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Day 12: You've got to start with a mess before you get to success
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Today I learned...

You've got to start with a mess before you get to success.


Today I had the privilege of being one of the presenters at the Toastmasters Leadership Institute. I did a training on Tall Tales, and a fellow speaker, Carolyn Pelletier, gave one on the International Speech - the two contests that are coming up next.

It was funny, even though we did not conspire, how similar our messages were. One of the questions I was asked during my session was what to do if you write a brilliantly funny speech that clocks in at 25-30 minutes, when the goal is 5-7 minutes?

I answered that it's quite common - even encouraged - to start with a mess of ideas, one-liners, and incredible bits, but you still have to hack and slash until it's pared down to the fine point that you want your audience to hear. If it doesn't move the story forward, it doesn't belong in your speech.

Carolyn, during her presentation, more eloquently said, "You've got to start with a mess before you get to success."

I love the idea that, no matter how messy our beginnings, we can hone our destinies by cutting away those parts that don't move us forward.

When you are planning your next move in life - be it a speech, a new job, a wedding, a move, or any other big change - be aware that things are about to get messy. Embrace it. Once you cut away the clutter, focus on your goal, and do what you do best, you will go from mess to success.

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