– TM Sampanna Shrestha, Prabhu Bank Toastmasters Club
“So, tell me something about yourself”. Most of the time I didn’t know how to respond to that. I usually began with my name, followed by my job, then the degree, and my college. As if only these things described who I was. I was so much more but I never dared to speak beyond that in the fear of being judged, more than the fear of not having enough words to say. Well, we all have so much to say but we just don’t know how to. Every time I have a conversation I have these jumbled up words that mean so much to me but fail to make a proper sentence come out of my mouth. And of course, what-ifs have been an inseparable part of my life.
Yes, the process of underestimating everything that I am and everything that I could be has been so habitual that I never thought that I deserved anything better. So, when I joined Toastmasters I didn’t have bigger expectations. But to my surprise, the person who couldn’t answer “tell me something about yourself” actually gave her first speech about herself that was 6 minutes long and people clapped. I was surprised more than I was actually happy because I always had problems with that. Turns out I am a very cool person, and the Toastmasters journey has been all about structuring all the jumbled words at the back of my mind till they make sense. And what about the what-ifs and fear of being judged you might ask, I learned that no one is perfect and you cannot compare your level one with someone’s level ten speech. Every meeting I attend I feel like it is never about becoming perfect but always about becoming better. I have started applying these lessons in my job and my college as well, which initially I thought were the only things that defined me.
Now, when someone now asks me to tell me something about myself I can say so much more. Not only has Toastmasters helped me fight my fear of public speaking, but it has also made me a good communicator in every environment that I am exposed to. I have become more participative in the discussions in my class and my job without worrying about all the what-ifs and the judgements. The Toastmasters journey that I started with very little expectation has been the way I pursue life.