What do you really want? Why do you really want it?
Or better yet, “Yes, that happened to you and I have one question for you, so?” You might be thinking, “OK, Darren did you hit your head?”
This is a week where many will be disappointed speech contestants around the world and one person, out of 35,000 contestants, will be thrilled. It is the week of the culmination of the World Championship of Public Speaking.
Many compete with visions of that elusive trophy on their mind. What if you don’t get it? So? What will you do with that experience? It’s not the organization, the judges or someone plagiarizing. It’s what you do with what happens to you. It’s not “the thing,” but how you respond to “the thing.” It’s only a moment in time. It does not define you. Your reaction to that moment is what defines you.
You may have heard the story that in 1998 I came in second in a Division level humorous speech contest. So? I reacted poorly and through ego, I boycotted the contest for two years. My little boycott did nothing to help me grow and did not affect the contest or the organization what so ever! (It did give me fodder for a self-deprecating joke years later though…lol.)
What if you do get the win? So? What will you do with that experience? It’s the same question. It’s not the end or beginning it is just a single moment and it is your response to that moment. It is a moment in time only. Our reaction to the moment can move us forward or hold us back as it did me in 1998. Some people never recover and blame others. Don’t let that be you!
If you heard my winning speech, “Ouch!” You heard mention that I bombed in a professional speech and I was ready to quit speaking forever. I called my mentor Rick and told him I bombed and they hated me and he said, “So?” What? It rattled my cage.
See, I did not realize everyone bombs. It is part of growing. It was an eye-opener and permitted me to make mistakes. Now, if I don’t learn from my mistakes and blame the audience that is the problem. The moment doesn’t define you, your reaction does.
I ask many people who are in the speech contest why they want to win and many say, “So that I can inspire people.” Others say, “So I can help people.” Others, “I have a message that I’m passionate about.” Well, you can inspire or help people without a trophy, can’t you? So, you don’t need a trophy or a designation to do that then, do you? They reply defensively, “But! But!”
If you have a message you are truly passionate about why then only compete in the speech contest? Why would you not make it a TEDx speech too? Why would you not give it anywhere and everywhere you could? Is it a message you put out on YouTube? Facebook? LinkedIn? If you are passionate, you would. If you wanted to help people, you would.
Be honest with yourself. Go deep. You don’t need validation to prove anything or to help people. To help people you just have to, well, help people. Look, nineteen years ago winning the speech contest did change me internally. I’ve also done much with what happened to me after the fact. Since 2001 I have worked hard, gave hundreds of free and paid speeches, and marketed my butt off! Right now, I’m the only speaker in the world who is a Certified Speaking Professional, an Accredited Speaker, and a World Champion. So?
Seriously, “So!” No one ever hired me for a paid speech because I had any one of those designations or all of them. None! Now, the business person and speaker I became in pursuit of all of them made me better. It pushed me. Every experience, good and bad, help build my skills. Jim Rohn says,
“Become a millionaire not for the million dollars, but for what it will make of you to achieve it.”
Remember, you are defined by how you react to moments in your life good and bad, not the moment itself. Let bitter moments make you better and let great moments make you humble. What will you do with your moments?
Please share a story on my blog about one of your moments, good or bad.
hank you Darren for your great articles ! Yes i had a good moments with you at Oration-2019 Kolkata and bad moments in July 2020 when i didnot get the opportunity to serve any Toastmasters. But i didnot leave the spirit and am working for my passion in my Group at Wake Up Bangladesh.
Thank you for your inspiring article.
With setbacks and many good things in life to become a DTM in Toastmasters, I become to the realisation that DTM does not make my a speaker. What makes me a speaker is my Attitude, Preparation and availability to speak. SO! for DTM “title”
I was competing in my Area Humorous Speech Contest. I had been practising for weeks. On my walk to work, on my lunch hour, on my walk home, at home. I knew that speech cold! On the night of the contest, I was nervous as I usually am for a speech contest, but when I got to the front and got into my groove, it felt good. I was good. And then, when I was three-quarters of the way through, it happened. My mind went blank. I mean completely blank. I don’t think I could have told you my name. I paced back and forth bluffing my way through looking like I was pondering, I repeated my last few lines…nothin’. I remember Ryan Avery, 2012 TM World Champion, talking about a similar moment when the pause was not a pause but an intermission. I’m sure the audience thought my silence was part of my act at first, and then it became obvious that I was utterly lost. Their eyes seemed to say, “You can do this! We’re rooting for you!” but it didn’t bring the words to mind. Somehow, I managed to wrap up the speech which went well overtime, and I sat down utterly humiliated. I didn’t enter a contest for the next two years and then decided I needed to get back in the saddle or forever live with the fear of a repeat performance. The hardest part was not thinking about the possibility of that happening. I went on to come second at the Division level. I was happy to have overcome that fear.