Voice, and wisdom

Sarah Kay, spoken-word poet and founder of project V.O.I.C.E. (and all of 22 years old), rocked the house at TED last night.  Sarah’s powerful poems are open, honest, vulnerable and beautiful…and man I wish I’d had her wisdom and creative guts when I was 22 years old.

When she’s not on stage, Sarah works with young kids to find their own voice through spoken word poetry.  She’s helped countless kids find their voice when they thought, over and over again, that they had nothing to say.

Reflecting on the path of finding her voice (a path she began walking at the tender age of 14), Sarah shared three excruciatingly simple steps (that I’ve paraphrased) that everyone can learn from:

STEP 1:   “I can.”

STEP 2:   “I will.”

STEP 3:   “I will write about what I know to be true, and write so that I can understand things that I do not yet understand.”

All three of these steps are decisions that Sarah made and that you can make too.  What’s stopping you?

One other reflection:

Step 1 and Step 2 are point in time decisions.  Step 3 goes on forever – it is the process of discovery, the process of continuing to explore the boundaries of what you know and what you hope to understand.  It is the daily re-commitment to do the work, to practice your art, to move forward, to find the cusp of what you do and don’t know.

Step 3 is the hard part, the part with a dip, the part that slowly, over time, transforms you and transforms how you interact with the world.

(This video of Sarah is from Def Poetry Jam in 2007…and she keeps getting better.  Look out for the post of her talk coming soon on TED.com)

UPDATE: her TED talk posted below.  Rocked my world.