Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of our big fears in life is fear of criticism. One of the strengths of Toastmasters is we face criticism and we learn to give it. When we give our speeches we are evaluated by another Toastmaster and they give us what we did well and what we can and should improve upon. We generally use the sandwich method where we comment on something the speaker did well, then sandwich in something they can improve upon, and finish with what we liked the best about their speech and that we look forward to their next speech.

Tonight I am the general evaluator which means I introduce each of the evaluators and at the end of the meeting I give an evaluation of the total meeting. Becoming good at receiving evaluations and a good evaluator, (critic) is one of the best skills we learn in Toastmasters and one that may help us in life even more than public speaking. We need to give and receive feedback throughout our lives.

Someone’s evaluation might not sit well with us, but we are evaluated in our work and in our lives, and the better we can take criticism helpful or otherwise the better for us. If we can take someone’s critique into consideration without letting it destroy us and think long and hard about what we want to improve in our daily lives, work lives, family lives, and public speaking lives we can make choices that give us better outcomes.

Some people were told by teachers they didn’t look like they were on a path that would amount to much. They took that critique and turned it around so everyone wonders how could your teacher have said that to you. But, it might have looked true at the time. That criticism at a critical point in their lives made them look at where they were headed, and when they realized that isn’t what they wanted, they changed their focus. That teacher may have been the only one that saw their potential being wasted and brought it to their attention.

Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time, and energy needed to develop yourself. Denis Waitley

I’m sure we’ve all been in situations where we wondered if we should say something. It is our job as parents to give our children feedback but we need to give them more positive feedback than negative. Motivating someone else and sometimes motivating ourselves is the hardest thing in the world. We may know what we should do, and especially what someone else should do, but doing it and encouraging them to do it is very hard. One of the best ways to motivate our children is to show them it is possible to grow and develop ourselves throughout our lives. It is possible to lose weight and exercise, it is possible to go after a dream, and it is possible to improve relationships. It is possible to set goals and meet them, and possible to replace worse habits with better ones.

One of the things I like about Toastmasters is everyone is there to improve, and to use the skills gained at Toastmasters to better their lives outside Toastmasters. There is so much to be gained from being part of an organization dedicated to self-development. As we develop ourselves we let others know it is possible and they in turn let others know it is possible. We develop a virtuous cycle that radiates out into the community. We focus on our own development while helping others in their development. This is why many of us who join Toastmasters feel if we get everything we can out of Toastmasters, we will never get out of Toastmasters.

How is criticism playing out in our lives, are we letting it destroy us, or are we using it to build a better self?

Personal development is a major time-saver. The better you become, the less time it takes to achieve your goals. Unknown

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. Henry David Thoreau

Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead. Morihei Ueshiba

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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