They are beneficial to have in this life.
It has been said that this is what life is made of.
Dreams propel us forward and give us the goal and drive to succeed.
I have been a jockey the past 2 years chasing and pursuing a goal and dream called the Triple Crown.
Getting up on a horse is never easy. It is quite high in the air. And I am low to the ground.
Yet on top of my horse, I gallop through the stalls sitting tall and proud. Taking in the atmosphere of the scene.
My name gets called to the starting gate and I line up with the other riders. Rope in my hand and feeling the horse about to jolt forward.
Get ready, get going and start!!
The race has begun.
Back in 2010 I wandered through the stall at the Toastmaster barn and looked on for 5 to 6 months and never got to the starting gate. Wondering what it would feel like to begin to race in life.
Then I took the challenge and got in the lane for the first talk. A 4 to 6 minute one about myself: the Icebreaker.
I held my notes close to me and gave it. Fearful that I would make a mistake on what I was about to say.
Then I kept moving forward, one gallop at a time and began to be more comfortable with the crowds in the stands.
I had some trouble in some of them. Starting off speaking but the volume off and then I would be speaking as the volume turned up. Catching some of my listeners a little puzzled of where I was going.
Yet with some coaching and prodding from Jeanette, I got more comfortable with story telling and with making my point.
During one of our meetings on the telephone with our cabinet, Judy challenged us to set a goal for ourselves in June 2011. I set as my goal to get the competent communicator award accomplished by December 2011. And I did just that!!! One of my inspirational talks I gave before the Journey, a fellowship of men from surrounding churches. On that morning I got picked up by Frank Borres in his sporty red convertible and I in my blue blazer ready to give my inspirational talk on my journey through life and tying it to the advent story. At the Covenant church that morning, I could see the Christmas lights in the background and the beauty of the sky behind me. And off I went for that 9th speech which ended up being 24 minutes long. And evaluated by my coach Jeanette who made suggestions and helped me to finish off that dream in 2011. 16 short months from when I first walked into conference room 301 wondering what the whole world of Toastmasters was all about.
The other great part of the Toastmasters race is that of leading. I have been leading all along whether in a small group at church or doing a project at work. But here it was more defined. John Maxwell has many different definitions and nuances on leadership but in essence he says that "leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less."
And when I joined and continued to show the commitment of showing up on time and being dedicated, I was called by our President Tom and was asked to serve on the team as the Seargant at arms and set up the flags and the chairs and provide note sheets and agendas for our participants.
At one of our leadership meetings, the role was described as that of a magician who sets the stage for a great meeting. I got to set out the flag in front of our room and even had the opportunity of capturing it and bringing it through the city streets so I could bring it to our conference in the fall. Along the way, I had to pick up some of the screws holding our stand amid the concrete and brick steps downtown and got to be in the parade of flags of the Toastmaster clubs and guests in the stadium.
The leading consists of small tasks such as the timing, the counting of ums an ahs and running the meeting. These can be quite daunting at times.
With our handy green timer and our green, yellow and red cards, we are able to speak without worrying about time most of the time.
The timer can be a challenging device to operate at times-having to push many buttons to get it to work. Many of our members have been flustered with it. On some of my speeches, I used to question the timer and said, "Tom, is it time yet?" Tom said, "keep on going, Scott, it has only been 3 minutes." I replied, " I am near the end of my speech and it is 5 minutes long. Oops, looks like I have to sit down and give it another time."
And since I guard the timer between meetings, I know when it is 11 after the hour since there is an alarm that beeps. It sure is a mysterious green monster.
Then there is the counting of the ums and ahs. Hard sometimes to keep up with the cadence of a breakdown in the lane of words. Something that I have put off for many months but did it one day so that I could click off that element in leadership!
Running an actual meeting has been a great experience for me. It feels good to get up at the imaginary lectern and introduce our team and get them going on their roles. Sometimes we do not go directly to the starting line but start wherever we are in the race!! The rope can get tangled at times in the directing of the hour but there are those times when everything flows as you intended it to.
And then during one of our lunches after our meeting, Tom asked me to consider becoming the President of our club. When I was serving as the Seargant at Arms, I used my gift of encouragement to prod and have others join us in this journey of life of speaking and leading. And one of the goals and aims of the President is to inspire others along the way in the journey of life. I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to represent our club and the challenges that it faces. And ultimately to lead it to the goal of distinguished. Just to be able to get more enthusiastic participants to line up with the other horses along the way.
After our meetings, we give out the Toaststar award that gets given to someone who shows great leadership or to one who taught someone a valuable lesson in life from the meeting. I have received this star on numerous occasions and have carried it throughout the state to various meetings I have been with and put it out in front of me. It even inspired one of our leaders, Stephanie, to have it during our networking sessions and called it her shooting star-inspired by my Toaststar. Yet, I never won the shooting star!
While there are numerous other stories to tell, the adventure continues for me. I go to the Cromwell Derby next Saturday saddled up and ready to be an alternate presenter if one of the jockeys can't do it for one of their 6 sessions. And to stride into the stadium and bring the flag along. And to line up with the others who have met their dreams of getting their awards. Their triple crowns, their distinguished Toastmasters and other distinguished awards. And for that moment to be alongside great leaders and speakers, ordinary people, who dreamt a little bigger and were able to influence those in the crowd!!
And to inspire others and their guests to go out on their dreams and capture whatever they want.
And the ultimate field of dreams to me could be the capturing of real work as well.
Now to continue on in the march of my life and to have the time to grab that hot dog and look out on the field of riders and see and hear and feel the gallop of their hooves underneath.