This quote by George Elliot (what a woman!) came to me this morning on the bus. I was thinking that any time to do something is the right time to do it – regardless of age.
At 6am last Thursday morning that quote set the theme for my day. I toddled along at 6.00am as I religiously do almost every Thursday morning throughout the year to Early Bird Speakers, my London Toastmaster club (part of Toastmasters International). On my journey, I was thinking how incredible it is that I am now in my third year of this splendid and stretching activity. I set my alarm clock for just before 5am, which happens to be an absolute killer in the winter I may add, and jump out of bed enthusiastic and excited about the day ahead.
When my good friend Antoinette first mooted the idea of visiting this club I said “what on earth would I be wanting to join a public speaking club for?”. “I do not do public speaking, and neither can I see myself wanting to do it and what the dickens would I be wanting to get up at 5am for when I don’t need to?”. Antoinette was not about to give up, so relentless was she in badgering me “you will just love it, please come along and judge it for yourself” that after a few months of this continuous harassment I gave in, “yes, yes yes, OK”. I would visit (just the once mind) just to keep her quiet.
Well my giddy aunt!
On my first visit this maiden was completely bowled over! What a great encouraging place this club is, comprising a diverse group of very interesting people of all ages, all walks of life and different nationalities with different life experiences. They all get up at dawn to gather at Freemasons Hall in the heart of Covent Garden. This club has stretched me WAY out of my comfort zone in more ways than you can imagine. I am still not completely comfortable with standing up in front of 40 people and delivering a speech but it gets easier and easier as with all activities once we get them “in the muscle”.
Did you know that Public Speaking is right up there along with death and divorce on the scale of most stressful experiences. Once you master the art, for I do consider it to be an art, the world’s your oyster and Bob’s your uncle. Simples!
We have members who started off as shy quivering nervous types, why they could barely get up to speak, let alone get the words out and they have gone on to command the stage confidently and magnetically enthral their audience. One such example is our ex President Roger Harding who is now a paid public speaker and actor/extra. He has changed his profession completely in the last few years and, like me, is no longer a spring chick. I admire him for his courage and “go get it” attitude to life. I have witnessed many members grow from strength to strength, enter club competitions and some even go on to international competitions and win them. It is simply staggering what people can achieve once they set their minds to it.
So – here’s my question to you all – what might you become that you have ever dared to dream you could be?