And down the stretch he comes!
This amazing journey started back on January 6 when I was asked to participate in our club’s International Speech Contest. I had missed out on the opportunity to participate in 2008 because I had just started a new job and wasn’t available to compete but luckily for me I lost my job on January 8 and had plenty of time to work on a speech. For the last four months I have been practicing, rewriting, and editing my speech, “Family Picture”.
This Saturday night I get the pleasure of competing in the District 14 Toastmasters International Speech Contest. I am only two steps away from the finals and I have already accomplished my personal goal I set when I started of making it to the district level; but now that I am here…
I love my speech. I have tinkered with it endlessly and on a few occasions have completely torn it apart but in these final days I can say I am happy with my work. It is a story about me, my childhood, and the life I have now in spite of a complicated past. There are some laughs and some sad moments; there is audience participation and there is what I hope to be a few “wow” moments. It has truly been a labor of love and I have gotten out of this process way more than I ever thought I would.
I know that there will be nine other competitors on Saturday that love their speeches. They are probably working just as hard as I have to prepare for the contest and they have as much right to the trophy as I do. I also know that they are nervous and worried that their speeches just won’t translate to the judges or the audience or that they freeze on stage. As much as this is a contest, for me, it is more of a look into my life. I have seen so many different jobs and so many different situations and so many different processes that have all lead me to this point today.
In my speech I talk about challenging yourself to live each moment as if its being captured in a family picture. The statement simply means that we must not waste any moments, ever. I have an opportunity this week to make what could be a life altering moment and I get that moment regardless of the outcome of the contest. I will get to speak in front of one of the largest crowds of my life and a situation where several professionals will be able to hear me and I will get the opportunity to interact with amazing platform performers; it is a great moment waiting to happen.
I really want to win. And I will be disappointed if I don’t. But I will not be broken and it won’t kill my dreams. And the reality is that one of the residual benefits of this speech is really being able to see how lucky I am and how amazing my family is and how special my days are with them. That’s the whole point to the speech and in reality that’s the whole point of my life.