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!

Continue reading

Advertisements

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

Trusting Myself Again

I am standing at the top, looking over the side. Pouring rain and strong winds made the water and snow pellets hit my face so hard I thought this was Mother Nature’s cruel way of giving me a free facial. Visibility had dropped to the point where I could barely make out what the terrain was like at my feet.

I remember what it was like last time.
I can’t do this. 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.

Never Give Up

While I was watching an episode of the TV show Drew Carey’s Improv-a-Ganza, a couple was pulled from the audience and asked a series of questions so the Improv actors could re-enact the couple’s first date. Paraphrased here is the couple’s story about how they met:

John and Patrice were both students in college. One night during a sorority-fraternity party John saw Patrice and instantly knew “she’s the one.” Patrice, on the other hand, was dating someone else at that time. For those few months that she continued to date that other guy, John kept pursuing Patrice. He would repeatedly call her up and asked her out on dates. Finally, Patrice said yes. Their first date involved John picking her up from a conference and driving her home. In the end, John’s persistence would produce three kids and a marriage that would last thirty five years…and counting.

This sweet story makes me wonder how easily we may give up in this day and age. How many of us, if we found out the guy/girl we liked was dating someone else at the time, would instantly start the process of forgetting about them and going on to find someone else? Sure there are always exceptions (and I am not trying to open up the potential can of worms), but if you saw the person you just knew was “the one”, would you give up so easily?

What if it was a company you wanted to work for, that you knew (not only the job but the people you had to work with) was the right fit for you?

What if you wanted to be a great speaker but for the first few months you felt like you fell flat on your face? (Not literally, I hope).

John knew what he wanted, and he remained focused. I’m pretty sure his marriage was filled with laughter, tears, and plenty of frustration, I get the feeling he’s pretty proud of himself for never giving up.

See below for the story of Patrice and John, told in their own words and reenacted by the Improvisers.

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.

Being…Me

A couple of months ago a fellow Toastmaster asked me an interesting question. She asked me where I got my sense of humour from, my mother or father? Without hesitation I answered: mom. That surprised her. Everyone else she had asked had all answered with their fathers. I was the only one that answered differently. Continue reading

The Story Behind: The Hat

The other day I dashed from work to my Area’s International Speech and Evaluation Contest. I was there for three reasons: 1) To support my club member that had advanced to the Area level, 2) support the Area contest as a whole, and 3) be the test speaker.

I knew I could worm my way into the Area level contest because the Area Governor this year is also a member of my club; it was super easy to approach him and volunteer. He graciously accepted and I was pumped I would get to speak! (What a change from only a few years ago). Continue reading

The Inner Face

This event took place a number of days ago, when a fellow Toastmaster posted a group shot of the EPIC Event with Ryan Avery on Facebook. Likes and comments were coming in when it was noted a particular Toastmaster was missing from the picture. The individual in question commented (to the effect of) how it was better she had not been in the picture, because she wasn’t very photogenic, beautiful, etc.

What followed was the longest series of replies, contributed by the greatest number of individuals that I have ever been a part of. Continue reading