The Ignite Carroll season is upon us for the eleventh time. The unique concept of the Ignite talk gives speakers 5 minutes to deliver a presentation of 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds. It’s an endeavor that challenges speakers new and experienced, pushing ideas into a format that distills them to their most pertinent and powerful parts.

This is the second year I’ll be helping to organize it; it’s the first I’ll be applying to present. I write this to “speak” it into action because, in truth, I still sit slightly dissuaded from taking the stage, wondering:

Is this opportunity right for me? Is this the right time? Do I have something worth saying? Will people want to hear it?

I can hurl myself into answering these questions for days, weeks, months… there are few limits to the creativity of thought, especially when it pertains to how I, and others, will define me and my choices. But the most important part to answering them comes at the very end, when the answer begs the next question: “…And?”

And, what will I decided to do next, in spite of or because of this information? And, what if I still have one good reason to do it? And, what if I will learn some unrealized lesson from this, one I haven’t imagined yet? And, does this reason really matter?

Some of the biggest “and…” extensions come right from Ignite. The Ignite concept is meant for people to share something they are passionate about. The beauty of this simplicity is, everyone has at least one passion – the idea that hums throughout your life or fires you up, the project you pursue every week, the concept that you persistently explore. The Ignite stage is the platform to share these perspectives and experiences. So, if you can follow up your excuse with:

  • And, I care deeply about this
  • And, I believe someone should hear this
  • And, my community needs to know about this

then, Ignite is right for you – and maybe for me, too.

Diana Flores, founder of ConectandUs, felt the call to present and took the Ignite stage for the first time at 18 years old. “Honestly, for me it just felt like I needed to do it because I wanted people to know they aren’t alone in their struggles but also to start the conversation in a meaningful way.”

Although the call appears clear, Flores was not without her own internal battle, “Being vulnerable in that way was a such a difficult step to take but there was just something inside me telling me that someone out there needed to hear my story so that they could know that they weren’t alone.”

Like with most hard things, there’s a million reasons to not do it. But there is one solid reason to do it: because you can. If you have an idea and a desire, it might be your time to apply to Ignite.

After submitting your idea and being accepted into the cohort of Ignite Carroll 11 speakers, there will be many opportunities to receive coaching on your Ignite presentation and guidance from past Ignite speakers. Although you will be taking the stage solo, you will never be alone. There is an Ignite community behind the stage and in the audience to support you, as well as Ignite headquarters and your Ignite talk coaches in the wings.

Will you Ignite the night?

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