Got a message from a fellow competitor today- very surprising.  It was the contestant about whom I’d heard “That was the best speech I`ve ever heard!” from a mutual friend.   We will be competing together on Saturday.  Anyway, this person messaged me saying they didn’t know they were in the same Division as me until yesterday when we were sent a list of the competitors and jokingly wondered if they should bother showing up.  I messaged back that I’d had the same thoughts about them!  Seriously.

The last time I went to Division I not only didn’t win, I didn’t even PLACE and I was pretty …. well, upset would vaguely cover it.  I am taking nothing for granted.  I know there are people in this competition who have been working hard on their speeches for months.  I know there is some great talent and it will be an excellent competition.  I need to be my very best so far.

A great turn of events today.  Someone from the Area competition RECORDED my speech and they sent me a copy of it!!!!  I was so thrilled to be able to see it.  Until I watched it that is!  Holy cow, it’s SO incredibly STRANGE, to feel SO in the zone and feel like you are connecting with people but then watch it and think “Wow, is that all there is?  I really felt like it was BETTER than this!!!”

What a serious motivator.  I wasn’t happy with almost ALL of it, except the sincerity.  THAT I felt, I knew it was there and I was happy with it.  The rest of it needed some hard core polish.  I worked on it tonight after Meg went to bed.  I have to wait until she’s sleeping too or she’ll never get to sleep.  So I performed and recorded it tonight, watching each time afterwards and making notes about what I liked and didn’t like about each one.  Then on the next performance I would incorporate the changes and watch it again.  I did this 6 times.  I really felt like I got some bugs out tonight.  I also performed and recorded a few specific sections that I felt needed attention.  I even checked out my outfit to see what would look best.  I just need to solidify these minor delivery changes in my mind and heart and I will be ready to go for Saturday.

I plan on Avery Drilling on the ferry over that day (I love Avery Drilling on the ferry!!) and hoping later today at the home school group I can make a chance to perform happen as well.  Putting it out here in my blog so I won’t chicken out…call me on it folks….I’m going to stop at the mall on the way home and do my speech right SMACK in the middle of it so EVERYONE can see how freakin’ loopy I am.

Hoping to see my spiritual director just before the contest on Saturday too.  She lives very close by the venue.  It would be wonderful to have her calm and loving presence with me for a while beforehand.  Did I mention that 2 friends from church are going to be praying a rosary for me on Saturday?  And  I didn’t even ASK!  They just volunteered!  And one is a former Toastmaster too so she knows EXACTLY what to pray for.  LOL

Have I covered every angle?  If you can think of ANYTHING I’m missing, MESSAGE ME because I must leave no stone unturned.  As Darren LaCroix says, I may not be the best, but no one will out-prepare me.

surely it's not the last one

surely it’s not the last one


Tomorrow, Saturday, is the big day.  The Area 73 International Speech Contest.  Right now I feel good, happy and confident and not at all freaked out.  I feel eager to share my speech.   Of course the contest is about 36 hours away yet so ask me how I’m feeling ONE hour before the contest.  The aim is to still feel good, happy and confident and not at all freaked out.  To feel excited and honoured that I can give a message that has already made a difference in MY life, to a room full of people.  I can’t wait.

Would it sound cheesy to say I love my speech?   It is the best speech I have written yet.  I have put in a zillion hours, more than a few tears, sleepless nights, and a small fortune considering the investment of programs to improve my speaking from last year.   This speech now feels like a very comfortable piece of clothing that I really love wearing because it looks good on me.   The key now, is to remember to respect my audience by just telling them the story in the most honest and engaging way I can.

Yesterday,  I taped the speech one last time and sent it for a look-over from coach Rich Hopkins.  That brought a few more helpful tweaks that I was able to incorporate and remember on the first go.  VERY EXCITING to be able to do that.

Today, Friday, after I go to bed and get up again, (and after home school, which goes without saying) I plan on drilling 10 more times, Avery-style if possible, going for a hike to get good and tired and then getting a good night’s sleep.  I have a great outfit that I feel confident and pretty in but is not distracting.   And I have a new pair of awesome killer GOLD shoes that are lower heels than what I am used to so they will be ridiculously easy to walk in.  I had been fantasizing about wearing a pair of ruby slippers in Cincinnatti at the World’s.

These are the precursor.Speech Bubble

There is some real competition at this competition.  One competitor has even been to District finals before.  She is an excellent speaker.  She has also had the advantage (?) of having seen my speech at the club level whereas I have not seen hers.  I take nothing for granted but I am truly as ready as I can be.

I want to remember to enjoy the process and be aware of it; to remember my POWER POSE for 2 minutes before I go on so my body physiology is optimal and also to remember to record it!

I want to do my very best, which for me means connecting in a genuine way with my audience and giving them a hard-fought-for, important piece of myself.

And I want to move on to the next level to do it again.   Four more times.