Be Who We Say We Are: TEDx Detroit

It’s the details. Always.

The universal truths that we all can relate to. What moves me, if I tell it right, will move you.

So when a speaker at TEDx Detroit mentioned his two favorite and most inspirational teachers growing up, I wanted to know about them. Show me their faces, their voices, their styles, what inspired you about them, I wanted to say.

I was in the audience today and yes, I was inspired. Moved, listening to stories and music about revelation and ambition, about changing the world and making a difference.

About how fantastic Detroit is.

And then I had lunch at a fabulous restaurant that had written on the mirror at the entrance: Detroit: the best revenge is to be fabulous.

I took a photo to post on social media and my reflection stared back at me in the mirrored wall, my face obscured behind the iPhone.

Because the individual becomes the community and vice versa.

And so I listened to stories of rebirth and perseverance and changing from unfortunate circumstances to chance and luck and success.

IMG_7055I was moved. I was bored. I live-tweeted. I loved being there.

The universal truths lacked in a few of the early stories but the latter stories hit home with their points. Their I-care, I-am-passionate, I-am-devoted became me, all of us.

I listened to a friend on the stage who said more than eight years ago that she wanted to be a leader in the fashion world, and she wanted to do it here in Detroit. And I thought how silly that goal was.

Except when you have passion behind your efforts, things happen. You get there.

She’s there. She spoke today about how Detroit is building a garment district and a network of fashion businesses and is already leading in the fashion world. We’re making it, she said, and she is much of the energy behind it.

IMG_7057One friend, one woman, with a dream and an unmitigated desire to reach it.

So she does.

Another woman spoke about finally getting pictures of Pluto and learning the landscape. She talked about how hard work and persistence are required to study the outer solar system.

She said the pictures revealed all the details of this outlying planet that we never knew were there until we saw the evidence.

Yes, yes, yes. But all of those statements could be double entendres and metaphors for so much else in our lives.

If she had hit it home all the way, talking about how hard work and persistence are required for more than studying the outer solar system, I would believe her. I would be inspired to pump my fist in the air and shout, “YES.”

These universal truths made today a great experience all-around:

No one person is more Detroit than the next person – Aaron Foley

Detroit pride – you don’t have to wear it on a t-shirt. It’s just part of who you are.

Create an epic experience. – Gary Abud

What better place than here? – Karen Buscemi

Demand more beautiful and meaningful objects – you can change the culture by the products you use. – Jeevak Badve

Too poor to buy anything cheap. Infuse your creations with emotion. – Jeevak Badve

Until we can give people results immediately at the point of care, behavior won’t change. – Charles Shanley

Take all the people in the world who want to help and connect them directly to make a huge impact. – Mallory Brown

The future of philanthropy: direct and personal giving. We want to be emotionally connected to the causes we give to. – Mallory Brown

Detroit was always fabulous. Enough of this "come back" rhetoric. See us as we are.
Detroit was always fabulous. Enough of this “come back” rhetoric. See us as we are.

Words are power. Words have power. Words are YOUR power. – Mohammed Qahtani, World Champion of Public Speaking (link here)

Challenges don’t define us. We are redefining what Detroit looks like to the world. We are living in one of the most powerful stories in America: Detroit’s rebirth. – Stephen McGee

It was a great day because I started to remember who I always wanted to be and recognize that sometimes, who we become is not who we think we are.

The other day on the radio, I heard someone say that we must be who we say we are. Who is that, exactly? And are you being it?

And if not, what’s stopping you?

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