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Monday, February 6, 2012

The power of synergized enthusiasm

I recently joined Toastmasters International, which is a speaking and leadership development group.  My intent was to polish my speaking skills as my book publication date draws closer so I'm comfortable speaking in front of groups of people.  Good idea, right?  Trust me, I need all the help I can get.
Anyway, last monday there was a special meeting called a speech-a-thon where the entire meeting is nothing but speeches and evaluations (unlike the regular meetings, which consist of other exercises and interaction opportunities). 

I'd gotten up at 4:15 that morning, did 9 hours at work and was drained by the time I got home.  I was seriously considering bagging the meeting and vegging on the couch with my copy of Maze Runner and my dog.  Something (of course) deep within the recesses of my brain was telling me to go so, I went. 

As soon as the meeting got going, there was a palpable energy in the room.  Each speaker was on their 'A' game and as an observer, you could feel their energy. It got me excited.  I wanted to get up and speak -to share my energy with the group.  I needed an outlet for this energy so I started writing my next (and first official) speech.  My mind was racing -drawing energy and ideas off the other speakers and I wondered if this is what collaborative writing feels like.

One speech that completely blew me away mentioned a Rube Goldberg machine in the same breath as Wile E. Coyote and had me literally fighting myself to keep from laughing hysterically.  I found the Rube Goldberg mention so obscure yet funny in its context that it was nothing less than masterful placement.  

For those unfamiliar with the Rube Goldberg Machine, here is an amazing video.

Other speeches touched on other topics -all of them interesting -all of them informative,  and each feeding to my energy.  By the end of the meeting, I was pumped. I was full of ideas -not only for my future speeches but for book stuff, work stuff, home stuff.  The fires of creativity had been stoked and I was powerless to do anything about it.

Another member mentioned the same feeling during her closing statements. As we packed up, it was clear that everyone in the room was energized.  People were lingering just to talk about their favorite parts, to congratulate the speakers and, I imagine, to burn off some of their creative energy before heading home.

Unfortunately, it takes quite a bit to burn away that much energy in my case so I sat staring at the ceiling in bed (having somehow deluded myself into believing I could fall asleep at my normal time) until finally I got up and worked on some creative projects.  

I don't think a six-pack of Monster could have gotten me that energized.

After I burned it off and went to sleep, then woke up at the ungodly hour of 4:15 yet again, I knew it was something I wanted to write about.  

Is this a pitch to join your local Toastmasters club?  No, although I'd highly recommend looking into it.  Especially if you are young and believe your career will lead you to either a. speak in front of others or b. become a leader (I'm trying -and failing, to come up with a career that does not involve one or the other).

What I wanted to pass along is this: when a group of motivated individuals gets together they energize each other creating this synergy of creativity and enthusiasm that cannot be recreated when someone is alone.  There is power here -power and energy that is being harnessed in the form of self-improvement and creativity.  These are good things. Hard to find things. Things that beneficially impact those around us. I imagine a stage crew working on a play or a band preparing for a concert would feel similar energy. Everyone should feel this. It can open your eyes to your true potential.

Well...what are you waiting for? Get out there and find it!

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