This morning I got up an ungodly hour (or godly, depending on whether or not you are a morning person) to drive 30 minutes into the valley for my first Toastmasters meeting. There are other clubs closer to me, but I wanted to join in with my friend and mentor Jeremy Weinglass. Public speaking is another interest in the multi layered list of interests I am currently pursuing. I have watched Jeremy's evolution from musician to musician/speaker, from the safety of facebook and was duly impressed. Since these days I am all about not reinventing the wheel (already did that..ha!), I figure might as well go with a time tested tradition!
I am pretty comfortable talking in front of people in general, so I wasn't nervous about that, but just as choreography has always scared me, so does fitting myself into anyone else's system. I think one of the biggest things I am getting in the last few months is how much I had been stuck in a myopic view of what it is to be "authentic". I think I was operating from a definition of authenticity that presumes you can only be "you" truly if you take in zero input from anyone. That if you learn too much from anyone or any system that it would somehow damage your authenticity. Hmmm... not sure where that came from. But it's kind of bullshit. I value my unique and trail blazing path, but I am also seeing the downsides I have been carrying around. It feels really good to shed some of the fear and KNOW that my authenticity rests in me and is truly untouchable by anything I choose to learn from. Learning from as many sources that I am drawn to, can only grow who I am into a richer, more multifaceted and valuable individual.
The meeting was impressively run and had lots of little moments for everyone to speak in front of the group in small ways. I didn't do any sort of official speech this time around but I am signed up for every Tuesday at the crack of dawn for an indeterminate amount of time. I don't know what I am going to speak about, but I think I am going to be good at it. And more than that even, I think it will enrich my being and add yet one more skill to my ever growing bag of tricks.
I am curious. What kinds of things would you enjoy hearing me speak about? What do you think is something I do naturally, that maybe I don't notice, that you would gain value from hearing me talk about? I look forward to hearing your input!