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“Let’s welcome Olive Wagar!”


I’ve heard those words many times during an introduction, but never before an audience of over 1,100 people! But on October 20, I stepped into the spotlight at TEDx-Dayton!


It takes courage to show up.

It takes courage to announce your dream.

It takes courage to step into the arena.


The title of Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, comes from a famous speech by Teddy Roosevelt. Here is an excerpt:

Too often we listen to the critics.

Too often we compare our worst to our friend’s best.

Too often we stay on the sidelines of life.


Don’t be a spectator.

Don’t hide in the crowd.

Don’t fall asleep with regrets.


Several months ago, I courageously filled out the TEDx-Dayton speaker application. I had never attempted this level of speaking before. I had no idea what to expect, but I was determined to meet the application deadline. I ignored the whispers that perhaps this was a bit ambitious for me. I hit “send” and congratulated myself just for applying!


A few weeks later, as I was casually scrolling through my emails, I was more than a little surprised to see an invitation to audition for TEDx-Dayton.  Yikes—now I had to deliver! I arrived more than one hour early. I was so nervous, I wasn’t sure I could even talk. But I knew I had prepared. The outcome didn’t matter.  I took a deep breath and congratulated myself just for showing up!


Over the next 12 weeks, I wrote and edited and read and revised and practiced and memorized and practiced some more. I worked with a dedicated coach who had also been a speaker. I learned insights from the encouraging comments of the members of the speaker’s committee. Together we accepted the dare—the challenge!


As I looked out into that audience on October 20, I knew I was ready. I knew I had a message worth sharing that would be a blessing to the audience. The smile on my face truly came from my heart.


I knew I was in the arena daring greatly!


We all encounter different arenas in life.

Sometimes it’s a big arena; other times it’s rather small and private.

It’s up to each one of us to summon the courage to step in.


Whatever the outcome, you will forever have the satisfaction of knowing you offered your best. You will know that you are one who lives life daring greatly.


P.S. TEDx-Dayton will release videos of all the speakers later in the year. We will be sure to share that link when it becomes available.


How are you daring greatly? I want to know! Share in the comments below. 

Olive Wagar

Author Olive Wagar

More posts by Olive Wagar

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Bettye Vrooman says:

    Congratulations! I love TEDx. You’re sooooo brave. Look forward to hearing this.
    P.s. wish your group meetings were closer to Dayton North. Vandalia, Englewood. And noonish.😁

  • Jill Annis says:

    I’m so proud of you Olive. You certainly are courageous and daring.

  • Melanie Roseberry says:

    Great job, Olive. Looking forward to seeing the video of your talk.
    So proud of you!

  • Olive says:

    It was quite an exciting experience! I was surrounded by so much support and encouragement. It was a victory even to apply.

  • Olive says:

    Thanks, Jill! It helped that I chose a topic that was especially meaningful to me–the value of sending cards. I could talk about that all day!! I knew I was speaking from my heart.

  • Olive says:

    Melanie, you know how much it means to me to send cards to encourage others. I wanted to share something simple that anyone in the audience could do. That helped me get past being nervous. Thanks for your prayers of support!!

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