Outside My Comfort Zone: Ignite San Diego

Ignite LogoIn January, a client-turned-friend encouraged me to apply for Ignite San Diego. The premise: a community event where speakers discuss their passions. The format: 18 speakers delivering 5 minute presentations using 20 slides – that auto-advanced every 15 seconds. I applied and was accepted, along with 17 of my fellow brave, talented San Diegans.

My topic was Do Not Follow Your Passion. It’s a companion to this post, and something I focus on extensively in my personal and professional life. (This either makes me more or less fun at parties. I’m not sure which.)

In the weeks leading up to Ignite, I used my friends as guinea pigs and got some great coaching from Nathan Young of local writing and storytelling infamy. (Okay, he’s not really infamous, but he’s affiliated with innovative groups like So Say We All, and is extremely good at what he does.)

Despite giving oodles of presentations over the years, this one had me super nervous! Between the constraints of the format and the sold-out 300 person crowd, I was quaking in my (stylish) boots. I gave my talk, remembered my lines, and did it with in the allotted time. But it was tough keeping pace with the 15 second timing intervals, and I didn’t deliver a lot of my visual jokes on cue. I walked off the stage feeling like it was a train wreck.

Ignite 1But then, a few weeks later, the videos came out. And despite the fact that I still think I sound like my mouth is full of paste (which was how it felt!), I was quite relieved to watch myself and realize it was totally fine. Am I going to be invited to speak at the next global TED event? Unlikely. Did I embarrass myself? Nope! Did my message reach at least a handful of people who found it valuable? Heck yes!

Mission accomplished.

Overall, it was an incredibly positive experience. The all-volunteer team ran things with the utmost professionalism. My fellow speakers really impressed me and the audience with their knowledge and passion. And I’m really stinkin’ proud of myself for pushing outside my comfort zone. I spend a ton of time talking with my clients about how the way we feel on the inside and the harsh lens through which we view our own performance is extremely distorted. It was good to get a reminder of that for myself!

Following is my talk, along with a few of my favorites. You can check out all 18 on Ignite’s YouTube Channel.

If you watched these and are now inspired, the next Ignite San Diego is on 10/22/15. You can apply to speak or sign up to volunteer. I’ll be volunteering and would love to see you there!

This one is my good friend, Andrew Motiwalla, discussing how responsible travel can save the world.

A refreshing look at death and being honest with children.

And for a little levity about a fascinating social phenomenon, the dark-side data from internet dating.



Written by Kim Eisenberg

Kim Eisenberg

I provide individual and corporate career development services to clients throughout the US. I’m your trusted business advisor, motivational speaker, professional butt-kicker, and complacency crusher rolled into one.

1 thought on “Outside My Comfort Zone: Ignite San Diego

  • Hi Kim,

    This seemed really great. You have a way to put your point and take it on to others. The audience ,i do not know who, was spell bound .Great presentation and great stage time personality. You must have been really nervous because slides were really made into galloping horses!! but you have managed it well . Management ,fine . That is my passion . Project Management to make it specific. And i have learnt a lesson . Do not follow your passion unless you have a finer point to make out there. But be prepared for the ” Cow getting Hung on Fence” . I think i have added a Proverb of sorts to English lingua.
    Any way you were right that you made a point after all getting overboard, towards Audience satisfaction , may be jumping the rails ,with Sponsors underneath.
    Keep it up. and keep it going .
    Thank you.

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