Today I have with me one of the speakers from the TEDx AinleyTopWomen event of December 2019.  Please introduce yourself and tell us why you wanted to do a TEDx talk.

Hi Cheryl, thank you for having me on today.  I am Caroline Emile, happiness and fulfilment coach, speaker and author.  And why did I want to do a TEDx?  It was actually one of the top 20 things I wanted to do in my life.  I wrote them down in my journal in 2017, but I hadn’t done anything about it.   And the reason is, I’m an introvert and the thought of getting up in front of all those people was like….NO WAY!

I even wrote next to the journal entry,

“That’s an introvert panic attack – haha!”

About 2 months after this I got a breast cancer diagnosis and that was like the fuel under my butt! And I just wanted to start speaking more rather than just writing.  I have always written a lot, and that was my natural way of expressing myself.  So I did start speaking.

One day the journey to TEDx got a lot nearer as you announced it, and when it is someone you know – well I just had to say yes!

It was an interesting time.  It is also interesting that you say you are an introvert, but when people see you now and how vibrant you are, and up on stage giving your message, looking in control – what is it that helps you get over yourself?

Well, I am not doing it for me.  If it was for me, I would give into my nerves. I was terrified at TEDx.  But I am doing it because I believe it is part of my mission to share this with people.  Cancer affects 1 in 2 people and breast cancer 1 in 7 women.  I believe this was given to me for a reason and I need to get over myself and get out there and give to the world.

A lot of people came forward and your story is amazing, but then we had the TEDx rules and the format (which is not about personal stories).  How did you feel when I came back and said – we need to change it a bit.

I nearly didn’t send the video in, because it is one thing saying yes and then it becomes real!! And I felt like a complete newbie compared to many of the other speakers who were seasoned speakers. I was procrastinating and delaying.  But then when you did give me the feedback, I realised it wasn’t just me that had to restructure.  I felt great, to have someone like you guiding me – because you knew about what was needed.  And you gave the opening quote, which gave me the start so it flowed better, and the audience had something they could take away.

I remember I was at the airport when I gave you some feedback.  In the Lounge we have a personality profiling tool – I am an architect and that means I just see what is missing. And as a speaker coach,  I saw the pattern we could put into your talk.  I loved working with you, and I wanted to say thank you for not being ‘precious’ about how to get the story out.

Well, I completely trusted you, Cheryl, to make my story as impactful as possible.

So, I want to take your mind back to pre-COVID, to Friday, December 13th 2019 – how did you feel when you walked in, up to standing on that red dot!

When I walked in, I remember being welcomed by the team and there were goody bags, which I thought was nice.  It was nice to see some familiar faces, I loved that it was like a family feel to it.  Even if I hadn’t met people I knew them from your Facebook group.  It was like a team feel, and because we had the WhatsApp group for the speakers, we kind of bonded already.

I love how you had the big red show – it was like really sassy!

I was on in the afternoon, as the day went by I was getting more and more nervous.  As I watched the 12 or so speakers before me I thought – oh my they are so good and I wanted the universe to swallow me.  But your encouragement was key

And then I was walking up and there were lights in my face, and I felt complete fear and complete exhilaration.  Something I wrote 3 years ago is coming true and there’s no going back, so just get on with it!  I love that we had no stage, but the red velvet dot was amazing.

So, tell everyone what the name of your TEDx talk was?

It was,

“Transforming Adversity into Advantage”.

And it was about how I used the fact that I had breast cancer to go from ordinary Caroline – to becoming an international speaker, and author and award winner.  It was my journey.

How do people get in touch or connect with you?

Well, there is my website which is all about the transformation from the caterpillar life into a beautiful butterfly in our life.

Then it was Christmas and then around the 2nd January, we started to get approvals.  How was that waiting period for you?

Up until the talks started to go live I didn’t really think about it.  But then when others started going live I was worried.  I thought,

“Will mine go live.  Did I say something I shouldn’t have?”

Because you know – in the heat of the moment, you never know what you might have said that might not have ticked the box.  But it was also exciting as I saw other videos going up as I knew TEDx speakers – mini claim to fame!   I think mine went live on about the 10th – so it was a week or 8 days after many others – more than half.  I was constantly watching the WhatsApp group wondering what if I get rejected.

I want to thank you as you were one of the first people to notify others when theirs went live. So, in case someone is thinking of doing a TEDx talk what would you say to them?

I would say go for it.  No time like the present – you have everything you need within yourself.  And if they have someone like you to help – then they can’t fail.  If Cheryl announces the opportunity again – just go for it.

Thank you for your Gusto Caroline, and for sharing and spreading hope to the world through your TEDx and your story. 

Watch Caroline’s TEDx talk here



Share This

Share this post with your peers.