Viewpoint: Never Give In

Viewpoint: Never Give In

A message from our International President

When I was in the seventh grade, I decided to run for student council president of my junior high school. This was an interesting endeavor, as I had never been involved in student government before. I also did not meet the criteria of most successful candidates – I was extremely shy, played trumpet in the school band and was not well-known by my peers.

I stood for election and lost. Undeterred, I ran again for president six months later. I lost again. The following year, I had one last opportunity to run for president. To stand out, I determined my campaign speech on election day would include music. This speech would be delivered in front of the entire school. Remember, I was very shy.

Every time I practiced my campaign speech, my tape-recorded music was miscued. My teachers encouraged me to give a traditional speech, without the music. My parents, out of great love, suggested I give a traditional speech as well. My friends were more direct – they said all the students would laugh at me if the music did not work properly.

All these important people in my life simply wanted to protect me from potential embarrassment and disappointment, except for one person: my friend and campaign manager, Jenny, who told me to go for it. She said, “I know you can do this. I believe in you.”

I delivered the speech as planned in front of all the students and teachers. The music worked perfectly. I won the election.

It took just one person to believe in me to give me the confidence to believe in myself. And I never gave up.

Fellow Toastmasters, as we reach the final month in the Toastmasters program year, I want you to know that I believe in you. I believe in the power of your dreams. Your goals are meaningful and are meant to help you achieve the greatness you deserve. If you reach with all your might and fall short, then you pick yourself up and start again. Never give in.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Never give in on your goals and dreams. Your lifelong journey to discover courage and confidence – in yourself and others – begins now!

Gary Schmidt, DTM
International President