And so now what?
Last night I entered my first Toastmasters International speech contest and I lost. There were three other competitors, and while I held my own, I did not move on to the next round. I wasn’t even runner up!
It stings a little. I won’t lie.
But I guess that’s a good thing considering the alternative possibilities of overreacting how life is not fair, or pretending not to care at all.
Those are not very attractive alternatives.
But it still stings a little.
Losing is not fun. Winning seems so much better.
And looking back, I think I prepared myself well enough. I think I wrote a good speech. I told the small audience a moving story about tears. I spoke about how we should not be ashamed of our tears. How Dr. Viktor Frankl wrote that tears were a sign of courage. That they showed the courage to suffer and that finding a reason for our suffering was extremely empowering.
I encouraged everyone present to find a reason for their pain, whatever that pain might be, so that their suffering ceases to be suffering any longer.
I told them to find their why, so that they could face and bear any how.
I think I was funny, charming, personable, and above everything else, I spoke from my heart.
You can’t go wrong speaking from the heart.
Sure, the speech could have been more polished. For starters I didn’t have to rub my nose so much, as I have a habit to doing when I’m in a dry room, or when I’m nervous. In hindsight, I could have asked someone with some experience for some judging criteria. I could have schooled myself and not just assumed what the judges were looking for.
I could have rehearsed more.
I should have. Could have. Would have.
And failure is an event.
It’s dead and gone.
Time to do something else.
Time to write another speech, for another time.
Time to get back to what needs doing.
Time to get back to dreaming a little bit more.
But what did I learn here?
I learned that its ok if what I have to say is not for everyone.
Last night that was certainly the case.
I learned that I don’t really need a grand audience, but only crave a little audience of my own. A small little tribe that wants more. A few people who want to hear from me once in a little while.
How I would have loved to stay behind last night and have the opportunity to continue the conversation and get to know anyone who was touched in any way by my words.
They are the reason why I write every morning. They are the reason why I speak. Why I have my sights set on publishing in the very near future.
I write because I am tired of hiding. I have hid behind shyness and noteworthiness for long enough. Now, I have an insatiable desire to connect with people. To inspire them. Encourage them. To offer them a little bit of hope.
But now what?
The morning after.
I guess its back to diggin’ ditches.
Back to writing and speaking about the world I see.
Back to the next Toastmasters meeting next Tuesday.
Back to preparing more speeches.
Back to editing the Quintessential Quotables.
Back to learning.
Back to what needs to be done.
Back to the beautiful act of living.