Who knew that joining Toastmasters would usher into my life a wealth of wisdom?
Yes, they count your “ums” and correct your grammar; offer feedback on your body language and throw-away words – all thrilling to spoken word nerds like me.
But it’s the STORIES that grab me each week.
The agenda (run like a Fortune 500 Board Meeting, which I LOVE) includes three speeches. Participants are at various stages in the Toastmasters experience. I am like a new-born baby, making my way through the first round of ten speeches to achieve certification. Others have completed several rounds of ten, have competed (and won) and are in the advanced tier. Yes, their technique is refined…but again, it’s the STORIES that tug at my heart.
This past week, Ret, our Club President, told a tale for the specific purpose of evoking an emotional response.
Ret is six-foot-something; has a Dr. Phil-like presence, is a Texas-like “guys-guy” and possesses an authoritative and commanding delivery.
To judge a book by its cover, Ret’s was an unlikely package to deliver a heart-wrenching story, but oh, he had us all in tears.
Ret told the story of his boyhood best friend Mikey, tragically killed while riding his bike in the prime of his getting muddy, mischief-producing, baseball-throwing youth. To this day, Ret visits his grave and leaves a baseball with a written message on it to his friend.
Mikey lived again this past Wednesday in the re-telling of this story by his beloved buddy, Ret.
The pearl of wisdom Ret left us with? “Treasure the people you love, for you never know how long you will have the gift of their presence.”
Oh, Ret. I’ll never look at you the same way after hearing this story.
No one cared much about an errant word or an um for it is not perfection that moves us, is it?
What moves us are the stories of our lives that weave a bond with others. In fact, this past week alone I observed the nodding head of a woman who also lost her dad at age 10; the laughter over a shared obsession with Starbucks, and a surprising discovery about the healing properties of tea (for all of us coffee drinkers.)
We each have a story, don’t we? We have so many! Wrapped up in these stories is a world of wisdom that could be just the gem someone else needs to hear.
If you have never considered Toastmasters because you’re “not a speaker” – please don’t let that stop you. It is the imperfect but sincere and heartfelt stories that are massaging my heart and filling up my love tank week after week. If you are seeking connection, it may have the same effect on you…
Here are parting thoughts on WISDOM and a new Word of the Week to inspire us all!
Our road to the life of our dreams? Let’s pave it with good and powerful INTENTIONS.
May we go forth with purpose and experience the joy of doors swinging open to our respective destinies.