On Saturday afternoon, I walked into my mothers assisted living apartment and handed her my trophy. It was as if I were 10 years old, presenting my mom with my soccer or cheer-leading or baton-twirling award, but she was thrilled, as was I. It was the trophy for first place in the toastmasters speech competition in Area 22. As the winner of this level of the contest, I am qualified to compete in the Division contest on March 16.
When I told my daughter Kara that I was planning to participate in the club level of this contest last Monday, she asked me, Are you sure youre up to it? Its only been 4 weeks since your surgery. I replied that it was time for me to think about something other than my back and my mother. I was boring myself.
So, I wrote the speech a few days before, using sections of a keynote speech I had presented last spring. Then I sent it to my friend Ted Janusz, who is a professional speaker and to my friend Lynda Bragg, who is a retired speech and drama teacher. They both loved it, which was a huge boost to my self esteem, and they both had suggestions for improvement, which was a huge help in my success.
One of the things I love most about Toastmasters is that we all want each other to succeed. We are gracious winners and gracious losers, but we are all winners, as tright as that might sound, because we all grow in the experience. In the end, we are all better communicators in every aspect of life.
While I am often annoyed at my mothers attachment for things, so much so that her apartment is cluttered with them, I was glad to have the perfect spot to display my trophy. Displaying it in my living room seems ostentatious, but displaying it in my mothers seems the right thing to do. Besides, and I hope this doesnt sound presumptuous, Im holding out for the one at the Division level. Meanwhile, its practice practice practice.