Life is full of ups and downs. But there are moments that when you experience them, you know your life would never be the same. Maybe your girlfriend just answered "YES"; maybe you got the acceptance letter from your favorite school; maybe there is now a newborn crying in your arms, or maybe you just landed your dream job... But those moments almost never just pop up out of nowhere. There was usually a long buildup. As a professional speaker, I just experienced one of those moments. I will now have a TED talk... and I'm still in shock.
For those who don't know, a TEDx talk is given at independent TEDx events all over the world, but a real TED talk is only given either at the annual mainstage TED Conference or is a TEDx talk being featured on TED.com. TED just decided to feature my TEDxMtHood talk on TED.com and make it an official TED talk.
But again, this didn't just pop up out of nowhere. It was a series of moments that led to this. If you know me and my story, you know my life first changed after I walked into that donut store almost exactly four years ago. My personal experiment of 100 Days of Rejection Therapy became a viral sensation, and I started telling this story to inspire other people. My first "speaking engagement" was at a local chiropractic studio to about ten people. A month later, I presented at a company to an audience of 100 people and got a round of applause. Three months later, I gave my first ever TEDx talk at TEDxAustin in front of a group of 1,000. I received a long standing ovation. From 10 people to 100 and then 1000; it was the perfect snowball.
And the snowballing didn't stop there. In subsequent years, I published my first book and achieved #1 bestselling audiobook, took many people through the rejection course and workshops, founded a corporate training company, and even acquired the original Rejection Therapy.
All these great things happened because I took the chances and opened myself up to the world. People related to me not because I was smart or awesome, but because I was real and open.
But now, it just got to a whole new level. Having a TED talk has been a dream-come-true.
You know, I am not here to congratulate myself, but to thank you, because other than God, I owe this all to you! I can't thank you enough for believing in me, supporting me, and giving me the courage I needed along this journey. After learning my story, many of you have in turn started your own journeys by risking more at work, finding better jobs, building new businesses, starting new blogs/podcasts, becoming artists... I could go on and on. You have inspired me every day.
So what's next, you ask. Well, to make the world an even more amazing place, I am asking you for one of two things:
1. Simply watch and share my TED talk with your colleagues, friends, and loved ones. We are all held back by rejections on some level, and this talk will make a difference in them.
2. Join me by becoming a Rejection Ambassador (here are the rules). You can lead other people in your organizations or communities to get out of their comfort zones and to start writing their own stories.
Because amazing things only happen outside of your comfort zone. Someday, you will share your own TED moment with me and the world.