“The Climb Of My Life”

I was making good progress in Toastmasters.  Speech 3 in the CC manual is entitled “Get To The Point”.

Objectives:

  • Select a speech topic and determine its general and specific purpose
  • Organize the speech in a manner that best achieves those purposes.
  • Ensure the beginning, body and conclusion reinforce the purposes.
  • Project sincerity and conviction and control any nervousness you may feel.
  • Strive not to use notes.

I had speech 3 scheduled for 27 July 2012, and preparing it brought back some happy memories of the holiday of a lifetime.  This was a holiday in Hawaii, in January 2001, just over 3 weeks in Oahu, definitely a holiday of a lifetime.  My speech focused on one particular outing, climbing to the top of Diamond Head.  This is the speech I delivered: –

“The Climb Of My Life”

Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and welcome guests.

My speech today in on the importance of never giving up, and the rewards that come from perseverance! 

Towards the end of 1999 I received the news that my job in First Active, a local bank, was coming to an end.  Due to cutbacks across the nation our unit was closing and we were being made redundant.  May 2000 arrived, the office closed and we received our redundancy pay.  You might think this was an occasion to sink me to the depths of despair but rest assured the feeling was easily balanced by the receipt of just over six grand.  It was time to decide what to do with my future and more importantly how to spend this windfall.

So I thought awhile and decided on my course of action.  I would get a job for six months then take a “sun holiday”.  No Benidorm or Santa Ponza for me I stressed.  It had to be the real deal, the once in a lifetime holiday!  I had a friend at the time living in Hawaii who was always inviting me to stay so what better time to take up her offer.  I duly found a job with a six month contract and completed that.  With my ticket booked and paid for, I began the countdown to 5th January 2001. 

Finally the big day came.  I boarded the flight in Cork for the first leg to Heathrow London.  Then it was on to LA.  I dozed on the flight waking up to see a vast expanse of ice and snow below me.  Had the pilot taken a wrong turn? 

Had I boarded the wrong flight?  Was this journey over before it even began?  Relief set in as I checked the route on my monitor and discovered that the plane flew over Greenland, then down through Canada, before landing in LAX.  After a few hours wait I boarded the flight to my final destination, Honolulu, Hawaii.  Just over five hours later I stepped out of the airport to the balmy heat of Hawaii.  This was truly going to be a magical holiday.

My friend collected me from the airport and we drove back to her place, a bungalow overlooking Pearl Harbour.  How great was that!  We chatted about the different sights to visit and I decided that come Tuesday I was going to climb Diamond Head.  This once active volcano had long been extinct and was now a popular tourist attraction. 

Tuesday dawned with clear blue skies as far as one could see.  I hopped on the bus which took me to just outside the base of the volcano, paid my entry fee and began the climb.  The path meandered back and forth climbing upwards.  What began as a stroll enjoying the sun soon became an endurance test.  The sun got hotter reaching midday as I panted and toiled my way slowly step by step.  The mid-way point arrived none too soon and I collapsed gratefully onto a waiting ledge.  Gulping down my water as I gasped for breath, with tears in my eyes and a vice like grip painfully clutching my heart I began to wonder…” would I be the first person to be airlifted off this mountain?”  “Should I give up now, admit defeat and just go home?”  On hindsight, which is a great thing, I should never have started the climb in the middle of the day!!  However, my racing pulse and beating heart gradually returned to normal and I decided to continue.  Cancel the chopper; I am not quitting now!

I set off again with purpose in my stride.  Passing people on their way down who had saluted me on the upward journey I strode on relentlessly.  I was going to complete this epic journey!  And so, after climbing almost a mile of an uneven rocky path, then 271 steps through tunnels and a dark spiral staircase and finally crawling through unlit bunkers, I finally reached my goal.  Through the agony came the sweet ecstasy.  I had succeeded!  I had reached the summit, and felt as if I had climbed Mount Everest!  The relief, the sweat and tears were all worth it, as there before me was a vista worthy of any postcard.  I gazed in rapture at the scene presented to me.  360 degrees of splendour laid out in all its glory; from Waikiki Beach with the Pink Hotel and its more modern neighbours on up the coast past Pearl Harbour in one direction, the extinct base of this once mighty volcano in another and the sparkling aquamarine sea stretching off endlessly in the distance. 

The descent was like treading on clouds, wings seemed to carry me weightless down the trail.  I was jubilant, buoyed by exhilaration, knowing I had conquered this mountain.  So in conclusion friends I can confidently say, I did not quit.  I did not surrender or take the easy way out.  I doggedly endured and can without hesitation say that this success was indeed “the climb of my life”.

Well, I hope you enjoyed speech 3.  I am looking forward to sharing more speeches with you. If you have any questions about my speeches or Toastmasters please feel free to reach out to me at any stage.

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