This is a two-part blog series offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse of my TedX experience. You can watch my full TedX video at the bottom of this blog post.

I was asked some very pointed questions after my TEDx talk.  “Did you get liability insurance for breaking a glass vase on the stage?” “What would you have done if a sharp piece of glass got in the eye of someone sitting at the front row especially since you broke it at their eye level?” “How did you protect yourself from the being injured when you broke the vase?”

I love these questions and I am sure you have similar ones too. I am writing this post to share a little secret with you. The vase was not made of glass, instead it was made of a special type of plastic material that is used in Hollywood movies. It breaks easily, the pieces are not sharp, and it makes the loudest sound when it hits the floor. In movies, when you see actors jumping out of the window or smashing a beer bottle on someone’s head, the material is not made of real glass even though it looks like it.

I learned about this trick by chance while I was preparing for my talk. Initially, I was ready to break a real glass vase on the stage, and I was looking for the biggest one possible in order to make my point in a dramatic way. However, to reduce the risk, I was planning to throw it behind me while referring to the past experiences as behind me too. In addition to the liability issue, there was also a big risk of the glass vase not breaking when it hit the floor, which certainly would not have helped with the message that I was trying to deliver. Instead it would’ve turned out to be a joke.

Another secret to share is that these vases are fun to break. I bought four of them for my TEDx talk and enjoyed breaking each one while practicing. I love giving this talk again and again to keep breaking these vases.

After the event I met a lady who was sitting at the front row of the TEDx event, and when I broke my vase, a shard bounced into her lap. Here is the actual picture that she took. To her this piece represented a sign that she needed to break her own limitations too, and that gave her the motivation to do that. I love it!

For the 400 TEDx attendees and for every participant in my workshops, I leave them with a broken glass and a message that says “Remember to break through your limitations.” It is intended to serve as a reminder that they too can break their vases.

What vase are you living with?


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