I would like to compare our Toastmasters journey with that of “The Biggest Loser” TV program. The contestants have to muster a lot of courage to enter the competition. They set themselves goals to lose as much weight as they possibly can. There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into their efforts. The journey can sometimes be arduous and challenging, and they often want to give up along the way as they “crush” under the pressure. When they haven’t lost enough weight on weekly weigh-ins, they become despondent and maybe wonder whether their efforts are worth it, and whether it is all in vain. Putting ourselves in their shoes, it must be extremely embarrassing having to reveal their bodies, as well as their weight on national TV, yet they courageously put themselves out there.
Once the contestants have reached their goal weight it is so rewarding for them, and their efforts are paid off in more ways than one. The achievement gives them greater confidence and they do their loved so proud. At the end of their journey they feel fit and healthy and ready to take on the world.
So it is on our journey with Toastmasters. We have to pluck up a lot of courage to go on stage and speak in front of an audience. For some of us it is the very first time and can be daunting, as well as a real challenge. We can be our worst enemy, not giving ourselves enough praise on what others perceive to be a great achievement. Others might say “well done” after we have given our speech. In the back of our minds we are thinking “I bet they just said it to make me feel better”. We might continue putting negative thoughts in our minds that we are not good enough, and are not worthy of being part of the Parramatta Toastmasters group. Sometimes we wish the floor beneath us could swallow us up when we deliver a speech or table topic that goes wrong. We only see ourselves going backwards and feel so despondent that we want to give up. We are continuously comparing ourselves to our experienced fellow Toastmasters and can’t see ourselves ever reaching their level. We might often forget that they were where we are now. Rome was not built in a day and we have to take one baby step at a time.
As we change our attitude to one of positivity, so will our speeches improve, and our confidence will soar as we continue to grow on our Toastmasters journey. We will reach heights we never thought we could achieve. All it takes is a belief in oneself, a positive outlook and some effort, and the sky will be our limit.