Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There are no wrong turnings… Only paths we had not known, we were meant to walk… Guy Gavriel Kay

Last night the speech contest went ahead with no technical difficulties. I was one of four contestants. The other contestants each presented interesting, touching, heartfelt speeches of overcoming, dealing with, and getting through the challenges of life and coming out the other side better.

When we compete in anything we are competing with ourselves. Did we do as well as we could have? Are we proud of our performance? When we step up, enter a contest, and show up we are accomplishing something. It is easier to not bother, but we don’t get growth from not bothering.

The winner from last night came in third last year but someone kept dropping out and she kept moving on to the next contest. She got to the Division Contest where she also came in third. The Division Contest last year was the last contest before Covid closed everything down. This year we will be rooting for her to go farther.

This year the contests are on zoom and we don’t get the energy from the crowd we get in an in-person contest. At these contests, we hear stories of what people have had to deal with and overcome. People have been brought to their knees and when we hear their story we wonder if we could have handled it as well. We hear stories of courage and perseverance.

Telling our stories can change our life, and Toastmasters helps us tell our stories. Someone said, “When we find our voice, we find ourselves.” How powerful is that? We all have stories to tell. We may not have the heartbreaking story someone else went through but when we hear their story we can be grateful, inspired, and hopeful that people are strong, resilient, and courageous.

There’s no time for regrets. You’ve just got to keep moving forward. Mike McCready

We don’t know what we will have to face in our lives, but knowing what others faced, and how they dealt with it can help us in our time of need. We may think back on a story we heard and their experience may give us strength. In any good speech, there is a message, something we can take away, and think about.

Today I am richer for participating in the contest. When we get a chance to add a little excitement to our life by entering a contest we should do it. We often think we need big accomplishments to grow but big accomplishments are comprised of small steps that build toward something. Even writing my book isn’t a big accomplishment. It is a series of small accomplishments, one word upon another word, one chapter added to another, without all the small accomplishments there can be no big accomplishment.

One of our contestants is a medical student. That is a number of small accomplishments just to get to medical school and he has many more steps to become a doctor. Why are some of the greatest speaker’s ministers? They give speech after speech every Sunday honing that skill. Practice, perseverance, and moving towards a goal will push us forward.

Martin Luther King Jr. probably didn’t set out to give one of the most memorable speeches in history; he probably just set out to give a speech. We don’t know what will happen when we show up. Who we will encourage, how we will impact others, and what forces may be put in action.

A big part of life is showing up and doing the best we can in the circumstances we find ourselves in. One of our contestant’s quote was, “This too shall pass.” This is true of our opportunities and our challenges. We must make the best of where we are so tomorrow is at least as good as today. If we are lucky we can make tomorrow better. Is failure or making things worse our biggest fear?

We regret what we don’t do more than what we do. The only way forward is forward. Are we ready for the next step? We can only change directions going forward, we can’t correct our course when we are standing still.

Sometimes a catastrophe is simply a course correction. James A. Owen

You can’t have a better tomorrow if you’re always thinking about yesterday. Unknown

Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer. Denis Waitley

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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One thought on “Taking the next step. Moving forward with courage, perseverance, and hope.

  1. Very inspiring article. You are right. Taking the first step is better than not moving at all. I am glad you represented us at the Speech Contest. You gave me food for thought in your blog. Keep up the good work.

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