Toastmasters for Clearing Clutter
How Toastmasters Can Help You Clear Clutter
In my opinion, Toastmasters is one of the very best things anyone can do for their personal and professional growth. As you read this post, if you’re not already a Toastmaster, put yourself in the shoes of someone who has already joined the club.
As a member of Toastmasters, you’ve already have taken a huge leap in clearing your own clutter, and inspiring others to clear theirs. Now I would like to share some common challenges and solutions I see people having with clutter, and how they apply to us as Toastmasters.
- Challenge #1- We don’t know what is important This may show up as a lack of ability to prioritize, and procrastination. Maybe we have so many different interests in life, we can’t decide where to focus our attention. You may ask yourself, “Should I be going to bed early, spending time with the kids, catching up on work or putting in some time to prepare for a speech?” When we think about what to write, we have so many ideas and just can’t narrow it down.
Solution- Compiling a speech within the time frame allotted helps us greatly weed out what is important and what isn’t.
– Ask yourself, “What brings me happiness?” Practice noticing what things and activities are joyful and which are unnecessary. This overlooked skill of being able to recognize your preferences is foundational for overcoming indecision.
– To break the pattern of an inability to focus on what is important, brainstorm a vision for what your ideal presentation would look like. What would you be wearing? What expressions would you be making? What would the audience’s reaction be? Doing this simple action will help reset your vision for the future, and will help you prioritize what needs to happen to get there.
- Challenge #2- We are stuck in the past
Presenting a speech about something that has happened in the past helps us reframe the event, creating a new perspective, so we can see how to live more in the present. Sometimes we can unconsciously dwell on a past event. Speaking about it helps us release the grip that event may hold over us.
Solution- Think about some of the notable events from your past. Which events stir up intense emotions? Would it be appropriate to do a presentation on this topic? To support you during this task to release that stuck energy, get your circulation going. To do this:
– Get your body moving- go for a walk, bike ride or dance class.
– Or get a massage. Massage has been proven to greatly help with stress and improving the flow of the various systems in the body.
- Challenge #3- Thinking that we don’t know enough
This shows itself as stacks of books, bookmarked tabs on the computer, or notebooks filled with notes taken from classes that are kept because we think we’ll need them in the future. We think we need to keep all of this material because we don’t know enough already.
Solution- Teaching is the best way to really learn something. Start by honestly sorting out what still sparks your interest, and what has waned. Amongst the material that still has you curious, begin to outline a speech in a way so that you can teach your audience what you’ve learned. Other ways to support this are to do a daily brain dump—what is occupying your thoughts? When we have too many thoughts in our mind, we can’t allow any new thoughts to come in. Another easy thing to do is to unsubscribe from email lists that no longer have your interest. When we get consistently inundated with more and more info coming at us, it puts us on the defense, and again, we can’t let in any more information.
Our world needs change. So often, people aren’t able to be present, to be able to enjoy life’s gifts, and to give attention to what is important to us, because we are overrun by clutter. Whether it be physical clutter- being overrun with objects, time clutter- being over scheduled, or mental clutter- too many negative thoughts, clutter permeates our world. The solution to this starts with you. By eliminating clutter in your own world, you will be a role model and inspiration to those around you. Your clearing of clutter will reverberate out to others in amazingly powerful ways.
Through Toastmasters, as you participate in doing presentations, you will evolve and grow. The more you give to your experience at Toastmasters, the more benefits you will receive. I encourage you all to use Toastmasters to help you clear your own clutter, to speak about what is most important to you, to live in the present, and to share your knowledge with the world.
Join me at the Ballard Sunset Toastmasters Club, Thursdays at 7:30-8:45pm. Ballard Baptist Church*, 2004 NW 63rd Street, Seattle, WA 98107