I'm going to start a new weekend series here about someone who has busted through a big obstacle in life. I'm kicking things off with my story of my first Toast Masters meeting. Stay tuned for more fun stories from people who've made the choice to move through fear and into their passion!
Running this website has really brought me joy as I try to share with others beneficial ways to relax, de-stress and get back to the Love and Joy you are in your core. However, there is something that must always be tempered with meditation. This is something I have heard called "inspired action," and this is a great phrase. It's action you take from a place of desire to fulfill your passions. It's the kind of things you do when you feel divinely guided and supported. This does not always mean calm things. These actions might be things that scare you. In fact, more often than not, going forward in your life is going to require inspired action steps that scare you
Today, I made a big step through one of my own personal blocks. For years and years I have told myself I would join Toast Masters. Public speaking terrifies me. I have no real desire to be a public speaker, but I do want to pitch my ideas with confidence and clarity. My inability to express myself in front of strangers has really held me back. I've known in my gut for awhile that Toast Masters would be my solution. There was no way I could pray, meditate or deep breathe my way through this. I just had to face the fear and go through it. No one was going to do it for me. When it comes to going forward in our life, we usually feel frustrated and angry someone can't fix things for us, but in the end, we find that's exactly what we had needed. It's wonderful to be carried and supported, and it is important, but true strength comes when we lift ourselves up and push open doors with our own free will. In the same way someone cannot do pushups for you, no one can build your inner strength, chase your dreams, and get you to your fullest potential. Only you can.
Throughout the day today my heart pounded. Was I really going to do this? What if I had to speak today? What would I say? Maybe I could do this next week...
As the day went on my fear only increased. I was actually pulsing with adrenaline while I meditated. I held the meditation as long as I could until I blew out my computer's system with all my anxiety. Actually, I don't know what happened, but about 15 minutes into my meditation my computer crashed and rebooted itself, cutting off my meditation music.
Later in the day, knowing fully I would do this and feeling it inside me, the fear began to become tempered with excitement. I was really going to take this step. I was going to get the eff out of my own way. I would no longer be blocking myself, but instead be going forward.
I began to have waves of calm. I forgot about what I was signed up for while I cooked dinner. I took my Dad out for yogurt and we chatted about it, totally calm. When it came time to go I felt a little nervous, but something inside me had reached a point of acceptance. This was important, and I was going to do it.
As the meeting unfolded I saw I was surrounded by not only kind and awesome people, but others who were nervous too. I stood up and spoke twice, once briefly about myself and once briefly about what I hoped to gain from the club. Both times I struggled to finish, but I somehow managed to do so. Some people were really comfortable getting up and speaking. Others had to fight for their confidence, and that really inspired me. Being surrounded by people who were choosing to face their fears also was really powerful. I was so proud of all the speakers. We all had nerves, and to see everyone wanting everyone else to succeed really showed me how incredible people can be.
By the end of the meeting I could already feel how Toast Masters is a life changing experience. As I write this, I'm excited to go back. Not because I know I'm going to stand up and kill it at the podium. But because I just took the first step in the rest of my life, and I can't wait to take more steps, no matter how shaky or small they are at the time.
Each step matters. Each step you take brings you further. And that's all you have to do today, is take a step. No leaps of faith or high jumps required. Just a step.