Ladies, Are we Gonna Show Up or Show Off? Lessons Learned from Speaking on a Ted X Stage

"Here's to good women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them." - Unknown

I wonder what that "be" is really about for you and me? Is it about being a good mom or stepmom. Is it about being professionally successful, or building a good home? Is it about encouraging the next generation and making them believe in themselves? Or is it about something more....Is it about something much deeper?

On Monday February 29th, Leap Day, I gave a 3 minute pitch on a Ted X stage in Traverse City, MI. If you don't know what Ted is, you should. Here's the site. I was one of 20 finalists chosen to pitch for a slot in the main May event. I was honored to be chosen out of quite a few entries.

It was the opportunity of a lifetime to "give the speech of my life," as they say in Ted world. And I did.  I worked hard for weeks on edits, rewrites and rehearsing. Any woman who wants to get her message out to the world would get a confidence boost from it. 

But that's not why I did it. 

I wasn't looking to prove myself. I wasn't wanting to become famous. I was just showing up to let God use me.

 That's why when I found out Friday that I wasn't one of the three chosen, I was more than okay. Why? Because I believe God opens doors and closes them and in the process directs you on your journey. 


My topic was "Are you gonna show up or show off?" I spoke about how I was raised in a world where I was taught to show OFF, but eventually found out life is really about showing UP. It's about facing our mental or emotional demons and not hiding them behind a news feed. We have to show UP to show others they can too. 

I realized when the event was over and I was watching my speech that I didn't just show up for that event on that stage. I showed up for my insecure self too. I showed up for that part of me that looks at my stomach and doesn't like it.  Then I realize that by showing up DESPITE what that Unhealthy Voice was telling me - I BEAT that voice - simply because I did not let my insecurity stop me. I literally walked in it onto that stage.

That to me - is empowering. 

That to me is the kind of empowerment legacy we want to leave for the next generation of women. Get out there no matter what your Unhealthy Voice is telling you and just SHOW UP. Know that it's GOD who is guiding you and with Him you have more power than you ever could on your own. Show young women by your walk, that it matches your talk. Show them that you didn't just break glass ceilings, you faced your inner demons. 

We are so focused today in women's empowerment on professional mentoring and being who you are. That is important.

But for me, it is more important for us to be spiritual mentors, to guide them through the rough valleys and mountains. Why? Because the world doesn't do it. It's up to us. It's not ABOUT us, it's about them. 


In my experience, I have found more encouragement from my spiritual mentors than my professional ones. My mother was a very successful executive at Merck when I was young. She worked hard every day as a single mom. She showed me how I can be a strong professional woman. But she showed me more how I can be a faith-filled woman. Through many trials and struggles within, she still showed UP and trusted God. She showed me how to walk in her own way. 

My stepdaughter who lives with us (one is off in college and the other lives with his Mom right now) is a beautiful example of being strong inside. She's been through hell in her life, and it's her faith that keeps her strong. But she knows that she still has feelings and plain life that she has to navigate. I know today that it's probably not necessarily that her stepmom has written a book and stood on a Ted X stage that impacts her, but knowing that I DO feel my feelings, and walk through the rough stuff, that I've been there done that and have learned to just TRUST GOD.

Our kids we are raising need to see us vulnerable. Nothing is more disempowering to me than someone who isn't being vulnerable. I must know you are real. We don't show them real by showing off our worldly success. We show them real by navigating our struggles and trusting God through the process. We show them when we don't fall apart because we don't get what we want. We show them when we walk through our grief. We show them when we know in our bones that our worth lies not in the world promoting us, but in God, and his time for promotion. 

1 Peter 5: 6 NLT.

"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you."

I would rather be used as a vessel for God's love in the world than win any award or stand on a Ted X stage. Having worked at the White House and gotten a worldly perspective on how we can impact the world for good, I know today it's one person at a time, one story at a time that has the greatest impact. 

So I encourage you today. Decide whether you are going to show UP for yourself, for another woman, for the world or you are going to show OFF.  I say -  Show UP, because God has got an awesome plan for your life.


One last thing.....

(No that woman in the video is not me.)  If you are interested in watching my Ted X talk with all my vulnerability - here is the video of all 20 pitches. If you look in the "info" section, my speech is at 55:10 and you can just click on it.