I’ve often thought I had a TED in me. I just never expected my subject to be insulation. Yet here I am, focusing on retrofit – making our homes energy efficient. I know – I’m as surprised as you.

When I saw the call on Facebook for St Albans first TEDx conference, I knew I had to try. I’m on a mission to have people think climate when getting the builders in and TEDx would be a perfect platform.

I knew it was no easy task to get accepted as a TEDx speaker, so I read the instructions very carefully, wrote my submission, rewrote, got feedback, rewrote, pondered, rewrote……………… It took a long time and the cut off was approaching. I over analysed for a little longer before finally hitting Send.

Then I had to forget about it. Decision time was a couple of months away and life goes on, so it was a lovely surprise when I got an email inviting me to audition. Selected out of 190 applicants, I’d got down to 24.

I was an audition virgin

That was the moment I realised that I’ve never auditioned or even done a job interview, so I was in for a new experience. I was given just five minutes to introduce myself and put forward my idea.

Again, I set about writing, rewriting, testing, changing, adapting. I went through a number of iterations before settling on the ‘final’ version. Then it was on to practising – part of the challenge would surely be sticking to time, so if you saw someone walking along the road talking to herself with a watch pinging loudly it could well have been me. 

Right up to the final hour I was making minor adaptations. In fact, it was on the journey down to the audition that I truly understood my message – a light bulb went on as I drove round the corner to the office: instead of just retrofit, I really needed to talk about…………….

Oops – sorry – not for public consumption – yet……

Waiting to be called evoked a range of emotions from “I can’t do this” through to ‘Come on, you’re 74 years old so you’ve done much worse – just get on with it!”

And you’ll be pleased to hear I stopped speaking just as the five minute timer pinged.

I did it!

The final word came in a phone call from Patricia: congratulations, you’ve been chosen as one of our TEDx speakers. Out came the champagne – this was a big one off the bucket list.

I’ve felt calm and excited until the day I received a message from Leon Taylor congratulating me on ‘stepping into the red circle’. That phrase made it all very real. I was actually going to do this. What was I thinking? Breathe, relax ……………….. memorise…… just get on with it!

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