BE YOURSELF

I opened my medium account after over a year of neglecting it and I realized that I had a draft, saved from September 2017, that I never published. I decided to publish it unedited just to preserve the memory of that period.

Enjoy!

This is my Toastmaster’s Project 4 Speech: How to say it

Speech 4 objectives:

  • Select the right words and sentence structure to communicate your ideas clearly, accurately and vividly.

The main purpose was to inspire while the specific purpose was to make the audience more appreciative and comfortable with who they are.

As you read on, I hope this speech inspires you as well and makes you accept yourself for who you are.

It seemed like an impossible, insurmountable task. The idea of it alone was a nightmare. To give a speech using rhetorical devices. Godwin’s icebreaker speech came to mind when he told us about his love for beans, bread and blue.

I was scared when I realized that I wasn’t Toyosi, who could play with words like they were just pieces of a child’s puzzle. Or Christian who always seems to have a quiver full of metaphors. I thought about Tumi and the way she dominates the stage when she speaks like it was made especially for her. A lot of other outstanding orators in this gathering came to mind and I concluded in my miniature mind, I would forever be a 3-speech toastmaster.

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, since I gave my last speech, my mind had no rest as I lived with my self-acclaimed tag ‘the 3-speech toastmaster’. Don’t get me wrong. Mine wasn’t a problem of a lack of a speech topic. No, it was far from that as I had a speech 4 topic even as I prepared for my speech 3.

Here is what was my devastating, demoralizing dilemma - I knew what to say, I just didn’t know how to say it. And that was the whole purpose of a speech 4. It’s written there on page 21 of the competent communication manual, in big bold, blue letters, for the world to see – ‘How to say it’.

As this fear continued to weigh me down, I began to wonder and ponder; no one had told me that I couldn’t do it. In fact, I had spoken about my desire to give a speech 4 with just one friend. I believed that I couldn’t do it, and so I couldn’t. I had come to this conclusion all by myself.

I had defeated myself by myself, with no help from anyone. It became glaring that I had to overcome this war on the battlefield of my mind. I realized that I had not even tried. I hadn’t attempted to put a single word on a paper. Not even my speech title which has been dancing around in my head for months.

And so last Saturday morning, I decided to pick up my laptop to start the fight in this war going on in my mind. It’s been said, that a writer’s pen is mightier than the greatest sword. My pen on this day was my keyboard consisting of its many keys and so I started typing.

As I stared at the words of my first paragraph, I had an enlightening epiphanic episode and I realized - a lesson I thought I had learnt, passed and moved on from was one that I was blatantly failing at.

You see, my speech 4 topic is ‘Be yourself’. One of the first lessons of public speaking is talking about something you are familiar with as this gives you a good leverage. This seemed like a perfect topic for me as I thought I had learnt the lesson of being myself.

I thought I had moved on from that little girl who copied other people’s handwritings, just because she thought hers was ugly.
I thought I had moved on from that teenage girl who tried to copy other girl’s walking steps because everyone said she bounces like a boy.
I thought I had moved on from that girl who measured her success by comparing her pharmacology incourse scores with that of others.

I thought I had moved on from a lot of other such things and finally accepted myself as the best version of me. But here I was, wondering why I should be giving yet another motivational speech when Amaka is talking about serious issues concerning the oil spillage in Niger Delta.

At this point I realized something that would help me as I go on in life’s journey and I think it would help you too. Not all wars are won at once. Some wars are for a lifetime consisting of many battles. And it doesn’t matter how many battles you have won in the past, there are still more to be fought and won in the future for you to truly be a victor.

The journey to accepting yourself as you are is one of such. You don’t need to be better than any other person. The holy book says, he who compares himself with others is a fool. Don’t be a fool. The only person you should compare yourself with is who you were yesterday. That is who you need to be better than.

As I finished typing my speech 4, the speech that I thought I would never write or give, I concluded once again - I am not Godwin, I am not Toyosi, I am not Christian, I am not Tumi, I am not Amaka, and I am definitely not any other person.

I am Olakunmi Ololade Ogunyemi, my number one goal is to be better today than I was yesterday. I am and always will be my biggest stumbling block or stepping stone to failing at or achieving that.

Thank you.

Edit: Lol. I think I might have over done it with the rhetorical devices but it was a good speech all in all. The message in the speech rings so true today as it did over a year ago.

I hoped to finish my 10 Toastmaster’s speeches before graduation but sadly this ended up being my last while at the Orators’ Gavel club in College of Medicine, University of Lagos, mostly due to poor planning on my part. I do hope I get to join another toasmaster’s club sometime soon and not live the rest of my life as a 4-speech toastmaster.

I’d like your views and comments on this speech in the comment box below. Thank you!

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