I have been in the contest one time several years ago and came in 3rd in the state. Not too shabby. I then went to leadership which made me ineligible and moved on to other things. This year I was eligible again and thought I would give it shot. I put a speech together and seriously thought about competing. I also got an offer to speak on the same weekend as the state final in another country. After two chapter contests in which I took 2nd in both I decided to take the speaking gig and stop competing. That was until one of chapters did not have anyone to send to the next level of contests. So I am a speech contestant again knowing full well that I could not go any further.
Maybe it was pride for my chapter but I just didn't like that there wasn't going to be contestant from our group for the contests. So I stepped in. And I am competing again. Why do it if I can't go forward? Here are my reasons.
First, I love to speak in public. Yes, I am totally weird. Like all crafts, I need to keep practicing to get better. So I will get some practice in for a speech that I am really starting to love. You have to love the speech you give because you give it like 50 times if you want to be ready to move forward in the process.
Second is that Toastmasters needs more women in competition. Not because of some angry feminist agenda but because it is just great to see more women speak. There has been a huge debate in Toastmasters recently that not enough women make it to the finals. You can read more on my thoughts from an earlier blog post here. I want to encourage women to speak because I want to hear more great stories.
Third is for my support of the other speakers. I want them to have a good contest experience and more competition means better speeches and speakers. You stretch and grow as a speaker when there are other speakers around. They will do the same for me which I love.
So I am competing again. If the speech goes well, I will use it again next year when I will be ready to try again. I have no aspirations other then the speech in front of me. Win or lose the contest, I actually win in so many ways.