___________ Is My Middle Name.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the line commonly used when someone is trying to convince someone else that they know the subject in question: “Well, _________ is my middle name.”

Hello. My name is Jackie Setback Bailey.

I know that President Obama likes to use the word “setback” to soften the more appropriate, “failure” at times, but failure in this case isn’t as fitting as SETBACK.

I hoped to have a video of me giving my winning speech. I delivered my speech to a group of Toastmasters this last Tuesday evening, and I asked a member of the club to use my ipad to film me. The film is great, except I believe the cameraman had his hand over the microphone, so there is no sound. Setback.

No worries. I’m presenting my contest winning speech tomorrow morning. (Full disclosure: this is a club I belong to). Details below:

If you can make it, fabulous. If not, I’ll try once again to have it filmed. I really, really want to get your feedback. And I really, really want to start presenting my second speech for audiences as well. I’m working on that.

Stay tuned for a video of my speech.

But wait, there’s more!

Yesterday I interviewed a remarkable young woman who has written a book. Keep in mind, Jennifer Schwartz is still in high school – completing her junior year in a few weeks, and will be a senior next fall. She has written a book based on her own CANCER RESEARCH. Yes, you read that right. She has been doing CANCER RESEARCH.

This is her book. It’s out now on Amazon.com. On Tuesday next week, I’m going to blog about my interview with Jennifer and about her newly published book. Jennifer is a well-spoken, gifted and intelligent young lady who deserves to be recognized for her skills in leadership. She is leading people toward a specific mission, and I’ll tell you all about that on Tuesday. Please tune in.

And while you’re checking out Jennifer’s book, please check out mine too. SELF Centered Leadership: Becoming Influential, Intentional and Exceptional.

See you all on the other side of the weekend!

Three Ways to Become One of the Cool Kids, Part III

The three P’s of Empowerment are:

  • Preparedness
  • Principles
  • Promises

My most recent posts have been about becoming one of the cool kids after my District 2 win in the International Speech Contest. In case you’ve missed them: Part 1  Part 2

This post focuses on the third P – Promises.

PROMISES:

Promises and commitments are harbingers of happiness. Empowerment happens when we live true to the promises and commitments we make.

In the midst of my childhood and experience with abuse; and even into the healing phase of my abuse years later, I always knew if I just made good decisions that I would have a chance to be happy. I counted on blessings from God if I obeyed His will. I also felt that if I didn’t keep my promises to Him, that I would be forfeiting possible blessings.

That being said, I have had many trials. In fact, it seems that I’ve had more challenges than most. But maybe we all feel that way. In the midst of these challenges, I’ve wondered when the blessings were going to come. I was preparing as best I could; I was living by my values and principles; l was doing good for/to others – when would I be blessed?

There is a song written by Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner and Brian Rosenworcel that fits my life, and even the current situation I’m in as I prepare for the next level of speech competition in Las Vegas to an international audience. These three men just happen to be members of my favorite alternative pop band, GUSTER.

I share with you the words of this song, with an opportunity to listen to them as well. Can you tell why this song might have some appeal to me?


 “ALL THE WAY UP TO HEAVEN

He said to only look up; He said to never look down

Down is where we came from

He said to hope for the best; and take a load off my chest

Soon I could be happy

And go all the way up to heaven; and go all the way back home

He thought I might need his help; no one gets high on themselves

I just seemed so lonely

He’s just trying to be nice; and spread around his advice

I could be that happy

And go all the way up to heaven; and go all the way back home

Stay the way I am today, it’s certain more disaster

He can tell a fairy tale, it’s happily ever after

Just relax, and greener grass will grow here for a change

Maybe then we’ll last a million years or more, or more, or more, or more

And go all the way up to heaven; and go all the way back home

Yes, I do believe what He says

I want to be happy

I could sure use His help; no one gets by on themselves

He can make me happy

And I will always look up (It’s a warm summer breeze)

And I will never look down (it’s weakness in your knees)

Down is where we came from (It’s a perfect place above – full of everlasting love)

And I will take that advice (Nothing to fear; nothing to hide)

And take a load off my chest (You just say what’s on your mind)

We could make that happy (Needn’t think before you speak. This is how it’s meant to be)

You know we needed his help (Ever high, never fall)

Now we’re not high on ourselves (you can do no wrong at all)

I will know that happy (In this heaven up above filled with everlasting love)

Into the light

To the light


So many parts of this song are sung right to me. The day before the competition I came down with laryngitis. I’ve never had it so bad. Based on advice from others I drank teas with lemon and honey, and I sucked on zinc lozenges. I drank hot water with vinegar, lemon and honey, and I took anti-inflammatory medications. All this to no avail. The morning of the contest I was no better.

I tried to speak as little as possible. I could not practice my speech out loud, but only meditate and visualize myself on stage saying what I’d practiced. At competition time, my throat and chest had loosened and opened. My voice was not as strong as I’d hoped, but the microphone made up for the rest.

I’m so glad I was able to deliver my message, albeit in a different way than I’d imagined. Perhaps it was the sexy, low voice I had that influenced the judges.

Guster’s song reminds me that I had to depend on a greater strength than my own. I believe that was Father in Heaven. He kept a promise to bless me despite the trials and challenges that came that day. He helped me deliver a message about fairy tales that perhaps He’d prepared me to give my entire life. I needed His help, because I could not get by on myself.

As I move forward in the competition, I will only look up. I will never look down. Whatever happens, I will take His advice and try to be happy.

Promises. We’ve all made them. We all must keep them. When your promises are kept to others, you will be given assurance of promises kept to you from a power greater than yourself.

Empowerment comes through the the three P’s:

  • Preparedness
  • Principles
  • Promises

Please comment below about how these areas have empowered you.

Empowerment is the E in the acronym SELF in SELF Centered Leadership: Becoming Influential, Intentional and Exceptional. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so. Perhaps my message will provide some ways for you to empower your life as you try to be one of the COOL KIDS!

Three Ways to Become One of the Cool Kids, Part II

On May 16, 2015 I competed at the District level International Speech contest, and I won! I will be moving on to the semi-finals in Las Vegas! That’s where the cool kids are!

In a previous post I illustrated how I made it this far by applying the Three P’s of Empowerment:

  • Preparedness
  • Principles
  • Promises

In that same post, I told you how I’ve prepared so far, and encouraged you to become a Preparation Partner for this next phase of competition. So many of you have said, “I’m IN!” and I’m overwhelmed by your support.

I’m taking on P number 2 today – PRINCIPLES

PRINCIPLES:

Toastmasters International lists their core values as

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Service
  • Excellence

These are principles I also identify in my book SELF Centered Leadership: Becoming Influential, Intentional and Exceptional. Your life, relationships and purpose are empowered when you live by core values and principles, and never compromise them.

As I considered the message I wanted my audience to hear when giving my competition speech, I was guided by principles I’ve adhered to my whole life. I decided to tell a very personal story about my tragic childhood. The message in short is that, “Love overcomes hate, fear and anger. No matter how your story begins, with love you can live happily, even after.”

The message is universal, and has been well received. I believe it’s because the message is true. It makes sense, and even if life has been tragic, we can see that the happy times have been sprinkled or frosted with love.

Whether you’re giving a competitive speech, giving a report to your HR Manager, or teaching your child a skill, your message must be true. Everything you say must be straightforward, clear, and honest. If you can accomplish this, you will be credible, and your life will be empowered.

Humility is not my strong suit, but as Lee Amatangelo and others helped me prepare my speech for different levels of competition, I had to be humble. I had to consider their suggestions, and try them. If they weren’t right, it was obvious quickly. Most suggestions were right, and my speech was enhanced when I implemented them. Mind you, I never compromised my principles. Instead, I let my principles guide me as I humbly considered the feedback of others.

I found during this process that the most important aspect to my message was genuineness. If I didn’t believe what I was saying, the audience knew it. And boy, I had to get really vulnerable! I had to avoid narrating my story, and instead bring the audience into the story with me. That meant that I must not “perform”, but that I needed to truly be in the moment of a past experience while on stage in the present. Not easy, and a part of my speech I continue to perfect.

Isn’t this how we should live life? Shouldn’t we be genuine, vulnerable and humble, while at the same time adhering to our core values and principles through every experience? Shouldn’t we take lessons from past experiences and allow them to guide us in the present moment? I believe so.

Consider your core values and principles. How have they guided you, and what was the outcome when you compromised them?

Now, I must write, and prepare to deliver a second speech. Please comment below with principles I should focus on as the subject matter of my next speech. For those of you who’ve read my book, is there another moving story contained therein that would make a good speech, or parts of a speech?

What topics inspire YOU the most?

What topics do you feel would appeal to an international audience?

If you haven’t yet read my book, you can order from my website, from Amazon, or you can get one from me when you see me next. Your purchase will help me eat when I’m in Vegas.

Please comment here on my blog with questions to the above questions. Part three – PROMISES will be posted soon.

Three Ways to Become One of the Cool Kids

Have you ever wanted to hang out with the cool kids? Be part of the popular crowd? Meet a person whom you admired and wanted to be like?

I’m going to tell you how I have been able to accomplish this, and provide three steps so you can do it as well. Let me start with a little personal background…

I have been involved in the non-profit organization, Toastmasters International, for almost eight years now. There are a lot of cool kids in Toastmasters – men and women who have achieved a certain level of communication and/or leadership that makes them revered and honored. They are celebrities within the organization, not reality TV star celebrities, but more like Paul Newman or Oprah Winfrey celebrities. They have accomplished feats that very few have – feats that have affected and influenced the lives of thousands.

From the website of the organization, Toastmasters International is:

… a world leader in communication and leadership development. Our membership is 313,000 strong. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 14,650 clubs in 126 countries that make up our global network of meeting locations.

The world needs leaders. Leaders head families, coach teams, run businesses and mentor others. These leaders must not only accomplish, they must communicate. By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program. Every Toastmasters journey begins with a single speech. During their journey, they learn to tell their stories. They listen and answer. They plan and lead. They give feedback—and accept it. Through our community of learners, they find their path to leadership.

What few non-Toastmasters know is that there are speech and leadership competitions in the organization twice yearly. These contests begin at the club level – members compete against fellow club members – members who are often like family. The winner of the club contests compete against other club winners in an Area contest. The winner of the Area contests compete against other Area winners in a Division contest. The winners of each Division contest compete at the District level contest.

I am in District 2. There are approximately 3500 members geographically in Western Washington, and includes roughly 175 clubs. Three out of four yearly contests in District 2 (Humorous Speech, Table Topics Speech, and Evaluation Speech) end at the District level. However, the District winner of the International Speech contest will move on to compete against 10 other Districts in one of 10 Semi-Finals held at the annual Toastmasters International Convention. This year it will be held in Las Vegas.

On May 16, 2015 – three days ago as of this writing – I competed in the District level International Speech contest, and I won! I will be moving on to the semi-finals in Las Vegas! That’s where the cool kids are! There have been no more than 90 winners of the final contest – less than 90 individuals who have been crowned “WORLD CHAMPION OF PUBLIC SPEAKING”. In a few months, I will be in the company of the really cool kids – the World Champs of Public Speaking!

Many of the former champs will be at the convention, and they will make themselves available to the contestants. They will support and mentor the contestants in the delivery and content of their competition speeches. Who wouldn’t be excited for the opportunity to talk with Paul Newman or Oprah Winfrey, and receive advice from them?

How did this opportunity come my way? Through the Three P’s of Empowerment. I write about these three P’s in my book, SELF Centered Leadership: Becoming Influential, Intentional and Exceptional. Hanging with the cool kids, getting your dream job, and/or finding success in all you do will happen when you apply the Three P’s of Empowerment.

  • Preparedness
  • Principles
  • Promises

PREPAREDNESS:

Can you ever be too prepared? You can certainly be under prepared. Sometimes preparation takes a lifetime. Sometimes it takes place in a few minutes, days or weeks. The bigger the event or desired result, the more preparation required.

I began preparing for the International Speech contest in 2007 when I joined Toastmasters. I committed myself to working the program, speaking as often as opportunity would warrant, and I said yes when asked to serve and help in the organization.

Many people join Toastmasters for selfish reasons – they want to be better speakers. There’s nothing wrong with this mindset, and in fact, I had the same goal. However, those individuals who see the greatest results are those who begin early to give back. They are the ones who turn from selfish motives to those of a selfless nature.

The first three speeches a new member gives in Toastmasters will teach him/her how to tell a personal story, organize a speech, and how to determine the speech purpose – to entertain, persuade, educate, or inspire the audience. All that in the first three speeches!

Every member receives feedback, called evaluations, from other club members. This is how members of the organization learn in what areas they are improving, and in what areas of communication and leadership they need to focus more time and energy on. Learning how to give this feedback is just as beneficial as getting it.

It goes without saying that if you want to pass a test, win a race, or get the job of your dreams, you must study, practice and obtain the required skills.

The speech I gave at the district level contest is not even close to the speech I started with at the club level contest. The title, “Happily, Even After…” remained the same throughout the three-month process. However, the speech content, purpose and delivery changed at each level to appeal to different audiences.

I had a fabulous mentor – one of those celebrities in Toastmasters. He has won at the district level twice before, and won at the semi-finals once before. Lee Amatangelo unselfishly sacrificed time to listen to my speech, provide suggestions, and helped me discover the message the audience would benefit from hearing. His contribution to my preparation was the key to my win. Solo preparation is possible, but partner preparation yields greater results.

At the District 2 Conference last weekend, Patricia Fripp was our morning keynote speaker, and she also provided a workshop on presentations. She shared some outstanding tips where preparation is concerned:

  1. “Build rehearsal into your everyday life”
  2. “Practice makes permanent”

She asked us, “Are you practicing to improve…or to reinforce bad habits?” This is so eye-opening when it comes to preparation – make sure you’re preparing for the right opportunity, in the right way, by focusing on the right behavior.

As I prepare my next speech to a brand new audience, I must consider who they are. I will be competing against 9 other individuals from around the world. District 2 (that’s me) will be in Semi-Final #10, and I will be competing against a Toastmaster from the following districts:

District 18 – State of Maryland, USA

District 21 – British Columbia, Canada

District 45 – States of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, USA: and New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Canada

District 48 – West coast of Florida, USA

District 55 – Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Central/South Texas, USA

District 62 – State of Michigan, USA

District 76 – Japan

District 77 – State of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, USA

District 94 – Benin, West Africa

The content and delivery of my speech will need to be focused on connecting to this particular audience. Yikes! Preparation needed? You bet!

I invite you to follow my blog for updates about my preparations leading to my semi-final speech. Let’s call it INTERNATIONAL SPEECH WATCH 2015. To follow my blog, you need only subscribe on either the left or right side of this post. Super easy!

Tune in for the second part of this post. I will focus on the second P of Empowerment – PRINCIPLES.

Getting to Vegas is going to cost me a little money. If you haven’t purchased my book yet, I’d sure appreciate you doing so. Then I can eat while in Vegas this summer. Just go to Amazon and make your purchase. If you want a signed copy, email me, and I’ll bring you one, or have a signed copy shipped to you. There are no excuses!

I hope you’ll join me on this journey. If you’re in, please comment below “I’m IN!” We will be partners in preparation….