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It started with a short message.

“Can I call you this afternoon? I think I have a nice surprise.”

My head started spinning and I wanted to call her back on the spot. But patiently I let the day go by in anticipation of the call. When we spoke later that day, she told me what I was hoping to hear. “We want to invite you to be one of the speakers at TEDxWassenaar. We really think your story would be perfect for the theme ‘Find your voice’.”

I made a little happy jump.
Whoop, whoop...

Margôt van BrakelSpeaker TEDxWassenaar

This had been on my list, to get the story of Homo Conexus out there. To reach people and tell them that there is a kind of magic in all of us. A forgotten power.

At the beginning of February we had our first meeting. We would meet at 10 AM in the Kunstmuseum in The Hague. It was a rainy day, but the museum was nonetheless beautiful.  A magnificent, intriguing building that I – somehow – had never visited before.

I was nervous. Anneke – the initiator of TEDxWassenaar – had told me about the other speakers and their message. I had looked them up online, but meeting them in person made this adventure pretty real.

Uncertainty kicked in...
Would my talk be worthwhile?

Margôt van BrakelSpeaker TEDxWassenaar

We sat around the table sharing our drafts, getting to know each other and giving feedback. But moreover we felt how every story represents a piece of the puzzle that Anneke – in her mind – had put together. We realized how this would work out to become a one of a kind piece of art that truly suits the museum setting: TEDxWassenaar.
My uncertainty drifted off and made way for gratitude, for being part of this joint journey together with the other speakers.

I had done talks before and was used to preparing one-on-one with a coach. But this experience – preparing for our talks together – was completely different. It really elevated us all. Reaching beyond what we thought our personal limit is.

It reminded me of a cooking competition I had once participated in. That was an amazing experience. In a week’s time I had grown so much, beyond what I thought I was capable of. The secret ingredients where having a shared drive – wanting to give our dinner guests the best dish possible – being in the same situation together and having an expert in our midst. The same was happening here. We all had our own topic, our own style, our own message, but touching the audience, making an impact, that was what we were here for. We had each other to learn from and we were lucky to have Anneke, our expert.

At the beginning of March we got to practice on stage for the first time. We were getting there…. It was starting to become pretty real. Just a few tiny tweaks and my talk would be good to go.

And then of course things changed...

Margôt van BrakelSpeaker TEDxWassenaar

Suddenly Corona was a reality for all of us. Hitting our lives, our work, our society.

In the last few weeks it has become clear that World Voice Day 2020 – the 16th of April – will go by without TEDxWassenaar. Our life, our focus, our priority is on facing this huge challenge. To protect the vulnerable among us and to support the ones that are working in the frontline to pull us through.

And as society, we are finding a way to continue the essential processes of our lives. While we have to maintain social distance, we realize that we can only do this if we are in this together. If we all do our part. And we are.

We are finding our voice, as humanity. Seeing what truly is important. Seeing – and feeling – what has true value. We are reinventing ourselves and designing a new reality. As individuals and as society. Because we all realize that life will never be the same.

A new date has been set for the 10th of September. It seems a lifetime away. It’s impossible to imagine how we will be doing by then. To me one thing is sure. At some point, as speakers, we will pick up where we left off. We will get together to redesign our talks, incorporating the new reality. Again we will elevate each other so that the talks magically fall into place to form an amazing puzzle. But moreover we will be elevated by the heartwarming energy that is emerging in society in this time of crisis.

Take care and stay safe.

Margôt van BrakelSpeaker TEDxWassenaar

Blog written by Margôt van Brakel, speaker TEDxWassenaar 2020
Placed by Anneke Brouwer, Initiator & Organizer TEDxWassenaar