All solutions and answers based on the efforts that you have put in. These are the rewards for studying for a test, preparing for a race, or working on an assignment. As Americans, though, we really want the prize.
When our neighbor gets a new TV, we are happy but secretly jealous.
When your rival wins the game, you respect it but secretly feel like you gave it away
We want the reward and sometimes we forget about the work that it took to even be considered for the reward.
In the last week I have given three speeches. I have never given that many different speeches ever. From everything I have read and everything I have heard, this is how it all starts. But I want the reward; and I wouldn’t mind having it now. I want someone to “hire” me rather than “invite” me to do a speech. But then I stop and think about the speeches and see why I have to walk through the valley in order to reach the summit.
I was asked to speak in honor of my high school band director. He was more than a teacher to me and was really a father figure and a huge influence on my life. I was honored to be invited and even more honored to be asked to speak. I had never been asked to do something like this and it was hard. Talking about someone you really care about challenges your abilities as a speaker to maintain control but still show the emotions you feel. The first few drafts of the speech were soaked in tears, I just couldn’t deliver it. I asked some advice from another speaker and he helped me tremendously. In the end, the speech went off well. I was a little too loud on my top end volume but it was funny, people enjoyed it, and it honored my friend.
This was a toastmasters club speech. This is also the first speech I have given in 2009 that wasn’t in preparation for a contest. I had to dig deep to even find a manual I could work from. Because I had spent time working on speech 1, I was late in preparing for speech 2. I found myself stuck between speeches that were too difficult to prepare for and projects I really didn’t want to do (I thought about just delivering speech 1, but I wanted a challenge). I eventually ended up working from the entertaining speaker manual and doing project 3 “Make them laugh”. Most of my speeches have elements of humor in them, but when being forced to be funny it is quite a challenge. I ended up crafting a speech about the church I grew up in and some of the silly things that I saw as a child. It required me to be very vivid in my descriptions without running through all the details too fast. It also required me to take some risks of being a little edgy without offending anyone. The end result was funny. It really felt good to achieve my task and at the end of the speech I made sure to leave them with something to chew on other than just jokes.
I have been asked to participate in a speakers group to promote the school district that my son is in and the district that I grew up in. Yet again another great honor. We will get to be out in the community and give highlights of our childhood and let people know about the good things that are going on in the community. For this week, the districts PR director wanted to see what we were going to say. I really didn’t prepare much for this at all. I had made some notes and thought about some stories I wanted to share, but I had gone through it only a couple of times a few weeks prior. My fellow speakers were very prepared and had typewritten and well organized presentations. I had a story about my son saying the “F” word and playing off that one incident. One thing I have found over the last three years is that all my speeches have a lot of emotion. This was no different. In an audience of three I could see the tears developing and the smiles immediately after. I again walked the edge with some of my content, but I’m learning that is my style. I have to challenge your thinking and maybe even make you worry about where I’m going before I give you the reward. It was also good to be able to speak to people that had never heard me speak and still be able to connect with them.
So of course I hope that I have an email in my inbox right now asking me to come speak at someone’s conference and asking what my fee is. But I didn’t join toastmasters and I don’t like speaking just because one day I may make a living at it. I like that process of putting together a speech. I like practicing it in my living room in front of my dogs. I like the fact that my son comes around the corner to see what I’m talking about. I like looking into people’s eyes and knowing that they understand. It is all those things and more. At some point I’ll get paid (or at least I hope so) but that won’t add or subtract from the joy that I feel in doing the one thing that I do best.