It is safe to say that I watch a lot of TED Talks. I follow them on Twitter, subscribe to the podcast, and have a TED app on my phone. I love the opportunities that they provide to explore new ideas, be introduced to different ways of thinking, or just listen to someone else vocalize their personal feelings in a way that I can relate to.
There are some talks that hold a special place in my memory and I reference them often – just ask me about Ken Robinson’s approach to education, Brené Brown’s discussion about what it means to be truly vulnerable, or Susan Cain’s perspective on the power of introverts. But more often than I would like to admit, I will allow a particular talk to resonate with me only to then scroll through the online transcript for the correct wording of my favourite quote(s), tweet a link to the video, and let it fade from my memory.
However, I am not sure that any recent talk has resonated with me in quite the way that this one has…
This talk was sent to me a few weeks ago and, to be honest, I have lost track of how many times I have watched it since then. With each view, I discover a new phrase or idea that strikes a chord deep within me and reminds me of an experience in my own life.
Now, my intention in sharing this talk is certainly not to detail my own personal experiences with difficult conversations, nor do I want to re-state the obvious messages that Ash Beckham presents. But I do want to suggest that more of us should take these words to heart:
“At some point in our lives, we all live in closets. And they may feel safe, or at least safer than what lies on the other side of that door. But I am here to tell you, no matter what your walls are made of, a closet is no place for a person to live.”
What if more of us were able to embrace this wonderful idea that opening ourselves to difficult conversations – with ourselves, loved ones, co-workers, or maybe even complete strangers – might allow us to shed some of the fear, mistrust, and discontent that plagues our daily lives? And what if we were able to realize that while it may seem easier to distract ourselves from having those difficult conversations, it is incredibly exhausting to walk through life trying to hide the thoughts, ideas, or actions that most deserve to be shared with the world?
Well, I certainly do not have the answers to these questions. But I do know that, regardless of what our hard conversations involve, sometimes it is just too exhausting to be anything but honest. And at the end of the day, it helps to remember that “the only story that matters is the one that you want to write”.