Only one team gets the glory involved with winning a championship. Everyone else leaves with a little disappointment. Saturday I got to taste defeat. And I am OK with it.
The contest was fun. I got to meet so many amazing people that love toastmasters as much as I do. The conference portion of the weekend was great. I heard great speakers and went to some great workshops. But the reason I went was to compete. I had made peace with myself on the ride up and decided that success would not be measured by a trophy but instead by “how it felt”.
One of the most useful skills I have acquired in this process is the ability to take input and feedback, sift through it all, and apply my own style and substance to it. This last two weeks I have had evaluations from some very experienced toastmasters, speakers, and writers. I obviously couldn’t do everything they suggested but I found things that I felt made the speech better and put them to work. At the end of the day, I loved the finished product. It was 100% me.
2. The competition was great.
There were so many great speeches on Saturday. I knew coming into the event that the talent level would be high. My fellow speakers did not disappoint. I was falling down laughing as well as feeling emotions in my heart as they crafted stories about job loss, achieving your dreams, and impacting peoples lives. It was artistic and funny and dramatic.
3. The audience liked it.
At the end of the day, the speech was not for the judges it was for the crowd. I could see in the faces of the people as they laughed and nodded that they “got it”. I know that I didn’t do some “winning” tactics and techniques but that was OK because I stopped trying to win a week earlier and focused on telling a great story and making it connect with an audience.
4. It wasn’t my time.
I don’t know if I will ever do a contest again. It was mentally exhausting working on this speech. I learned so much during this time and my future has been changed because of it. But it just wasn’t my time to take that next step. This clears the next 7 weeks of my life to DO my life and to take what I have learned and apply it in other areas.
5. I did pretty good.
Even in loosing this contest, I’m in the top 1% of 1% of 1% in a club for people who speak. I know that if I could have gone 8th instead of 1st or if Seaver’s voice recording would have played it could have changed the outcome, but the right person won and I would still be walking away with my head held high.
So contest season is over, now what? I have my coaching hat on again for football. I have some opportunities that are starting to present themselves to me. I have a level of confidence that I did not have last January. I have my faith, family, health, and friends.
End chapter one
Chapter two: The best is yet to come!