TEDxNormal inspires “authenticity” for its 5th year

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NORMAL, Ill. — Authenticity was the theme of this year’s 5th annual TedxNormal event at Illinois State University.

The Ted Talk, Saturday, featured nine new speakers from all across the country speaking in front over 300 people in attendance on what makes a person, idea or experience genuinely authentic.

Kate Browne, Lead Speaker Coach for TedxNormal, said she gave a Ted Talk in 2016 and she’s proud to be back and help share the message of authenticity through new speakers with a new audience.

“That’s the message we want to share is that whatever your interpretation of authenticity is, that’s how we want to live and to maybe get some big ideas to influence your life moving forward,” Browne said.

One of this years speakers, Justin Sandler, was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. He used this experience, having a germ-cell tumor in his chest, to motive and inspire people with three simple words.

“My message is called “Embrace, Love, Free” the three steps to overcome any obstacle,” Sandler said.

Sandler said he applied these words to his life by accepting/embracing his cancer, creating a loving connecting to his tumor … even naming it “JT “Justin’s Tumor, ” and finally freeing the energy and working through the process.

He said he wants people to follow these steps and hopefully achieve the positive results that he’s experienced.

“I really want everyone to understand that if you apply the simple steps of embrace, love, free to any obstacle you face, you will go through it much better,” Sandler said. “You will achieve a much greater outcome and you will feel much better as a human being,”

Other speakers, such as Pardeep Jindal, spoke on creating precious memories in life while you still have the chance as you only have a limited number of days to make a difference.

Other Talks included supporting career-driven mothers, finding the joy in your life and even not fearing an alien invasion.

Overall, Sandler said he’s grateful for events like Ted Talks because they truly highlight his purpose in life.

“It really feels good to know that I am able to connect with them [the audience] and share this message and really help inspire their lives,” Sandler said. “It’s very fulfilling to me and it really shows that I did go through all this for a much bigger reason and that’s to help others.

Browne said they’ve been working on this year’s event since February and they’ll soon be looking for volunteers to help out for next year.

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