What started off as trying to set a role model for my club members by taking part in the Toastmasters’ International Speech Contest hosted by my club turned out to be a sharing session that I will not regret.

While looking for a possible topic to share at the speech contest, I pounced upon a YouTube (which I’ve attached at the bottom of this post) on Dr Brené Brown’s blog, that I knew instantly that is was something that I could use as a topic for the speech contest. After all, I’ve been a follower of her works and her speeches at TED inspired me to try to live wholeheartedly. Could I inspire the audience with the message I truly believe in too?

I entered the club level speech contest thinking that it will be a one-off speech that I’m giving but ended up winning it and proceeding to the area level contest.

At that point, the fire of competition rose in me. However, the area level contest greeted me with one big surprise: I was the only competitor. Personally, I prefer to move up to the division level contest with a proper competition. A competition with only one competitor is definitely not a proper one to me. I wouldn’t hide the fact that I really felt bad on the day the area contest was held.


The day of the division contest came quickly but that fire was somehow quenched by the area contest. Come to think of it, it wasn’t bad after all that the fire has been tamed. It was probably the best thing that happened. I focused on sharing the message from the bottom of my heart. It was not that I never did that for the club and area contests but this time round, there will be no thoughts of the contests to burden me.

And so I did.

And I wasn’t placed in the top three at all.

In a way, I half expected it as speeches with a sombre tone tend not to win.

But to say that I’m not disappointed would be a lie.

However, I haven’t felt as thankful before either.

I am thankful to the many audience who took the trouble and came to me just to shake my hand, telling me that it was a great speech with a message that they’ll remember.

I am thankful to the gentlemen who came up to me and said that while I’m not the most technically inclined speaker that day, whatever I said touched his heart, and that he was tearing while I spoke.

I am thankful for those who told me that I would be placed even when I didn’t in the end.

And you know what? I am placed! The judges may not agree but you all have.


Today, I hope to share that message with you too. It can be summarised by the video that I was inspired by. I hope you’ll enjoy it too.