Seattle’s TEDxRainier Day is one of our favorite holidays. David and I block out the whole day on the calendar. Anticipation builds until finally the day arrives, this year, on November 21.
When we enter, McCaw Hall is already buzzing with excitement and packed with almost 3000 thinkers, dreamers and doers. People of all ages and backgrounds meet and greet, including some who have traveled from overseas to join in on the action.
Many thanks to Nassim Assefi and Phil Klein, co-founders of TedxRainier, for bringing the TED vision to Seattle. This city is full of ideas and it’s fantastic that there is a forum to share, learn, get involved and lean in.
For me, every talk is a gift – of passion, purpose, thought and time. It is a bit overwhelming to take it all in but the pace and flow of the speakers and topics is well orchestrated. Special kudos to Elizabeth Coppinger for directing a smooth and seamless event.
As always, the topics span a wide range of ideas. This year, under the theme of the Space Between, speakers described the love of math, the ambiguity of love and the healing power of storytelling and gratitude. Embracing open-mindedness enables education revolutions, modern superheroes, social and racial justice. Beautiful music, humor, even an edge-of-your-seat circus kept us laughing and engaged as the day progressed.
Being willing to look for a new way, the speakers at TED are making a difference in the world by slowing the destruction of the rainforests in Borneo, saving millions of lives by improving sanitation in third world countries, increasing crop yields with symbiosis and rescuing whole communities and singular individuals through international disaster relief. Those who are saved can save others. By working together we can accomplish so much more.
What struck me most this year was the passion and inspiration of the young people in and around TED. Since this event is completely run by volunteers, these energetic young people are willing to pitch in their time and creativity for the greater good. They do the hard work behind the scenes to make it all happen. They are thoroughly engaged with the ideas and are definitely spreading them.
The Millennials I met at TEDxRainier are very similar to the wonderful young people I am fortunate to have in my world, both at work and at play. Whatever else is said about this generation, I have found them motivated and eager to learn. They respond to authenticity. They don’t want their information sugarcoated and overly polished. They want stories delivered straight and true. Building trust and building community really matter to them. They are ready to start solving problems now. This insight was as inspiring as learning about the good work being done by the brilliant minds of Generation X and the Baby Boomers around us.
All of this is impressive but what can each of us in the audience do with all of the enthusiasm welling up over the course of the day?
This year, TEDxRainier asked the audience to activate our own passions. They challenged us to make a commitment of 62 minutes to apply what we’ve learned to make a difference in our own worlds. What are we going to do?
I am using my first 62 minutes to write this post and reach out to the wonderful young people, the Millennials, to help nurture their talents and passions. Baby Boomers and Gen Xer’s are not going anywhere. We are going to retire later, maybe not at all. And the next generations are going to join us and take up their rightful places as the bright lights of the future.
So, instead of accepting the traditional generational divides, what if we reach across and work together? What if we bridge the Space Between? Is this an idea worth sharing? Let me know what you think.