3 Things a Toastmasters Defeat Taught Me

Written by on January 29, 2019

I bounced up to the podium in the conference room at last week’s Toastmasters meeting.

“Get lost!” I announced.

“I hope you get lost.”

I launched into a story about getting lost in a corn maze at a pumpkin patch in October. I delivered the speech, leaning into lyric poetry, sure I was on a roll.

“The sun finger-painted dappled patches of light across acres and acres of pumpkins on Sauvie’s Island,” I shared.  “We enjoyed munchy, crunchy apples and tasty apple cider . . . we need to surrender our desire to live our dreams on our own, in crazy mazes that feel like hazings.”

I congratulated myself for delivering what I considered a creative, high-energy speech.

At the end of the meeting, the winners were announced.

Out of five contestants, I came in . . .  last..Forget crushing it. I felt crushed.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have my sights set on a series of Toastmasters trophies. But I felt that the practice would help me refine my speech. But last?

No high fives. No smiles. No accolades.

At the end of the meeting, I scooped up my things and slipped out the door.

Tigger bounced in. Eeyore shuffled out.

I drove downtown to meet with a coaching client. Wind and cold rain slashed at me as I scurried across a busy downtown street without my coat—that I had left at home. Aargh!

“No,” I spoke to my thoughts. “I refuse a victim mentality.”

I drew in a deep breath and shoved aside frustration and disappointment. Then I did the only thing I knew: I worshiped my way out of that space. I belted, “I Exalt Thee,” as I walked to the restaurant.

The words and the music swelled up from deep inside my spirit. I imagined that they grew wings and I even lifted my head to see them rise.

The cold rain pelted my face but I didn’t care. Co-Co was with me and I knew it. So did He.

Why worship?

– By worshiping, I actively took captive every thought and aggressively made them obedient to Christ.  The object of the game here: to move as quickly from victim mentality to overcomer stance with my thoughts. Worship defined victory. Victory defined worship.

– By worshiping, I shifted the atmosphere. Was anyone else praising Jesus aloud on that block? Not that I could tell. But one voice was all it took to bring the resonant frequency of that city sector waves in rhythm with the sound of heaven.

– By worshiping, I told the devil I was doing things on my terms—heaven’s terms—not his. Take that!

I’m grateful for the experience to recalibrate and refocus. I am ready to surge forward with Co-Co’s guidance and wisdom.

I choose to worship God in Spirit and in truth, declaring His presence as my guiding force.

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

Friend, what are other ways you’ve overcome defeat?

Rise to freedom!


Lynn (and Co-Co)

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  1. Gail G   On   January 30, 2019 at 5:48 am

    Great story Lynn! I always love your fresh lessons from Co-Co Teacher! This week I overcame with Forgiveness from the heart. On Monday I was very upset with my husband about something and tried best as I could to calm myself down (and avoid him!). On Tuesday my devotional reading was Matthew 18:35 “don’t refuse to forgive your brother from the heart.” I realized I didn’t have to have a long drawn out confrontational discussion to get to forgiveness. I just quietly forgave him from the heart. The tension and potential for bitterness that was warring within me lifted!

    • Lynn Hare   On   February 2, 2019 at 12:05 am

      Gail, thank you for your vulnerable and transparent heart. The person I struggle to forgive most often is my husband. The battle is in my mind, and I know it. I too have found that I didn’t have to make a big deal out of the disappointment or unmet expectations. I could simply let it go. Did you know that song “Let It Go” has 1.6 billion views on YouTube?!

  2. Alexis Alexander   On   January 30, 2019 at 7:03 am

    I know the power of devastation and I know God comes into the dark with us until we can see. He’s patient and never sleeps. Their is this amazing light growing brighter and warmer as we wait. When we wake up obviously from a long sleep suffering internally he is there leading us in love to our next victory. Being the difference! We become what he was! Comfort! We’re amazing as we are overshadowed by God. My victory only comes from my walk with him enabling me to walk with others a bit of the way.

    • Lynn Hare   On   February 2, 2019 at 12:02 am

      Alexis, it amazes me that our Savior never sleeps! Yes, love IS the victory, right? He walked a path to the cross. We can accompany others there…and appropriate His forgiveness. I’m so glad we get to be comfort and counsel to the broken-hearted like Co-Co.

  3. Kelly Hering   On   January 30, 2019 at 8:08 am

    Thank you for sharing. I’m convinced that renewing our mind quickly is pivotal to victorious living. Staying in peace often feels like it is the victory! You are the beloved! Bless you friend, Kelly

  4. Jane West   On   January 30, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Hi Lynn. I think your speech sounded great! Get Lost – gets attention, and you went on to say why. I can’t imagine how the other speeches could have been so much better. But it is what it is, and you triumphed. Yes! Worship, love and praise is always a good response to disappointment. Bless you, and thanks for sharing this.

    • Lynn Hare   On   February 1, 2019 at 11:56 pm

      Thank you, Jane! My conclusion was to “get lost” in a magic moment when “me” becomes “we” and we walk forward into the plot twists of the future…together! Yes, worship (like chocolate) solves everything! <3 <3 <3

  5. Darlene Ellis   On   February 1, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    A powerful experience, Lynn. Very encouraging story.

    Great writing. I could sense the power of God through your words.

    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Evan Way   On   February 2, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Lynn,

    Thanks for sharing your real and genuine experiences. Your authenticity is so empowering, it enables me to be truthful in new and liberating ways. I can see the value of honesty and what “Co-Co” 😉 will do with it… He really uses it! He wants our honesty. Your reflections bring healing to my heart and help me see into my own future as a public speaker. I hope to emulate these qualities and traits, in my own unique way, when the time comes for me to pick up the microphone and speak.

    Thanks for being a leader!

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