I have become a better speech writer in the past month than in the entire previous 4 years. Crazy eh? “Jaws-The Speech”, my humorous entry from last fall was alright, but hindsight is SO 20/20, isn’t it? This past month, with the crunch on, it’s been pouring out of me. Knowing I can produce like this is like leaven. I have bits and pieces of ‘pretty damned good’ here and there in my old speeches but speeches of this calibre have to be ALL damned good. So I am giving it my all, working every WORD, every pause, every look, but most of all, keeping it REAL, while making sure that my family does not suffer. I have been able to balance fairly well so far mostly because of my adherance to my daily prayer, 11:30 bedtime rule. Now the entire past WEEK has been an exception to that bedtime rule and I can feel it catching up to me so it is time to return to sanity. (Easy to say that now- wait till the next great idea pops into my head at midnight)
No matter what happens with this contest, I am also seriously psyched to get to work on my keynote(s) and I feel encouraged, and able like I never have before. I feel sureness in my bones. I am not afraid. My entire attitude is different these days and it is thanks to many people. Those of you who read this blog mean so much to me. That people take time out of their day to check on me once in a while makes me feel like a million bucks. The comments and encouragement I have received are like manna. There are people who read this blog who are fully expecting me to raise that trophy in Cincinnatti on August 24. That’s just freaking amazing!!!
There are people who have stepped out of the woodwork to give me their gifts and help me smash the old shell that I have grown out of. They have helped me into a new bigger shell, and also to look down that beautiful pebble beach in my mind and see that the beach is littered with even bigger and more beautiful shells I can wear as my spirit grows. It is SO much bigger than this contest. As my friend Micaela says “The goal is never the goal. It’s what keeps you moving forward.” And oh I am learning that.
Yes, I recognize God’s work when I see it and I am eternally grateful for the lessons I am receiving.
Now, shall we talk about the speech? After all, it is a speech contest, isn’t it?
The club contest is on March 18, a month from today.
There is good news and bad news. The good news is that unless I go over time, I will win my club speech contest because it is likely that I am our only competitor in our tiny club. My stiffest competition, and believe me folks, she is very stiff- remember she kicked my ass in the Area humorous contest last fall- cannot compete. She has 2 art shows to prepare for and so her greatness will not be challenging me. THAT is the bad news.
The area competition is on April 13 and Division is a week after that on April 20.
Two weeks after that, May 4, hail the District finals in Nanaimo. I haven’t even bought tickets for it due to a massive economic crunch right now. If I get to District finals, we will make the money appear magically from our credit card. (I’m also missing my yearly spiritual retreat as well - I got Rich Hopkins instead. My spiritual director will not be impressed but I will promise to go in the fall.)
So, I have to win all of those contests to make it to the World Semi-finals on August 22. And come up with the most magnificent piece of work I have produced since my daughter to win the big prize on the 24th.
I’ve been studying the winners for almost a year now. I’m waiting for my dvd to arrive of the top 3 from 2006-2010 so I can see what separated the best from the rest most recently. I’ve studied nearly every relevant program that LaCroix has ever made, including his excellent work with Craig Valentine, I joined World Champions Edge and downloaded all their best talks, I’ve studied Avery and his speech technology, I’ve hired Rich Hopkins, the best man for the job to coach me. I am doing everything I can think to become the best speaker I can be. I’ve even become a lector at my church and am delving into the deepest spiritual issues of my life with my life coach and dear friend Micaela Pennell. If there are some things that YOU can think of that I am not, I am grateful for your advice. In the end, I am going to be a different woman than the one who began this journey and I am going to be a hell of a lot better than I was. The fact is, I already am. Hard work is freaking AWESOME.
The most important thing about this process right now? I am having FUN. Woo hoo!
Back to work.