Surround Yourself with Growing People

I don’t mean babies or adolescents that are growing but I am referring to people – young and old – who are in constant pursuit of growth. You and I need to surround ourselves with people who are continuously improving themselves, those who want to always become better, those who want to be the best version of themselves. Because we become what we are exposed to!

I am blessed to be surrounded by those people. In Toastmasters alone, which I call my public speaking circle, I am astoundingly blessed with the quality of people I get to interact with on a regular basis.

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In my home club, Pines City Toastmasters Club (meeting every 1st, 3rd and 5th Fridays of the month at McDonal’s Insular), members from different fields like the academe, government, and corporate sectors come together to grow and to support others who are growing their skills in the area of communication and leadership. Similar thing happens in other clubs like Synergy in STI Baguio, BEZT in Pop & Mac Café, and Funshine also in McDo Insular.

As a person who wants to keep on enhancing his communication skills, I am intentional in attending Toastmasters meetings, conferences and contests.

Last March 4, I joined and won 1st Place in the Division G International Speech Contest. Thus, I will be representing the Division in the District (National) Level come April in Davao City where I will be competing against other champion speakers from 10 other divisions across the Philippines. I am excited to share the contest stage with these remarkable individuals who also want to share their messages to the world. The growing people who surround me increases in the contest alone.

On a side note, let me mention this: What most people often see is only the trophy of the champions. What is not commonly noticed is the months and years of skills training and the essential character development that begins right when they start joining the organization (wait, right after they were born), interacting with people, delivering speeches to small audiences, competing in smaller areas, losing contests, and yet still emerge as winners because of the lessons learned until they, in due time, win the title. As for me, I have been winning and losing contests in the past. But either way, I consider myself a winner because I get to grow in competencies and character. What’s even more beautiful is you get to meet and know other people better and deeper – your fellow contestants, your mentors, and your supporters, you audience and many others.

In this speech contest journey that I am in this year, I am particularly thankful for the individuals around me who are so eager to grow and support me grow as well.

From my home club (Pines City Toastmasters Club), I want to thank all the members and in a special way the following: Distinguished Toastmasters Virgil and Beng Garcia for the leadership and mentorship, TM Daryl Ponard who also models continuous growth and generosity in helping others, TM Ronald Valdez and Marcelyn Paquitol for the support and also representing the club and the area well in the division (Ms. Paquitol won 3rd place in the Table Topics/Impromptu Speech Contest).

From Synergy Toastmasters Club, I want to thank TM Jamie Yaneza for modelling excellence and for being so kind and helpful in assisting us/other members pursue their goals (Ms. Yaneza won 1st Place in the District 75/National Evaluation Speech Contest last year.), TM Jesse Bestre who displays humility and courage in accepting the challenge in joining the contest while demonstrating very good skills as well, and TM Lois Belingon who maintains youthful energy and grounded drive to do what he is meant to do (Mr. Belingon won 2nd Place in this year’s Division G Table Topics/Impromptu Speech Contest).

From Passion in Action Toastmasters Club, I want to thank TM Czar Abenoja and TM Norielle Tanan for bringing in insightful and inspiring speeches on the contest stage (Ms. Abenoja won 2nd Place in the Division G International Speech Contest.), TM Reuben Aslor for the unceasing quest to level up (Mr. Aslor won 1st Place in the Division G Table Topics/Impromptu Speech Contest. )

From BAVI North Luzon Toastmasters Club, I want to thank TM Jocelle Elardo who also accepted the challenge, being the first member in their club to join the contest and winning 3rd Place in the Division G International Speech Contest.

These individuals are just some of the people around me who continue to grow. And because of what they are and what they do, I sustain my energy and excitement to excel. I stay connected to my story of growth. I stay in touch with my passion and pursue the path of progress in this field. As people around you support you, they also encourage you and share concrete ways to reach the goals you ought to achieve.

You and I are meant to do that – to achieve the goals we ought to achieve, to pursue excellence in our own ways. And one of the ways to be able to do so is to start surrounding ourselves with growing people.

My friend, are you surrounded by growing people?

I am thankful that I am. I hope you are, too. In case you need more growing people in your life, you can do something about it today. There are many ways. One of which is by joining Toastmasters. To know more about our club, visit


Be your best,

Chris Dao0anis

(Chris Dao-anis, CPA, DTM – as an author, trainer and speaker – shares about communication, leadership, productivity, high performance and personal finance. For talks and trainings, visit or email

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