Regain the Initial Aspiration
I still remember it was September 23rd 2011, the very first time I stepped into NTUTM. It was also the very first time we used this room, the Locke Venue as our meeting place. Tonight, is the second time in history we hold our meeting here. It’s the same place, the same time as I first came. But I have changed from an audience to someone whom I have never imagined before.
My friends often ask me, “How long do you plan to stay in your club?" I’d say at least until I graduate from university. So that’s seven years. For them, it is hard to imagine why I would choose to stay here for such a long time. Haven’t I ever had doubts? In fact, yes. In the past, I sometimes felt a little confused and tired. So what’s the motivation that kept me going?
Back to the day I first came here. In that Demo meeting, I was deeply impressed by how a speaker could influence others and how magical words could fill people with laughter and warmness. I was filled with dreams and ambitions then. I set up my goals to become an inspiring yet interesting speaker and I planned to finish my C10 within two years.
When I finished my speech in freshman cup, I was full of hope. I believed I could overcome my weakness of nervousness and my lack of confidence. And I did improve step by step as I prepared all-heartedly for every single speech. In the following semester, I took on an officer role as a deputy. Life here at NTUTM seemed flawless. The future was bright and promising.
But as time went by, I started to hide myself behind “the shield of officer." I took being an officer as an excuse and told myself, “Oh~ it’s completely reasonable that I don’t have time to prepare for a speech since I am so busy.” But the fact was it was laziness that kept me from improving. So week after week, I came to the meeting on Friday nights, did some official work, and then I went home. I became numb of what I heard from the speakers. I gradually forgot about the influential speaker I longed to become.
But I didn’t realize the fact then. I just felt that meetings seemed to become more and more tedious, and I gained less and less from them. I started to wonder, “Why do I spend three hours every week staying here on Friday nights? If I choose to do something else, would it be more meaningful?” During those days, I was a little bit distressed and disoriented. The only thing that kept me coming to meetings was to see the wonderful friends I have here.
One day, I finally took an individual evaluation position because I was tired of spending time just as an audience. At that time I didn’t know this was a big step, but it turned out to be a way out for me. I started to find that passion and excitement back after I threw myself on stage. I started to pay more attention to other speakers and evaluators because I wanted to learn from them after discovering my insufficiencies. I initiated a virtuous circle without even noticing it. I observed and listened carefully to every speaker once again. I absorbed some of their strength and tried to merge it into my next presentation. Gradually, I started to make progress and found the sense of accomplishment again. What’s more, after getting used to the exposure on stage, the pressure I felt on stage lessened. So I expanded my comfort zone and thereby created more opportunities for myself. I went club visiting and found many inspiring role models in other Toastmasters. I joined contests to broaden my horizons. Eventually, coming on stage becomes much more of a delight instead of a burden to me. I find the reason of staying after regaining my initial aspiration.
I was like a mountain climber hiking on a trail. At first I was amazed by the beauty of the surrounding summits. But as time went by, I concentrated only on the path beneath my feet. But one day I looked up again, and suddenly found that there were thousands of magnificent mountains lying ahead of me, waiting to be marveled at and conquered. Although the road to my ideal self meanders along the way, I’m finally back on my original track. Thanks to this stage, and most importantly the friends who always keep me accompany and inspire me.
Looking back on the day I first stepped into this room, I’ve changed a lot. I feel more at ease on stage now and I love NTU Toastmasters even more. No matter how confused we might have been along the way, I believe we could all find the most suitable track that leads us back to our initial aspiration eventually.