Jamal Younis, CC
Siam Toastmasters club • Bangkok, ThailandSpeaking Up for Good Health
A few years ago I needed to find new inspiration and a life purpose. One of my childhood dreams was to be a kickboxer like I had seen on TV. Without a Plan B, I moved from my home in Switzerland to Thailand and lived, trained and competed a few years as a boxer here. I learned valuable skills during that time, especially the importance of focus, discipline, and mental and physical strength.
That lifestyle doesn’t last forever. It was time to move on, and I knew I could help others to feel, look and perform better through my experience. This led to a rewarding career as a fitness and health professional here in Bangkok.
One and a half years ago I joined Toastmasters to learn how to better communicate why I am doing what I am doing; to be able to stand in front of an audience and inspire people with my story. The change I experienced in my ability to speak, conduct seminars and tell my story in daily life situations, client consultations and speaking engagements is enormous. I learned all these important skills in Toastmasters. I just received my Competent Communicator award and I look forward to more years of personal and professional growth.
Spa Speakers club • Leamington, United KingdomMy Success as an Author
In April 2016 I was thrilled to receive a book deal with the major London publishing house Orion. It was something I’d been dreaming of for years. The only problem? I knew the publishing world needed authors to promote their books and the prospect of public speaking made my hair stand on end.
Joining Spa Speakers in Leamington, United Kingdom, helped enormously. I got specific feedback on my speeches and a mentor who guided me through the Competent Communication manual. But I also loved having so many people to encourage and support my progress as a speaker. I’ve since joined the club executive committee and have become a mentor myself, all in less than a year.
My novel, We All Begin As Strangers, was published in April and my calendar filled with live radio interviews, literary festivals and talks at book shops. Speaking to a room full of people is something I never thought I could do and, in truth, I’ve still got much to learn. But I’m pleased with my progress so far and know my club will continue to guide me.
Last week I had a nice moment when I found myself nervous before a talk and, as I reached for a bottle of water from my bag, a piece of paper fluttered out. It was a lovely comment about a speech I’d given at my Toastmasters meeting. Seeing it really spurred me on to get up in front of that audience. The talk went well and, dare I say, I’m now looking forward to my next one!
Steve Moloney, DTM
CBA Toastmasters • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CanadaA CC in 10 Million Steps
I’ve always had a bit of wanderlust. The idea of taking the road less traveled has been my dream for a long time. So when the opportunity arose to walk across Canada, I began to train for the longest trek of my life.
Over the course of six months last year, I walked some 8,000 kilometers (around 5,000 miles), or 10 million steps, from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, to Cape Spear on the island of Newfoundland, North America’s easternmost point. I was 50 years old. Yes, the physical toll on my body was extreme at times, yet I developed the ability to walk up to 45 miles in a single day, through heat, humidity, mosquitos and mountainous hills.
The walk was dedicated to promoting the importance of freedom. Through the walk, I partook in another beloved activity—going to Toastmasters meetings. I presented eight speeches from the Competent Communication manual at eight different clubs. All the speeches revolved around the topic of freedom. During this epic journey I spent weeks without much human contact, experiencing individual freedom in a profoundly visceral way. Thus, speech topics like “How Can I Become More Free?” and “What Is Freedom?” burst forth from my mind as I walked, reveling in my freedom yet at the same time vulnerable to the ever-changing weather, the roaming wildlife and mostly my many moments of self-doubt in the wild.
At all the Toastmasters clubs I visited, the members treated me like family. The warm welcomes were like soul food after spending long stretches alone on remote trails and highways. Thank you all for your hospitality.
Yuki Wong, CC, ALB
HKUST MBA Alumni Toastmasters club • Hong KongFrom Passion to Action
One evening in February 2013, I gathered with my parents for dinner. It looked like any other day, but it was a life-changing moment. My heart was pounding as I made an important announcement: “I will quit my job and start my own public speaking training company.”
My parents could not believe the decision. They were very proud when I joined the banking industry after graduating from university. But despite my outstanding performance in banking, I could not feel any joy in the work.
At one point, my bank sent me on a month-long overseas training trip, which included a public speaking course taught by James Leong. I had never imagined that public speaking could be a career. I approached James with curiosity and he encouraged me to join Toastmasters. I did—and it was one of the best decisions of my life. Not only did I sharpen my public speaking skills, I also gained friendships and positive energy. Eventually I became club president, and in 2015 I was the first runner-up in a District 89 Evaluation Contest.
I began realizing that public speaking was the right career path for me. In June 2015, I took a leap of faith, quit my job and started my own company offering public speaking training and emcee services. I believe in the power of speech to make changes in the world.
I was very grateful to the Toastmasters community, who planted the seed of optimism and offered me the support and guidance in pursuing my passion. Without Toastmasters, I wouldn’t have had the courage and competence to become who I am today.
It’s important to walk your own path in life. And if you persevere, you’ll scale new heights and experience beauty and exhilaration. From passion to action, it all starts with us.
Do you have a Toastmasters success story you’d like to share about yourself or another member? Write it in 300 words or less and send it with a high-resolution photo.