RISK = Results

September 1, 2008 post
by Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, MSgt USAF Retired

Toastmasters is an international non-profit education organization with local clubs where a person can learn how to speak in front of an audience in a safe and supportive environment.  As a member you are given a book with 10 speeches to complete in order to receive your Competent Communicator award.  The speeches are timed and an evaluator provides feedback after each speech.  A mentor is assigned to each member to help them prepare their speeches and practice outside the club. Public speaking ranks as the number one fear in the minds of most people.  It even exceeds the fear of death or disease in most cases! For many, joining a Toastmasters club is a huge risk to undertake.  I joined Toastmasters in November of 2006 to improve my speaking skills. 

Most Toastmasters know Sheryl Roush.  Her story is like many who step out of their comfort zone and take a risk to change their lives.  She joined Toastmasters and began to do the speeches in the Competent Communicator manual.  She cried through her first 3 speeches but she kept coming back and continued to try.  Today she is a highly sought after and amazing international speaker.  I met Sheryl at Book Expo America (BEA) in May of this year.  She was doing a book signing for her book Heart of a Woman and I was one of the first in line to get a copy.  She is an inspiration to me.  She is someone who took a risk and used the skills that Toastmasters taught her to live her dream and become a professional speaker.  When it was my turn I mentioned I was in Toastmasters too and she recognized me from the District One competition last year.  She signed a copy of the book for me and gave me a card with some information about submitting a write-up for her next book “Heart of a Woman in Business.” I had about a month until the deadline for submission.  I went home excited about the possibility of submitting something about my experiences in business.

A few days after BEA I started to work on the write-up.  It had to be 1200 words or less.  I had a rough draft going when I started three weeks of intense coaching certification training and had no time to work on it until the last few days of June.  The submission was due 1 July and I worked on it every night those last few days until 30 June.  I reviewed it a few times and let it sit for most of the day on 1 July, then reviewed it one more time and made some final adjustments.  I was taking a risk just submitting it.  I felt like I was basically an unknown and what if it gets turned down?  Then I re-framed my thinking and set the intention that it would be accepted and took a deep breath and hit send.  I decided taking the risk and stepping out of my comfort zone was a better choice than to not submit anything and always wonder what would have happened if I’d just taken the chance.  I have a dream to be a published author, professional speaker and television/movie personality.  It’s only a dream unless I take some action to move it forward. I decided to make choices instead of excuses.  It’s easy to tell yourself you won’t make it so why try or you don’t want to risk getting rejected but I decided to take the RISK 4 maximum results.

I got confirmation the same day I sent in the submission that it had been received and they would be reviewing it and getting back to me.  A couple weeks after that I received an e-mail asking for my website information and the title of my write-up.  I got a little excited wondering if it had made the cut. I didn’t hear anything else for over a month.  I knew the book was coming out in October so I let it go for the time being.  Around mid-August my curiosity was getting the best of me.  Did they accept it?  I re-read what I wrote and felt confident it sounded book worthy.  I sent an e-mail asking if my submission had been accepted. To my delight and utter excitement the answer was YES!  My write-up will be published in the Heart of a Woman in Business book to be released on 1 Oct 08! <The book released EARLY on 9 Sept 08>

I am so excited to be a contributor to this wonderful book and that the book is going to be published with my write-up included in it.   I took a risk by sending my submission in.  I could have made the choice to not submit the write-up so I didn’t have to risk the possibility of rejection.  Instead I took that risk and now am glad I did.  Not only will my contribution help people who read this book, it also is an example of what can happen if you take a risk in your life and put yourself out there to accomplish your dreams.  It also gives me encouragement to take more risks as I manifest my empire of change to make a difference in others lives.

If you’ve taken a risk in your life and gotten some positive results, I’d love for you to share your comments at the end of this post.  You can share your experience, strength and hope with others and show them that they too can achieve maximum results if they have the courage to take a risk today.

Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, MSgt USAF Retired
Dynamic Vision Intl, Speaker & RISK 4 Results Coach
Harley Riding Bad Biker Chic, Ex Military, Girlie Girl in PINK!

Order your copy of Heart of a Woman in Business here.