I’m looking around the room and I can see that each one of you comes from a place in your life where you have struggled. How do I see this? I see this because I know struggles are a human condition. But what I don’t know is the depth of your struggles. I don’t know when/if you became overwhelmed, when/if resources became limited or were inappropriate and how/if your struggles became extreme. I don’t know if you are struggling right now or how much this is affecting you, right now.
But let me share something with you. I come from a place where my struggles have been extreme and these experiences have changed my life. I see how I continuously take the challenge to change the essence of the struggle into an experience of finding perspective and purpose so that I can find the desire to move with a vision. The struggles you have had in your life are your experiences and they can be offered to each one of us to learn from.
All of your experiences have brought you to this room and these experiences are rich. I want to congratulate each one of you for making the decision to coming today. I want to congratulate you for all that you have overcome in your life because I know you have, just because you are here. By using this experience, where you’ve come from, you can capitalize on what you can overcome. This is how I see each one of you in this room, people who are taking your experiences and using them differently. That is why each one of you is here. I applaud you for this.
When you can find a way to understand experiences and derive benefit from even the biggest challenge, you see more to it. You imbue it with a reason or make it a cause. As you see this, you “frame it.” One can use the word perspective to describe this. And one can channel this into a purpose. Perspective and purpose allow you to move forward. Seeking purpose and finding perspective help in discovering what is important.
When one looks at something that has happened to you, I call it “framing the experience”. I would like to share with you something that recently has happened to me and tell you how I framed it. (Added an experience here relevant to the audience)
I looked at the experience differently. And the opening of this new perspective changed the purpose of what I was doing, allowing me to make better sense of it and move forward.
I challenge you to find what you have learned and discover what is important to you. If you are motivated, have the desire and know how to use purpose and perspective, you can use experience as an agent of change. If you have the desire to use what you’ve gained, you can turn it into agents of change and create a vision. When you know what is meaningful and desire more, you can create vision. You can frame this desire as a vision for yourself and share it with others.
If you are motivated, desire needs three things to make it happen: Resources, possibility and opportunity. Start with looking to see what resources are readily available. Then look to see what you will need to find or create them. This takes being able to see the possibility and belief that you can develop it. Possibility may start in the shape of brainstorming or something different. Sometimes seeing the possibility comes quickly but other times it takes a long time. The third part is opportunity. Sometimes it takes seeing the opportunity and then doing something with it. Other times the challenge is greater. This is when you need to create the opportunity for yourself. This is when you need to be the instrument of creating opportunities for others. You know you have created an incredibly meaningful vision when it is aligned with integrity. Finding, creating and utilizing resources, possibility and opportunity is a continuous struggle, or better put challenge, of striving to preserve integrity both for you as an individual and the community.
What is your desire and how will you use your vision? How might you take a personal vision and extend it so others can benefit from it? How might you develop a personal vision into something beyond yourself?
When you have the desire to be the instrument of creating for others, you have found a calling. When you use your experience to fulfill needs others have you are creating the steps for a community vision. In creating it for others you have extended your personal vision into a community vision for a greater good. Use your best perspective to extend it so others can benefit from it. When getting involved in creating something larger than yourself, remember to find time to pay attention to your personal vision. Try to keep in check your personal vision so you can continue to grow as an individual while working on things that are good for others. Balance your personal vision with a vision greater than yourself. And know that when do for others your own rewards only multiply!
Before I start my conclusion, I offer you four phrases as words of caution: Preserve integrity, be inclusive, provide choice and pay attention to people’s dignity. And the key while utilizing and creating is to always remember two very important words: Preserve Integrity!
You are the guiding force when you reach beyond yourself to create something larger. Each one of you here is a person who wants to do more. I congratulate you on your accomplishments because you have come a long way to be here. But I challenge you to continue to “do many good things” and consider: Do you seek vision in your life? Will you take the steps to create your vision? Know that the interaction between developing your personal vision and the community vision enriches both you and the community. And ask yourself: How can you use your experiences? How can you expand your personal vision? When you are creating a vision greater than yourself, how can you hold on to your personal vision? How might you find the balance to develop them both? And finally let me ask you, how will you take the needed steps to actualize your visions?
Eva Scholle, April 12, 2007
Presented at Cross Westchester Toastmasters Club
Club #9976, Area 74, Division G, District 46