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 sent my speech to World Champions Edge to have a random World Champ give me an e-critique.  I feel kind of sick to my stomach.  Most of us don’t like to hear negative things about ourselves or our abilities.  I, in particular, can’t stand it.  I may be pretty tough on the outside but I’m raw meat on the inside and I bleed fairly easily and profusely.  It ain’t pretty.

So the fact that I’m setting myself up for another possible knock-down is pretty scary to me.   But to move to the next level, you have to ask the best.

The Speech is written.  I won’t write another.  I will revise if necessary and will take into consideration everything this particular Champ tells me.  The critique won’t be ready for probably 2 weeks but that’s ok.  If I survive this Saturday, it will be worth it.  And it will be worth it if I don’t.


Ok, so the speech is out there.  I’ve done it twice.  I may as well tell you what it’s about.  It’s about people who talk too much.  (Gen X alert!  (did you hear Run DMC when you read that? )


This speech actually comes from a painful place.  I have a dear friend who talks so much, she has no idea what has gone on in my life or anyone else’s life for that matter, for a very long time.  She hasn’t even heard how I did in the International speech finals in Harrison Hot Springs yet.  HELLO!  That was back in MAY!!!!!!!!!

I wish I was exaggerating but I’m not.

Everyone knows someone like this so it’s a gold mine for laughs.  It’s also a great place to CONNECT with people because it’s so universal.

I’ve watched both versions of the speech I did last week and I’ve seen that there is a place that I thought was pretty damned funny but I seem to be the only person who thinks so.  Therefore, I need to do something about that.

I’ve tweaked it, changed an entire paragraph and I hope it’s better than before.  I also lost what I realized was a redundant sentence, giving me more time for VALUABLE PAUSES which I just seemed to trip right over in BOTH speeches.  SHEESH.  I’ve been waiting for Meg to go to sleep so I can drill it out loud.

Spent almost all day yesterday working on homeschool stuff and felt AMAZING to be organized again.  I REALLY like to be organized.  It makes me anxious for things to be scattered and not neatly piled into the places that they should be.

Today was our first day of COMPLETE school- all of our classes.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be- it’s just timely.  I really will need to be disciplined to do the things I want to do – eg.  be a great homeschooling mom, be a good Toastmasters President and be the World Champ.  Being a good wife is pretty easy with a good husband.

Couldn’t drill the speech most of  today since I took Meaghan to her 1st home school group of the year today.  And fyi, there were more kids in this group than there are in the nearest elementary school.  Pretty interesting eh?

Meg had voice lessons after that so I had half an hour on my own.  I was in downtown Gibsons and the idea passed through my mind and hovered for a millisecond until I grabbed it.

What Ryan Avery, this year’s champ did to drill his speech really intrigued me and I think it’s brilliant.  I knew it would be something beneficial to me, if I had the guts to do it, as I feel very self-conscious sometimes.  Avery drilled his speech EVERYWHERE.  In malls, in prison, underwater, you name it.  He said if he could do the speech in uncomfortable, distracting places, doing it at the World’s shouldn’t be a problem.

So, I thought, well, I need to go find a place to drill this speech.  I drove down the street and found a nice sized patch of grass beside the sidewalk across the street from the library.  So, I did my speech right there.

And people walked by, and yes, it was distracting.  I felt TOTALLY self conscious and felt pretty sure I looked like a crazy person talking to myself.  It was hard concentrating and I forgot where I was in my speech several times.

I finished though and I thought “it’s not busy enough here.  It’s not HARD enough.  It’s not scary enough.  How bad do you want it Paula?” 

So I crossed the road and went up on the bloody hill for all the world to see (didn’t Harrison write a song called “The Fool on the Hill“? )  found a nice patch of goose poo-less grass, took a deep breath and did it.  Without reservations.

It was bleeping AMAZING.  It was a rush unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  It was, in a word, thrilling.  People looked at me strangely; I kept going.  They stopped and watched.  I kept going.  Even when some guy walked by with his dog and asked me “Hey, are you ok?”  I was OK!  I laughed like a maniac, but I was OK!

I have to tell you, I can’t WAIT to do this again.  I can’t wait to see how truly foolish I am willing to look.  (Insert incredibly easy joke here.)

I am coining the term now.  Let it be known that I did so.  Avery developed the technique, therefore I am naming it after him.  This kind of scary Kamakaze speech drilling shall heretofore be known as “Avery Drilling“.

It’s past midnight so the club contest is TONIGHT.