Level setting

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Level setting


I joined a local Toastmasters group after seeing my son and his peers speak in a High School Homeschool Speech and Debate tournament. Because it looks so easy and fun I thought I would try. Public Speaking isn’t as easy as it may appear. It looks so simple when you are inspired by that speaker who motivates you to change your world, try a new skill or develop a deeper skill set. Yes, I actually thought that when I started Toastmasters. In my mind, my first speech would sound like a finely tuned TED talk. If the first few speeches didn’t turn out so great then the 4th, 5th and so on would be profound.  When you join Toastmasters there is a level setting with reality because you hear yourself make mistakes and feel powerless to change midstream.


To truly change and grow you need an accurate idea, picture or assessment of where you are, today. This can be very painful if you’ve had or have an elevated sense of what your skills really are but once you have this information you can stop looking backward and fretting about where you are today. You can take this snapshot and map out where you want to go.


Maps tell us where we are and help plot us to what roads, mountains, seas, lakes, ponds or creeks that we need to travel, climb, or cross to reach our destination. Those destinations can be small stops to spend the night or have lunch just off the interstate. They can be several days of sightseeing before we continue our journey. With a map we can plan or estimate how long it will take us to get to our intermediate destinations or final goals.  As with all travel the more you stop and see the sights the longer it takes you to get to your main destination.

Road Trips

I hate driving for more than 5 hours a day. If I’m going to travel at 60-70 miles per hour and hope to reach a destination that takes 20 hours I have to decide how many days I want to travel. This usually is the deciding factor. One day, two days, three days or more to travel 20 hours at 60-70 miles per hour. Your road trip can be spent in the car, at a hotel or at a friend’s home. These ideas seem so simple don’t they? They are simple till we apply them to ourselves because it’s so much harder to take a road trip and try new things when it’s our lives, goals and interests. It’s easy to drive through a town as your grabbing a burger at the drive through right off of the interstate but it’s hard to incorporate ideas from random sources because we don’t know who to easily incorporate them into our thinking.

Cars, Planes & Trains

Does it matter what type of transportation you use to reach your goals? While you’re traveling it makes a huge deal. If you take 5-7 days to drive or 5 hours to fly across the United States will make a huge difference to how you arrive but will it change your destination, maybe or maybe not. I do know that you will feel differently after being in the car for 5-7 days driving with your family. I know this for a fact. When you are in compact places for prolonged periods of time with your family your journey will change. If I arrive at my destination via an airplane in 5-7 hours and have time to read and nap I will arrive refreshed and energetic for the next leg of my journey.

Journeys & Goals

Does the journey change the destination or goal? I don’t know. The phrase “hindsight is 20 20” means you usually get clarity when the event or situation is past. I would add that the farther the event is in the past the more you can see it realistically or without emotion. Planning during the journey is hard because of the emotions that we connected with the event. If we didn’t have these emotions it would be as easy as pulling out a map and setting a plot and then systematically taking steps to arrive at our destination.


To achieve goals we need to define them. Those beautifully polished TED talks didn’t just happen. They were written, rewritten and polished before the speaker took the stage. We must have courage and endurance for our journey to achieve our goals in public speaking and other areas of our lives.

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