by Jason Jett MS4

I call my youngest daughter PJ and Punkin’ Jo. It’s a play on her initials, SPJ, but dropping the S. The “S” is pretty common in our family, her mom, grandmother, sister, and aunt are all “S’s.” So, she’s PJ or Punkin Jo.

Punkin Jo does everything with gusto. I wish we could all tackle the world with as much gusto as she has. I don’t know why I can’t, I don’t know why you can’t. You can. You can do it Punkin.

I often tell my club “Toastmasters in a laboratory.” Not a lavatory, that’s something completely different. A lab, a place to experiment. Or it’s a place to be yourself. A place to tell the joke you heard, or one you made up. Rarely will you find, fellow Toastmasters, an open and inviting place where you can try something new, a new way to express yourself—as you will find in a toastmasters meeting.

A fellow Division Director said to me at the start of this toastmaster year “Be so unapologetically you, that it makes other people what to be themselves, too.” There was so much power in that statement. It also reminds me of a meme I saw recently that said, “Do everything with the confidence of a 4-year-old in a bat-man t-shirt.” What power there is in that statement as well.

Why do I say all of this? I say all of this because I want YOU yes YOU (like Uncle Sam) to take that next step out of your comfort zone and give that next speech. No matter what you say, no matter how you say it, it will be light years ahead of what you didn’t say, and head and shoulders better than if you didn’t say anything at all. As the Chinese proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. How do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time.

Now, Punkin put on your proverbial bat-man t-shirt, channel your inner 4-year-old, pick up your fork and knife, and off you go on your toastmaster’s journey. You can do it Punkin!

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