I've never known what goes on behind the scenes when preparing talks for TED, and last night I got a reality check. I mean all of this positively, but I couldn't stop thinking of the employees of Amazon who say it's where overachievers go to feel bad about themselves.
My talk is November 23rd and last night I had to do a run-through in front of organizers and other speakers. Yikes, I was procrastinating for lack of inspiration. Panic time. @amacbean16 advised me that what's unique about me is how varied my life has been growing up on the streets, working as earth scientist, in tech, in photography. Her idea was to pick a topic that found a common thread with all those things.
I took a look at the top 50 TED talks of all time and almost all of them have one theme that gets reinforced throughout the talk that universally applies to the audience.
Your body language may shape who you are.
The power of vulnerability.
I came up with the title My difference is my superpower. The show organizer asked what the Hell does that mean? Not an auspicious start. Then I winged the talk with no visuals and at the end they said you could hear a pin drop. They said it has the potential to be on the main ted.com site.
It's about how your unique experiences and characteristics — the ones that make you feel you're not enough — can be the things that set you apart, your superpower. I give three examples: one from growing up on the streets as I did, one from Steve Jobs and I giving the UNIX Expo keynote, and one from the photography of Carol Guzy, the nurse-turned-photographer who has been awarded 4 Pulitzer prizes for her photography.
My question for you: is the title Your difference can be your superpower a better title? Is it a good title or does it suck?