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At 8:50 p.m. on Monday, May 13, 2019, I walked up to the podium in front of my Toastmaster Club members to hand out ribbons to all the best speakers of the night. Unlike usual, I stood there smiling from ear to ear because my name was on the list of among the best speakers. I jokingly said to the club members, "I'm going to shake my own hand as I give this "Best Table Topic” ribbon to myself. Everyone laughed and felt the joy in me. Immediately, the Toastmaster (master of ceremony) came up to present the ribbon to me as we took a photo together. Four hours prior to this joyful moment, I didn't feel like going to the meeting. I was tired, had things to take care of after work, and was not properly dressed for the meeting (I forgot we had a meeting. I wore jeans and tennis shoes to work). With all the excuses I had in mind, I wanted to call or email someone to explain that I didn't feel well, but I did not. I encouraged myself to keep going despite the excuses I had in mind. For the first time being a club member as well as a president of the club, I was late for the meeting. I walked into the room at 7:09 p.m. in a room full of members waiting for me. I felt a little guilty and embarrassed. As soon as I came in, they welcomed and introduced me as the president of the club to begin the meeting. Unlike months ago, I no longer had butterflies in my stomach when I came up to the podium. Rather I knew exactly what I had to say, knew who to invite up, and conducted a quick business meeting with great confidence. I was the third person got called up for the table topic questions. I no longer felt nervous for an impromptu speech. In two minutes and eleven seconds, I elaborated the words from a fortune cookie without any filler words (words like um, ah, you know). I began with an introduction and gave several examples and a conclusion. I spoke as if I rehearsed it many times before. There is no greater joy than overcoming obstacles in life. When you feel like throwing in a towel, don’t do it. The sky is always beautiful after a stormy night.❤️ 

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