deception pass Washington

Category: Toastmasters

Everybody Has Stories To Tell

car in woods

What do you think is the story behind the picture above? I came upon this car in the middle of a forest preserve, just off one of the many trails that meander through it. I was curious about how it got there and why it was missing an engine and all but one tire. The remaining tire was in great shape—you could still clearly make out Goodyear on the sidewall.

This old station wagon was really battered and rusted so it must have been there for decades. The area around it was all grown over there was no trail left to show how it got there. And then for some reason, someone had removed the engine—getting that out would have taken a lot of effort and there was no road nearby, only train tracks. I found no local record of the accident and the plates were missing so I couldn’t track them. The story of the car’s arrival was gone.

All too many stories end up like that. No one to tell them, no one to hear. A lot of times it is because either people don’t think their stories matter or that no one will want to hear them. But I believe that everybody has stories to tell. Not story, singular, but stories, plural. And we all benefit from both hearing and sharing stories.

Even in times of grief, it is important to share. One of the ways to help someone dealing with grief-—and we all do at some time in our lives —-is to listen to them share about the person they lost and the feelings of grief. Not attempting to fix it but just listening.

I hope you will be encouraged to share your stories. Toastmasters is a great forum for sharing stories. Google ‘toastmasters’ and you will find the clubs near you. It is a safe place to share and hone your storytelling skills. I recently started a global club focused on storytelling. If you are interested, please leave a comment and I will send you the link (we are still meeting on Zoom these days). Don’t let your stories go untold.

Everyone Is a Leader

There has been a little controversy over the Toastmasters motto “Where Leaders Are Made.” Some have said that they only want to improve their speaking and have no interest in leadership. But without leaders how would the meetings, the contests, the training, happen? The very organization would not exist without leaders.

Everyone is a leader, whether they know it or not. Every person who gives a speech is leading. They may want to entertain, challenge, inspire, warn, persuade. Any number of motives are there in their words, but the fact that they are seeking to move a  group of people to action means they are a leader.

Even if you are not speaking in front of a group, your very life is demonstrating an example that people will follow. I heard a lot of wise words from my mother that helped build my character. But the bigger impact was the way she lived her life—the example she displayed every day. She lived her words and lead me to be a better person. 

The way you live your life leads. if you strive hard and play fair, people will have confidence that fairness and hard work matter. If you cheat and succeed, some people may be tempted to try the same. If you quit when the going gets tough, some people may be tempted to quit. But if you persist in the face of fierce opposition others will take courage and fight on.

“Never the less, she persisted.”

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