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This is Speech #10.  My tenth speech for Toastmasters.  Although there are some obvious things that still need to be done with regards to my speaking style, the improvements I’ve made and the things that I have changed have made it worth my time.

This speech was delivered nearly 6 months ago.  At this time, the achieved Competent Communicator award is on my desk.

This speech refers to the goal driven lifestyle that I have been pursuing over the past two years.  It is meant as an inspiration to others to let them know that their goals are within reach.

Toastmaster Speech #10 Download if the stream doesn’t work.

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Canned Chicken

Lunch time has always been a great time for experimentation. Lately, my goals are leading me down the path of a very high protein diet. After browsing for the best way to get protein during, I decided on eating canned chicken breast for a while. Here are some pros and cons in case you ever want to do the same.

The Good:

  • It has an amazingly high amount of protein. The type I went with has 60g of protein per can. That helps immensely to reach my goal of 160 grams per day.
  • Along the same lines, the portion of the calories that are protein make up a very high percentage of the total calories.  There is very little fat.
  • Surprisingly, the texture is good.
  • It can be bought in bulk for a reasonable price per can.
  • They keep good for quite some time.  It works to “stock up” on them and then not have to worry about buying more lunches for a while.
  • I am having a blast trying a bunch of different things to find the best combination.

The Ok:

  • The taste can only be described as ok.

The Bad:

  • It is only 300 calories. A 300 calorie lunch is just not enough.
  • The smell.  How on earth did they make chicken smell like tuna fish?  I would highly recommend chasing it with some sort of breath freshening.
  • Most of the weight of the can is water.  Make sure you understand that when measuring how much protein is contained in the can.  Multiply the grams of protein by the amount of servings to get the correct amount.
  • It gets stuck on my teeth.

The Ugly:

  • Reddish colors have been found in the cans of chicken that I have eaten so far.   It’s not a lot, but it doesn’t add to the appeal.

Conclusion:

Canned chicken isn’t the amazing super-food I was hoping for.  Feel free to leave me a comment about some other food that I should check out.

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About a year ago, I saw an interesting sign at the neighborhood coffee shop.  It said “Toastmasters meets here”.  That was all of the information I had to go off of.  Toastmasters sounds cool.  Add the word masters to anything and it sounds cool.  So after arriving home, I checked it out.

The timing of this event was perfect.  I am quite goal-driven and was looking for another goal to pursue.  The goals that were for running were all accomplished.  It is time to take on a task that allows me to grow professionally.  After having checked out what Toastmasters is about, there was no doubt in my mind that it fit exactly into what I had envisioned my next set of goals being.  The Toastmasters mission statement says it best: “The mission of a Toastmasters club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual member has the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.

It is difficult to find people who really want to stand up in front of peers and give a speech. It is even harder to find people who are willing to admit that it is a hard thing to do and they need to work on that skill.  The people at my local club are what makes the experience worth while.  The type of people who are drawn to want to work on the difficult and powerful skills of communication and leadership are my kind of people.  They are seldom found outside of the enclosed work environment.  When I attended the Toastmasters meeting for the first time, I found that everyone who was there was exceptional and wanted to make the most of the experience.  This was the greatest part of the whole experience.  Being around great people makes me want to be more than I am.  They inspire me.

The goal that has come of this is to complete the ten speeches found in the Competent Communicator book.  The process is described in detail here (there are also links to other people’s speeches).  To this date, I am three speeches down and seven to go.  In ten day’s time, I will have given my fourth speech.

Why?  Writing and giving speeches is hard to do when it is voluntary.  Pushing myself to work on these skill when I have no idea if they will pay off is madness.  But, honestly, I can already tell a difference in the way I communicate in just a few short months.  In meetings, I am more aware of what I am saying and if people understand or care.  I am careful to open and close thoughts and structure them in a way people will understand.  I look people in the eyes and don’t lose my train of thought when they look back (that is still tough).

If you are searching for a challenge, looking for good people to hang around with, and want to work on the very important skills of communication and leadership, then you should look to see if you have a local Toastmasters club!

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The Sub-20 Minute 5K

A year and a half of running. Wow! I honestly didn’t think that I would stick with it that long.

The lead up to this was a lengthy one. It took a year of tough running to take a minute and a half off of my 5k time. The actual race was on October 29, 2011. I was running a distance run on the weekends and doing track work once a week. Most weeks, I ran for 5 out of the 7 days.

The track workouts were varied and always challenging. Most of them were just checking if I was ready to meet this goal. There were a few runs of three sets of one mile in an interval. When those finally got to around 19:15, I knew the goal was in reach.

The last set of track work I did was the Wednesday before the race. One mile as fast as possible. That mile took me 5:42.

There are always faster people than me. In this race, I finished 17th. That’s really good. There were 826 finishers in the race.

The biggest con that comes up is that you can’t do it forever. Runners get injured fairly frequently. To avoid this, I’m taking a break from running. 🙂 All goals were met this year. Running is a great activity to clear out your mind and get in shape, but everything has its time.

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