GIFT WITH PERFORMANCE
For those of you that know me, you know that I am a competitor. And for those of you that follow me, you know I love to present, train and coach. When you combine these factors, what do you get?
The Toastmasters International Speech Competition. This contest was started in 1938. It involves over 33,000 contestants in over 140 countries. It’s a pretty darn big deal – at least for me. I was fortunate in 2018 that I earned the top spot at the District level which meant I went from a field of 33,000 down to the top 100 in the world. It was some of the most fun, hard work that I have ever accomplished.
This year I decided to compete and with the help of one of my presentation coaches, put together a great talk about “mindset reset”. Mindset reset to me is when you need to have your attitude adjusted; your perspective shifted; your outlook enhanced.
Virtually competing this year in round three – I felt strong. I was committed to having fun, enjoying my audience and doing my best. And I did! And I placed third. Not the result I was after.
I embraced the fact that my 2021 speaking competition journey had been halted but I was stuck. Emotionally, I was way too attached to the outcome. I had tried and failed to achieve my goal – so, what next?
My mindset reset gift came the next day when I presented this same talk to an international community. My evaluator (one of the Toastmasters role post speaking to offer constructive feedback) was from Australia. In his down-under voice, he shared three key areas that I should consider to enhance my talk. First, my pace was a bit too fast. Second, my story antagonist, “Mike” needed to be developed more. And the biggest offering – “Let the audience in on how you felt when “Mike” was bullying you. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Your audience will support you.”
So I am letting you in on how I felt following the competition. Disappointed. Discouraged. Disheartened. The kind of day where after the results were revealed I sought out and ate any kind of chocolate that I ran into.
But what my evaluator said resonated with me. What I was unable to see is that with a few modifications, my presentation could be elevated to a newer, better place. Failure is never quite as frightening as would have been my regret of never entering the competition. I stepped up to the plate, swung and missed this time. But I was in the game. Oh, and the new tools that I have to create & present a better talk – Look out 2022 competition!
My energy returned. My perspective shifted from past performance to future presentation. Once again, my mindset was reset. What a gift.