Walking the Walk

Illustration of Keynote

I’m sitting in the Vancouver airport waiting to board my flight to Calgary and then on to Saskatoon. Yesterday was my keynote and tonight I get to hug my family. 

Yesterday morning as I was doing my morning planner routine and then again last night while reflecting on my day, I realized that it was a day of me getting the opportunity to really walk the walk of my manifesto

I texted with friends and my wife first thing in the morning and called my daughter in the afternoon to touch base, and share some of what was going on, and I spent time with good friends here.  I also kept with my morning routine and completed all of my dailies with the exception of writing at least 100 words in my novel. So I hit on – Love fully my family, my friends, the stranger, and myself; Be ordered, my daily personal habits and rituals determine my destiny; Care for my body and soul by eating healthy, being active, meditating, and listening to my body.

Those parts of my manifesto I do daily, so not a big deal, but it’s the rest that really struck me.

My keynote, which again was my first, was about the work I’ve done with open educational practices (open textbooks, etc.)  at the university where I work including how we’ve been successful, what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong, and what lessons we’ve learned. 

I talked about my gratitude for all of those who have been part of our success. 

I talked about what Todd Henry said on a podcast awhile back about how when you encourage someone, you put courage into them. I talked about the people who have encouraged me.

I also talked about the importance of talking about our failures with others. Without that we suffer alone and others don’t learn from us. When we talk about our failures with others, we support each other and find solutions together. I talked about what Eleanor Roosevelt and Abby Wambach said about dealing with failure.

“Often people have asked me, ‘How do you recover from disaster?’ I don’t know any answer except the obvious one. You do it by meeting it and going on. From each you learn something, from each you acquire additional strength and confidence in yourself to meet the next one when it comes.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, You Live by Learning

“The team never denies its last failure. We don’t reject it. We don’t accept it as proof that we aren’t worthy of playing at the highest level. Instead we insist upon remembering. Because we know that the lessons of yesterday’s loss become the fuel of tomorrow’s win.” – Abby Wambach, Wolfpack

I talked about how I’ve looked at success and failure and that played a role in my depression. I talked about how I’ve often talked about the successes being “our successes”, but when something went wrong, in any parts of my life, I thought of those as my failures.

And then I challenged everyone to talk about success and failure at the conference and when they got home. I told them that if we can’t feel safe failing, we won’t feel like we can be “as tenacious, as bold, as badass as we should be” in all that we do.

I realized that giving that talk I hit every other point of my manifesto – challenging myself to do something new, being genuine, learning from my successes and failures, inspiring and supporting others, bringing my passion to what I do, and hopefully I made the world a little bit better by the time I stepped off that stage.

I’m tired and can’t wait to get home to my family, but the past two days have been a gift, a chance for me to really walk the walk, and not just talk the talk, and for that I am grateful.

Featured image courtesy of Tracy Roberts under a CC-BY license.

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