I have often dreamed of a far off place.
Where a hero’s welcome would be waiting for me.
Where the crowds will cheer when they see my face.
And a voice keeps saying, this is where I’m meant to be.
I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance.
I will find my way if I can be strong.
I know every mile, will be worth my while.
When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong.
Fellow Toastmasters. My friends. I can’t sing so well, so I read from the song called “Go The Distance”. “Go The Distance” means to complete the journey, to run the whole course. It was suggested as our meeting theme today by Jerry Wong. I nearly wanted to put him as the poster boy of this meeting to encourage him to go the distance to complete his Competent Communication manual and and earn his CC title that he so deserves. He has been doing great as a speaker, as an evaluator, and now as the champion in the Division R evaluation contest. I thought a CC title could help him to play a more major role in Toastmasters to help more members. Anyway, for Jerry’s achievement, shall we give him a round of applause?
Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying titles are what we should go after in Toastmasters. Titles are by-products as we engage in self-development journey in Toastmasters. We all know Toastmasters is one of the best, one of the most cost-effective ways to develop our speeches, our leadership. But we must also remember why we joined Toastmasters in the first place, that is to improve ourselves, not to get titles.
I have tried to live by example. If it was for titles, I would not be doing and repeating many speeches, yet remain as an ACB. It was because I couldn’t speak well in public 2 years ago, that I decided to join Toastmasters to change myself. It was because I felt I was left behind, that I decided to make double, even triple effort to catch up with other people.
I faced many challenges. I was nervous. I forgot my script. I ran out of ideas. One year ago, one evaluator even exceeded her time and “scolded” me for 8 minutes. But she won the best evaluator award. I nearly gave up. Luckily I went on, because I had been posting my speech photos on Facebook. If I stopped, it would be a shame for me, because I had proclaimed to the whole world that one day I would be a great speaker. Luckily I went the distance, and today you still see me persisting in the journey.
Today, it’s our speech marathon day. Today, we are going to listen to 6 speeches by 6 of us. Today, we are going to witness how they are going the distance in their journey. I hope they will inspire all of us to go the distance, and not get bogged down by anything that might hinder our way. I hope we all will go the distance to the end of the journey. So that, on that day, we can sing together, that “I know every mile, and it’s been worth my while.” Let’s start the meeting.