[Last week my 5-7-minute speech originally titled “Finding Gold in 3 Simple Truths” won me Best Speaker in my Toastmasters club meeting. It is a level 3 elective speech in the Persuasive Influence Pathway, with the objective of Connecting with Your Audience. This is the text of that speech.]
A few years ago I read an article about women becoming invisible to passers-by after they turn 35. Because at first glance, they don’t look youthful, active . . . fun.
This bothered me. I wondered:
- How can I not feel invisible?
- How can I help others not feel invisible?
- How can I help men and women see their value, their specialness?
This is not about self-esteem vs. depression. It’s more like looking at our lives from a different perspective and remembering things about ourselves that we’ve forgotten or taken for granted.
Today I want to remind you of 3 things:
You have a story.
You are relevant.
You are special.
You have a story
Could be your whole life or one small piece.
One story I have is about swimming in the North Shore Swim Series. Every summer, there are five different races from 1 to 2.3 miles. My experience is a little different from other swimmers because I have bad eyesight . . . and I don’t wear contacts.
The race starts in the cold water with hundreds of swimmers all together. We all begin swimming in generally the same direction, and soon, I’m alone.
I stop, squint at the shore, and then, hopefully, keep swimming parallel to the beach. Until the next bright orange, 19’ buoy appears, the blurry shore is ALL I have to go on during most of the swim.
So it’s swim, swim, swim, look for shore, look for a buoy, swim, swim, swim, shore, buoy, repeat.
Until finally, I see the end because now I’m swimming directly at the beach instead of parallel to it. Galumphing out of the water and up the beach to the finish line like a goofy sea lion.
That’s one of my stories.
You have a story. And whether you share it or not, it’s still there.
Sometimes we get to hear pieces of your stories in Toastmasters. I’m rivetted to my seat when <MEMBER1> or <MEMBER2> tell theirs. Your stories make me a bad Grammarian and Timer.
You have a story and it’s important.
You are relevant
I mean you are important to someone or something. Sometimes it’s obvious, like a father to his family. Sometimes it’s not.
Like the dog owner who adopted his second rescue Doberman Pincer. This dog was so aggressive it would try to bite anyone who approached. It likely would have been put down.
“Well, let me try,” he said.
But this mas is a farmer who lives on a four-acre lot. He drives his ATV all over it and the dogs chase him for miles of exercise every day. And after one month, this aggressive dog who attacked his first Dobi for a solid week before settling down, became mellow and calm—at the dog park!
He saved her life, helping her become happy and well-adjusted.
This man is relevant.
<MEMBER3> is relevant because he models self-improvement, makes us laugh, and helps us nail our speeches. <MEMBER3>, you have a story and you are relevant.
You are special
I watched the Mr. Rogers documentary and what struck me about his words “You are special” was its contradictory meaning to what we usually think is special.
What we usually think special means:
But Mr. Rogers explained, “What that means, of course, is you don’t ever have to do anything sensational for people to love you.”
What a True and Incredible thing to remember about ourselves and others. When we tell our kids they are special, we mean it the same way. And they don’t get less special once they’re grown. We are still that special person our parents told us we were years ago.
<MEMBER4>, you are special. And you are relevant.
These three simple, lucid (word of the day) reminders you already know deep down.
You have a story. Share it. Preserve it.
You are relevant. To more than you know.
You . . . are . . . Special.
I thank you for your contributions to all whom you’ve touched, including me.
<MEMBER#> indicates where I addressed a specific member whose name I did not wish to include for privacy purposes.
Image by Casey Horner on Unsplash.