Almost a Champ Again

Some memories feel like a dream: just over 1.5 months have passed since the District 21 Fall Conference in Parksville. A part of my mind still asks “did that really happen?” In truth, it almost didn’t happen.

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Teamwork and Leadership

For the past few months in Toastmasters, I have been crossing off bucket-list items. One item is to complete my Competent Leadership (CL) manual. (Yes, I still don’t have my CL award. Imagine that.)

To obtain my CL, I would have to chair a speech contest. It still took a mentor giving me a very strong nudge before I contacted the VP of Ed to sign up to chair my club’s Humorous and Table Topics contest. He responded within the hour: congratulations, I was contest chair!

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Power of the Positive

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.

I won.

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Freckles grow at dawn: What the game of Telephone taught me about communication

One June afternoon in the sixth grade, the teacher decided to play Telephone. For those not in the know, Telephone is a game where one person (the teacher in this case) thinks of an initial sentence, and the sentence is passed from person to person until the last person says it out loud. Often times the resulting sentence will be quite different from the initial one. Almost twenty years later, here are three things Telephone taught me about communication.

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Letting Go, The Only Way

I’m standing on a platform high in the air, at the edge of a forested valley; the tops of the trees are (by my estimate) several hundred feet below me. As I’m trying to erase that frightful picture from my head, a voice behind me pipes up:

“Alright, I want you to let go of the safety bar and just hang there.”

Like hell I will.

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Speaker’s Showcase: The Morning After

My eyes popped open this morning just before my alarm was set to ring. Through the sleepy haze and howling wind outside, my mind asked me: Did yesterday really happen? Continue reading

Clawing Back Up

The 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russa has really captured my heart with the inspirational background stories. Stories such as the Canadian coach (former Team USA member) that was a Good Samaritan, to Alexander Bilodeau defending his Gold Medal and rushing to the sidelines as soon as he could to find his older brother Frederic, and to Canadian speedskater Gilmore Junio giving up his spot to fellow teammate Denny Morrison and Morrison subsequently clinching a silver medal for Canada. These stories (to me) capture the Olympics spirit.

I was witness to an inspirational story tonight from the Men’s Figure Skating, Short Program. Whenever I watch figure skating events on TV, most skaters seem to take a tumble performing their triple axle and quad jumps. Tonight, against my better judgement, I turned on the TV and started to watch. Continue reading

Thankful For…

Big Ben and the Underground sign.

Big Ben and the Underground sign.

The other week I came back from a two week trip to the United Kingdom. More specifically, I went to England to visit family and visit the country for the very first time. I do plan to go into a more detailed post about my trip at a later date, but during this (Canadian) Thanksgiving long weekend, I feel a deeper feeling of thanks.

I feel blessed for my extended family across the Atlantic Ocean:

  • Whom calmly understood my travel sickness as I tried (unsuccessfully) to deal with the winding roads, and driving on the “wrong” side.
  • To my Aunt and Uncle whom let me stay with them without a moment’s hesitation, and welcomed me with open arms even when we have not seen each other in over ten years.
  • To my cousin and his girlfriend-now-fiance, whom did the same when I visited them in London.
  • To my cousin’s fiance, whom spent an evening adding to her (already impressive) knowledge of our family tree; I am thrilled to hear she will soon become a member of the family!
  • To my Aunt, Uncle and cousins, whom willingly gave up all their free time to play tourist with me (before having to go back to work the next day).
  • To my extended family, whom asked me not to wait too long before coming to visit them again…after I had worn out my welcome.
  • To my cousin, whom (like me), is not quite a morning person, but on her own accord set her alarm so she could be awake in the wee hours of the morning to give me a hug goodbye before I left for the airport.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my family: the ones I get to see every day, and the ones that are spread out all across the globe.

Remembering: One Year Ago

It is time. Fall of 2013 and in the Toastmasters’ World, that means the season has started for the Humorist and Table Topics Contests. Thousands of Toastmasters will come together to compete; they will be trying their hardest to make you laugh your butt off, or they will be trying their hardest to answer thought-provoking questions on the spot.

It is almost one year to the day when I stepped in front of my own home club and delivered my own Humorist Speech. I could have never known how far I would get to go.

Before my reign comes to an end at the 2013 Fall Conference, I’d like to hog the spotlight for a little longer and take a quick stroll down memory lane. Please allow me to share the video of my speech at the 2012 Fall Conference for District 21 (Richmond, BC), a speech that would allow me to win First Place at the Humorist Speech Contest.

Ladies and gentlemen, my speech: Mistaken Identity.

I hope you enjoy it.