The Tip of the Iceberg

“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have one and not be prepared.”

– Whitney Young, Jr., American Civil Rights Leader

As a career development facilitator, I often share this quote with frustrated job seekers. However, when my boss told me I was going to be interviewed for a TV news program, I knew I had to take my own advice.

Going into work that day, I looked forward to a casual Friday. I had a few appointments and plenty of time to prepare for the following week. It was supposed to be an easy day. But at 10 a.m. my boss came up to our 3-person team and said that one of us needed to give a television interview in two hours!  I thought to myself, I have not spent the last year in Toastmasters to let opportunities like this go by. 

As a member of Toastmasters, we practice impromptu speaking at every meeting. The purpose of Tabletopics is to help us feel confident when we are put on the spot. It has been truly one of the most valuable (and fun) parts of my Toastmaster’s journey. I was so grateful for the experience when I was interviewed that day. I had never been on TV before and assumed that the interviews were somewhat rehearsed. Nope!  The camera operator and newscaster arrived, set up and asked only one question with the cameras rolling. From start to finish, the whole process was less than 5 minutes.

At last week’s meeting, the theme was The Iceberg of Success; the idea that 90% percent of our hard work, preparation, and failure go unnoticed, but it creates the base for the top 10% of our visible, celebrated success. My experience perfectly illustrates this idea. Two years ago, I would lose sleep and break out in hives over the thought of speaking in public. Now, with the support of Toastmasters, I was prepared for the opportunity. When it finally aired, the interview was cut down to about 3 seconds, but that’s what the tip of the iceberg looks like for me!

See you next time!

— Carmen


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