Break That Ice!

August 13, 2017

 

Once you join Toastmasters, one of the first things that you will do is to give your ice breaker (speech #1).

 

In my experience, I find the ice breaker to be a good predictor of whether you will pursue your goals in Toastmasters. If you felt like you did great, you will want to give more speeches. If you felt like you did horribly (I know I did), you will be tested on your grit. You can quit (don't!) or rise to the challenge and work to become better next time.

 

One advice that I'd like to give new members is to practice. My ice breaker went horribly because I didn't practice. After all, I'm talking about myself. How hard can this be? Haha, I learned my lesson and began to write down my speeches and practice, practice, practice.

 

To show what you can do, I asked Diana, a new member, if I can share her ice breaker. Diana delivered a very organized, inspirational speech, and let me know that she had prepared an outline. I hope that Diana's ice breaker will inspire you to give your ice breaker soon. We are all here for you!

Title: Life's Inspiration

Date: August 7, 2017

Project: Competent Communication #1 (The Ice Breaker)

 

Thank you, Mr. Toastmaster. Ladies and gentlemen and guests:

 

Have you ever dreamed you could fly?

  • Growing up as a child of 6, living at a dead-end street in a small CT town, your imagination = only source of inspiration

  • Imagination = source of sanity when surrounded by 100 acres of wood

  • Being inspired and inspiring others = continual theme of my life:

    • Young child

    • Teenager

    • College student

    • Living on my own

 

1. Growing up in a neighborhood of only boys wasn't easy.

  • 4 brothers & neighborhood of 8 other boys

  • "included meant" = being tough and taking risks, "death-defying risks"

  • Story:

    • old railroad clearing to waterfall, climbing over floating fence, climb giant boulders to reach top of 100 ft. dam

    • standing at the top of dam = sense of accomplishment, pride and thankful i was alive

    • realized how inspiring and exhilarating = to overcome my physical fears = kind of like Rocky Balboa with Eye of the Tiger playing in my head

 

2. Being a teenager was not any easier for me as I struggled with my identity and self-esteem.

  • As a teen = constantly fought with brothers & neighborhood boys

  • Until an angel came into my life = Charles LaVoie

  • First employer that almost didn't happen

  • Story:

    • summer after 8th grade = applied for work/school program

    • "I only work with college interns" = "NO" a few times

    • My coordinator persisted = I was hired

    • summer job = 12 years of personal and career growth

  • She became example of change, stood up for others, didn't back down from bullies

  • Inspired me to stand up for myself, to believe in myself, to make a difference and further my education

 

3. So now here I was, inspired by Charlene, ready to achieve my dream of a college, but being 4th in a line of 6 siblings made it seem impossible.

  • No college money from parents

  • 1st sibling out of 6 to go to college

  • Worked 3 jobs = senior year = got in

  • Took it a step further = 1st in my family to travel outside the country

  • Story:

    • traveled to Italy

    • visited = Cinque Terra

    • alone in a kayak out in the ocean

    • suddenly had a fish hook in my hand

    • Had to face fear, stand up for myself and take action

    • Screamed for fishing boat to stop and remove hook

  • My willingness to face my fears

  • Step into the unknown of college and study abroad

  • Taught me I could achieve on my own

  • But also inspired my younger siblings to think big, see new possibilities like a degree or international travel

 

4. Stepping out on my own was like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

  • First full-time job I worked for startup = acquired by Austin Co.

  • Offered to move me = Austin, Texas (escape 6-8 months of winter)

  • Historically my family never left CT = 1st time leaving my family

  • 50% excited & 50% freaked out

  • Story:

    • Moved to Austin

    • Left CT with snow. Landed in hot 96 degrees - I was melting

    • 1st cookout = thought it would be hamburgers and hotdogs, NOT brisket and pulled pork

    • Austin = like living in a foreign country

  • Being like Dorothy, finding inner strength and inspiration to follow a path to the unknown, like Austin, was rewarding.

    • It inspired me to never stop dreaming,

    • To never give up, to discover real courage by facing my fears

    • and to learn that I could accomplish anything.

 

As you can see from my life's experiences, a willingness to dream, to take risks, to be inspired and to inspire others in the end provided me the greatest gift of all:

  • A never-ending source of inspiration

 

I say to you - Dream, fly, and [discover your inner imagination] so you too can become an inspiration for others.

 

Thank you, Mr. Toastmaster.

 

 

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