Saturday, June 20, 2015

If you dream, you can

“If you can dream it, you can do it" said Walt Disney. I didn’t realize the power of dreams, until I read the book "The Alchemist" in the year 2006. I was working for a leading networking company, then… called Redback Networks. Whenever my Chief Executive Officer (CEO) goes to the stage, he sets the stage on fire and inspires everyone in the audience. I used to dream during those days to speak like my CEO, to address a large gathering from the stage. But, I was hardly able to speak well in English during those days. I always used to think in Tamil, translate that into English and then express my thoughts. Despite my inabilities, I strongly believed that one day my dream will become reality.

Also read: Power of positive beliefs

One fine day in Sep 2006, a friend of mine introduced me to a group called Toastmasters International and my life completely changed after that. Speaking is a skill that is similar to swimming. You cannot learn swimming by reading a book or by standing near the shores. You’ll have to jump into the water to learn swimming. Similarly, you can improve your speaking skills only by speaking. Toastmasters provided me a platform to practice my speaking skills and get feedback on my performance. I started getting help from my fellow club members and mentors. In about 3 years, I noticed that my confidence on the stage has tremendously improved and I could speak English well. In the year 2012 my dream became reality. I got the unique opportunity of conducting a workshop on “Servant Leadership” to nearly 500+ Toastmasters who attended the District 82 conference – Ovation 2012. Since then, I’ve conducted a number of workshops to both Toastmasters and non-Toastmasters.

Also read: How to make self-development, a habit?

Fellow Toastmasters, dream big… and believe that your dream will become a reality someday. Your beliefs become thoughts… thoughts become actions and actions produce results. When you believe, you can even turn mountains that stop you from achieving your goals, into moles. Believe in your thoughts and believe in yourself….to make your distant dreams, a reality. What are you waiting for?! Stop worrying… start believing !

[Copy of an article that I wrote for a club newsletter]

Power of Positive Beliefs

“If you really want to achieve something in life, the entire world conspires in helping you to achieve it” a quote from Paula Cehlo’s famous book The Alchemist. I didn’t realize the power of positive beliefs, until I read this book a few years ago. There are several occasions where we would’ve tried our best, but still … we might not have seen the results. The missing variable in the formula is belief. May be, our subconscious mind thinks that we cannot do it! For ex., you may be working hard as a VP PR, but you aren’t able to bring members to your club. You might have come up with the best speech ever, but you still lose in Speech Contests. You might’ve done the best campaign ever, but you still lost the club elections. I would like to share with you an interesting experience from my Toastmasters journey which highlights the power of positive beliefs.

Also read: Are shortcuts worth it?

It was 2 years back. I had a mentee by name Priyanandhan. He had just joined HCL, after graduating from college. One day he came to me and said “Saro! I want to do a High Performance Leadership project, before I go to US for higher studies. I wanted to organize a speech craft program for the community”. When a volunteer comes to me with an idea, I don’t stop him/her. I said “Priyan … great idea go for it”… though, I had my own doubts whether Priyan would be able to pull off a community speech craft. We hadn’t organized many speech crafts 2 years ago. Especially, we had never organized a community speech craft at that time. However, Priyan was so positive about organizing a speech craft. He started putting flyers in Facebook to get enrollments. As usual, he just got “likes”… and “comments” … but, no enrollments. He started sending emails to club officers and members… as usual… no response. When I thought he would get demotivated and give up… he said “Saro! I’m very confident and positive about organizing this speech craft. I won’t get demotivated by this short term setbacks”. He increased his pace of marketing… He started knocking doors of people he knew… he started placing advertisements in community newspapers… he started posting ads in books shops… he started reaching out to college students. Boom… in just 3 weeks, he got 30 enrollments. In fact, he had to say “No” to a few people, because the maximum capacity that we could accommodate was just 25 members. Priyan managed to pull off the first community speech craft in Tamilnadu and contributed nearly Rs.25,000 to Ovations. People who were part of the Ovation 2013 team would know the value of that Rs.25,000.

Also read: 3Rs of a Successful Toastmaster

In your leadership journey in Toastmasters, you may run into a number of tough people, number of tough problems and a number of tough situations. With positive beliefs, positive actions, and positive words, you can chase the obstacles out of your door. Positive beliefs can turn mountains that stop you from achieving your goals, into moles. Believe in your goals, believe in your team and believe in yourself….to make your distant dreams, a reality. What are you waiting for?! Stop worrying… start believing…

[Copy of an article that I wrote for a club newsletter]