Posts tagged ‘Toastmasters’

A Joyedian’s Tale: 10th Toastmasters Speech!


Below follows the script for my tenth Toastmasters speech (tomorrow!) — the culminating speech in the Competent Communication Manual.  Enjoy. 🙂

How to Plan and Have a Wedding in 6 Weeks or Less

I’ve always said that I hate planning, that I’m NOT a planner. 5 years ago my fiancée Brian and I got tired of calling each other “girlfriend” and “boyfriend” and were happy to advance to the “fiancée” stage after a proposal at Moraine Lake in July of 2012. However, I was not so eager to approach the daunting task of planning a wedding, and so I easily let it slide onto the back-burner. When circumstances changed, we moved up the date, setting up whirlwind wedding plans that actually went pretty smoothly. Here are 6 guidelines that made the event possible.

1.Have a clear purpose.

Having a clear purpose will keep you focused on your goal. Mine was health insurance.

 Do I love Brian? Yes. Do I want to spend my life with him? Yes. But was I ready to plan a wedding? Well . . . I had other things going on that seemed to require my attention. But. . . the law does require the ownership of health insurance, and according to the Illinois Department of Insurance, a partner may not go on the other partner’s insurance unless joined in a civil union or marriage. Though I was eager to move on from the Health Insurance Marketplace, I wasn’t sure I was ready to tie the knot so quickly, but after being dragged by a rope through the Marketplace maze the morning of November 28th, I quickly reconsidered. Thus, the planning began.

2. Give yourself a short deadline.

A 1955 Edition of The Economist defines Parkinson’s Law: “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Have you ever heard the saying: “ If you want something done, give it to a busy person?” expounds on this concept:

“An elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis. An hour will be spent in finding the postcard, another in hunting for spectacles, half-an-hour in a search for the address, an hour and a quarter in composition, and twenty minutes in deciding whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the pillar-box in the next street. The total effort which would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety and toil.

(Perhaps you can relate?)

Once I decided I was getting married in a month-in-a-half, I had to become really strategic with my time. There were less options because there was a shorter time to think about things. I did almost all of my research and browsing on-line to save time, including dress and ring shopping.  This worked out great for me because I am generally not a big fan of shopping.

3. Have a clear vision.

 PsychologyToday says “Brain studies now reveal that thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions. . . .It’s been found that mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, prime your brain for success, and increase states of flow – all relevant to achieving your best life!”

I knew exactly what I wanted AND exactly what I DIDN’T want: Outside beach wedding in Cambria, California — YES. Big church wedding with reception hall—NO.  Hundreds of guests, invitations, and catering? NO. YES to ONLY immediate family, invited by phone, a simple restaurant reception meal, and some basic site-seeing. (It also helped that I had visited and fallen in love with the area a few years before and already envisioned getting married there.) Knowing exactly what I wanted made it easier to for me to direct my planning process.

4. STICK to the vision.

We were very clear on not opening Pandora’s box with invitations – no matter how awkward. Some were startled and jarred by our sudden, private wedding plans – and it made for some pretty awkward holiday reveals — but I knew I’d be miserable if I changed the wedding size or location. Stick to your guns, or you might go up in smoke.

5. Start with the basics.

Steven Covey’s Third Habit from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to “Put First Things First” or “Execute on the most important priorities.”

He says: “To live a more balanced existence, you have to recognize . . . there’s no need to overextend yourself. . . focus on your highest priorities.”

For me, this meant “chunking” and organizing by the order of importance.

Week one of wedding planning: letting guests know and securing a place to stay for the group, securing the wedding location, researching the specifics for getting legally married in California, and booking the flight out there.

Week 2: securing an officiator, making some reservations for the other events, ordering my dress and wedding rings.

Week 3: picking vows, securing a rental vehicle, and making arrangements for our 4 pets.

Week 4: trying on the dress, clothes for Brian, confirming pet arrangements, and final reservations.

Weeks 5 and 6: confirming with officiator, getting shoes, checking in with housing arrangement, checking in with guests, printing out all confirmations, and packing.

Done, done, done, done, and done!

6. Keep it simple.

Did you know that the origin of bouquets was either to mask the smell of the bride or   ward off evil spirits? Or that a bride’s attendants dressed like the bride to confuse evil spirits trying to spoil the bride’s happiness? Or that a wedding cake was born from a fertility rite? (

None of that for me! If it wasn’t necessary, I dropped it. Just immediate family. We take our own pictures. No bouquet. No bridesmaids or groomsman. No wedding cake. Basic rings, basic dress, basic hair, and a quick ceremony.  And a quick ceremony — that means we can stand! (No chairs! No setup!) No need for plan B: We use umbrellas if it rains! Simple restaurant reception. Get us in, get us out, and spend the rest of our time enjoying California.

How about you? Are you ready now to plan your next momentous event?   Through this process I’ve discovered I actually do enjoy planning! What a difference a quick wedding makes. If I’d followed my own advice, maybe I could have gotten married 5 years ago!

Story Saturday/Sunday: Tall Tale Attempt

As I mentioned in previous posts, I am jumping into situations in the interest of growth and moving past discomfort!  A week from this Tuesday is the speech contest for Toastmasters, and I signed up for both the “Comedy” speech and the “Tall Tale” speech before I even knew what I was going to write about.  Well, I eeked out a rough, rough draft of the comedy speech.  If you missed it, here’s the link to Friday: Funny Friday: Humorous Speech Attempt.

I decided to start with some reality for my Tall Tales speech.  According to Toastmasters guidelines: “”The subject for the Tall Tales speech must be of a highly exaggerated, improbable nature and have a theme or plot.”

The idea for this story is inspired by real life events.  And also reminds me of one of my favorite tales, Benjamin Bunny.  Has anyone else read this? I only have about 10 minutes until my next event tonight, so I’m going to do a bit of a brain dump and do another rough, rough draft.  Read at your own peril. . .

I decided to start a garden.  I started with strawberries, but every time I checked on them, it looked like they’d been partially eaten.  I never really saw the culprit, but I assumed it was a rabbit.  Next I decided to get really, really tall flowers.  I figured the rabbit couldn’t get to them.  But the next day I found a flower stalk with a severed head.  The little bugger had snipped the flower at its head height and like a beaver, chopped the sucker down.  It left most of the pedals on, too, as if to spite me.  Maybe bit off a bit more than you could chew, silly rabbit?  So, then I figured I’d outsmart it.  I’d get marigolds.  Rabbits HATE marigolds, right?  So, I planted a long row of marigolds.  And I waited.  And nothing happened.  And I waited.  And the marigolds blossomed and grew in 3s and 4s, and I started really liking the looks of that garden.  And first I thought, “Yep.  Rabbit!”  And then I thought.  “Now, come on?  Do I really just want a marigold garden? SURELY I can outsmart a little rabbit!”

Times up!  To be continued. . .

Funny Friday: The Pope

I’m looking for a joke, as the jokemaster for the Toastmasters meeting this Tuesday.  This one made me chuckle!

The Pope had just finished a tour of the England and was taking a limousine to the airport.

Having never driven in a limousine the Pope asked the Chauffeur if he could drive. Well, the Chauffeur didn’t think he had much choice so he climbs in the back and lets the Pope drive.

The Pope proceeds down the Highway and pretty soon he starts accelerating to see what the limo can do. He gets to about 100 miles per hour, and he sees the blue lights of the police in his mirror.

The Pope pulls over and the Officer goes to his window.

The Officer sees who it is and says: “just a moment please I need to call in.”

The Officer calls in and asks for his Chief. He tells his Chief he has a really important person pulled over and asks how he should handle it.

“Is it the Governor General?”  Asks the Chief.

“No sir, this guy’s more important.”

“Is it the Prime Minister?”  Asks the Chief.

“No, even more important,” says the Officer.

“Is it the Queen?” Asks the Chief.  “No, even more important than the Queen,” replies the Officer.

“Well then, who is it?” yells the Chief.

“I don’t know sir, but he’s got the Pope as his Chauffeur.”

Wins & Weaknesses Wednesday: Celebrate Yourself


Mary Morrissey says: “We can never out-perform our self-esteem; but the good news is, we CAN change it.”

I went to a Reiki share today, and one of the participants randomly decided to draw cards between healing sessions.   The card for me was “Celebrate Yourself.”  And he told me to make sure I celebrate everything, even the small things.  It was a great reminder.

I received a wonderful outpouring of support for my first Toastmasters speech.  Part of me thought everyone was being overly generous in their comments, but another part said: “Yes!  I really did do a good job!”  All that really matters is what we think, right?  It’s amazing what a difference perspective can make.

I think about that a lot when I think of abundance and my current life situation.  It would be very easy to look at my life either way, as lacking abundance or as very abundant.  And really both can seem true.  It depends on which reality I choose.  I can look at my life as unstable and insecure or as free and bursting with opportunity.  I’ll choose the 2nd, thank you!

Everything seems to come down to having faith, being willing to take risks, and believing in oneself.  With the steps I’m taking, I’m beginning to see some results.  Since completing my first Toastmasters speech, I now really believe I’m a speaker.  Since taking the new improv class, I really believe that I’m a comedian.  Since the event Saturday, I really believe that I can share about my business and that it’s appealing to strangers. I’m also still eating fairly healthy foods, getting in some exercise each week, and blogging on schedule!

I also realized that I’m actually doing quite a lot of traveling — a very consistent dream of mine!  I traveled to Los Angeles for DreamBuilder Live in January, to the College of Metaphysics for Dream Awareness Weekend in February, to Los Angeles for Life Mastery Consultant training in March, to the College of Metaphysics for National Teacher’s Training in April, to DreamBuilder Live in Baltimore in June, and I’ll be traveling to Florida for the Shaklee conference in August, Los Angeles for followup training in September, South Carolina for a wedding in Fall, and Dallas for DreamBuilder Live in Fall, and Vegas in February with family friends.

Yippee! Celebrate!  Let’s lift ourselves up!  Remember how it goes: when we shine, we allow others to do the same!

Much love, many blessings. ❤

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