Below you’ll find my second Toastmasters speech. I welcome any feedback and I hope you enjoy!
Whether you love it or loathe it – it elicits an emotion from you. And it elicits a different emotion out of everyone here.
If you’re grooving to a song in your chair at work, out dancing with a group of girlfriends on a Friday night, or out dancing with your girlfriend on a Friday night – you feel something inside.
Madame Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters, my speech tonight will discuss the 4 powerful emotions that I felt the night I first attempted Ballroom dancing.
I realized that I needed to try ballroom dancing when my love for “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance went from a regular pastime to a powerful passion.
One random Friday afternoon, I committed to stop watching and start learning. As soon as I committed to dancing that Friday night – I was encountered with my first emotion – – Absolute Fear. Heart thumping, gut wrenching, knees buckling fear. Have you guys ever felt this fear before? Maybe you felt it when you were interviewing at HubSpot, maybe you felt it when you were asking that girl out for a date or maybe you felt it the first time you had to speak at Toastmasters.
The fear lingered on for quite some time. I felt this fear driving over to the studio, opening the front door and even entering to claim my spot. And, the truth is, the fear got worse and almost debilitating, could I walk never-mind dance?
I realize now, a little later, why I was so terrified – it was the fear of the unknown. – I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know a single person. I know dancing has steps, but I didn’t know any. I didn’t know if I wanted to do it anymore.
The fear only subsided when I moved onto the next emotion — Complete Embarrassment. A kind elderly gentleman approached me and extended his hand to dance with him. He told me the dance was a chacha… and I thought, “Okay, what does that mean? I know each dance has certain steps.. but I need more than that.” He said, “Trust me, and just follow my lead.”
And for those of you who don’t know about dancing, following a gentleman’s lead is what a female does in dancing. Men are the painters who create a beautiful picture and the women just have to be the picture and look pretty. The gentleman has to decide where to lead her on the floor, what step is next and so many other things.
The complete embarrassment set in with my first initial naive step. And, it only got worse, too. I started stepping on his toes, and even my own – – wait – is that even possible?
After the dance was over, we exchanged niceties and parted ways. I was mortified and felt everyone else’s embarrassment and pity overwhelming me. Luckily, I found my savor and the carrier of my next emotion immediately following that horrific dance – and that next emotion was — elation.
My savior was a female, also somewhat new to dance, she was kind and offered a helping hand. She told me a chacha was simple and that I could get basic steps just by following her. She brought me aside and taught me exactly how to do the basic chacha. And while we danced – I was no longer embarrassed – I was Elated — the third emotion. I didn’t understand much of the experienced steps, but that tiny piece of the basics was all I needed.
After that I started to gain confidence and pick up on the other basic steps quite easy. I learned the basic rumba and salsa – which were even more amazing and easier than the chacha.
As I began to learn the other dances and danced with more people, I encountered my fourth and final emotion — pride. I was extremely proud of myself. I had awkwardly stepped outside my comfort zone as many of us have done here at Toastmasters and while greeted with absolute fear (remember, my first emotion) and complete embarrassment (my second), I didn’t let those deter me from something I could potentially love and be good at. If I had let those stop me, I’d never had made it to elation or pride.
The best part about that whole night was the knowledge and confidence in myself that I gained. Now, when I step outside my comfort zone and am greeted with fear and then embarrassment – I know that elation and pride are on the other side waiting for me.
It’s three years later and I’m still dancing, and I still love every second of it.