Courage and Confidence: The key to start pushing yourself forward

This is my speech on the launch of KMS Toastmaster Club in 2011 as a Thank you note to all the effort to establish and run a wonderful Toastmaster club at KMS. I think it’s worth to share the spirit here to everyone. So, I copied and pasted it here.

To begin with, I have a story to share with you today.10 years ago, in 2001, I had a meeting with client in Phoenix, Arizona, America. During the meeting, there was a big fight within me. I used to be a shy guy, shy from talking in public, in a group of people. In addition to that fact, my English  was just at the pre-intermediate level. Combining these two factors, I simply just didn’t have enough confidence to communicate in English at all in the meeting. You know what? All the big guys were in the meeting room including the President from the client company.

The thing is that in Western culture, you would need to contribute your thought/idea during any meeting. So that, people know you exist. Otherwise, you are invisible, though you are there, right in the room.

At that time, I was the only representative of the whole team in Vietnam which had around 20 people. And if I didn’t talk at all, how bad client would look at Vietnamese team?So, I was in a big fight between talk / no talk. Between my shyness / myself and the responsibility for the team.I decided to talk after all.

As I could remember, it was bad in English. Yet, the beauty was that once I started talking, people started leaning toward me and listening to me. Probably because my English was so bad that they can’t understand. Then, I realized one thing very important at that critical moment. The point is that I have to talk. It is that I have to overcome my shyness to talk, to practice and to improve. And that starting point changed me a lot. Since then, my speaking skill level sky rocketed and I gained a lot more confidence in communicating with foreigners, in front of groups. It was that very first step which changed everything of me.That was the lesson for improving my English speaking. However, that very same lesson can be applied for just about anything that I want to improve. That is the commitment, the discipline, and the courage to start doing things. If I want to be a better speaker, I have to have enough courage to start doing all the necessary practices, before I can improve my speech delivery. Very crucial lesson for me.

Fast forward to 2011. Three months ago, I learned new words from an article on the KMS Internal Newsletter. That is Speaking Fear. The article introduced the activities at the KMS Internal Toastmaster Club. And I was moved by the writing. I found myself in the very same position of speaking fear back in 2001. After reading the article, I arranged my time to join the club. And all I found was beauty. I found a group with shining eyes, trying to overcome their speaking fear, by practicing talking in front of people. That is beauty. I found that people would not have to learn it the hard way like I did 10 years ago, in a critical meeting. People can just join Toastmaster Club to start talking. They only need their courage to do that. Once I saw all of the young people in the club working on their talks / their speeches, I have no doubt that these people will be more and more successful in their lives. As they have the courage, the commitment to develop themselves. How can they not be successful?…

Courage and self-confidence to start doing things should be the spirit that push us toward, to a higher level everyday.

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