About a week ago, I was informed I would be moving on to the next round of the Toastmasters Evaluation contest. I had entered at the club level, placed second, and was done. Two days before the Area contest, I got an email from the first place winner that he was unable to go. It would be up to me to represent the club.
Except I wasn’t sure if I would. This was the busiest time for me, hands down. I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely thrilled about the short notice either. In the end, I took a deep breath and decided to go. Whatever happened, happened.
That night there were a lot of congratulations from audience members. That night I went home with the fancy blue certificate, and stared at it for a long time before I took a picture. As social media has become a bit of my online diary, I posted it. I fully expected the picture to get a few likes, get lost in the shuffle, and I’ll be able to see the picture again in a few years when the picture shows up again in the memories section.
Except the picture got likes and congratulations comments. An insane amount. Not just from Toastmasters, but from old classmates, old friends, and generally those that had no (known) association with TM. At first I was a bit embarrassed because the contest didn’t feel like that big of a deal, and I was essentially showing off a piece of paper with my name written in block letters in permanent marker.
Except I was proud of my achievement. Not only did I stretch out of my comfort zone, but I also felt like I went full circle. The very first contest I entered as a Toastmaster was the Evaluation, and I never got past the club level. After winning the Area Contest (granted only because the first place winner stepped aside and allowed me to represent), it felt like I had made progress. And it really warmed my heart to see so many people congratulated and helped celebrate my progress. Somehow it showed me a lot of the people I know are extremely warm and supportive, and they seemed to genuinely care, no matter how small the achievement was.
I think it makes me the lucky one.