The first few minutes of any new event, experience or happening in our lives can be some of the most exciting, anxiety-filled and possibly scary moments we’ll know. Yet, at the same time, the unknown can also lead to some of the most memorable and life-changing adventures we’ll ever have.
That’s why we take extra care in preparing the BolderLife Festival each year, including the opening gala. To help us kick off this year’s Festival, we’ve teamed up with some bold, brave and exhilarating people, including Ash Beckham, the featured speaker of our opening gala. [To learn more about the opening and closing galas and to purchase tickets >>>>]
1. What are some of the best/most inspiring/hopeful things you’ve experienced/witnessed lately?
Ash Beckham: I think those things are everywhere if that’s what you want to see in the world. Obviously, big things like the recent SCOTUS decision to not hear appeals of overturned marriage bans and the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai are incredibly inspiring.
I’ve also seen acts that get less attention, like high school students sharing their stories of being bullied and overcoming that; then to not only thrive, but to stand up for others. Or small acts of kindness like holding a door for a stranger or giving up your seat for someone else. The kindness others display every day makes me strive to be a greater contributor to society.
2. In many of your presentations that we’ve viewed, you share the critical message of “Say what you mean, mean what you say, because the words that you choose mater.” With that in mind, what are some of your favorite words and why?
AB: It is so contextual. The word that drives me most is freedom. Freedom to live and love fully. I also like words like dream and persevere. Intention and consciousness. Compassion, empathy and forgiveness. I also like to differentiate between words that can be confusing. It prompts me distinguish the two, and consciously decide which I want to be.
I want to be righteous but never self-righteous.
I would rather have courage than strength.
I also like to see two words that seemingly contradict one another be used together. I want to have grace in my intensity. Serenity in my ferocity.
3. What brought you to the place you are in your life today, speaking to people across the country and around the globe (as demonstrated by the millions of views your TEDx talk has received)?
AB: Short answer (and a little “woo-woo”): My human experience. We all walk a different path to get to where we are, and where we are is exactly where we are supposed to be. We all have a story to share. We have all traveled different paths. What unites us as humans is not that we all share a similar human experience; it’s that we all have a human experience to share. I’m just telling stories of my life up to this point.
Long answer: The unconditional support of my given family and chosen family. All of this started because I believed what I had to share was worth saying. The role both of those families play in me believing in myself is immeasurable. That also extends to the new community I feel a part of via social media and through live talks. For me and for many, there is nothing scarier than sharing your own story. When you do, you don’t want to hear that you are right. You want someone to say “Wow, me too!” For me, few things reinforce the belief that sharing my story makes a difference, more than feeling like I am not alone.
View a clip of Ash speaking at an event in 2013:
4. We are honored and ecstatic to have you join us this year. What does it mean to you to be participating in the 2014 BolderLife Festival? What do you hope people come away with after hearing your presentation?
AB: It is an incredible honor. I attended the event when it was in Boulder, and it stretched me and hugged me at the same time. I always want more of that in my life. I am humbled by the opportunity to live up to that standard.
I would like the attendees to walk away from my talk (and the event in general) with an inspired smirk, knowing that the world will be a better place if they share their story. The scope and the medium are insignificant compared to the impact that their story will have on the world. Please note I say WILL have not MIGHT have.
When we share our human experiences, our celebrations as well as our challenges, we impact others. It is inevitable. It might be millions of people, and it might be one. But that change creates a better world.”
5. If you could create the most perfect day possible, what would it involve?
AB: There are probably not enough hours in the day. I’d wake up with my amazing girlfriend, go on a quick solo morning run on a mountain trail or take a challenging yoga class with either of my favorite teachers. After that, I would want to share it with the people I love. My given and chosen family. The perfect part would be getting them all to Boulder. We would play, eat, drink and just enjoy each other. Retelling the stories we have told a thousand times that make us double-over in belly aching laughter. Sometimes crying at the emotion of it all. But mostly we, would just laugh.
I cannot overstate the gratitude I feel about receiving snippets of that in my life nearly every day. The challenge would just be getting all the people I love in the same backyard.
6. When you’re not on the road, speaking to groups, what do you enjoy doing?
AB: Attempting to get as close as I can to achieving the day described above!
“When we share our human experiences, our celebrations as well as our challenges, we impact others. It is inevitable. It might be millions of people, and it might be one. But that change creates a better world.”
7. If you could share two important things with your younger self, what would they be?
AB: I think I would want to give myself an earful, but I hope I would restrain since the wisdom that comes from age is only a result of making it through the challenges in your life.
First, I would tell myself to have more patience. I’m actually telling my 41-year-old self that every day. But to the younger me I’d say, to have more patience too — with myself and with others. Life is not a race. You have nowhere to get to — just be.
The second thing would be to believe my parents when they said I could be anything I wanted to be. To that I said, “Well, what if I don’t know what I want to be yet.” To which they said, “That’s not the point. Just know whatever it is, you can do it. We believe in you but you have to believe in yourself.”
Now you know a little more about Ash, so joining us for the BolderLife Festival Opening Gala in-person or via our live streaming coverage, can be all about discovering and celebrating your boldness, and less about being anxious about the unknown.
Tickets for the BolderLife Festival are available now for individual programs/films/events, as well as group packages and an all-access VIP pass for the Festival. We invite you to get your tickets now to make sure you can enjoy all the Festival events you want to.
Options for purchasing tickets:
• Order online directly, at our ticket page >>>
• Call the BolderLife office at 303-818-4645
• Stop in at the BolderLife office 2827 Umatilla Street, Denver, CO.