Recently, I quit my job, gave up all my worldly possessions (except for my Internet! You can pry that from my cold, dead hands, thank you very much!), and moved to a little adobe house in New Mexico. And, I blame it all on Toastmasters! Okay, maybe a little blame goes to my former boss and coworkers, but more on that later.
Several years ago, I had been going about my life quietly and joined Toastmasters to improve my public speaking skills. The first few years I attended meetings and practiced my skills by giving speeches. Then one day one of our officers (I forget who now. Aren’t you lucky?) convinced me to enter the Tall Tales contest. That’s what started me down this wild and crazy path, living in the mountains, battling demons, and doing voodoo dances to keep my Internet on.
Hello, my name is Morgan and I’m addicted to tall tales, hyperbole, deadpan delivery, pink mustaches, and much more. And yes, YES, it is Toastmasters fault. Toastmasters helped get me hooked on this drug called humor. One might even consider the lot of you, pushers and enablers.
“Oh hey, why don’t you enter the Tall Tales contest? We want to encourage our new members to participate and if you entered it would provide a great example to them,” you said.
That’s what lured me in. Then, when I participated, you clapped and…laughed at my tall tale. Worse yet, you gave me a trophy! A trophy for Pete’s sake! Yep, then I was hooked.
However, like I said, I can’t totally blame Toastmasters for my humor habits. Unfortunately, my former boss is a big culprit as well. Not only did she inspire at least one award-winning tale, she laughed at my office shenanigans…sometimes daily! An enabler for sure. My coworkers and students played a role as well. Yessireebob, they’ve laughed, snickered, or discreetly grinned behind their hands at my wisecracks and nonsensical emails.
Seriously folks, Toastmasters has played a huge role in my decision to work on a book inspired by my tall tales. Toastmasters showed me the power of positivity in a world too often filled with dark news reports. It taught me to overcome my fears and step out of my comfort zone. So many members of District 25 Toastmasters have encouraged me over the years in a variety of ways. Truly, each and every person I’ve met in Toastmasters has played a role with smiles, jokes, sharing their own achievements, and more. I hope to write this book, get it published, and share a little fun with the world.
Disclaimer: Do not try this at home. Tall Tales contests may be hazardous to your health, career, and more.
Morgan O’Donnell, is a charter member of the North Texas Toastmasters and also helped found the Pioneer Power Speakers. You can follow her adventures in the Land of Enchantment at www.morgankodonnell.com.