This week’s post is a little different than most. I’ve been working on a Toastmasters speech for the last month and presented at a Toastmasters competition last night.
I hope that this speech inspires you to break up with mediocrity and break through the barriers that are holding you back in golf…and in life!
Toastmasters Speech Video:
Toastmasters Speech Transcript:
“It all started at a soccer game the summer before my sophomore year in high school. Running at a full sprint, I reached out to try to save the ball from going out of bounds. Then Bam! I collided with a girl on the other team.
As soon as I hit the ground I knew something was seriously wrong. Then I looked down at my leg. My femur had snapped in two like a twig, right above my kneecap. I spent the rest of the summer and the early part of the school year in a full leg cast, hobbling around on crutches…then 6 more months after that in rehab. It was a miserable year.
Finally, spring came and the doctor cleared me to play soccer again. Tryouts were coming and I was pumped!
Then…I got cut. I broke my leg playing for this team! I had spent the last 5 years with this team …the coach knew what I had been through, and he had the nerve to cut me when I was barely able to play soccer again?! I was so angry and bitter…then I just stopped caring. My grades dropped, I started smoking, and I was fighting with my parents all the time.
Do you ever feel like you just want to escape your life? To enter the witness protection program and start all over? That’s exactly what I wanted to do and I had an idea…I knew what my escape was going to be.
I told my parents that I wanted to do a 24-day whitewater canoeing and backpacking trip to the 100-mile wilderness in Maine with Outward Bound. They quickly agreed. Too quickly.
I spent the month of July that summer experiencing some pretty amazing adventures with a group of misfits. At times it was fun, but mostly it was just plain hard.
When the blisters on my feet were bloody and so painful that I thought I couldn’t take another step…we hiked 4 more miles. When my arms felt like jello and I didn’t think I could paddle one more stroke, we paddled for 3 more hours. When my body was covered in over 200 mosquito bites and I didn’t think there was any more blood to suck, I counted 30 more bites the next morning.
I thought of quitting nearly every day, but the previous year was so full of failure and disappointments that I needed to prove to myself that I could succeed at something.
One of the hallmarks of Outward Bound is a 2-day solo, where each of us spent 2 days in solitude, with just the essentials. It was only 2 days, but it felt like forever. If I had a volleyball, I would have painted a face on it and named him Wilson.
During my time on solo, I came to an important realization. One that would alter the course of my life. As I sat in my damp sleeping bag, listening to the endless rain drops on my tarp shelter, it hit me.
I. Had. Grit.
Grit is courage; strength of character. The opposite of grit is weakness, cowardice. I was allowing my failures and circumstances to beat me down. Not anymore!
I’ll be 31 years old on Sunday and I have come a long way from the teenager who didn’t know the meaning of grit.
I started my career as a financial advisor in 2007 when I was 22 years old. In those early days when the stock market was down 40% and the world’s financial system was on the verge of collapse, I was out there calling on potential clients, believing that I would succeed…eventually. Fast forward 9 years and I am now directly responsible for $80 million dollars and the financial well-being of over 250 clients. Grit.
I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in July 2014 with nothing more than a few hundred milligrams of Tylenol to ease my 12-hour labor. Grit.
Perhaps what I am most proud of recently, something I’ve worked tirelessly on over the last several months…memorizing the lyrics to Macklemore’s Downtown. Grit.
Too many of us never fully realize our God-given gifts because we let failures, circumstances, or other people discourage us from continuing to try. We don’t dig our heels in. We don’t have grit. We settle for mediocrity and it feels normal because mediocrity is all around us.
Mark Twain said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do!”
Nobody in this room is meant for mediocrity. We are all meant for greatness. I’m not talking about worldly greatness like wealth or fame. What I’m talking about is unique only to you.
Maybe your greatness is finishing school so you can do what you really want to do…maybe it’s being a kind, loving, generous spouse…becoming financially independent…writing a book…raising independent, moral children…selling everything and moving to Haiti to commit your life to working with the destitute…
Whatever it is, you just need to tell the voice in your head that says you can’t succeed to just stay out of it! And push forward with intense, passionate, grit!”
P.S. Sorry Mom & Dad, I know you’re just now finding out I was a smoker 😉