Saturday, December 1, 2007

CL10: Walk the Dream


This is speech no 10 in the Competent and Leadership manual. Not only about inspiring people, it is also about challenging them to change. It won speech of the day and marked Toastmaster Joanne's entry to Competent Communication.

Actual Speech:

Good evening fellow toastmasters, ladies and gentlemen, when I first sat down this afternoon to think about what to talk about tonight. I thought it will be good to share with you about my dream. Everyone has his own dream. The dream may change from time to time, or even from a smaller one to bigger one. The one without a dream must has been dead!

Let me begin to by telling you about myself. As a child, I love drawing. I could draw crazily and continuously until I had finished using one rim of paper. The drawing I did was mostly cartoon characters like animal, people, houses and scenary.

When I was 7 years old, I saw my sister sketch of a famous Hong Kong movie actress. It was so beautiful and I was deeply inspired, immediately I follow her to do my first sketch of another movie actress! It took me around 3 to 4 hours to complete the sketch. To my amaze, it really turnout to be beautiful! Since then, I started to sketch many portraits and I dream to be an artist when I grown up.

Somehow it does not happen, later on, after completing my secondary school studies. I did not pursue the dream by enrolling myself into art and design course; instead I have enrolled a diploma course on computing science, with the thought that it will assure me better income in future. After graduated from diploma in computing course, I started to work in IT industry for another 10 years. Anyhow, I wish to explore a different role in my career. I found myself insufficient, besides doing programming and some other technical work; I am seriously lack of good communication skills on reading, writing and thinking! And worst still, I don’t have knowledge about the business world. It is the real business world which demands and drive the advancement of IT and technology.

I have come to a life junction. In order to make a decision on which path to continue for my next career move, I need to first equip myself with the right skill, so I decided to pursue MBA( major in ecommerce)which is a distance learning program with Charles Sturt University. The course is very expensive. In order to pay the course fee and to manage other living expenses like house and car installment. I have sold my car. I spent a lot of time to study, attend classes on weekend, stop going out for parties and other social activities. After completing the study, I have changed my job to work for a call center. It is an IT Hub for Standard Chartered Bank in Asia Pacific region. Meanwhile, I have continued to explore other job opportunities. The head hunter (job agent) found me a job which required business administration skill. Without any prior experience, I was lucky enough to offer the job and I took the challenge joining this Telecommunication Company as business support manager. The working life with this corporate is truly exciting; it opens up my mind to a competitive commercial world. Again, it challenge me a lot of my communication and management skills. I need to liaise with various stakeholders within and outside of the company. At times, I also need to do lots of arm wrestling with the vendors and people within the corporate. The supply chain management cycle of this company has undergone a lot of changes due to merger, staff movement and demand from business and market. It is a very tough and exhaustive task, I have to work for long hours and even over the weekend but I manage to hang on for two years. During the two years, I have gained good exposure. I am happy to have a short tour to Netherland and meeting up with colleagues at operations and finance department. At the end of 2006, my new boss decided to handover my task to finance department, and I need to report to a new lady boss. After working with her for 1 month, I gave a deep thought over and over again. I am not happy at all, if I continue my job it will be a crisis and no longer a career growth with the company. I don’t think I am suitable for the job so I decided to quit the company after losing my freedom for 2 years. At that time, I am at the bottleneck again. I need to ask “WHAT IS NEXT?” I have managed a career shift from IT industry into Telecommunication industry with totally different role, should I take a break? But sad to say, the situation does not allow me to do so. So I continue to make a lot of contacts to agent and friends, finally a friend responded and she recommended me the job with IBM. That is how I end up working for IBM. IBM is a well organized corporate, it offers a lot of learning opportunities and career growth on different areas. Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe every crisis has an opportunity. If not because of leaving the Telco company I will not found my new love, a good place to work with IBM. If not because of taking up MBA studies I will not make the shift and widen my career path. Many times, we may want to ask what have we achieve so far, are we on the right path or should we give up on what we are doing now for our dream? If you have this frequent thoughts, please read Steve Job’s speech, it is truly inspiring!!

Everyone knows Steve Job is the founder of Apple computer, NexT and Pixar. He has never graduate successfully from the college. He has dropped out from the college after six months, during his free time, he pick up the interesting calligraphy class, which is now becomes the wonderful typography in personal computer. He started Apple in his 20s, but was fired by the man he hired when turning 30s. For the next 5 years, he started Next and Pixar. Pixar has created the world most first animated computer animated feature film, Toy Story which is now the most successful animation studio in the world. Apple bought Next, and it is at the heart of Apple’s current reanaissance.

Please let me share with you his speech:

He said: If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it.

Ladies and gentlemen, just like Steve Job, let us connect the dots and walk our dream step by step together.

By, Joanne Tan