Monday, June 18, 2012

Learning from Living

“What matters most is that we learn from living.”  --Margaret Mitchell

I adore the above quote!  Lately, it seems to be speaking to me quite clearly.  

You see, last Thursday, I delivered my first Toastmasters speech, a four- to six-minute icebreaker presentation entitled, “Tickled Pink!”  It turned out to be a great experience.  Yet, I still have far to go before realizing my goal of becoming skilled in the art of public speaking.  There are three key points, though, I learned from this valuable endeavor.  All have broad application to life in general:
  1. Whenever possible, be prepared.  This strategy aligns with the “putting my best foot forward” concept I seek to more consistently utilize in order to live tickled pink.  Being well-versed, beforehand, assisted me in rendering a relatively smooth delivery.  Plus, through the act of preparation, I know I gained valuable skills from actually writing and rehearsing a speech—rather than simply delivering it “off the cuff.”
  2.  Live in the moment.  Our speaker’s club met in a room where two of the walls were nearly floor-to-ceiling glass windows.  What a fabulous feeling it was, as I looked out upon the audience’s (fellow club members') supportive smiling faces, to see natural beauty (trees, shrubs, landscaped flower beds and a lovely green lawn) before me as well.  I even used the word of the day (prevaricate) in my speech’s closing sentence; something I would never have been able to do if not fully mindful of my actions. 
  3. Challenging experiences build character.  A few years ago, I never would have (voluntarily) agreed to do something that felt uncomfortable; even if it meant I was taking steps to actualize a much-desired dream.  I realize I have far to go in terms of achieving my desire of becoming an accomplished public speaker.  However, today’s experience taught me that, with perseverance, personal pride and strength are gained. 
Lifelong learning is something I truly treasure.  Sometimes, however, the best classroom is simply life's experiences.  The important thing is to acknowledge these insights, and understand the role they play in moving me forward.

Wishing you a fabulous Monday! Cheers,  T.

Please note:  The photo, above, was taken on a visit to my favorite institution of higher learning (Indiana University) where I proudly earned my undergraduate degree.