I finally ‘get it!‘  I wish I’d “gotten it” sooner.  Often, I think I’ve ‘gotten it’ but later, I find out I really hadn’t gotten it… when I really ‘do get it.’   Do you ‘get’ what I’m trying to say?  🙂

This last weekend I attended an event put on by the Grand Rapids District 62 Toastmasters group. (www.62toast.com).  Before I go on… let me give you a little context.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve held a secret desire to be a good public speaker.  Here’s a couple of reasons why it’s a secret: I’m an introvert.  I’m somewhat of a perfectionist.  OK, actually, those are a couple of my excuses.  There is really only one reason:  I have not wanted it badly enough.  To me, my excuses (and I’ve built up a hefty pile of them related to public speaking over the years), represented good, logical evidence why I might not be a good speaker and so I convinced myself not to try (not that hard, anyway).  Still, deep down, I’d dream about what might be if I didn’t have all this confirmation that I probably wouldn’t be good at public speaking.  And, of course, I’m not good at it (yet)… I haven’t tried (much) because I guess I believed better raw material was required before I started.  Kind of twisted thinking there, for sure.

Intellectually, I’ve known that you need a burning desire and you have to DO before you can BE ..so I’ve been a member of Toastmasters on two occasions in my life but I’ve never really gotten very far in their program.  I’ve spoken at the meetings, in various roles, but I have never done even one of the speech projects.  I’ve read books and magazines on the topic.  I really only fed the dream halfheartedly.  “Some day, I will get around to it,” I have told myself again and again.  ‘Someday’ never came so my heart’s desire remains a secret to everyone, but me.  I guess I supposed that the burning desire part was something you either had… or you didn’t.  I figured that part was God’s job and he hadn’t given me much to work with.  In my mind’s eye… I pictured the Grinch’s heart which was three sizes too small.  To me, that’s what my desire to achieve my goal looked like … and that’s why, like the Grinch, I am not what I might be.

So… there I was at last Saturday’s event, listening to Ryan Avery.  Standing on the stage, he looked like just a 26 year old yuppie.  That’s what he looked like but here is who he is…  At the age of 25 Ryan Avery became the youngest World Champion of Public Speaking in history; competing against more than 30,000 people from 116 countries to claim the 2012 World Championship title.  

OK, I’m fifty something and he’s twenty six and we, apparently, both had the same sort of dream…the same desire… with respect to being a speaker.  Sadly, that’s where our commonality ends.  You see Ryan took his dream, looked for opportunities, and told himself over and over it would happen while I looked for excuses as to why it would not happen. 

Ryan took his dream and himself very, very seriously.  I didn’t.  Ryan thought like a champion, trained like a champion, and, consequently, became a champion.  I didn’t.  I stayed a dreamer.  He purchased copies of  all the video that existed showing twenty five years of first, second, and third place winners of the Public Speaking World Championship events.  He spent hours and hours studying them and figuring out exactly what he had to do to be a public speaking champion.  He trained in crazy ways… for example, he made his appearance look as goofy and nerdy as possible in an effort to create a character that he believed no one would want to listen to, based their initial impression.  Then, he stood in the middle of an outdoor mall and gave his speech, figuring if he could get to the point where he could engage and hold the attention an audience in this manner then he’d be mentally ready to engage on bigger stages   He shared what his dream board looked like and other visualization strategies he used solidify his unwavering belief in himself and his dream.

I could go on and on… since he spoke for two hours… but you “get it,” don’t you?   So did I!  Better late, than never!  Here’s my big AHA!   To be a champion anything, you have to really, really, really want it!  If you genuinely want it badly… you will DO MORE … more than the bare minimum… more than most other people will do.  You need to want it so much that it does not matter where you start or what you have, or don’t have, in your hand to start with. 

Until Ryan Avery, I didn’t realize how much work you have to do on the desire itself and that the quality and quantity of any one of our desires is our choice and our responsibility.  Here I was, thinking, I needed to just make do with the level of desire which was issued to me at birth.  I didn’t realize I had the option to build that desire from a little spark into a roaring fire.    Wow!  What a fantabulous (yes, that is a real word and I added it to my vocabulary just this week) epiphany.  I didn’t know I could do that.  It didn’t occur to me before that building the necessary burning desire to achieve… was entirely within my control and I needed to start there.  Oh, wow.  Oh, wow!  Oh, wow!

Just think of how different 2014 can be for you and your business, knowing you get to stoke the desire of your choice and make it real.  

As for me, since I heard Ryan speak, I’ve been working my dream board, visualizing myself as a good speaker…and building my desire to achieve public speaking mastery.    That is square one.  Until now… I skipped right over square one and, consequently, not much happened.

Yes… I AM A GOOD SPEAKER …and in 2014, I will make it so.   Now, it’s your turn: “What small desire will you stoke into a huge blaze in 2014 and make it so?”

Blog Post by Diane Roodvoets, Workforce Engagement Consultant

Owner, Glessner Rewards   www.glessnerrewards.com

Owner, Glessner Promo   www.glessnerpromo.com