In December 2019, I organised the TEDxAinleyTopWomen event in Huddersfield. The day was a huge success and 19 amazing speakers gave their first-ever TEDx talk. The audience were wowed, the speakers were phenomenal, and the organiser (that would be me) went home exhausted but very happy.
So, who were they – the intrepid bunch of speakers? And why did they put themselves through the process? I interviewed all of them, to give you a behind the scenes look at the whole process. Perhaps you might want to get involved in a TEDx in the future. These interviews will shed light on what it takes, why you might want to do it, and who you need to be, to be a TEDx speaker.
In this “Journey to TEDx” interview I spoke to Jo Corbishley, who is an Identity Coach. If you prefer – you can watch the video of the interview or read the blog below.
Joanne – introduce yourself, please
I’m Joanne Corbishley and I have been part of the Find Your Why Foundation for a few years. My background was Project management until a few years ago, when, after a personal trauma, I decided to become a business coach. I help businesses and individuals to improve themselves. Recently, I have actually developed into an ‘identity coach’ – which I will talk more about later.
So where did you find out about the TEDx and why did you want to do it?
I found out about it through the Find Your Why Foundation and being around a lot of amazing speaking coaches like yourself, meant it was something I desperately wanted to do. For the last few years there has been a message inside me that I wanted to get out. But actually finding the right stage, moment and topic had never come along until the opportunity for the TEDx in December last year.
What were the inner battles you had and how did you overcome them?
Interestingly, when I started this journey of running my own business, I started off talking about business leadership. When the TEDx opportunity came up I looked it up on the TEDx site but there were a lot of people talking about Leadership. But there was something that was closer to home for me. 5 years ago, I found out I was infertile and could never have children. It’s not a subject many people talk about and 5 years ago I wasn’t ready to talk about it. So for me, TEDx was an opportunity to share my story and perhaps even give some guidance to other women out there and men as well, as to how you can navigate that journey and come out the other side and still have a meaningful life.
It has been a journey for me – I couldn’t talk about my story without crying at that time. The inner battle was that I thought this was important to talk about, but how do I get it out without breaking down on stage?
So, as you’ll know Cheryl, the challenge for me was to tell the story in a manner that wasn’t emotional but got over the seriousness of this subject.
After I had submitted my story your feedback was that the energy there wasn’t right – in fact, I think you said, ‘I think I need to kill myself’. 😊 and that was actually just what I needed to hear. You have enabled me to share my story in a meaningful and sensitive way without losing control – and I thank you for that.
Thanks for being open to coaching on that. I know it was difficult because you were in an all-male energy in your work, so to come from that and be able to be Vulnerable (for Victory) is brilliant – so thank you for sharing your story.
So now going forward to the TEDx, you’ve walked in – what did you think when you got there and up to when you got up to speak?
I drove down in the morning and so I was practising as I was driving, and with your words in my head – keep it light and be you. I tried to build some humour in. But I felt under a lot of pressure to not just do myself proud, but also to do you proud. So, as I walked into the hall and saw everyone there, and to see the other 18 speakers, as everyone was pulling together, there was such a sense of camaraderie. I enjoyed putting the gift bags together and then having my hair and makeup done.
And then when I was standing next to Martin – miked up – I remember his gentle push in my back to get me going. The walk to stage was nerve-racking, and I hadn’t prepared for the lights. I found it quite daunting as usually, I feed off the audience, and then not to be able to see them was a little nerve-racking. But once I started, I was fine.
So, then it was Christmas and the first week in January we started to see some of the talks being approved and loading up onto the site. I had my fingers crossed that all the talks would be approved – how was it for you?
I started panicking that I had sworn or mentioned sex, or something that might stop my talk being published! I kept looking for my name on YouTube. I remember the moment I put my name in and the video was there! The emotion and the pride of – with your help – the legacy of having that talk live and available for people to see forever. So, seeing the video go-live was a surreal moment.
I then picked up the phone and was telling everyone they needed to watch it. I have had loads of feedback – women who have shared their own experiences. More recently I have had a lot of younger women who are struggling with this process and found it helpful to know that you can create a life worth living and leave a legacy, without having children.
I got one other piece of feedback from my sister – which was that I sound like the comedienne – Sarah Millican. And she is right – I DO sound like her. So, if things don’t work out I could be the tribute artist for Sarah!! (laughs)
You mentioned earlier that you had changed your focus – tell us a bit more about that.
Yes, I have! When we published the TEDx video – we had to put a bit of narrative with it. A lot of people had been asking what kind of coach are you? So, for me, the TEDx was not just about the IVF – it was about identity. We become conditioned through life to be attached to what we think is our identity. And then it becomes really difficult when you have attached everything to the thought of being able to have a baby. At that time, I couldn’t even contemplate life any other way.
Over time I have been able to change my interpretation of the acronym IVF. Where are first it represented Incomplete Victim Failure – now know it means – Identity, Value and Finding Your Future
So I realised that I can help people as an “identity coach”. I qualified as an I3 profiler which is all about your traits and what you are attached to. And I now work with people who are struggling with life, to understand what they are attached to and how to understand that and get over it.
You are now looking to move further up North I believe?
When I came originally to the Find Your Why Foundation, I had an idea of what my Why was – I wanted to help people find their place in life. I have always felt like the odd person out. I had a vision board with a farm on it. My husband and I are now looking at buying a farm in Scotland and creating a place people can come and recover – a safe space.
Finally, what would you say to someone thinking about doing a TEDx
For me, the best way to get your message out is to do a TEDx. But it is not just about the TEDx – it is about having the right coach. Having you made all the difference. You helped me craft an incredibly powerful story. Without your help and guidance – it could have been a mediocre story – it wasn’t – it was an amazing story. It was personally very cathartic and part of my recovery process.
For me, you are not just an amazing speaking coach, you are someone who can craft a story, that can pull out the story and enable you to share it in the way you want it to come across.
Joanne’s TEDx talk is called The Power of 3 Words and you can watch it here.