(This is the text of my speech at Valencia Toastmasters at Florida State University on 5th of February)
My speech of today is titled “Yes, we can!” I’m not going to talk only about the current President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama.
I’m going to take his slogan, which was an important part of the excellent marketing campaign which made possible his victory in the general elections of 2008.
First of all, I would like to ask you something: Who of you has a dream, a goal to achieve or something that you would like to accomplish?
Come on! I’m sure that everyone has a dream.
If you would had asked the American citizens in the fifties about whether an Afro-American man would get the presidency of the United States, perhaps some of them would answer are you kidding me?
I have a dream said Martin Luther King in his famous speech. Obama, like him, had a dream, he wanted to become the first Afro-American President of the United States of America.
Obama’s team believed that they could get the victory with a good strategy and a great marketing campaign they were able to win the general election of 2008. They did it, and further, Obama is running his second term as President of the United States.
If you have a dream, you must try to achieve it. If you don’t try to get it, you won’t ever know if it was possible or not.
I’m going to give you another example closer to home. Do you remember me during my first meetings at The Ginger Loft Café? I was in complete silence, scared, avoiding to even participate.
When the meetings ended and I went back to my house I always thought this is too hard for me and I said to myself I would like to improve my public speaking and my social skills but I will never be able to speak in front of an audience in a different language of my native tongue.
I will tell you the truth, those days I was very close to quitting. But I thought I’m not a quitter, I’m a hard worker and I knew that Toastmasters could help me in my career, then, one night at Sierra Aitana’s restaurant, I broke the ice, and I gave my first speech in English in front of some of you.
And now look at me, I’m here, giving my tenth speech and even holding the role of Vice President of membership of this club and helping guests and new members, and this has been possible thanks to the fact I didn’t give up that day. And I’m very happy for this and at the moment I’m thinking of my next challenge.
The first step must be to choose a realistic goal. If you start running, to begin with, you cannot expect to win the gold medal at the marathon at the Olympic Games.
The second one, surround yourself with a good team, avoid toxic and pessimistic people. Do what a good leader does, choose the best people for your team, they will help you to achieve your goal.
But the main point is you have to believe in yourself.
Don’t look for an excuse. I’m sure you have successful stories around you (in your family, your neighbourhood etc.) and like those other successful people, you can be successful too. Each day has 24 hours for everyone, you just have to work hard.
Don’t worry if you fail the first time; try it again, and again, and again…
I’m sure, if you have a dream and you believe in yourself and you work hard with enthusiasm, you will achieve it, why? because like President Obama said yes, you can.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts (Winston Churchill).