In December I was so honored to give my TedX Talk as part of TedWomen. On that day there were more than 150 TedX events around the world happening at the same time all featuring women speakers. What an awesome thing to be a part of. I was the youngest speaker at my event in Toronto but I didn’t feel nervous, but the opposite really. I felt very supported and inspired by a room full of women, some who came to speak and others who came to listen.
The title of my talk was “How to find your spark.” It is something that I really believe in. Your spark is your passion – that thing inside you that makes you want to do something and take action. Your spark is something you want to change about your community or the world. It’s something that you want to help. It’s about the difference that you hope to make when you take your spark and turn it into action.
I have spent the last year really focussed on what this all means. When people ask me what my spark is, my answer is not simple. My spark started out being the environment. When I was 9 years old I wanted to start a blog and my parents encouraged me to choose to focus on something that I was passionate about. They didn’t want me to write about what it was like being 9, what TV shows and music I liked and what I was doing at school or in karate class. They wanted me to choose something that I could learn about and share with others. I have always loved animals and I had started to make the connection between animals and the environment and I saw that the damage we were doing to the environment was damaging their homes and sometimes it was causing a whole species of animal to go extinct. That was it. My spark was the environment. I decided that I would use my blog to write about being eco-friendly and that I would learn and share and hoped that I would encourage and inspire other people to do things to help.
The thing about a spark is that one spark can lead to another and then another. Through my blog, I was finding other people who inspired me through their spark. Some of these people have become role-models for me and have encouraged me in my journey as a change-maker. I started to learn and write about other things like bullying, literacy, child labour and clean water. Now these are also sparks for me and when people ask me about my spark, I tell them that I don’t have just one anymore – it’s more like fireworks.
I hope that the story of my journey will help people to discover their spark. In my TedX talk I also talk about what to do after you find it. I’ll give you a hint – you can use it to change the world.