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Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I didn’t expect it.

But there I was, standing in line at the Starbucks in the Washington DC airport. And I begin to cry. People around me must think I’m crazy. But it’s a minor breakdown – and it will pass soon.

The Toastmasters International Speech Contest is all over now. Out of 30,000 speakers competing, I’ve advanced to the final 98. Yes, I’m left standing with 1% of the greatest speakers in the world. We all started this journey over six long months ago. There was so much hard work, so many rewrites of my speech, and so many people who gave their time to me. But that’s all behind me now. And I don’t have a physical trophy to show for this last round of the contest.

Yes, I already know all the encouraging words that people will say:

You are a winner for getting this far
You did a great job and we are all proud of you
You are a better speaker and a better person because of this experience

My head knows all that. But my heart feels tired and rejected. You see, it was more than just a contest to me. It was exposing myself to the world, stepping out of my comfort zone and risking failure. It was accepting help from so many people and wanting to make them proud. It was taking a chance to see if I was “good enough.”

At first I try to hold back the tears and rationalize what has happened – and why it happened.

Then I decide to just let it be. You know what? I’m sad and I’m disappointed and I’m discouraged. And I decide to feel all those emotions and any others that may surface. I decide to embrace them and just let them happen. With time they will pass and I will rise, once again, stronger than ever.

Over 20 years ago, I saw a banner that said:

Feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are.

20 years ago!!! And I still remember that saying today. So I decide to put it into practice. I will wrap my arms around all those crappy emotions, let the tears fall, and just plain feel. And I will be ok.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Thinking Professional Development Professional Speaker
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Hit Your Mental Delete Button

Professional Speaker-Positive Thinking-Personal Development

How many times have you heard the word “no”?

NO – You’re too young
NO – You’re too old
NO – You don’t have enough experience

Even worse, how many times have you told yourself “no”?
How many times have you felt that you just weren’t good enough!!! YIKES!!!

It is that exact thought that haunted me yesterday.

As you may already know, I am preparing for the Toastmaster’s International Speech Contest held in Washington DC this August. The way it works is that I will compete against 96 people in the semi-finals. They then narrow it down to 10 competitors who advance to the finals, and you compete again two days later with a new speech.

I don’t have to tell you that the tension is high. Not only do I have to create two winning speeches, I have to find the perfect look because I will be standing in front of 2,000 plus people. More importantly, I need to portray the right image. In other words, I must find a way to stand out from my competition – both in the way I look and in the speech I deliver.

So yesterday, I went shopping for the perfect outfit. As I struggled to find the “winning” look, a thought occurred to me: Maybe I should leave the price tag on the dress just in case I don’t advance to the finals. If I don’t wear it, I can return it.

WHAT! Was I actually telling myself that I may not be good enough to win?

It’s then that I realized I was telling myself “no”.

I searched desperately for that mental delete button so I could get that thought out of my head as soon as possible. I REFUSE to tell myself “no”. Immediately, I started to replace that thought with images of me standing on stage holding that first place trophy. Immediately, I gave myself permission to earn the title of International Speech Champion.

So once again I ask you: How many times have you told yourself “no”. Search for your own internal delete button and press it as fast as you can. Replace it with a visual of what your end goal will look like. Hear, smell, feel, see and taste your success. It will elevate you to a place that words can’t describe.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Thinking Professional Development Professional Speaker
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