I am thinking of ways to fill my days, as I want to still be productive. I have decided to revisit an old exploit: public speaking. I loved public speaking, which surprised many of my friends. I had spent much of my childhood trying to minimize contact with others.
Then, one day, I attended a convention, and a young lady spoke on “Being a Pepper.” She had such charisma! I cannot tell you the gist of her presentation, as it was more than 30 years ago, but I thought that was a great way to inspire and motivate people, especially as you are speaking to crowds of people instead of one-on-one presentations.
I joined the Toastmasters International Club that met at our office. I earned up to Advanced Toastmaster status, or an ATM. In 1994, I won the speaking tournament on the club and district levels, coming in second at the state level. Then, I was asked to join the Speakers’ Bureau for the company.
I traveled all over Atlanta to schools and garden clubs and whatever groups asked for a speaker to talk on subjects as diverse as calling 911 to how to take back your power after domestic violence. I spent more time some weeks speaking than actually working on my job, which was wonderful.
Later I was asked to become part of a Survivor’s Speakers’ Bureau sponsored by a nationwide insurance company. I visited places like Santa Barbara, California and Washington, DC, learning how to speak and write speeches.
I met some incredible women who were survivors like me, and we connected on the soul level. It was a wonderful experience. Then, the insurance company changed the focus of their philanthropic dollars.
But, it was just as well, because I never did anything in moderation, over-extending myself with speaking engagements until I was physically and mentally exhausted. My doctor had me stop and learn to take care of myself.
Because my subject sometimes triggered flashbacks, I needed to know how to disengage at times, but I felt that if I rested, some women might die needlessly. I came to understand that if you are not constantly taking care of yourself and replenishing your mental and physical reserves, you are no help to other people.
So, I am considering joining a Toastmasters’ club near me. There is one at the university where I taught before retiring that is open to people who do not work at the university.
I would probably have to start over, as it has been at least 20 years since I last gave a speech at a Toastmasters’ club. I would love to compete again and to learn new techniques for presenting inspiring and encouraging words.
I believe that revisiting old exploits that I once loved will stimulate me to get out and do something beside sit at home reading, blogging, and eating. It is certainly worth a try!
Your Daily Prompt is Tournament. The picture is from my visit to Sagres, Portugal, considered the “end of the world.”