I remember the very first time in my young speaking career when I realized that I could make a positive impact on another person’s life by what I had to say.
I had won three rounds of the Toastmaster’s International Speech Contest and was vying for a spot in the Finals at the yearly World Convention. I was competing in Victoria, B.C., Canada. The title of my speech was Being Positive is a Choice.
In the speech I spoke about different situations in my life where I had made the conscious choice to Be Positive in the face of Danger and Fear. One such occasion was when I was surfing in Hawaii years ago.
“It was a beautiful Hawaiian day. 86 degrees Fahrenheit. A beautiful offshore breeze holding up the Big Winter swells. I was cruising along on this Perfect wave, when I lost my focus and wiped out. As I was coming back up to the surface to catch my breath…WHAM…I got trounced by another huge wave. It felt like getting hit with a 2” x 4” across the chest. And that big wave pushed me back under and into what is known as the Washing Machine. Where you spin around and around and around and you don’t know which way is up and you desperately need to take a breath and your body is becoming extremely fatigued and you know that there is a coral reef under there about to rip you to shreds and you also know that it is a long way to swim to shore if you’re bleeding because there are sharks in the water.”
“These were all of the thoughts going through my head in that instant. And then, I remembered my training. Stay Positive and Relax. Because if you try to fight that big wave, you’re not going to win. So, I made my way back to the surface where I took a huge deep breath, looked up and felt very fortunate that there wasn’t another big wave about to push me back under. So I paddled my way back to the shore, sat down on the beach and I was mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted.”
I did not win the Speech Contest that day in Victoria so I did not advance to the World Finals.
I gave it my best shot but apparently the judges thought otherwise.
I was disappointed because I thought that I had won. I had many people come up to me after the contest and say exactly that, that They had thought that I won.
And then it happened.
A slight women, well dressed, about 5’ 2”, dark hair and skin came toward me through the crowd. With tears in her eyes she told me that she had been terrified of the water from the time she was a child. She said that my story inspired her so much that she was going to go the local pool tomorrow and start taking swimming lessons. Now, we both had tears in our eyes.
That’s when it hit me…kind of like a 2” x 4” across the chest. My words had inspired someone to look Fear in the face and make a Positive Choice in their life.
That’s when I knew that I was hooked!!!
I have now devoted my life to helping people to Crush Their Fear and Rock Their Success!!!