Today I am excited to Welcome Kylie Dunn to the TWH Sisterhood! Kylie is an author, maker, facilitator, speaker and experimenter. She has recently self-published the book Do Share Inspire: The Year I Changed My Life Through TED Talks (check out the book here, it’s worth the read!). If you are a regular reader of TWH then you will know that I love a good TED Talk and Kylie’s is one of my new favourites!
Kylie’s inspirational message is simple – how does an ordinary person take back ownership of their life, and dreams. Read more in our catch up below…
Welcome to the TWH Sisterhood! Tell us a bit about yourself…
Well, I’m a 43 year old woman who lives in the Huon Valley, Tasmania with my partner of 12 years, Derek, and our crazy fur child, Lily. I’ve had a varied career which started with administrative roles; then I became a RAAF Officer when I was 27 years-old; and worked in various government departments in information management for seven years after the air force. Now, I’m an author, facilitator, writer, maker; helping businesses and people in a range of subject areas.
You have recently self-published Do Share Inspire: The Year I Changed My Life Through TED Talks, can you tell us a little more about this book?
This book is the blog of My Year of TED – My Year of TED was a crazy experiment I conducted from Nov 2011-Oct 2012, where I took 54 TED Talks, turned them in 21 30-day activities, and set about changing my life. During the year I blogged about the entire experience, which was a massive exercise in vulnerability – I’m a recovering perfectionist, so sharing the highs and lows of that experience was very difficult.
The book is a collection of most of the blog posts, so I can share the entire experience outside the blog medium – which is quite limiting as an ‘after the fact’ resource. It includes a number of blog posts subsequent to My Year of TED as well, these outline the broader impact the experience had on my life, including giving my own TED Talk in Hobart in early 2014.
I’ve been inspired by TED Talks for years, and felt the urge to do something noteworthy and challenging to ring in my fortieth year on the planet. Inspiration struck when I watched Matt Cutts’ talk, “Try something new for 30 days.” Something in this talk reminded me of A.J. Jacobs’ “My Year of Living Biblically” — and the seed was sown. I decided to develop a list of new-to-me activities based on TED Talks, and to try each one of them in my life for 30 days.
I LOVE ted talks! Can you share your three favourites?
This is like asking a parent to pick their favourite child and the answer depends entirely on my mood and the messages I’m connected to at the moment.
Having said that, there are two that I would include in any list:
- Brene Brown’s first TED Talk on vulnerability would definitely be in the list – this is a complete game changer.
- Susan Cain’s talk on the power of introverts is something I believe everyone should have to watch – for introverts to understand they aren’t broken, and for extroverts to understand that they need to stop trying to ‘fix’ us.
- The third, would depend on the topic, but I think there is a lot of societal value in Barry Schwartz’s talk on practical wisdom – this is an adjustment that I think is well overdue in our over-governed work environments.
What challenges have you faced in your career as an author, maker, facilitator, speaker and experimenter and how have they shaped you as a person today?
There have been so many challenges since I started My Year of TED and changed my career path. I’ve had to learn about how to start and conduct an online business; the ins-and-outs of self-publishing; how to comfortably promote and market myself, I still don’t so this as well as I should; and a range of other skills that go along with all of these tasks.
I think that the main challenge is to continue to believe in myself; to be brave enough to trust that I can do all of these crazy new tasks I have to do; and to embrace the fear that comes along with having a more creative career.
The mindset shifts required for me to stay courageous and trust myself have been huge, and they still falter at times. But they have changed my life in very real ways. I’m far better at asking for help and support; I do not allow fear to stop me from taking on tasks; and I have surrounded myself with wonderful people who make this all a little easier.
What has been the most rewarding thing that has come from taking the leap in 2011 and starting the year of TED?
The most rewarding thing, that’s such a hard one to answer. I love that I now understand my why and what I want to give the world; that I now know my own voice, and I’m prepared to use it; that I am a more conscious decision maker and own my choices now. But I think the most rewarding thing is the compassion and connection.
As an atrocious perfectionist, I found it difficult to really connect with other people, and I struggled through a nasty bitch of an internal critic as well. Through 30 days of Vulnerability, and a range of other activities along the way, I finally learned the skill of self-compassion; and through the entire experience I have been able to drop the perfectionist façade.
What is it that you love most about your career?
I love that I get to help other people understand ideas, and connect with them in a way that can change their lives for the better. Whether this is through sharing my experience in a blog post; conducting a training session on tangible work skills; through my books; talking to audiences about my experiences; or one-on-one – that ability to impact other people’s lives in real ways by helping them understand is what I’m here for.
What advice would you give to young women who are wanting to figure out exactly what they were born to do?
The first step you need to take is to stop the FEEL – Fear, Envy, Expectations and Lack of knowing. You need to understand that this is not an intellectual activity, you are going to need to dive deep and think about what really makes you happy. It should be scary, if it isn’t scary then you aren’t committed to making the changes, when you work it out – be brave, you don’t need to turn your life on its head overnight.
Lastly, you might be a multipotentialite – there might not be one thing that will make your heart sing, but there is bound to be something about all the things that is a pattern you should examine.
Today I will be brave, even when I think I can’t.