I delivered the following Test Speech at the District 60, Division H, Area 74 - International Speech and Evaluation Contest.
LISTEN! Acknowledge. Share.
Fellow Toastmasters, Judges, Contestants, Volunteers, and Guests,
What if you could turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary day? What if each day of your life was just spectacular? I have three magic steps to make everyday a beautiful day.
LISTEN: That was a really important skill for me to develop, because, I’m legally blind. I’m an albino, which makes all my skin and hair white. I’m actually Pakistani, but the albinism makes my skin fare, and with no pigment in my eyes, I’m also blind. I can’t rely on visual cues, facial expressions, or body language to communicate. So I became a good listener.
Many of you are Toastmasters and are very attentive. But listening is not just about being present and hearing words... It’s HOW we listen. “Oh yeah, I’ve heard this before” is a context a person could be listening from. Another context we can listen from is listening for opportunities.
In your clubs, for example, do you listen for volunteer or leadership opportunities? In your life, do you trust your instincts, follow your intuition, or listen to a higher power? Each day when we listen to the universe, we will follow our bliss, live our purpose, and fulfill our destiny.
ACKNOWLEDGE: How do we make every day a great day? Appreciate and acknowledge all the wonders around us. Simply have a context of being an Evaluator! In Toastmasters, evaluators point to great aspects of others and validate their strengths. What if you were to do that in everyday conversations with the people you interact with? Not like a speech, but just as true statements of acknowledgment.
These evaluators today are not just going to tell me what I’m doing well (which will make me feel great), but they’re probably going to highlight what about me gets them most excited and turned on. What if we did that in everyday conversations with people? Take this great platform of education and simply apply it into your everyday life.
SHARE. Yes, we know the power of communicating information, knowledge, and even insights/wisdom. Toastmasters make a difference. But you know what changes lives? It’s being vulnerable. It’s sharing from the heart. It’s about having your privacy settings TURNED OFF.
When I was growing up I never wanted to tell people I was blind because they already were having issues about me being an albino. So I pretended I could see. It worked, by having me be so functional in life that others would think I’m fully sighted. But one day one of my best friends pointed out that I wasn’t being authentic with people. “What do you mean I? I tell them I’m blind when they finally ask me.” But some people would never ask me, and would get confused when I would hold a paper very closely. And then they’d wonder if I didn’t tell them about this, was there something else I wasn’t telling them?
I started to walk my talk. One day, I’m volunteering at an organization making phone calls. The lady sitting next to me asks, “Why are you holding that paper so close to your face?” Instead of ignoring her as I would have in the past, I decided to lay my heart out one line. “Well, it’s because I’m blind, I can’t see, and I need to” I explained. “Oh are you an albino?” she asked, and I continued to elaborate. Finally she asked, “how far can you see” and so I explained I could only see this far (nose-to-nose). “So that’s how close you need to be to see my face?” I said yes and then she brought her face, nose-to-nose to mind and said... “Can you see me now?”
It was the first time I had ever seen someone’s face so close, and it was wonderful. I’m so glad I was able to let go of hiding my true self, and allowing others to see who I really am. When you share like that in each of your days, they will become magical and beautiful.
Be open to opportunities. Discover your calling.
Speak the best to others and about others.
Have intimacy in everyday life.
Let’s love the world together...