You have gone far and you can go even further. That’s a fact.
“But I haven’t gone somewhere yet?” you may ask.
Well, you have. It’s just that you haven’t realized it yet. Your age alone proves that. Think about it.
In my case, there seems to be a lot going on. And with this, there seems to be a lot of challenges, difficulties, and obstacles coming in. Even more distractions get their way in.
But that’s part of it. It has always been.
My first point is this: You can jump over those obstacles – just like you did in the past that brought you to where you are right now.
Recall those victories you had in the past. Recall also those hindrances you had to get through to achieve your goal. If you look back, you will realize have done great things.
You have gone this far.
The second point is this: You can go even further.
As some of you may know, I am a Toastmaster. And a major part of being a Toastmaster is to complete series of projects that aim to take your communication and leadership skills from the present level to the next one – from Level 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 and more…
Last Saturday, I delivered my tenth speech project in the advanced series that I was working on. And the tenth one marks my graduation – that means I now have the norm – Advanced Communicator Silver. For the non-Toastmasters, just think of it like a Grade 3 Certificate of Completion in elementary. Pardon my comparison – I don’t think they issue that in schools. But you get the idea, right?
Some Toastmasters say, “That was quick.”
Yes, it was. But it also seems slow. It depends. In the end, it is you who defines your pace.
I joined in mid-2010. From there, I delivered one speech to another. But in September of the same year, I did not
renew my membership because of the tough demands at work. We were working almost-24/7 during those months because of a special client in a special project. No kidding!
On the other hand, in November of that year, I lost my dad.
December came and the New Year followed.
In January 2011, I decided to go back to Baguio. So I quit my job in Makati.
But my plan did not go as what I thought. I wasn’t able to get the job up there.
So I went back to Makati, got a job that I had to quit after five weeks even if I was commended with what I was doing. (The details will be in another story.)
April came with the heat of the summer. While I was discerning and preparing for the next step, I rejoined Toastmasters.
I went onto delivering my speech projects.
The month of May jumped in and I also jumped onto my new job.
The start was good but it turned tougher and tougher. On the other hand, I just pressed on in my Toastmasters journey.
I then got my first norm or certificate, then the second one, and now the third one. Thanks to our VP Education Volts Victoria who is also my Toastmaster mentor who keeps on reminding, “Deliver your next speech project next meeting.” One time, he surprised with a text message: “Two speakers cancelled. Can you have your speech on Project Number 2 tonight?” And I was like a stupid saying, “Sure.” It’s good that he does not just surprise but also give tips.
I also thank all those who have been my evaluators for giving me valuable feedback on how I can improve. They also never fail to point out the good thing amidst the flaws. And they don’t even call those flaws as “flaws” – they call them areas for improvement and they mean it by giving specific suggestions on how to make my speech a better one.
Those helped me through and made it this fast, or rather this pace. Well, it is not about speed. But it is about the progress you make with the effort that you gave.
If you ask me how I did it? It is this…
Caution: You may not hear this so often –
I delivered even if it is not finished!
I can hear some objections. Let me clarify…
Let me rephrase it: I deliver even if it is not perfect. Because it will never be perfect.
I agree that projects have to be prepared well. You write the first draft, edit it, rewrite, reedit, and finalize. You may even have a lot of revisions before you craft the masterpiece. And in the end, you cannot even call it a masterpiece because you haven’t reached what you were visualizing when you were planning it.
So you are a bit disappointed.
But when you step back and take another look at it, you realize that it may not have been perfect but it turned out to be a masterpiece. I won’t explain how you can reconcile those two, but it is!
In my case, there were a lot of speech projects that I delivered that I thought I shouldn’t have delivered on those days that I did. I thought I should have prepared further. I thought I should have rewritten it. I thought I should have practiced more. I thought I should have said this. I thought I should have done that.
But I also thought that I had to deliver on those dates.
Yes, as Toastmasters, we are advised to prepare our projects at its best. In fact, one line in the Toastmaster’s promise states, “…to prepare all of my speech and leadership projects to the best of my ability…”
This promise is tough! Note: to the best of your ability.
Here’s my personal interpretation: Prepare it to the best of your ability with the midget and minuscule time that you have. You won’t always get the best that you first planned as it should be. But you can always create the best out of what you can amidst all the odds that come around.
All of us are not living for Toastmasters alone. In fact, we are in Toastmasters because we want to improve outside Toastmasters – in our jobs, businesses, communities, families, relationships.
In this purview, you cannot separate it and say, “When I have time for this…”
Yes, you may at times have to render overtime at work because of a pressing deliverable you have to finish. You have to meet clients left and right. You have to attend a conference that matters to you. You have to do this and that. But you also have to deliver your speech project in Toastmasters.
There were a couple of times that I wanted to cancel delivering my speeches because I thought I wasn’t prepared. I even thought of delaying my graduation speech last Saturday.
Imagine, I had to finish a lot of stuff at work last week. Then Saturday morning, I had to finalize the draft I wrote some nights ago. I even have not practiced it because I had to meet some friends at the Philippine International Convention Center to attend a conference called Real Love Revolution, and this was a must-attend conference for me and for all the other young ones out there.
Imagine the pressure – I was to deliver a speech at a special event (anniversary celebration) of our club in the presence of guests from other clubs. Not only that – the project includes the objective to make them laugh. I may deliver some short lines in an impromptu setting but to make them laugh – that was like mission impossible on my part.
While waiting for the conference to start, I even thought of texting our VP Ed Volts to cancel my speech. I grabbed by cellphone. I pressed the key. Thank God! Instead of texting, I set it in silent mode. And from worrying of my speech, I changed my mood to being an expectant attendee in that conference. The speaker rolled in. Then they rolled out as I brought home the message.
At 5:30pm, we headed to our Toastmasters event.
And you guessed it. I did the speech! As expected, it wasn’t flawless. But I was able to deliver it, made them laugh, and conveyed my message.
If you were there, you knew it wasn’t perfect. I even went overtime because I had to do some adlib and had an unnecessary pause because I was lost somewhere. But then I got back and finished the speech.
Inside and outside of the organizations that you are in – and in life in general – there will be a lot of times that you think you are not ready. There will be times that you seem to be waiting for something before you want to act on your thing. There will be times that the perfect time has not yet come. And this happens to me most of the time.
But often times, those are the times that you have to deliver. Those are the times that you have to make the most of what you have with the limited time and resources you have at the moment. Those are the times that you have to say, “This is not perfect but it is a masterpiece.”
Yes, there will be times that you may have to cancel. There are those valid times. But most often than not, we make cancellations because of excuses rather than of valid reasons.
So stop delaying. Make things happen. Start now. And deliver.
With it, you will go even further. There’s more that you can achieve. There’s more than you can imagine.
Live your life, young mind!
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