Challenge #18 back in May 2016 was to ‘Be a speaker at an event’ and that event was Ignite Cardiff. My talk then detailed the challenges I had accomplished between January and May, and a brief look at the things to come. I had always had it in mind that it would be amazing to go back to Ignite once the challenges were complete, to tell the rest of the tale…

For a while, it seemed like that wouldn’t be an option, as just over a year ago the then Ignite team decided that it was time to step aside. So following Ignite Deluxe at the Wales Millennium Centre on 8th March 2017, the call went out for a new team to take over. After what to us Ignite-lovers seemed like an eternity, to my delight came the announcement earlier this year that Ignite #33 – The Relaunch would be happening on 28th March 2018. The new team would be headed by Suzanne Hoare of Pepper Jar (soon to be Captivation House) with the inimitable Lucy Cohen of Mazuma as compere. I knew I had to be there – and hopefully as a speaker – so when the call went out, I was on it!

Yes! On 9th March I received the email I wanted, saying I had been chosen to speak… Preparation began, slides were compiled, bio and photo sent, and (as last time) a vague speech outline devised ๐Ÿ™‚ And so it was that last night I was off to the Glee Club in Cardiff Bay, with a band of trusty supporters, to deliver my talk 50 Shades Braver.

To be really honest, I had had a pretty shitty day up to that point. Stuff going on with the house and with work, which had left me tired and stressed. I actually felt like getting up and being ‘inspirational’ like a hole in the head. My daughter and friends’ attempts to ‘gee me up’ weren’t working too well… and I had a bit of a miserable face on ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But when we got in to the club in time to have a pre-event drink and soak up the atmosphere, I began to thaw out. Excitement (remembering how good it felt last time I was up there); panic (wishing I’d perhaps prepped my talk just a *little* more thoroughly); and the slight pressure of knowing I was first up!

7 p.m. came round, and we were good to go. Suzanne got up to outline the concept of Ignite and to run through ‘housekeeping’, then Lucy was up warming up the audience and introducing us… me… and I was on!

A brief pre-planned joke… “If you thought 50 Shades Braver was going to be a talk about BDSM, I’m sorry but you’re going to be disappointed”… and then the slide deck started.

Exactly as last time, I don’t know where those 5 minutes went. It felt like no sooner had I started than I was almost at the end! Laughs at the skinny dipping story, applause for Giving Blood, murmurs of understanding as I described the inner dialogues that accompanied Pay for Someone’s Shopping… I didn’t stumble or dry up, and I actually think that for me ‘winging it’ slightly is the way I talk best, as it allows me to respond to the audience and to follow my gut in deciding what to say, when to say it and when to move on. As I read out the ‘mantra’ on the final slide (which is the one I published in January 2017) I felt a real sense of earnestly encouraging the audience to get out there and do stuff… to be brave… to change their lives like I had – one adventure at a time.

Going first allowed me to relax and enjoy the talks of the other speakers – I especially liked Joseph talking about how we need to allow ourselves to fail; Aled talking about the emotional and mental health of men; and the inspirational Rory Coleman talking about the 1000+ marathons he has run in the last 23 years. Wow. In fact everyone was fabulous ๐Ÿ™‚ I also loved the fact that my ‘call for help’ with challenges as yet undone was answered by a couple of people who have contacts or are themselves able to help me – watch this space for the blogs!

All in all another amazing experience. I love the concept of Ignite and I love the feeling of being up there on stage. Thank you for having me back.




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