difference in the world?” It is my hope that as an educator, I inspire others to do great things. It is my belief that education is a great tool. The more we teach our children to think, wonder, question, reflect, and do good for others, the better our world will be.  How will you inspire others? What will you do to show someone that they matter? How will you make a difference starting today?2012-12-01 15.03.32

About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
This entry was posted in Doctoral Journey and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to TEDxSan Diego Experience

  1. My progressive minded daughter introduced me to TED Talks. Wow! She recently volunteered at the TEDxWomen held here in San Diego. My daughter shared that it was also an inspirational event with many provocative topics and amazing speakers. The theme for that conference was “The Space Between”. Amanda said that it refers to finding the common thread between what seem to be polar opposites–living in the grey when things appear black and white. It is relevant when thinking of intellectual and emotional intelligence: finding the happy medium, and reading between the lines.
    By the way, we enjoyed reading your post. I will pose some of your thought-provoking questions on my class Edmodo!

  2. Pingback: The Doctoral Journey Round-Up | Reflections on Leadership and Learning

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s