Home is not a place, home is a feeling.
In the Summer of 2016, I was seriously thinking of moving out of Wroclaw. It was not because of the city, I still loved the city, it was because the people that made this city feel like home, had left the city one after the other. Wroclaw didn't feel Home anymore.
By chance, instead, I ended up in a meeting of WrocLove Speakers, my Toastmasters club.
I gave my icebreaker speech on 17th of August 2016 and 16 weeks later I gave my 10th speech, “Inspire your audience” from the competent communicator manual. It was a wonderful journey of learning, which culminated in me finding my home. WrocLove Speakers. I took a very short way of just 4 months to feel home again.
But you know how homes are, they are cozy, they are friendly, and they are comfortable. They are not an ideal situation to grow in. We grow the most when we face adversity, not comfort.
So, when 2017 rolled in, I made a new year resolution that I will do one more time the complete competent communicator manual, but this time I will give all 10 speeches in 10 different cities.
Two days ago, I came to the end of this journey. During the process, I learned many lessons and got many insights, some of which I would like to share with you.
In Poznan, I learned that new audience, new environment brings the old stress back
In Berlin, I realized that the compliment “Zain, your speech made me think” is the best compliment you can ask for as a speaker.
In Prague, I witnessed, how professionally organized serious toastmasters meeting have a very different but equally fulfilling atmosphere.
In Lodz, I finally realized, my words have power, it is my responsibility to wield this power for the good.
In Lisbon, I painfully learned, “Audience Matters”. What works for WrocLove Speakers, may not work for Lisbon MBA club
In Warsaw, I learned, authenticity starts with I.
In Athens, I relearned, that when you talk about your passion, the thing you really believe in, you can move people.
In Opole, I learned, never to forget my presentation clicker, it just messes the whole flow of the speech.
In Czestochowa, I finally understood what Woodrow Wilson meant.
If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.
And in Wroclaw. I learned that no matter if you take a short way home or long way home, you still end up at home.
If you feel you are at home, then you must step out, do something different, go somewhere new, try something you have never done before. No matter how far away you will go, eventually, you will find the long way home.
Because, home is not a place, home is a feeling.