Yes, I did.  I got Rich today!

I actually hired Rich Hopkins as my speech coach.  My husband doesn’t know this yet and is probably reading about it now so let me just say “Honey, this is going to be worth every reasonably priced penny and more.  Hey, do you want some more ice cream?  How about a back rub? ”

Rich has been to the semi-finals 7 times.  He has been to the finals twice and placed 3rd in the world in 2006.  He knows how to put together great speeches.  I have seen a few of them.   I have actually read one of his books, “The Finalists” which is about the 9 finalists who competed at the 2008 World Championships in Calgary.   I am excited to be working regularly with someone who can teach me so much.

World Champions Edge is great; it has tons of archives that I am swimming through and I am glad I joined but a one-shot e-critique is a whole different ballgame from what Rich is offering.  I feel inspired and very very glad that I made this move.  I wouldn’t have before.  Timing is everything.

I was pretty nervous just before he called but I had the vague presence of mind to pray before we spoke.  He was very personable and asked a lot of questions.  I gave him an outline of my speech idea and when I was finished, he asked THE question.

“What’s in it for me?”

And I answered “Well, your price (literally)” and then I laughed my ass off like a fool.

I knew what he was talking about but I couldn’t help myself.  When someone opens a door that wide, you GOTTA walk through it.

He meant “What are you giving the audience?”  This is the question that every speaker worth their salt asks because it’s all about the audience.

So I told him and I felt pretty happy because  I knew what my intent was before I wrote a single word of my speech.

Man I feel good.

Ok, I have to go because I have broken my 11:30 pm bedtime rule by an hour and a half.  Church in less than 8 hours.

Thanking God.


October 30

I’m taking some time to BE. Doing some reading and some writing. I’d like to put together a club speech before The Big Speech.

I was listening to Craig Valentine, Ed Tate, Darren LaCroix and Mark Brown last night on World Champions Edge and they talked about what to do with a speech AFTER the contest. There was SO much great wisdom to be found there. I took a lot of notes.

Something Ed Tate recommended was to ask myself “What did I achieve along the way doing this contest?” and think that is a very worthwhile exercise.

So Paula, what DID you achieve along the way doing this contest?

I truly honouredmy audience’s time and strove to give them something worth their time in return.

I discovered how important it is for me to have FUN doing this.

I learned how important it is for me to be prepared pre-contest on contest DAY.

I got past my post-disappointing speech anxiety.

I asked for help from the best.

I encouraged and even helped my competition in the spirit of leadership and friendship.

I got a big healthy dose of humility. Three times!  Lol (Important one for me)

I truly enjoyed my competitors’ speeches!

I learned how to take more criticism.

I learned just how much I still need to learn.

I made my spiritual director laugh like never before!

I discovered that there are a heck of a lot of people in my corner that are ready to help me.

I discovered that people much more talented than me think that I haven’t even begun “to mine the gold inside of you”.

I saw how much my family loves me and are willing to sacrifice for me.

My dad let me know how much he believes in me.  And always has.  (Even when I made it difficult)

I was able to take my work ethic to a hugely new level.

I went to a brand new club.

I made some new friends.

“JAWS The Speech”  was ironically written as a result of a sad event.  Having this speech on my mind so much prompted me to remember to pray for the person in the sad event.

I know there are many more but this is a good beginning.  No process this fruitful is ever wasted.  It was a good run.

I gotta tell ya though, I sure as hell wish I was on that big stage this weekend.

Good luck to all the competitors.  Looking forward to a good laugh!





I finally felt it tonight.  I care again.  I DO care.  I care a lot.

This volcanic post was true:

I WAS PMSing, big time, but it WAS an existential crisis too.  The two often walk hand in hand like psychopathic lovers.

This week has felt like ghost Paula has been living my life.  I haven’t quite felt THERE, you know?   I went through all the motions, but Paula finally returned to me  tonight.  My spirit is pulling at the reins again and I am so relieved.  How I hate to free-fall!

I was at World Champion’s Edge tonight listening to LaCroix spout his usual common sense but it was Craig Valentine and Ed Tate who broke through me tonight.

Ed Tate is such a hardass.  I totally respect that about him.  He could be a pretty damned effective drill sargeant.  Have I mentioned that he scares the daylights out of me because he is so absolutely TOGETHER, so wonderfully composed?  His persona reminds me in some way, of a handsome and charming Terminator.  (And his World Championship speech is my favourite after Darren’s)  He gave me a necessary kick in the ass tonight.  Have I mentioned that an ass-kicking is one of the more effective forms of motivation for me?  Ed is going to be our keynote speaker at the TM conference in November.  I would like very much to meet him and have a chat.  And not pee my pants.

Craig Valentine gave me 2 rehearsal tips that I have never used before that really excited me and that I can’t wait to use.  I wish I could disclose them here but it occurs to me that I pay them a monthly fee for a reason- so they can make a living.  I can’t be giving away techniques that they are charging money to learn.  Suffice it to say, World Champions Edge is worth the $30 a month.

(Little story – The money for this appeared in a magical way.  We have been sponsoring a child at World Vision for 8 years now when all of a sudden, we got a letter from them saying that Salim’s village was now self sufficient and that donors were no longer necessary!!!  I had never heard of such a success but I was thrilled that was the case.  So, just as I was agonizing over spending the extra $30 a month for Edge, this letter came in the mail.  Thanks God, for the guilt-free-trip.)

Now it’s not just the Tate/Valentine one-two punch – it’s really that time heals all wounds and I needed some time, for sure.  I’m not break dancing yet but I’m on the floor and I can feel the beat again.  My toes are tapping.  I’m starting to move.  I crave that groove folks.


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.


Last night was a rough night.  I got about 4 hours sleep and had to get up early for church.  I’ve also been suffering with some mysterious back pain for 28 days straight now.  And Meg shared her cold with me so I was not feeling too hot today.  But the drilling must be done!

Because yes folks, The Speech is written.  You know, you can’t help but still tweak it here and there but it is done.  Until I get some more feedback after the first contest anyway.

I am very happy with it and I am excited about sharing it.  I am in two contests this week.  The first is my club contest on Wednesday and the second is my humorous club contest on Friday in the big smoke, Vancouver.  It’s great to be able to get to do it twice as I can see what worked and what didn’t.

About drilling:  Got some excellent advice from Lance (I almost wrote Armstrong, whoops!!!) Miller, 2005 World Champ.  He advised to drill the speech in a variety of voices and also to SAY.  EACH. WORD.  LIKE.  THIS.

That drill turned a 7 minute speech into a 22 minute speech- TOUGH drill but very effective.  The next time I did it, I remembered the whole thing.  World Champions Edge continues to kick ass.

Ok, back to normal tomorrow- what a crazy crazy week I have coming up.  I’m exceedingly proud of myself for being in bed before midnight.  Of course it’s quite difficult to sleep with a computer on your lap, so, good night!

Never a dull moment.

Eerily quiet last night since my girl was at a sleepover.  Lonely, but got lots of work done.

Tonight I probably gave The Speech 3 more hours.  2005 World Champ Lance Miller

gave some great advice today at World Champions Edge on practising and drilling your speech.  I am getting close to that point now as I am pretty much finished writing it.

One really valuable tip he shared was NOT to start your speech all over when you make a mistake.  Just push past the mistake and keep going and you will better learn how to deal with this WHEN it happens in your real life speeches.  I have ALWAYS started over, wanting to do it perfectly.  But real life doesn’t give you many do-overs so it’s a smart strategy.

Another thing I have had weighing on my mind is that my FIRST story in my speech wasn’t until almost HALF way through the speech.  I know that Darren LaCroix and Craig Valentine (1999 World Champ) would w say that’s WAYYYY too late and I agree.  I just didn’t know how the heck I was going to re-structure it.  I didn’t WANT to restructure it.  It had a flow.

But I put the speech on the computer screen in front of me so I could see the entire thing at once and began to see some possibilities.  Seeing the big picture helps in so many ways.  I moved things around and pretty soon, the flow was better AND I had a strong closing.

I think I might be finished.

I gave the speech for Lloyd tonight and he loved it but said he thinks it needs more funny.

I said “honey, you’ve heard it 20 times already, that’s why you’re not laughing anymore.”

But of course, THAT will weigh on my mind.

I’d like this solidified by Saturday.  I’m doing some more mindless repetitious work on Saturday, perfect for drilling and practising a speech.  God is good.

Earlier today I tried to upload a video of a speech that I gave at the BC District finals but youtube told me it would take 261 minutes!!!!!!  Is that insane or what?  So I will try another time.

I spent last night in pain and didn’t get much sleep, therefore I existed as a zombie today.  I finally put my daughter Meaghan to bed, read her a chapter of Little House on the Prairie and proceeded to fall asleep in her bed.  I’m wiped and I haven’t got much to tell you about the progress of speeches tonight.  There is none.

I do, however, have some new perspective thanks to a fellow Edger at World Champions Edge.  I may be able to ressurrect the dead.  I’m going to give Speech # 1 another look tomorrow.  One way or another, I’ve got to make a decision.  The contest is in 2 weeks tomorrow AND THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN FOR CRYIN’ OUT LOUD!!