Create a timeline
Can you list the events that have had the biggest impact on your life and when they happened? If not for your whole life, what about one part of your life, like your career or your hobby or your faith? It's quite a worthwhile endeavor.
I set out to create a timeline in relation to my side business so I could better answer the questions, "When did you know you wanted to be a speaker?" and "What steps did you take?" and "When did you give your first speech?" It took a lot of effort to go through old notebooks and calendars and paperwork but wow, has it been fun! And emotional! And eye-opening!
Here are a few of the most important moments on my journey:
First Toastmasters meeting: 9/17/08 After first going to the wrong church for the meeting, I walked into the public speaking club (at the right church) and my life was changed forever. I won the Table Topics (impromptu speaking) contest that night and I was hooked.
First experience wearing a wireless mic and speaking from a raised platform: 11/6/10 Throughout fall of 2010, I had won the Table Topics contests at my club, area, and division level, and on this day I earned second place at the district contest in Harrisburg in front of a sizable audience. Received heartfelt feedback that crystallized my informal, relatable and humorous speaking style.
First full-length (40 minutes!) speech: 11/12/12 Hands-down, the most pivotal experience. The thank you letter I sent to all the family members and friends who had supported to me on my journey included the lines, "They laughed and nodded and raised their hands at all the right spots" and "Dreams come true. It's happening to me, and it can happen to you."
First paid speaking engagement: 5/8/13 Because a dear friend introduced me to the founder of a women's organization, I had the opportunity to be the featured speaking at a monthly meeting, which led to me developing and facilitating (and getting paid for) a workshop on Following Through. That partnership with Sisters U has continued and led to many wonderful opportunities.
I went on to ask a friend to design a logo for me. It was finalized on 3/22/14 (and it still makes me smile every time I see it). That led to me starting my business Facebook page on 5/19/14, registering my domain on 8/14/14, and launching my website on 3/1/15.
Looking back helps me see that I've come a long way while balancing a full-time job and my roles as wife and mother. Looking back has helped me share insight with other aspiring speakers and entrepreneurs and will help me share my experiences with students at a career day event next month. And looking back has helped me recognize and thank the many people who have helped me along the way.
So, what are the most important moments on your journey? Create a timeline.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash