The Power & Strength in Delivering at TEDx WF!

Live on the TEDx Whitefish Stage!

We just participated in our first TEDx talk, right here in Whitefish!  It was an amazing experience.  In many ways a perfect topic for addressing the importance of integrating power and strength.

As a speaker it’s my job to make my great idea work within the time frame of eighteen minutes. Taking an idea and making it crisp, and clear in 18 minutes is tough enough.  Add to that the complexity of there being two of us, sharing this big idea, and I think you can see the challenge.

Our big idea: Conflict is an Energy Source for Innovation, Creativity and Transformation.

Use it! Don’t Diffuse it!

Be Vulnerable and Curious to Transform Conflict into Creativity in an Instant.

The two concepts: vulnerability and curiosity settle on the strength side of the Power and Strength Continuum.  If you are unfamiliar with Haven’s Power and Strength models, here’s a link for a summary (go to p 13).  Very short answer:

  • Power is all about dominating and controlling the external environment
  • Strength is about coming more from within

Both power and strength are choices we have for handling anxiety and our innate sense of helpless.  We usually have a favorite or a familiar choice.  Our work, as we become adults and more fully embrace our lives, is to value both and move between power and strength with flexibility as appropriate.

Preparing and delivering a TEDx Talk is a great way to test that integration process.

Getting our idea clear and concise in many ways involved a healthy use of power. (To be completely honest, we were a touch unhealthy at times. We are a couple!)  The message needed to be tight and not one that implied uncertainty.  We went through many stages of writing, rewriting, delivering, and redelivering, getting feedback, and incorporating that feedback. (Okay crying and screaming as well!)

We practiced our timing.  We practiced in our outfits. We practiced with our slides.  We did the talk super fast and then very conversationally.

This was all about taking our deeply personal, passionate message and framing it into a Powerful package.

The day of the dress rehearsal we delivered a very tight TEDx Talk well within the time limit.

Our speaker coach had this to say, “You guys have great material, but you are talking at us about vulnerability and curiosity and you need to actually be vulnerable and curious!”


Yes, the feedback did sting a bit!  Yet, it was so right on!

We had done some great work to control and package the message.  I believe that was invaluable.  However, to step on the stage and deliver that message, we needed to come from within – the strength side – to connect and show that vulnerability!

So what did we do?  We went home and practiced some more.  Why?  Because I think we both knew that if we really, absolutely knew our lines, we could let them go and embody the lines on the stage.  Meaning, choosing power can and does support, strength.

On the stage live, we delivered.  We connected.  We made mistakes, and we recovered.  We were vulnerable and curious.

For me, it was a wonderful experience of integrating Power and Strength.

I can so easily get upset with CrisMarie when she wants me to script or overly practice a model or a speech.  It can seem so non-organic and impersonal.  Yet, I get it.  One way is not right or wrong – good or bad.

It’s all about the choice, and knowing when it’s best to power over (dominate that script) and when to trust my strength (take the stage and breathe some life into our message, and be real).

This is true on stage.  It’s true in business.  It’s true at home.

Don’t make the usual mistake of getting fixated on one side or the other – dance and integrate the best of both in your life.

Want to learn more about The Next Step: Integrating Power & Strength into your Daily Life?  Join Toby & I in Part II of our FREE Webinar series on May 13 at noon PT.