Goals we missed.
Many of our New Year’s resolutions have been abandoned; why? Were our goals unrealistic? Was our will lacking? Or did we focus on results rather than process?
We’ve learned that goals should be concrete (or specific), measurable and achievable. But they are end-points, much like the destination for a weekend trip. To reach our goal we have to focus on the process – we drive along our selected highways for three hours to get to the cabin – driving is our process.
We can solemnly pronounce on New Year’s Eve, “I will speak like Martin Luther King and evaluate like Lance Miller by the end of next year.” Worthy goals, but with no road map – and no process — it’s only blather. (Also see Are You Serious, Feb 1.)
We can cobble together a few talks and ignore the idea of making speeches that change audiences – or evaluations that inspire speakers to grow. We may eventually earn a CC pin. Our efforts and our risk of failure will be minimal, like our expectations. And our growth will be erratic and plodding.
Or, we can review the evaluations of our speeches 1 – 4, incorporate the suggestions we think will help ror our Speech 5, review the goals for that speech, rewrite and time check and rewrite – and then practice. We can craft and refine an opening that impacts the audience, arousing emotion, curiosity and excitement and a closing that ties our ideas together with an exciting, memorable phrase. Then, after the presentation, on to Project 6.
And — inevitably — we’ll get better. The Toastmasters process works: plan, speak, understand the evaluation, incorporate suggestions, plan, speak . . . and repeat.
One day we’ll find that our speeches are remembered, our phrases are quoted and our ideas are imbedded in the minds of our listeners. Then we can start on the next highway, like advanced projects or speaking competition, processes that can lead us to making Martin Luther King-type talks.
It’s a matter of using the process to get where we want to go. Without a plan and a road map it’s pretty hard to get to the cabin in Big Bear. Without a process, like the Toastmasters education program, it’s difficult to reach speaking excellence.
Toastmasters provides the map and the process, the rest is up to us.