I entered the International Speech as well as Tables Topics contests at my Toastmasters Club – Cheng San Toastmasters on Sat 28 Feb.
I learned only after agreeing to enter the contest that I had to work on the day of the next round – Area contest. I realised how irresponsible it would be for my club if I pulled out last minute and so decided to participate without any expectation of winning.
There were three contestants for International Speech, and five for Table Topics from my club that day.
I won International Speech, and was placed third for Table Topics.
This was the first time I won – entering both contests at least twice before. I decided to enter the Area contest – rescheduling my full-day Art of Feminine Presence intended for Sat 7 March to Sun 29 March.
The Area Contest for S1 was held at home of Buddhist Fellowship Toastmasters Club on Sat 7 March 1 – 5p.m.
Don’t Do This…
At Toastmasters, the worst thing that can happen onstage besides:
- Having a memory freeze,
- Forgetting your lines,
- Dropping your props,
- Leaving your zipper undone,
Is… running out of time.
That’s what happened – I was immediately disqualified.
During the tea break, several people came up to me and said they liked my speech. Some said I had a winning chance. But I knew I might be disqualified, and was subdued for the reminder of the contest.
Because we are our worst critic, I knew I…
- Should have been more well-prepared,
- Ought to have rehearsed more,
- Could have done better.
Alas, I fell victim to the “should”, “ought” and “could have”. I felt I let down my club.
When I got home, I posted this on Facebook:
“For the first time, I represented Cheng San Toastmasters club for International Speech Contest for the S1 Area Contest this afternoon. Due to nerves, I was disqualified as I exceeded the time limit. A fellow contestant pointed a few times in my face and laughed out loud. I’m a big girl. I can now laugh about it too. Wait for my blog post on my reflections, but not before I go off to my little park downstairs and do some R&R&R (rest, relax and read) #makinglemonadeoflemons #publicspeaking #gratitude“
My friends were quick to encourage me:
- “Don’t worry. There’s next year.”
- “Oh man! So sorry to hear that. Good experience!“
- “You are new to competition. You will get used to it over time.“
- “Failure is a lesson it’s not a waste. Hope you learn something outta this and look at what u gain outta this experience. You have move a step ahead.“
To be honest,
- I wasn’t upset I didn’t win. I am disappointed with myself for being disqualified – overlooked without even a side glance.
- I wasn’t upset I forgot a lot of my lines. I am disappointed I wasn’t more well-prepared.
- I am not upset about losing this year. I know I can always do better, even if I had won.
7 Lessons Learned
Yesterday only served to remind me of a few things:
- Delusional about talent – How we look at people who do well, for instance, in public speaking, and think they have a talent we don’t have (them vs. us). Rubbish. If only people saw more of the before-and-after. This is precisely why I leave the first YouTube videos I made on my channel. We tend to give up before we even started.
- Hard work – How we don’t put in the work, and are upset for not doing well. We just get busy, give ourselves excuses for not making the time, try got “wing it”, and then get disappointed when we don’t (myself included). That’s sounds crazy. Yet we keep doing this to ourselves anyway.
- Heart work – How we don’t realise putting our heart on our sleeves means risking being laughed at, and how we only get emotionally stronger when we keep putting ourselves out there. People can say mean things. Being laughed at doesn’t spur me unlike other people. I still get hurt. I just recover faster.
- Personal excellence – How we are our worst critic. It mattered less that others thought of my speech, and more how I truly thought I did. As a sexologist, I have gone where people haven’t, and done what people couldn’t even imagine. I have had a lot of practice with trusting my inner voice. I am a believer of being my own benchmark and this has served me well in the past.
- Effortless effort – How effortless true mastery appears. This requires patience, practice and time. Amazingly most people expect to just know how to have sex just because they love each other. Sex like anything else requires skill. And that also requires information, understanding and practice.
- Get coached – Even though I didn’t win, there was one big difference happened between club and area contest. I had some coaching from my friend, Ho Wee Peng. He gave me invaluable advice and insights which I never would have learned otherwise, such as anchoring characters to a place onstage, and separating the stage to story and telling area. He, in turn, had invested a lot of money into his own coaching. I learned more this past week than I ever did in the last 10 on-off years of being with Toastmasters.
- Let go – The moment I finished my last sentence onstage, I already knew I was disqualified. And everything after that was my process of letting go – of forgiving myself. Nobody need to “blame” me. I did enough for us combined. What I needed… pronto, was to let go. When I got home, I got connected with my desires and went to the park – and was gentle to rather than harsh on myself.
7 Questions – Bringing it Home to You
- Delusional about talent – Do you have any natural-born talents which you like to develop?
- Hard work – What do you really care about which you could apply yourself to?
- Heart work – When was the last time you allowed yourself to be vulnerable?
- Personal excellence – How can you be an even better person?
- Effortless effort – Pick an area of interest, and start putting in some practice hours into it.
- Get coached – Are there areas of your life you could do with some coaching?
- Let go – How do you let go when there’s a lot of self-blame? Check out a releasing technique here.
Dear friend, there is no judgment here. We are on the same journey of life. I wish you only well.
Who is Martha?
Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality, then launching Eros Coaching in 2009. She works with individuals and couples who wish to lead pleasure-filled and confident lives. Since 2011, she has been and still is the only certified sexuality educator by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore. This accolade is only for those who meet the stringent requirements determined by AASECT, which is the leading professional organization for sexuality educators, sexuality counselors and sex therapists in the United States.
Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own events. She takes prides in making sure all her events are fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. You can read the testimonials she’s received over her seven years of practice here.
Often cited in the local media, Dr. Lee is the appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She has published two books: Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, and Orgasmic Yoga. For her full profile, click here.