Only 4 you say! What were they? Come and join Toastmasters!
WHAT I screeched..are you out of your mind … me … stand and speak in front of a group NOT ON YOUR NELLIE! Not interested.. not going to happen…NO, NO, NO!
Next thing…there I was…dumbfounded as I knew I would be, nervous, felt ill, wanted to throw up could not think clearly or think. My hands shook, my palms were sweaty and my tummy was turning somersaults. And with that mindset no wonder. I was so, so, so confident about being un-confident and I was telling the world all the reason why I couldn’t. Have you ever felt like that? Or experienced that gut wrenching fear of making a fool of yourself?
And why am I sharing these ghastly unflattering memories? Because it is a milestone in the organisation right now. It is 40 years since women were officially allowed to join. I have been a member for 35 of those years and what a journey it has been. Women joining changed the face of the organisation in many ways. I am polishing some ideas on my journey and will share them at a later date.
What began as an all male organisation in the US in 1924 is now in 116 countries around the world. And from an all male membership we now have 52% female and 48%male. Now I am not coming from a bra burning (hell why would I do that, I need all the help I can get) fanatical point of view. But from a softer, inclusive viewpoint of working together for improved communication.
It happened that when I was District Governor ( our District is Queensland, Northern NSW, Northern Territory and Papua New Guinea) the first time in 1985/86 I was privileged to work with the 1st female International President Helen Blanchard. Then I had a re-run in 2002. It is definitely not rocket science to see which year is which!
There may be some readers who do not know what Toastmasters is. Simply expressed, it is a communication and leadership organisation based on helping the individual. Broadly speaking the pr0gram covers four areas prepared and impromptu speaking, evaluating and meeting procedure all within a time frame.
How relevant is that in today’s world? We are all time poor… if you can confidently communicate your message effectively and succinctly that puts you ahead in life personally and professionally.
So what have I got out of my 35 years…..
- Bucketloads of gratitude for the fabulous experiences and friends I have made in the process.
- Confidence in abundance which led to developing a faith in myself that I could do it….firstly for me, then in helping others.
- Effective evaluation techniques have assisted me in every area of my life and made me a more compassionate person.
- When my communication skills improved leadership skills were revealed.
- Life long learning on raising my level of communicating effectively.
- Honed my listening skills…how many of us ‘sort of’ listen’?
- Developed a passion for service…to be there and assist others as I was helped over the years.
- Amazing and incredible friendships..I feel it is because of the nature of sharing stories, personal stories…..in a supportive and non judgmental setting. The perfect spot for friendships to blossom
- The absolute confidence to support me as I shared my life story, wrote and self published and started speaking to Women’s groups.
And of course having word or three at my 35th celebrations!
To sum it up…I have had many opportunities for self growth, I have met some who certainly gave me incredible opportunities fore self growth and I met bucketloads of the most extraordinary people on this planet many of whom are my friends.
Toastmasters my not be for you…and that is fine…you may have another avenue that worked even better. Life is about making choices and stepping up in out own way to enrich our lives and grow. This organisation was my gi-normous stepping stone….
Ok ‘fess up time….
I actually have another 4 words that are going to have an impact eeekkk.’Where is your WordPress blog? Well, I was waiting for everything to be just perfect…and we all know confidence is not spelt P.E.R.F.E.C.T. I was waiting for all my ducks to be in a row,,,and when I thought they were…you guessed it they were not my ducks! So here I am imperfectly having a crack yet with confidence getting it up and out there….
For the next couple of posts I will post in Blogspot under ‘Paint the Ceiling Beige’ as well as here so those who have enjoyed my writings and sharings can continue to do so. Thank you beautiful people for my almost 9,000 page views and your comments from 75 blog posts. Woohoo today is No 75!
Now it is my turn to ask you….What 4 four words have had a major impact on your life? Did you jump up and grab it with both hands or did you need a
teensy bit..Oh OK loads of encouragement like I did?
I love to know you have been here…please do share what has had a major impact on your life…other readers also love to hear.
Warm regards Di…and what …you are asking… does this woman do?
I am passionate about mature women having the confidence and personal presentation to support their life choices.
If that is not happening …let me help you… with one on one coaching, small group activity or workshops…
Especially The 3B’s ..Be seen, be heard and be visible.
If that sparks your interest contact on firstname.lastname@example.org