“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” This is how I would want to define myself.
Confined and happy within the thickness of medical textbooks, satisfied with my learning, accomplishments, and professional growth, content with my attitude to work hard with dedication, I never felt the desire or need to explore any further terrains.
When I joined Toastmasters, I came across terms such as, “Art of public speaking”, “Communication skills”, “Where leaders are made”, “Mentorship”, and many more.
“Art of Public Speaking?” I mean, we all have been speaking, communicating with people throughout our lives. I thought I was a good communicator too. My friends, family, colleagues loved having conversations with me. My smile, as I communicated, was a gesture enough for connection, at least that’s what I thought. Why and what is in the “Art of speaking”? And, I thought, you have to have it in your blood to be a leader. I always thought, “Leaders are born and not made”.
As I chose to imbibe on the journey of Toastmasters, I was amazed to learn and actually experience the “Art of Public Speaking”. I vividly remember the meeting where I heard Mohammed Qahtani, the World Public Speaking Champion 2015. Listening to his journey and watching his video on YouTube, I had goose-bumps. As I experienced meetings inside and outside club, I realized it’s not the big stories that matter, its how you express even the smallest ones that hit the heart of the audience, that makes a difference. I started experiencing the stories shared by Toastmasters members in their speeches. This journey has made me appreciate the beauty of every story, the beauty of every experience that is worth listening to and sharing. It taught me that the value of emotions when put into words and delivered with passion could create impact, and create a newer version of yourself as you evolve with every experience, every story you share.
And Yes! I don’t have to aspire to be great leaders that I see across the internet – Simon Sinek, Dr. Gabor Mate, you name them. I can see wonderful leaders in the Nepal Toastmasters fraternity itself, who motivate and inspire me, and I aspire to be like them, or even more, someday.
Toastmasters has certainly expanded my horizons. It has helped me to come out of my comfort zone, ready to accept failure, feel awkward and uncomfortable, as I choose to learn and grow.
Definitely it’s a long journey but I choose not to stop, I might slow down and take smaller steps at times but I choose to continue. As Pablo Picasso said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it”, and this is exactly what I am doing in the Toastmasters fraternity. Learning continues at its own pace, I choose to be content with it.
TM Bijaya Mishra
Dharan Toastmasters Club