Stand Up and Clap Your Hands, Its Easy.

One of the gifts from my Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship has been the frequent invitations I still get (four years later) to speak about my experiences to Rotary clubs all over the country. I’ve mostly spoken in Wisconsin, but have also had the opportunity to speak in New Hampshire, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, North Carolina, and most recently, San Diego.

I have discovered that I love public speaking. There is little in life that compares to the feeling of making an entire room of people laugh. Of course, there is little in life that compares to the feeling of standing in front of a room of people and being the only one laughing. Even with that, I can’t believe that people can make a living by going around to cool places, meeting interesting people, and then simply speaking to them. Sign me up.


The best part is that my speeches are really just me sharing my story about how I went to Senegal with this perfect little plan and then how it all dissolved right before my eyes. Of course, there is a happy ending, but I don’t want to spoil it here, in case you show up in a future audience. Here is an excerpt from a speech I gave last year in Wisconsin Dells.

Why do things never go as we plan? Why does it seem the more we get attached to our plans, the less likely they are to come true? Who knows? If we had an answer to that question, life would be no fun. I realized in Senegal that the best plan is to follow your heart, let your values lead you, and put service above self. Let the details work themselves out.

Incidentally, I have been trying struggling to write writing a book about what I learned in Senegal for the past two years and I have only recently realized how much easier it is for me to write a speech than a chapter. Thus, in an attempt to make my life easier, I have started to think of my book as a collection of speeches. Really, really, looooong speeches.

stand-up-and-clap-your-hands.jpgI am grateful for every single opportunity I have to hone my public speaking skills. And for the three women, out of 500, who gave me a standing ovation after my last one.


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