“And the 2nd place finisher — who will represent our club at the area contest if the 1st place winner is not able to attend — is ____ _____.”
Those are the words that I remember hearing earlier this month after competing in our club-level speech contest. Yes, I had placed 2nd. Which is also known as “first loser” in our super competitive society where winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.
But what if I re-frame my thinking? Is there a lesson to be learned in placing 2nd and then substituting for your club’s champion?
Why DO we compete?
Or as Colin T. William, a finalist in the 2008 World Championship of Public Speaking so aptly wrote for The Toastmaster magazine: (http://www.toastmasters.org/ToastmastersMagazine/ToastmasterArchive/2009/March/Articles/No-One-Loses.aspx)
“So what can you take from competing in [a speech contest]? Whether you reach the final round or are defeated at the club level, the potential rewards are rich and varied. They include benefiting from the following kinds of experiences:
– Speaking under pressure, and challenging yourself to be even better than you think you could be.
– Sharing a message you truly believe with an audience that needs to hear it.
– Meeting other strong speakers, and learning from their styles.
– Refining a speech, making it better every time you deliver it.
– Giving a speech to different audiences, from [the club level and beyond].
– Speaking in front of large and unfamiliar audiences.
– Developing and perfecting entirely new speeches if you win … and doing this in a relatively short period of time.
– Handling defeat gracefully, which all of us except one person – the ultimate winner – will have the opportunity to do.”
So there you have it. We compete so as to continually improve ourselves. And hopefully we run in such a way that others are also called to the race.
PS: And for any former district officers who’ve decided to compete now that they are eligible … Coming up with material which isn’t related to one’s duties or the administration of ones office can be fun.