Why I decided to join the Toastmasters club

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Two weeks ago, I attended my first ever Toastmasters class.

I came across the name of this organisation several times before.

The first time, four years ago, when I was completing a public speaking course. The last time, 3 weeks ago, when I read that the majority of Fortune 500 companies including some chunky names such as Coca-Cola, IBM, Google, and Microsoft now sponsor their own Toastmasters clubs for all their employees.

This information got me so intrigued that I had to finally give my local club a try!

I went to the Toastmasters website to find a local club and the first thing I saw was this:

 

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‘Wow!’ – I thought.

‘I can’t remember the last time I read something more powerful!’

What a truly remarkable way to set a vision for the new learners!

These few sentences made me realise that committing myself to mastering public speaking, something that I made a firm decision about 4 years ago was so much more than just about making a decision to learn how to manage my fear.

It was a decision to become a leader!

A leader of my own life, my thoughts, my emotions, my actions, my decisions –  despite all my fears!

It turned out to be a huge lesson on how to communicate with others, connect with another human being, listen and understand others through firstly understanding yourself, your fears, your motives and your habits.

After my first experience with the club, I can honestly say that this was one of the greatest gifts I could give myself, despite the fact that I have practically made a living of my public speaking skills ever since I made a decision to make a change.

Watching all these experienced and confident speakers made me also realise how much more and how much faster I could have learned from others than trying to figure it out all by myself over the last few years.

However, I have also discovered how much more there is still to learn which made me really look forward to all the new and endless possibilities!

If you too are considering joining the club, let me tell you this – don’t waste your time thinking about it!

There is a reason why you are interested in this.

Start being a leader today and do it!

You will thank yourself for this decision a million times over 🙂

 

Old Habits Kill Progress

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A three-minute walk from Las Ramblas in Barcelona a very old cafe can be found. It is believed that Picasso used to regularly visit this place for a drink. He also held his first solo exhibition there.

On a central wall of the cafe hangs an enormous size painting of two men on a bike. One of them is trying to sit straight and smiling at the viewer. The other one, in a reclined position, is pedalling hard and looking ahead.

When I first saw the painting, I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

I stared at it mesmerised for such a long time that one of the waiters decided to give me an A3-size photocopy of the picture. That was almost three years ago and ever since I came back home this copy has been hanging on a wall in my house.

I would often look at it and wonder what the message that the painter left in the right-hand corner meant.

Tonight I went back to the cafe and solved this mystery.

‘To ride a bike you can’t sit straight’.

That’s it ??

I wanted to know more so, just like every ‘professional’ researcher nowadays, I Googled it 🙂

I found out that the painting was created specifically for the reopening of the cafe by a Catalan Spanish artist called Ramon Casas.

Few more articles later I learned that what the painter meant:

To make progress you’ve got to change the old habits’.

Trying to ride a bike while sitting straight, just like in the olden days, will not take you far!

I couldn’t agree more with these words!

We often live our lives on autopilots doing the same things over and over again yet dreaming about different results.

Our habits often help us stay in our comfort zone, keep us away from the unknown and make us feel seemingly safe.

They also allow us to switch off thinking.

But they can limit us too.

Any change starts with a brave decision to try something new. What follows, is the first firm step into the new direction.

Even if it feels uncomfortable at first, even if we don’t know exactly what we will find on our journey.

Deciding to make a change from some of our usual bad habits is the starting point on the journey to experience new adventures, explore new fields and to learn more about ourselves and others.

Only then we can truly grow!