Posts Tagged ‘Toastmasters’

Glutton for punishment

A friend of mine said something to me that made me chuckle a bit.  We were talking and I mentioned that I was giving a speech today during my Toastmasters club.  Her words to me “boy, you’re a glutton for punishment. I bet you iron for fun.” haha.  Let it be noted I do not enjoy ironing. I’m not that bad.

It got me to thinking why do we do some of the things we do?  What pushes us to do things outside of our comfort zone?

Toastmasters is a public speaking club.  I don’t like public speaking but I sign up willingly to do this during my lunch hour at work?  What?  And this is fun?  Actually, it is.  I get to speak about events in my life and things that are a passion to me.  Unsurprisingly, running is a big topic.  I’m giving a speech on Pikes Peak today;-)  I still get nervous and don’t really enjoy that feeling per say but I do it.

I’m an engineer in the construction industry.  Not only is this profession male dominated but engineers tend to be the bottom of the food chain.  Wait, what? You chose this profession?

I played the trumpet.  I was the only female in the trumpet section yet became a squad leader by senior year.

I run.  Marathons were great but then Pikes Peak became my mission.  There were those that didn’t believe in me and I knew this would be the hardest thing I’ve done to date. No regrets and I hope to be back out on that mountain one day.

I moved to NYC not knowing a single person here straight from college.

Looking at it I think rather than punishment it’s more the thrill of the unknown.  The excitement that goes along with something new and fresh.  Getting too comfortable isn’t my style. For me, it’s not punishment but rather living life.  It’s no fun to stay inside and follow someone’s coattails all the time. Carpe diem people!

Everyone’s been asking what’s next after November 7?  Good question.  Here’s a small hint.  I turn 31 next year.  Think of a race that can go along with that number…;-)

What’s something you do that others may see as “punishment”?

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This is my first speech I’m giving in my Toastmasters club.  The idea is you can talk about yourself and just do something for 4-6 minutes.

“Life is a Marathon”

How many people in the room have completed a marathon? Interesting, I think for the most part every one of us has and are in the mist of a marathon.  As most of you know, running is a pretty important part of my life and I have run several marathons (six to be exact and have begun to train for #7 on April 19).  Running a marathon is similar to life in that it teaches you several things, among them perseverance, overcoming mental and physical challenges, dedication, luck, excitement and the ability to believe in yourself.  Running a marathon you experience these things within a few hours instead of over a lifetime.

Challenges are a part of life.  One such mental challenge to me was my move to New York City about 7 years ago.  I graduated from Penn State University, not exactly a sprawling metropolis by any means.  The campus is made up of 40,000 college aged kids.  How I ended up in NYC is a lucky occurrence in itself.  I had no intentions of moving to NYC.  I remember visiting NYC my parents one summer before my junior year of college and stating the following: “It’s a great place to visit but I could never live here.”  Oh, did I learn to eat my words.  Anyway, one cold and snowy December day, I decided to sign up for an interview on campus…a couple months later I was called to NYC by F+K for an interview and two weeks after graduating from Penn State I was packing up from everything I knew and moving to NYC.  I knew not a single person, moved in with a stranger I had spoken on the phone with and met once to sign the lease for my new apartment on the UES, starting a new job and essentially knew nothing about the city.  I always joke about the fact that if you asked me where Brooklyn was I’d say that’s part of NY?  (side note: I just bought an apartment in Brooklyn this year).  I’m still amazed I’ve been able to just throw out all fear and move out here.  It hasn’t been without its ups and downs but overall I love it here.  My parents kept my car for a year because they were certain I would be coming back to Philadelphia.  They did not see this coming!  7 years later and I have no intentions of leaving.

As far as physical challenges, the marathon definitely is one that seems unbelievable to carry out.  Believe it or not, I was not always a runner.  I started running about 6 years ago.  My dad had tried to get me to run for years but I always resisted.  Why do I want to do that? It’s boring.  I hate running.  I did try several times between high school track, races my dad trained me for and races with my mom (you’re a black sheep in my family if you don’t run).  Each time met resistance as I would resort to other activities such as softball and basketball.  I still remember running my first race at 8 years old with my dad and hating every minute of it.

Finally, I decided just as moving to NYC is a challenge I needed a new challenge and decided to sign up for the NYC Marathon lottery in 2004.  Sure enough, I got in on my first try! Yikes, now what?  I met a fellow runner, Susan, for a run in Central Park one cold March evening for a run.  She had gotten in as well!  For four months, I’d wake up early for runs, train on the weekends and dedicate myself to making sure I cross that finish line. Six months later I was running through the five boroughs of NYC.  What an amazing experience and I’ll be giving it a go again in November this year – not to mention I’ll be running the Boston Marathon on April 19th!

Unlike a marathon I run, the marathon of life is a continuing experience.  No one really knows how and when it will turn.  However, for me I’ve learned to enjoy life and continue to challenge myself both mentally and physically.  Finding running for me has helped me learn to love life but each of us has something to make their marathon happen. Also, never say you will never do something because I certainly have learned – you can do anything you put your mind to!

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