Who am I?  QUICK!!!!!!

Who am I? QUICK!!!!!!

I had what I think is a very good humorous speech put together for this fall’s contest season.  It was one of the drafts I wrote and discarded last spring while being coached by Rich Hopkins.  I loved the speech;  just didn’t think it had enough BITE for the International Speech contest, but I relished the thought of using it as a humorous speech with a message.  ( I may be re-thinking that now after hearing Vasilev’s “Changed By A Tire” speech.

In August, I sent the speech to Lance Miller, 2005 World Champ of Public Speaking for a critique and he gave me some ideas I loved and some I didn’t like at all.  He also showed me how to build a scene better – a skill I’m VERY grateful for and look forward to producing  again.  It will help me in ALL my writing.

After working on it for several weeks, I sent it to my friend and mentor, Jamie MacDonald who is an editing genius.  He pared it down so much  it actually lost some of it’s muscle so I fleshed it out to Paula Howley standards (or my bare minimum anyway) until I was happy with it – so long as I could stay under time.   I was really hoping to give it at the District finals in November.   I thought I had a better shot than previously because our Division H  is half the size it was last year, therefore, I only had half the competitors at that level which would have made  making District distinctly easier.

So I had the speech and I did some Avery Drilling in parks and on the ferry , but not as much as last go-around.  (Avery drilling, named after 2012 World Champ of public speaking Ryan Avery, is when you practice your speech  in public places to raise your discomfort level and to learn to deal with distractions.  I only Miller drilled once though.  (Miller drilling, named after 2005 World Champ Lance Miller) is when you…say…each…. word….of…..your….speech…. with a very brief pause between each word and with NO emotional inflection.  This helps drill the speech into your memory.

I also didn’t record and watch myself many times either.  The truth is, I didn’t feel the urgency with this speech that I have with the last 3.  And it was relieving to not have that feeling.

Now, further setting the scene, I have been struggling with my faith for some time now, I’d say well over a year, and this summer was particularly bad.  This summer found me questioning everything and all the existential torture THAT brings.   As a result, I was craving the drink like I hadn’t in 10 years.  I went so far as to open a bottle of rum and deeply inhale the aroma.  “You could probably have a glass of wine” – thoughts like that spun around my head.  Thin ice I tell you.

This being British Columbia, I smelled a lot of pot around me this summer too and there was a day on our family camping trip where I said to myself “If someone at this camp ground offers to smoke a joint with me today, I will do it.”  I just wanted to feel nothing for a while…just wanted to float away on a cloud of ‘everything’s ok’.   I found myself wondering if I needed medication and if I should just go ahead and self-medicate with marijuana.   Thankfully, that never happened or I would have been swimming in guilt on top of existential angst. Oh, what the mind will do to convince the body of what it wants!!!  It was a hard and lonely summer.

Simultaneously, and stupidly, I have not been regularly active in my prayer life for  a very long time.  Since early spring I’d say.  Some sporadic prayer here and there, mostly for others, but the well has been dry, my mind has felt tortured and I have limped along with anguish and hopelessness in my heart.  I felt like I completely lost myself or maybe never even  had myself to begin with.

I was in one of those places that are hard to get out of- the whole ‘why do I exist?’  ‘Who am I?’ place, and I had a hard time talking to anyone about it.  Thank God for one friend to whom I spilled my guts in late August.  What a relief it was just to speak this crap out loud to her and not fear judgement.

With all this going on, I booked  myself an autumn Opus Dei silent retreat soon after the gut-spill.  I had the money  then and I knew I needed  it.  I hadn’t been on retreat in two years.  Instead of retreats, I’ve gone to Toastmasters conferences because they always run at the same  time.  They cost about the same amount of money too and only going to one was a financially viable choice.   My priorities had shifted from growth to glory so it was contests all the way.

It’s becoming pretty obvious to me that it was after my first big win in November 2011, 3rd place at District finals, where my ambition started eating more time than my faith.  I’ve always known that I need to sacrifice more to be more successful as a mother and a human being in general.  It seemed to be hard enough for me to do it even BEFORE  the visions of glory in my head  helped me put the important stuff to the side.  After my ego took precedence, there wasn’t a shot in hell.

I read my journals from the past 2 years this week and I can literally SEE my spiritual decline.  The private writing of my journals became less frequent, my time and energy was all about winning public speaking contests.  I’m not even sure it was to be the best speaker I could be- if it were, the aspiration of being a great speaker was likely just a by-product of wanting the big prize.  It was so obvious it would be funny if it weren’t so damned pathetic.

Anyway, I’m on a ferry right now on my way to the retreat.  Yes, there is a twinge of regret that I won’t be competing tomorrow but I know I am doing the right thing for my soul and my family and I have complete peace about it.

It is HARD WORK for an ambitious woman to set aside ego.  In fact, it’s bloody exhausting.  But I’ve discovered in the past two years that it’s even more exhausting to short change my family and myself.

I’ve still had a lot of growth in the past 2 years.  God uses even my ambition and selfishness for the greater good because….well, that’s just the way it is.  It will be interesting to re-discover who I am and who I am going to be.  I know I will be blessed with clarity through this choice.


It was back in the fall of 2009 when I saw my first Toastmasters World Champion Darren LaCroix, that the actual thought of perhaps becoming a World Champion crossed my mind.  I knew I was a thousand years from it but something in me vaguely knew I could make it to that level of speaker.

In the fall of 2011, I made it to the BC finals, the District 21 Speech finals for the first time, placing third in the humorous speech contest.  That’s when Jamie MacDonald (Jamie has been to the World Stage twice) approached me and told me he thought I could make it to the top.  That’s when the dream crystallized into something real.

In the spring of 2012 I made District finals again and knew that I had an actual shot at going to the World Championship.  That was the first time I met Darren LaCroix and realized how much more work I needed to do to be as good as I wanted to be.  I did not make it but I launched myself into another echelon deliberately, knowing that I had to.   That was when the crystallized dream began to take shape.

It wasn’t until Ryan Avery won the Worlds in the summer of 2012 that I actually vocalized my goal of becoming the 2013 World Champion of Public Speaking.  I did so because I knew that announcing it would put pressure on me to do what I needed to reach that goal.

When Ryan won, I contacted him and told him about my goal.  He was encouraging and realistic.  He asked me “Why do you want to win the World Championship?”  and I gave him a whole bunch of reasons.  At the time, I thought the dream looked like a trophy and a title.

It wasn’t until November of 2012 while working with women’s life educator Micaela Pennell that I really examined my reasons for wanting to win.  Knowing why you want to win is really as important as the win itself because there is always a reason behind the desire.  The reason, I have found, is what the trophy represents to me, what it means to me.   As Micaela always says, the goal is not the goal.

So let’s look at the reasons that I came up with back in November, 5 months ago.

Paula Howley, why do you want to win the World Championship of Public Speaking?

quick!  what's the answer??????

quick! what’s the answer?????

What  would you feel about  yourself?

i.     I would feel worthy

ii.     I would feel amazing

iii.     I would feel proud of myself

iv.     I would feel satisfied with myself

About others towards you?

i.     I would feel that people are proud of me.

ii.     I would feel that people are happy for me.

iii.     I would feel that people admire me.

About your attitude towards life?

i.     I would feel that I would leave a mark with my life.

ii.     I would feel that I can get on with the real stuff in my life.

About your relationship with God?

My  attitude towards God – no change

What would you believe?

  1. About yourself?

i.     I would believe that I am capable of the discipline necessary to achieve something difficult.

ii.     I would believe that I am very good at something of worth.

About others?

i.     Others would believe I am a good speaker.

ii.     They would believe I am someone worth listening to and hearing.

iii.     They would notice me and take note of me.

iv.     They would admire me.

v.     They would believe that I am a person known for talking the talk and walking the walk.

About life?

i.     I would believe that if I set goals for myself, I can achieve them.                                                                  ii.     I would believe that I can become someone more evolved through a learning process.

iii.      I would believe that even the things I thought were out of reach were not necessarily out of reach if I leaarn how to reach for them.

About God?

i.     I would expand my relationship with God

Expression of your talent – what are you naturally good at?

I  would see that I entertain people.

I would see that I impart messages of value while entertaining.

Development of skills:

I would develop my Writing skills

I would develop my Thinking skill

I would develop my Disciplinary skills

I would develop my Communication skills

I would develop my Interpersonal skills


  1. I would know that I can do the hard stuff.
  2. I would know that my voice matters.

So, those are THE reasons that I discovered about me wanting to win the World Championship.  There are others, more concrete, things like wanting to make up for all the lost years and screw ups of the past, but they all filter down into these somehow.

So, let’s see if anything has happened in my mind and in my heart since November, a hundred thousand lifetimes ago.

  1. What      would you feel?
    1. About       yourself?
    2.   i.     I would feel worthy

This is an interesting statement.  I would feel worthy.  Worthy of what I wonder?  Worthy of life?  Of happiness?   Aren’t we all?  But I guess maybe I thought worthy of the title.  It’s a title that commands respect imo and one should be worthy of it.

  1.                                                   ii.     I would feel amazing

Well duh.  I feel pretty good right now I must say.  I am not devastated by my loss.

  1.                                                  iii.     I would feel proud of myself

I feel proud of myself now.  I feel proud of the insane amount of work I put into this process and how much I have learned.  I feel proud that I reached  for the TOP.  I feel proud that I asked for help from the best.  I feel proud that I took chances and grew tremendously.

  1.                                                  iv.     I would feel satisfied with myself

Without question, I feel satisfied with my efforts.  I must say in honesty, I am not satisfied with my performance at the contest but I am satisfied that I can improve exponentially.

    1. About  others toward you?
  1.                                                     i.     I would feel that people are proud of me.

This might be the coolest part.  I do feel that people are proud of me.  I know my dad is and that means the world to me.  My husband is particularly proud of me.  So is my daughter and I know the awesome people in my club and area are too.  Jamie MacDonald is proud of me and so is Rich Hopkins, my coach, a world class speaker.  And so many others who have spoken to me and written to me.   It feels pretty amazing.  Hey!  I guess I got the “I feel amazing” part after all!

  1.                                                   ii.     I would feel that people are happy for me.

I do feel that people are definitely happy for me even in their disappointment FOR me.  They are happy that I am pursuing my dreams and trying to become more than I am.  There are some people who are pretty regular readers and even good friends who understand on a very deep level what has happened for me on this journey and they are thrilled for me and the miracles that have come about from this process.

  1.                                                  iii.     I would feel that people admire me.

I find it both humbling and hilarious to find that this has become true.  Now of course, I’m not fool enough to think that this is universal, in fact, I’ll bet my daughter’s allowance that I annoy the shit out of many.   The crazy fact is though, that some  people have actually TOLD me that they admire me so either it’s true or they are liars.  My optimism demands I believe that at least some of those people are telling the truth.  At the same time, it makes me uncomfortable because I know who I am but it inspires me to try harder to be better.

    1. About my attitude toward life?
  1.                                                     i.     I would feel that I would leave a mark with my life.

I always thought that the best marks, the most important marks, were the BIG ones.  I love drama, I love flair, I love the BIG stuff so it makes sense.  I am finding however, that small marks are what impact people.  For example, I REALLY dig doing the Youth Leadership Program with Toastmasters.   The kids I work with are so grateful for the help, the parents are so grateful and enthusiastic and it really MEANS something to me.  It really MEANS something to them too.  It’s not a big thing but really, it IS.  Lives are changed when kids get this kind of confidence.  And the most important mark I’m leaving with my life is with my daughter, who deserves so much more than I can give her.  But this whole process of learning who I am because of Toastmasters, because of my faith and because of my friends is helping me to even be a human being.  That’s the most important mark of all.

  1.                                                   ii.     I would feel that I can get on with the real stuff in my life.

In the words of Barack Hussein Obama, “Yes I can.”   I am very excited about doing what I have been talking about for a VERY VERY VERY long time now and that is WRITING MY BOOK.   I know I have the discipline to do it now and I know I have the talent.  I know that I can find help when I need it.  And I know that I’m not too stupid to admit when I need help.  Lol  I’m also looking forward to having a fun summer with my little girl and making sure I have AT LEAST a monthly date with my awesome  husband.  What else?  My keynote.  The message that I am here on this planet to give.  I am excited to be walking in the direction I’m supposed to be going.  I am excited to say  “Come To Me”  to the rest of my  life,  in the words of Jamie MacDonald.

    1. My attitude towards God ?– no change

Interesting, isn`t this?  I thought that winning the World Championship would not change my attitude towards God.  I think I am happiest about that.  If anything though, my faith needs deepening.  If anything else, this process has helped me through a challenging spiritual time.

What  would you believe?

About yourself?

i.     I would believe that I am capable of the discipline necessary to achieve something difficult.

This has been  one of the best parts of this.  I have discovered  that I can be a workhorse.  I’ve always had a good work ethic; even when I was a stripper I busted my ass if you’ll pardon the pun, but living this kind of discipline has been a great blessing.  It sets me free to do other great things.

  1.                                                   ii.     I would believe that I am very good at something of worth.

I don’t think I’m great yet but I believe I WILL be.  I believe I will be at my best when I can deliver the message of ME that God has given me and that will require more than a 7 minute speech.  I believe that when I begin to really give myself away  for the benefit of others, I will be the communicator and the woman I want to be.  It’s coming.  I feel it in my very bones.  I’ve sort of been on auto pilot for a while as I learned how to gear up but that is all about to change.

    1. About others?
  1.                                                     i.     Others would believe I am a good speaker.

Others do believe this.  Some more than others.  Some less than others.  Some are probably and rightfully wondering what the big fucking deal is.

  1.                                                   ii.     They would believe I am someone worth listening to and hearing.

Another great blessing.  This blog might be more responsible for that than anything.  The response I have received has been encouraging to say the least.  Especially with the revelation of my past as a sex worker for the first time.  To see the number of people who actually READ this blog is stunning.  It makes me want to give something really worth reading.  I value the time of my readers so very much and am SO grateful for your support.  I have learned that others DO think I am someone worth listening to and hearing.   I cannot adequately express what a gift of freedom this is to me.  People like me are normally laughed at and dismissed as unimportant and even ridiculous but I have been told here that what I have to say has meaning and is important.  Wow.

iii. They would notice me and take note of me.

Two different things I believe.  Anyone can be noticed, you just have to be loud, as I have been for much of my life.  People taking note of you…that can happen because of volume too but I find that people take note of you when you begin to display a measure of substance.    Perhaps I am beginning to do that, finally.

  1.                                                  iii.     They would admire me.

This one must be important since I’ve got it down twice.  Lol  Kind of embarrassing.  The truth is, it matters to me.  A lot.  Probably too much.  Truth is, I’m frequently an asshole in real life.  Just ask the people who know me and love me best.

  1.                                                  iv.     They would believe that I am a person known for talking the talk and walking the walk.

YES.  This one is important to me.  I HATE it when people don’t walk the walk.  As I always say to my daughter “Talk is cheap.  Anyone can talk.  You have to back it up with your actions for it to mean anything.”  I have walked the walk in this case and I am proud to own that.

About  life?

i.     I would believe that if I set goals for myself, I can achieve them.

Even though I did not achieve my goal per se, I have achieved many,  if not most, of these.  This process opened up (again!) another realm  for me, another realm of thinking and believing.  I have other goals that are important to me that I fully believe that I will achieve.   I am happy and excited to begin the next chapter.

  1.                                                   ii.     I would believe that I can become someone more evolved through a learning process.

Without question.  Holy mackerel.  Rich Hopkins was a brutal son of a gun who made me cry on more than one occasion (not out of cruelty but by pushing me farther into the truth than I thought I could go) .  I learned to respect this process by giving it everything I have.  I learned how to respect my audience by giving them everything I have.  I learned  how to jump through the biggest hoop of fear, I learned how to ask for what I want, I learned more than I can possibly write here.  I am still learning with myself and God and my family and Micaela and my Toastmasters family and know that this process, thankfully, will never end.

  1.                                                  iii.      I would believe that even the things I thought were out of reach were not necessarily out of reach if I learn how to reach for them.

I love this one.  It’s dramatically  liberating to discover that you have oodles more potential than you thought.  In fact, it’s almost scary because there really aren’t an excuses anymore.  Lol  Knowing that people are always there with their hands extended in friendship gives me courage.  I know to go to the best and that they are not the scary arrogant people I may have feared that they were.  I have been genuinely rewarded for asking people to show me how to reach.

    1. God?
  1.                                                     i.     I would expand my relationship with God

I hope this one happens always no matter what.  We tend to dive in when things are not going well and it’s important to remember to go deep with God when things ARE going well too.

  1. Expression of my talent – what are you naturally good at?
    1. I entertain people.

For sure I know this is true.  This is something I’ve always liked doing but having the stage of Toastmasters has given me the opportunity to hone this skill.  MCing the Ryan Avery event this winter was a big boost to my confidence.  It was my first opportunity to steer a large ship with important passengers and I know I nailed it because I genuinely had fun and felt everyone else having fun too.

    1. I impart messages of value while entertaining.

Yes!  Learning to.   As Sharookh would say “What is the take home?”  lol  As Margaret Page would say “What’s in it for me?”  As I am learning to say “ What can I give to my audience?”  When people give you their undivided attention, they deserve the best you can give them.  My last message was of tremendous value IMO.

  1. Development of skills
    1. I would develop my Writing skills

YES!  Absolutely!  Not just speech writing skills (because I wrote 3 versions of the 1st speech and then 2 versions of the 2nd speech and then about 18 versions of “I Love You” with endless tweaks and revisions), but my writing skills period because of this blog which I have come to love so much.   I have fallen in love with writing again and that makes me ever so happy!

    1. I  would develop my Thinking skills

Not my strongest skill I think (ha ha) but I have certainly pushed  myself for ideas and new thoughts.  It has been exciting exercising a muscle that needs exercise.  It is thrilling coming up with an idea that FITS in just the right place at the right time.

    1. I  would develop my Disciplinary skills

In one way, I failed tremendously because I have NOT kept up my new year’s resolution of going to bed by 11:30.  This is not what I’d call discipline.  I am so much healthier and happier when I do but it is SO difficult breaking a 40 year long habit.  In another sense, I made myself work on this project constantly- almost every day for hours a day,   not sure I’d call this discipline.  I think I still have a long way to go for that.

    1. I would develop my Communication skills

This is a no brainer.  A lot of this is happening through my work with Micaela.  I am still learning to ask for the things I need which I find difficult to do (as I’m  sure it is with many women or moms).

    1. I would develop my Interpersonal skills

Not as much as I mostly worked on my own through this project.  This is something that still needs work and attention.

  1. Meaning
    1. I would know that I can do the hard stuff.

I CAN do the hard stuff but I’d like more opportunity to do harder stuff.  And more fun stuff.  I feel like I’m made of the right stuff.

    1. I would know that my voice matters.

I am discovering something that I had always suspected and had always hoped.  I am just a Voice of One who’s Greater than this…but I am still a Sacred Voice, I will not be dismissed.

Today I feel good.  Yesterday, I did NOT feel good at all.

Yesterday I drilled my speech about 10 times, recorded it 3 times.  Then I watched it for the first time and almost threw up my dinner.

Is this the cutest little guy to ever throw up or what?

Is this the cutest little guy to ever throw up or what?

Blech.  I HATED it.  Yes I did.  I couldn’t stand pretty much 2/3 of it and the other third was breathtakingly mediocre.  How incredibly disappointing.

It wasn’t how I pictured it while I was writing it.  It wasn’t as FUN!!!!!!  I was having FUN when I was writing the damned thing!   And for those of you who have been following along since the beginning, what was the golden rule?  IF YOU’RE NOT HAVING FUN, WHAT’S THE POINT????  

Well, I wasn’t having FUN because I was trying EVER so hard to be earnest and deep and relevant instead of being MYSELF and delivering a speech I love.  BLECH.  DisGUSting.  Boring.  Yuck.

So enter the coach.  God, I love having a coach!  God I love having Rich Freakin Hopkins as my coach.  Thank you God.  Not sure I thanked YOU yet.  lol

Anyway.  We watched the video over the phone together.  He says “We’re going to watch this and when I see something that we need to look at, I’ll say “Stop.”.


Three words into it: ‘Stop!”

I laughed my ASS off.  “I KNEW you were going to say that!”

It is so awesome when someone GETS you.  It is so liberating when they help you be YOU.

Did I mention I love having Rich Freakin Hopkins as my coach?

We plowed through it and made a whole bunch of adjustments.  Most importantly, he gave me the confidence, the OK to be MYSELF.   I just can’t articulate how much better I feel about the ENTIRE thing now.  Thank GOD I can have fun.

Rich has helped give me what Cathie Roy gave me the night I gave my Icebreaker when she told me, a person who wasn’t sure she had much to contribute to a room full of professionals, that I belonged where I was.  He’s giving me what Jamie MacDonald gave me when he told me he thought I could go to the Worlds.  It’s irreplacable.  It’s golden.  Confidence in myself and my abilities.  Confidence to be exactly who I am.

Did I mention I love having Rich Freakin Hopkins as my coach?

I got 5 hours sleep, had words with my husband and drove 7 hours total for him.  Was it worth it?

Let me answer in this way:  It wasn’t really about Ed Tate.  Ed is a great speaker and yes I learned a few new things, and it was veeeery good to sit directly behind him (thanks Other The Man!) and soak in that World Champion vibe.   But………

It was really about making sure that I got back up.  Despite the fact that I fared fairly well emotionally after the contest, I was still and AM still disappointed that I don’t get to give “JAWS-The Speech” to the B.C. District audience.  As I rode home after the contest, exhausted on the ferry on Saturday night I thought “There’s absolutely NO WAY I want to do this again in less than 48 hours.  I am NOT going to see Ed Tate on Monday night!  I’m wiped out emotionally and physically.  I’m going to see him for the whole conference in 2 weeks anyway, we just bought a house, I shouldn’t be throwing $ away on things that aren’t necessary, I’m sick of driving a for three hours at a time and I just wanna STAY HOME and eat a big bag of chips.”

The words that I got from “The Other The Man” AFTER the contest, the man who back in the spring publicly claimed me as a future world champion were instrumental.  They were pivotal.  Having people who believe in me is everything.  People who believe in me validate my belief in me.  I was the one who had the idea in the first place.  But it’s only an idea until you take the next step and make it a process.  And when others believe in you, it makes taking that first step not only easier, not only possible,  but giddily joyful.

I’ve always had a troublesome ego that aspired to big things.  Problem is, I never used it to aspire to anything worthwhile.  I just shot my mouth off and let it lead me through general idiocy with impressive looking falls and fireworks.  I never really had much to back it up with.  As I slowly began to grow up, (and this was less than a decade ago mind you so I still have a lot of maturing to do) I began to realize just how much I didn’t know and just how very little I had contributed to the world.  My ego was finally confronted with reality sans alcohol.

I was confronted with my nothingness.

And so for the past ten years, my heart and mind have been healing, slowly repairing the synapses in my brain, struggling to break out of patterns that have previously buried me.

And I lived in this teeny tiny town for 9 years.  Staring at the stark snow-capped mountains, next to the vast waters of the peaceful Pacific, reminded always that I was just a very small part of it all.

Isolated from the world at large, slowly, slowly, ever so slowly,  I have learned who God is and who I am and what I can do about it.

God has been masterful in his slow revelation of the world to me.  Placing me on the outskirts of isolated little Egmont, population 150, while the initial gaping wounds began to heal for a year and a half.  Then slowly, he moved me into the little town with slightly more interaction, and church.  He gave me a best friend, a woman who was my friend AND my mentor, who helped guide me through the new world, the ‘normal’ world.  What we experienced was extraordinary and to this day I have not had a friendship match the miraculousness that was us.

Then finally Lloyd and I married and having Meaghan expanded my circle outside of the church and our little town.    But the loss of our second child and accompanying near death experience changed my life completely.  It was the kick in the ass I’ve talked about previously, that ever so effective tool of waking me up.  It forced me to acknowledge the truth in my life and brought me to a wider spiritual circle in the Catholic Church and beyond it.  And then, my dearest friend moved away, leaving me in my own space again, very lonely, but more whole than before I knew her.

By ‘fluke’ he next brought me Toastmasters, an organization I had NEVER heard of but my husband instinctively knew would be good for me- “You’re good at talking and you need the intellectual stimulation” he said.

It was my introduction into the public world again, albeit slowly and delicately.   The prodding of my mind and heart with every speech gave me a public voice again and made me discern what was truly important to me and what exactly I wanted to spend my time and energy on.

And then after a year of Toastmasters and seeing Darren LaCroix and the other greats, the secret desire in my heart of seeking the World Championships, thinking it was 99.99% pie in the sky.

Each one of these events was a ripple in the pond, getter bigger as it got farther away from that initial drop in Egmont.  Winning contests and moving up a level each year, meeting Toastmasters from Vancouver and the rest of BC, beginning to feel like I could pull off fitting in, and sometimes, actually even fitting.

The latest growing ripple was this past year, an actual physical move to a new home, half an hour closer to everything, making travel easier, making networking more frequent.  And then, making B.C. District finals twice and having people like Jamie MacDonald and Darren LaCroix in my life, encouraging me- telling me things I only dreamed about before.   Giving me the chutzpah to say something like “I’m going for the World Championships” and really mean it.

Through it all though, even in my revelation of nothingness there was always still that little spark of ego that Lloyd would see and close friends would see but for the most part, I muted because I wasn’t aware there could even BE an alternative for me, though my dreams told me differently.  It was the WORDS that made it all possible.  The validation of my beliefs.

It’s miraculous, isn’t it?  And if you look at your life, you will see the same thing, the miraculousness of it.  The perfect way things happen, difficult things and wonderful things, scary things and curious things, the marks they leave on your life, the signs pointing to the places you’re meant to go or at least meant to walk towards.

There’s this quote I like. It goes something like “You don’t have to have the will to win, everyone’s got that.  You have to have the will to do what it takes to PREPARE to win.”  That’s what going to Ed Tate was about, although it didn’t start that way.  For me I think this entire battle is going to be with myself.  Against those voices in my head that doubt me and say “WTF?  What do YOU think you’re doing girl?”

And so YES.  It was worth the time and energy and effort and money and words with my husband to go and see Ed Tate, the 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking.  It was worth it to hear those words, “One day, you’ll be the World Champion.”  and know that they were said with sincerity.   And to once again, in a time of vulnerability, validate my belief.

One of these days, I’ll give you the short answer.  Promise.   🙂



I’d say Jamie MacDonald is a god but he’d hate that and I don’t believe it anyway BUT…………….. he may be a demigod.

Some amazing feedback on The Speech from the author of the work of beauty that is “The Power of Spit”.   This speech went to the World Championships in 2010.  Do yourself a favour a watch it.  Have a Kleenex handy.



We chatted on the phone for about 40 minutes and he gave me some amazing ideas that took 718 words and sliced it down to 626.  Un-freaking-believable.   This is what happens when you go to someone who has been there, done that.  They show you paths you didn’t even know EXISTED.

Now I’m not going to go down ALL of those paths because as he said “We all have our own style and you have to be true to it.”  I am, however, now re-structuring the speech at the 11th hour and will spend the rest of this evening and most of tomorrow drilling the new version into my head.  God help me!

And Meaghan will be be with The Great Babysitter for the next few hours.

English: TV icon

English: TV icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)