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How to Turn Your Biggest Challenges Into Your Biggest Opportunities

Posted by Kayley Reed on

We're so excited to share the TEDx talk our Community Champion Brent recently did at SFU. He offered to open up in a blog post with a little "behind the scenes" before going on stage: 

It’s November 1st, 2014.
I’m backstage, pacing.
I’m second on, not much time to figure things out.
Literally still trying to decide whether or not to use my iPhone with my notes for my speech.
Time’s up, it’s too late to decide, I’m on deck.
Screw it. I’m on.
Lights are bright. Brightest lights I’ve ever spoken in front of.
The crowd doesn’t exist beyond the second row.
My speaking trainer said to look at individual people in the eyes, and hold it there for a moment.
I can’t see anyone, what the hell do I do now??
No time to think.
Just do.
Total Freedom.
Total Control.
Last line.
Hold for applause.
Exist stage right.
I’m done!
I’m done?
I’m done.
Did I forget a large portion of my speech? 
That flew by incredibly fast.
Pure Flow.
Did my best. 

 Sick Not Weak Tee available here.

That pretty much sums up my entire conscious thought process during my first TEDx speech at TEDxSFU November 1, 2014. It was a true flow experience with heightened senses, slowing and speeding up of time and a little more than 4% beyond my abilities. Turned out I didn’t need the notes after all, rehearsing had paid off. 

It was a true honour to have the opportunity to speak at a conference I had attended twice in it’s now 4 year existence. The mentors, friends and strangers who I saw speak were like local hero’s to me and when I found out I would join them as a TEDxSFU presenter, I had to take a moment to reflect.
How, Why and… WHAT?!?

My life story is littered with chaos. Experiences that surprise me to this day. Multiple near-death ones, like falling off of (in front of) a moving car, on the way to a keg party in the bushes somewhere just south of Whistler. Long story as to why we were riding on the roof, but when I attempted to make it into the scene from the Titanic, walking down the hood of the car, the driver thought I was falling and slammed on the breaks. All of a sudden I’m rolling on the ground watching an SUV moving pretty fast towards me. Luckily the tires grabbed the gravel road enough to stop 2 feet from my face. From having my nose broken by a bouncer (another Whistler story for another day) to falling through a roof in Panama - both while completely drunk - I’m more surprised than anyone that I made it through the chaos.

So being called to the stage of a TEDx event is something beyond what I would have ever imagined my life looking like 10 years ago.

But man, those last ten years. More chaos. Mental illness. Psychosis. Suicide attempt. Hospitalization. Diagnosis (schizophrenia). Hopelessness.
Those ten years were the transformation.
The only way I was going to survive. 
Painful journey.
No easy days. Not to this day.
Massive support from an army of people.
Massive gratitude to them and the universe.
A second chance, a new opportunity.
Not to be wasted.
Not gonna waste it.
Every day means something.
Every connection is special.
Life is brittle.
Life is beautiful.
No regrets.
Massive faith in something.
Duty to contribute.
On a mission.
On it with Wear Your Label.
Join us.

- Brent Seal, Community Champion




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