For someone with “math phobia,” I’ve certainly been dealing with a lot of numbers lately!
I just competed in a Spring 2021 Toastmasters Area contest tonight. I won Second Place in both categories – International Speech Contest and Table Topics Contest. And you know what? For this recovering perfectionist, it feels great! Why? Because I challenged myself to compete in BOTH contests (instead of staying in my comfort zone with just one), I prepared in advance, I determined to have fun no matter what, and I did my best. My response to NOT winning First Place in either contest signifies that I’m GROWING – and that’s what life is about. Plus, I got to hear a bunch of really good speeches and learn some new techniques for speaking effectiveness and excellence!
So here’s the backstory. In the Fall of 2020, I competed in my first Toastmasters contest. I won First Place at my Club Contest, which was pretty cool since my competition was no lightweight. I advanced to the Area Contest, where I won First Place for the Evaluations Speech Contest – it was exhilarating. When I moved ahead to the Division Contest, I didn’t even place – not even third. Seriously! I was stunned…and if I hadn’t had other stuff going on in my life, I might have felt a bit bruised or crushed. (Kinda ironic since I’ve had my share of musical competitions where I didn’t place at the top…but that was decades ago LOL…time does heal wounds – even not making All-State Chorus LOL).
Yet, after a dazed day (or 2 or 3) of wondering whether I exceeded the given time limit and trying to figure out what exactly counted against me, I decided to let that “kick in the pants” propel me into my “next.” Since I know I want to do more public speaking, I decided to keep working at improving my skills. I began giving speeches more frequently (every week) and invited candid feedback, which I diligently incorporated the following week. And I saw my “speaking muscles” growing stronger with every speech.
Today, I celebrate ALL who participated and gave of themselves and their personal stories in the Spring 2021 contests, especially my Mentee who competed for the first time – I’m really proud of him for stepping up to the plate and the way he represented our Toastmasters Club. There’s something to be said for knowing what to expect “the next time.”
So I didn’t win First Place this time – it’s all good. I get the opportunity to give another speech at my home club (filled with people I absolutely enjoy growing with) tomorrow. I’m advancing along my Pathways (the Toastmasters educational program) journey at a strong clip. And before the contest ended tonight, I was asked to provide a keynote speech at another club – wow! That squeak sounds like doors of opportunity opening to me…
No matter what the award says, it’s a win either way – and a matter of perspective. GOD gets the ultimate glory because the gifts belong to HIM – and HIS is the only applause and approval I need. I’m excited for what’s yet to come as I continue working to develop my passion – encouraging, motivating, and inspiring others! What wins can you celebrate with gratitude this week?
#WatchMeGrow #LosingIsWinning #LossIsGain #Lose2Gain
Blessings to you,
“7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”
(II Corinthians 4:7-10)
“7 But whatever former things were gains to me [as I thought then], these things [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to consider as loss [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ [and the purpose which He has given my life].
8 But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ,”
(Philippians 3:7-8, AMP)
© Copyright 2021 by Kayren J. Cathcart