Step Right Up! If I were in charge of choosing a theme for my Toastmasters club right now, it would be Step Right Up! At one point, you probably had a fear of public speaking. Maybe you still do.
If so, I challenge you to step up to your fear and attend a Toastmasters meeting. By facing our fears, we can overcome them and achieve more happiness and success in our lives.
If you already practice your public speaking skills with Toastmasters or another organization, it may be time for a greater challenge. Have you ever considered competing in a speech contest? Although it may seem intimidating, it can also be an extremely rewarding experience. Do you have the courage to step up to the challenge?
I remember the first time a friend from Toastmasters asked if I was going to compete in the speech contests that season. My answer was no (because I was scared, but I didn’t tell him that part).
I had plenty of excuses all lined up, but fortunately for me my friend Johnny saw right through every single one… and he called me on it. To be exact, he called me a chicken. Johnny challenged me to Step Right Up, and I’m so glad I did.
I’m no longer scared to compete in speech contests, but I do still have fears related to competing. Why hasn’t my topic come to me yet? Will it get here in time? Will I be ready?
During the last two Toastmasters contest seasons, I didn’t feel ready for either one. I thought about opting out of the speech contests. There were plenty of valid excuses that would have sounded good enough to anyone else… but not to me.
I knew the right action was to Step Right Up and, ready or not, compete in the speech contests. The truth is we’re usually never “ready” for whatever life may bring our way. Our challenge is to Step Right Up, and do it anyway.
In his book The Success Principles, Jack Canfield shares the concept, Ready – Fire – Aim. Canfield reordered this phrase to emphasize the importance of taking action and learning from your experiences. Many people waste too much of their lives spending time aiming to do something perfectly and being so afraid to fail they never take any action to achieve their goal.
By facing our own fears, we can inspire and enrich the lives of others. Although I enjoy competing in speech contests and feel proud of myself for doing so, the richest reward I’ve gained from competing is the right to encourage the Teen Speaking Skills students to believe in themselves and their ability to compete in, enjoy, and win speech contests. I’m going to compete this season. Are you?