Last week I gave a speech in my Toastmasters club where I shared what made me laugh.
The purpose of the speech was to understand my own sense of humour.
I made fun of myself that I laugh at accidents, misunderstandings, and surprising events which made it difficult for me to replicate on my own terms. I then shared 3 ways I make myself laugh: 1.word play, 2. Songify 3. Creating rhythm (*).
That was not the greatest speech I prepared, I was challenged with the humor - that was what I was practicing in this speech. I knew I could spend more time making it better but I had important things to take care of. I knew the speech could be better but I chose to do in that state because I am committed to showing up whatever state I am in and doing the best I can.
In Toastmasters, every speaker gets an evaluation delivered as a speech. There is a common approach to these evaluation speeches to use the sandwich technique: pointing out the positives first, continuing with the areas of improvement, and ending with positives.
My evaluator followed this approach. She wanted to start positively and said “The speech was….(silence)…. put together.” That was the best thing she could say about my speech. She cited a new word she learned from me (Songify) and that there was a message. In the "things to improve" part, she told me that I could have spent more time preparing, that I did a grammatical error and I did not tell stories as expected by this project. When she finished the evaluation I noted her feedback. My first thoughts were how misunderstood I felt and how I could not connect with her. Later I thought about her: how difficult it must have been to bear through my 7-minute speech where she did not find anything interesting or exciting.
I wasn’t much different from her. I can count many so many times I had the same experience.
Many times I immediately notice the mistakes, the things that don’t meet the standards, and how terrible some things are! Being part of such an act is definitely not fun. The sooner it is over, the better it is. For me. For Isil, who sees the mistakes.
I am convinced that I am not the only one. I will go ahead and say that naturally we are all wired to see the mistakes. Our survival depends on us not making mistakes so we don’t fall prey to predators. We also don’t want anyone to stand out because we need to stay together for survival. Therefore we are hardwired to notice what stands out and what is not correct.
That system is very valuable when we are in the wild and under danger. Not so much when we sit and watch a person sharing part of who they are in their own way.
We, humans, built systems, and civilization not because we could survive but because we could envision a bright world for all of us and cooperate to make it happen. That required people dreaming, being passionate about making it happen, communicating it to other people, and enrolling them in these dreams. The people who are enrolled in these dreams saw the spark and turn the spark to fire with their own resources and everybody co-creating together made our civilization happen.
Rosamund Stone Zander and Ben Zander explain enrolment in their book “The Art of Possibility” with the following words:
Enrollment is the art and practice of generating a spark of possibility for others to share.
Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander // The Art of Possibility
It is important to remember that we all are capable of creating a spark of possibility with whatever we do or say. (Good to keep in mind for me for next speeches:) ) We can bring ourselves, our energy, our passion on the table, and make it available to others for joining in.
What if we are sitting on the other side of the table?
The spark might be covered with a dark ripped cloth that gives us a hint of the spark but not fully shows it. Do we keep looking at the cloth or do we get curious about the spark?
Our natural tendency might be the first but what could happen if we call out the spark and join in to create possibilities with that spark?
If we evaluate a speech, a performance, a text: what if we point out what stood out and touched us?
If in our work where we observe our manager micromanaging what if we notice his dedication for excellence?
If in our homes where we observe lots of clutter (maybe caused by our spouse or child), what if we acknowledge the desire for a relaxed, easy life?
We can practice enrolment from either side of the table.
We can carry a posture of possibility, communicate our ideas and our world with passion and energy, and invite others to join in.
We can see the others as a source of possibilities and join them with our own spark. Our combined forces will create more possibilities in the world and will be an invitation for others to join us.
Going back to the speech I gave, I missed to show my spark and make an invitation. My evaluator missed to see my hidden spark and could not take the invitation. But out of this miss- I found a new spark and I am hoping what I write here and now will be an invitation to you to take it into your lives and show your sparks, see other people’s sparks and join your sparks to create big beautiful bonfires that will warm us, invite us the gather around and connect us.
I salute the spark in you!
*Here is some more information about the things that make me laugh.
Wordplay: using the words in different meanings. When my husband called me before my speech and asked me how I was, I said speechless.
Songify: say what you want to say like a song, especially things you say to yourself. It works great to take things lightly.
Creating a rhythm: There are two different applications of this. First, you turn a normally-would-be-annoying sound to a rhythm and hear it like music (works great with construction sound). Second, you create a rhythm to accompany a boring/difficult task. You can shake your legs or use a timer app to create this rhythm. Let me know if these ideas work for you and would love to hear your ways of creating fun for yourself.