Monday, October 27, 2014

Touchdown – I Have Reached the Goal!

“Today’s word is persistence,” said the Word Master / Grammarian. “Persistence is a noun that means to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people.”  In the world of Toastmasters, this is the new word that we need to attempt to include any time we speak during the night and a great way to help expand our vocabulary.  Sometimes, the words are easier to use, like travail (painful or laborious effort), or other times much harder to use, like the word I once presented, omphaloskepsis (contemplation of one’s navel).  I am generally good at including the word while I am speaking, as it becomes an extra challenge and a worthwhile exercise of “thinking on your feet.”

How often in our lives, during the course of a week, a month or a year, do we say to ourselves, or to other people that we have an objective or a goal we would like to strive for?  The key words are “would like to strive”, as these words lack a certain sense of commitment, as opposed to “are striving”.  I cannot talk for other people, but in my case, I have often used those words because in my mind, the excuses and conditions for success have formed a line for use when needed.  Once we, or in this case, I make the decision for a strong enough commitment to something, we become persistent in our pursuit of our goal.  How do we know we are serious?  We set an end date for completion, then follow that path come hell or high water.  We become focused and reprioritize things in our lives to accomplish the goals we really want to achieve.

On Friday, I was thankful for the word of the day.  I joined Toastmasters in September 2013 with great excitement and enthusiasm.  Toastmasters, which just celebrated its 90th anniversary, has two tracks that you work on, one for speaking and the other for leadership.  My focus was speaking.  After joining, I was informed that there are no timetables for when to speak and it is self-directed; some people take 2 years to complete the required 10 speeches to achieve a Competent Communicator status, while others take months before they even make their first speech.  10 speeches? I had it set in my mind that I will reach this goal in one year – very aggressive.  The group meets twice a month, with the summer off, that means there were about 20 meetings to reach my goal.  My first presentation was at the second meeting in November 2013 and I was on my way.  This past Friday, on October 24, 2014, with great PERSISTENCE, I gave my tenth speech to achieve the goal that I set out for myself!  Like the old adage, if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.   

Monday, October 20, 2014

With This Ring I Thee Wed

During a recent business trip to Hong Kong, I had a dream that I was on a bus with my wife, Debbie, having some type of conversation.  While we were talking, I noticed that I did not have my watch on, and began to wonder what happened to it.  Just as I was thinking this, Debbie looked over and asked me, “What happened to your ring, you don’t have it on?”  I never take off my wedding ring.  I looked down beyond where my watch sits on my wrist dreading what I was to find missing from my finger.  Sure enough, missing from my ring finger, or digitus medicinalis, was my wedding band!  I was in a complete panic, “I don’t know,” I answered Debbie, “It was there earlier.”  I jabbed both of my hands into my pockets, initially thinking that I took the ring off for some reason.  I immediately found my watch (a gift from Debbie that I cherish as well), put it on, and continued digging in my pockets, frantic that I could not find the ring.

Strictly speaking, a ring is an ornamental piece of jewelry that can be worn on a finger, on a toe, and in some cases through one’s nose.  Many of us have school rings, from either high school or college.  I used to wear my college ring proudly after graduating college, as I was proud of my accomplishment and happy to wear it as a badge of honor.  As a child, I remember my mom choosing a ring to wear based on what occasion she was dressing for and my father wore a Masonic ring for many years.  So why was I so frantic over a piece of jewelry, which I could have replaced if needed?

When we decided to get married, we both decided on a double ring ceremony.  To both of us, the rings were a symbol of the commitment we were going to declare publicly at our wedding.  I took, and still to this day, take the commitment we made to each other very seriously, so much so, that I put away my college ring, which I have not worn on my finger since that time (I am not even sure where it is).  I found a woman that I love and like the college ring before, wear my wedding band proudly.  The only times that I remove the ring is when I play basketball, otherwise I have it as a constant symbol affixed upon my finger.  So, when I could not find the ring in my dream, my panic was a clear reflection of how I would react in the waking world if I found my ring had disappeared.  It might be a circle of gold to most people, but to me, it is a constant reminder of my commitment to our marriage and the symbolic link between my wife and me, no matter where I go.