(An Adaptation of a Speech I Gave @ Toastmasters)
Growing up I didn’t have much confidence. Being a child of abuse, I was told that I was stupid, and that I wouldn’t amount to anything… Look at me now, right? Sure, I’m in prison. However, this is not the end of my story. One can only fall so far before they begin to climb back up and this is my new beginning.
I have a confession to make. I have had a fear of speaking in front of groups that goes as far back as I can remember. However, I’ve been called upon to speak publicly many times in my life, starting as young as 9 or 10 years old. I don’t believe that my nervousness has ever lessened. However, I have learned how to transform that nervous energy into a type speaking fuel or what comes off as a passion or energy.
I stand here infront of you all to “Lend My Voice.” I hope I may inspire those who struggle to stand up and use their voice; those who are filled with fear, dread, apprehension, or anxiety. I am also here to tell you how important it is for you to share your perspective and to “Lend – Your – Voice.”
Why do we get in front of others and share our voice? We do it because we have a message; something that someone, somewhere, needs to hear. It’s not just a gift or privilege; it should be our mission. Public speakers stand up in these opportunities to instruct, to give guidance, to set an example, to comfort, to honor, and to give praise. Some even use their voice to entertain or to heal.
When we stand up to speak we “Lend Our Voice” to the listener; likewise with singing and performing. We open up to give them something they need. It’s a gift that has been given and it’s our responsibility to share that gift with others. Our voice becomes an offering – Our special way of giving back. Do you get it? You have something to offer. Each one of you have had unique experiences and have your own areas of expertise. Speaking in front of others is an opportunity to share those experiences and to give your “Expert Opinion” – Maybe even wax poetic.
Furthermore, The more we learn and the better prepared we are, the more we have to offer those who are struggling with lack of self confidence, limited drive, no sense of purpose; or those who don’t fit in and need to find their niche and their voice. More importantly, what good is our voice in these opportunities to speak if we’re not reaching out to those who need our help? What good is any platform if it is only used for self-gratification?
To summarise, I just want to emphasize that it is not important how you started out in life; it’s how you proceed from here that’ll determine your future and your legacy. How will you respond? I stand here issuing a call to action!
Will you stand up?
Will you “Lend Your Voice?”
George Gonzales, II
Categories: George Gonzales II