This weekend was jam-packed with family visiting, a 1-hour solo set at the Denham Springs Springfest Saturday morning, and the statewide level of the Toastmasters International Speech Competition I've been competing in this spring.
It was all such a whirlwind that I didn't have a lot of time to be nervous, but I was a bit anxious about the contest because I honestly didn't think my speech/delivery was strong enough to win the entire district (including all of Louisiana + Beaumont, TX). You see, I actually came in 2nd at the prior competition, but thanks to the rules, both 1st and 2nd place winners in that particular scenario advanced to District competition.
I showed up to the District Contest Saturday afternoon ready to give it my all AND likely not win.
So I gave it my all.
I had fun.
A couple other contestants who also didn't think they had a chance of winning opted out and didn't compete at the District level at all. By taking that action, they GUARANTEED they wouldn't win.
On the other hand, I had my doubts, but I knew my message about "Moving Through Self Doubt and Using Your Voice" was too important to me not to share. Thanks to that conviction, I was willing to take the chance.
I use this story to illustrate that sometimes the secret to making an important connection, getting an opportunity, or earning the WIN, is in large part due to your willingness to show up and put yourself in places of opportunity. We control so much more of our lives than we realize.
So what's next for me in the speech competition? Well, all the District winning speeches will compete virtually (via videos recorded at our contests) and in a couple months we'll find out which select few move on to the Semifinals in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest. Those semifinalists get to compete in The Bahamas! Who wouldn't want a free trip to the beach? :D
Let’s see how far this important message can go!
Ashley Orlando is a jazz vocalist/ukulele artist and coach who helps growth-focused leaders find their voice, grow their presence & amplify their impact.