To learn from the champions is popular but to learn with the champions seems unpopular. But both should be considered when we want to become better in our field.
As I write this article, I am preparing for the speech competition I will be joining in during the Toastmasters District 75 Convention in Cebu. (As you read this on paper this Sunday, it means that the competition already happened yesterday.)
I am excited that I will be competing with the champions from other divisions. And they are ‘big’ champions. One of them is the Past International President of Toastmasters International who also was a District (national) Champion, one was last year’s runner up, another was the District Champion in Humorous Speech Category, two others were my previous Division Governors, and the others who have risen in their own divisions. With the high calibre of contestants, this is a win for me already. I am privileged to be sharing the stage with them. With this, I chose not to call this ‘competing’ with the champions, but rather ‘learning’ with the champions.
Learning with the champions is exceptionally challenging and rewarding. It means you have to level up, it means you have to stretch yourself, it means you have to challenge yourself. In the process, you get to be a much better you.
To learn from the champions is a given formula – observe them, listen to them, watch them do what they do, and emulate them. But to learn with the champions is another and a very wonderful addition to the formula – that is – while you learn from them, you also push yourself to accelerated growth not be like the other champions but to become the ‘champion’ version of yourself. In doing so, you push yourself to keep growing.
I remember that three years ago, I was in Cebu to attend the same national convention. That was when I met and learned from Darren LaCroix, the 2001 World Champion in Public Speaking. Did I learn a lot from him? I sure did.
This year, Champ Darren will not be there, but the other division champions will be there. And to share the stage with them is an honor and a great opportunity to learn with them. I don’t know what the results will be but I am sure that this will be a very big learning opportunity for me. I will be bringing home the value of experience and the growth in expertise gained from this experience – not just from the competition itself but also from the months of preparation for this competition.
This is why if you are given the opportunity to learn with the champions, go for it. It will give you the gift of exposure, push and perspective that is obtained only when you walk into the field of the champions, with the champions. Go ahead and be a champion!
(Chris Dao-anis/CPA, as an author and speaker, helps aspiring and young professionals become better communicators and leaders. His first book ‘The Gift of the Ordinary’ is available at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City and in Central Books in Cebu and Metro Manila. For seminars and resources, visit www.chrispoweracademy.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)