Two members of the Toastmasters’ group I have been visiting gave “Icebreaker” speeches at the last meeting. (An “Icebreaker” is a member’s first speech, intended to introduce the speaker to the group.) Both speeches were enjoyable, but one resonated with me. The title: “If You Do What You Have Always Done, You Will Get What You Have Always Gotten.”


I have spent this year focused on that message, trying, often unsuccessfully, to not do what I have always done. Specifically,  avoiding situations that make me uncomfortable. Like drawing attention to myself.

So I considered Toastmasters’. After weathering three shots at “Table Topics” (short impromptu speeches) I am done considering. I will write my membership check at the next meeting.

In some cases, I have stopped doing what I have always done by not doing nothing. In English, that means I have substituted action for lack of action.

Instead of telling my very career-savvy friends that I might ask them for help with my resume, I have sent them my resume for suggestions. You should see it now. I’m impressed.

Rather than wondering if I should approach people I know who are working in fields or companies that interest me, I have told them that I am looking for work, and asked for information. Oddly enough, they have been more than accommodating.

Reaching outside of my comfort zone again, I registered for WordCamp Raleigh, and attended alone. I learned a lot, and talked to folks I never would have met otherwise. I left with a few great ideas for future consideration.

And there is more.

Every little risk I have convinced myself to take has encouraged me to try something else. It doesn’t matter whether any given risk “pays off.” The payoff is in taking the risk.