There are a few songs that bring out the fight in me when I’m feeling down.
The theme from Rocky always does it for me. Bill Conti’s horns always make we want to jump up and down on the couch with my arms raised in the victory pose.
Then there’s that “I get knocked down, but I get up again” song by Chumbawamba. Its actual title is Tubthumping, but I never understood that (or most of the other words.) However, that fighter’s chorus just gets my blood thumping. (Or rather, “tubthumping?)
Our Word of the Week was WILLINGNESS and the truth is, sometimes I get knocked down and I DO NOT WANT to get up again.
I want to slink into the bedroom with a vat of pistachio gelato, curl under the covers and hibernate for at least a few days. No phone calls; no texts: I “vant to be alone” in full-on Greta Garbo mode.
That’s how I felt when I lost the final round of my Toastmaster’s Humorous Speech competition last fall. I had won the club, area, and district competitions and gave what I felt was my best-ever performance at the BIG finale.
And I didn’t even place.
I smiled through the excruciatingly long awards ceremony, wanting to appear to be the good sport that I hoped I would be.
But I was mad. And I felt robbed.
I swore I would never grace another Toastmasters’ speech competition with my presence and even considered quitting the organization altogether.
No, I am not 9 years old, but I was acting as if.
When the dust settled, I remembered why I got involved with Toastmasters in the first place. I wanted to compete and perfect my craft; I wanted feedback and a track to run on to pursue my dreams.
When you feel like quitting, friends, go back to your “Why?”
Your why is the fuel that will take your legs up to the top of the Art Museum.
Your why makes you willing to try again.
As I write this, I am preparing for a Saturday competition in which I will deliver “How To Fertilize Your Life” – the speech I wrote about a few weeks ago.
Yes, I want to win. But more than that – I want to inspire the crowd assembling at the Gulf Gate Library on a Saturday afternoon. I want to give them something to take with them that will encourage them to kiss their spouses, say thank you to a co-worker or compliment a stranger.
Oh, and yes, I want to win.
My dream is HUGE. I want to be the Toastmasters International Public Speaking Champion. Which means, if I am fortunate enough to win at Gulf Gate this Saturday, I’ve got several layers of the candy cane forest to travel through to get to my destination.
One step at a time, right?
Here’s the thing: We all get hurt. Some wounds are minor bumps and bruises, like losing a speech competition.
Some are more profound, like finding out a church was really a cult and saying, “I’ll never darken the door of another church again.”
My nevers, however, are usually wrapped up in fear. Today I find myself attending a sweet little Center of Light with Mark every Sunday morning and finding joy in the ritual of a spiritual community.
Willingness is not only a trademark of resilience but also of saying YES to life itself.
Let’s not let our failed marriages keep us from being open to love.
Let us try yet again when we fall flat on our faces…
…and not let the past dictate our futures.
We so often wall ourselves up to protect from future disappointments, but then I remember that with every disappointment has come loving comfort by friends who have wooed me back to health. And whattya know, I’m up again and back in the fight.
More on willingness here…and I’ll keep you posted on Facebook about the competition!
Hefty doses of self-acceptance to all of us (no matter HOW the judges rule.)