Setting Goals and Chasing Aspirations

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Setting Goals and Chasing Aspirations 

Four years ago I began making monumental life changes and in doing so, many positive aspects of self were brought into being. These positive aspects have been the goals I buried years ago, thinking I had no real talents to speak of.

Why did I think like this? As with so many others when growing up, people in positions of authority told me I was not intelligent enough to make anything of my life. Sadly, because I was so young (nine) and impressionable their unkind words imbedded themselves into my heart.

At the age of forty, I began the process of transforming my life into one I would like it to be, not the brainwashed miserable life I was living. As I was doing this, I discovered I have the talent for writing, public speaking, and encouraging others to make changes in their own lives.

I found that I did have dreams and aspirations, and began investigating how to manifest them into my world. One of these unexpected goals was to become a proficient motivational and inspirational public speaker. So at the suggestion of a friend, I joined Silver Service Toastmasters Club and began overcoming my fear of public speaking―I’m still working on this, but am getting there!


Less than a year later on 9 September 2013, I entered into the Toastmasters club speech contest. I won first place in both the International and Evaluation contests, moving forward to the area level held on 23 November 2013.

The area contest seemed to come about far too quickly. During the lead up, I set my resolve―after life coaching myself from here to kingdom come―to prevent the scared little girl in me from turning tail and withdrawing my name from the competition. I practiced regularly to help conquer my fear.

On the day, I turned up and apprehensively competed. I didn’t get placed in the Evaluation contest and surprisingly, I wasn’t disappointed. I had my sights set on a larger goal. I wanted first or second place in the International speech contest.

Within Toastmasters, a participant can only go on to compete overseas when entering the International speech contest (as the name suggests). Therefore, coming either first or second place in the area contest permits the entrant to continue competing through the division and district levels.

The winner of the district contest would then have the opportunity to compete in Kuala Lumpur in August 2014―if they don’t get knocked out in the semi-finals―yes, a somewhat ambitious goal; however, who said I couldn’t reach for the stars! All other contests, such as Evaluation and Table Topics discontinue at district level.Sam_Area_PublicSpeaking2

America’s Craig Valentine, winner in 1999, and our own Australian, Jock Elliott, 2011 winner, both competed in Toastmasters International speech contests, rising above many thousands of participants to become world champion public speakers.

Competing in the much coveted International speech contest, I was up against the winners of four other clubs. Therefore, the standard and quality of speeches was very high―if I’m truly honest with you, I was hoping to win, but had no expectations of doing so.

Why didn’t I have any expectations? Sometimes, old habits rear their ugly heads telling us we won’t succeed. Over the years, my old habit has been given a nickname―Mr Negative-pants!

Mr Negative-pants jumped up, settling into his old hidey-hole in my brain. He then began reminding me that I’m a newbie at public speaking. Droning on in his horribly destructive way, he persisted in placing doubts in my mind, telling me that many of those standing beside me had been active for longer than I, some decades longer. His meaning was very clear, and extremely annoying!

No win for you missy! You’ve got no hope! Why are you putting yourself through this? taunted Mr Negative-pants.

Shuddup! It’s not over till it’s over! I mentally hissed back.

Having said that, I was contented with the fact I reached area level, so imagine my surprise when my name was called out.

The sound of hands hitting thighs as audience members simulated the requested drum roll. “Third place in the area International contest goes to―,” declared the Contest Chair.

“And second place goes to―,” was announced.

Disappointed in myself, I stood there thinking. Oh well, I gave it my best shot. At least I tried and there’s always next year!

“First place in the area International speech contest goes to [a long pause of anticipation] Samantha Richards.” Well, I was completely dumbfounded! My head spun with incoherent thoughts. Did they really call out my name? Surely, they’ve made a mistake!

The Contest Chair and Area Governor began walking toward me. Before I fully registered what had happened, they were each handing me a certificate and trophy, then shaking my hand. I had won! Everyone was applauding me! I couldn’t believe it! I was going through to the next round of the division contest on 22 March 2014.

Sam_Area_PublicSpeaking_WinnerAs I received my trophy, I looked to the audience seeking only the faces of those who are dearest to me. My husband was beaming from ear to ear, his pride evident in his body language, and my children were squealing in delight―what a beautiful vision!

Eventually, I left the stage and sat down next to my family. My children made a beeline for my trophy, which I happily handed over. My five year old daughter climbed onto my lap, lifted her tiny face to mine and kissed my cheek. With utter surprise in her voice, she then piped up with, “Mum, you actually won!”

My husband and I both laughed. “Yes my darling, I actually won,” I whispered in her ear, “and so can you!”

Later that day, I was suddenly overwhelmed by emotion when driving home―my heart felt huge and about ready to burst. Tears welled up in my eyes and I began to cry in happiness (yes, I’m a big sook!).

So what have I learned? That it’s never too late to try! No matter one’s age, defining and achieving your goals brings so much pride and joy, sometimes it’s utterly overwhelming.

Once we leave school we rarely receive accolades for our accomplishments, certainly not like we used to, and as simple as this may sound, the awards earned later on in life seem to impact us at a much deeper level. To such a degree that it strongly affects our psyche, inspiring us to continue on our chosen path―well, it has for me, and I hope it does for you.

In setting and reaching some, or all of my own goals and aspirations, I am showing my children and those closest to me that they too can realise their own.

The most profound realisation has been in the awareness that each and every one of us has the right to have ambitions, some of which we will reach, some we will not. However, what is important to appreciate is, that by at least trying to reach your goals you empower yourself with your own truths, not the truths of others.

Life is far too short to waste time listening to others who tell us we can’t do something. Often, this realisation doesn’t influence us until we get older, or we go through some form of tragedy or traumatic experience.

Before I embarked on my journey of transformation I would regularly ask myself. How much longer do you think you’ll be around for, and do you want to live it full of regret, or with pride?

For years I couldn’t come up with an honest and satisfactory answer, and although there were many times when I wanted to give up, particularly early on, I never did.

Eventually, I made the conscious decision to at least try―no matter what life threw at me. I stopped procrastinating and began actively doing. By making that choice, I finally got an answer to my question. By taking control of my life, I began to truly own it.

By acting, I stopped saying, “I’m gonna!” By acting, I began achieving. By acting, I felt joyous pride. By acting, I saw the fruits of my labour being reaped. By acting, I showed the people I love that they can do it too.

What answer do you get when asking yourself the same question I asked?

samantha richardsSamantha Richards is a Personal and Spiritual Development Teacher, Healer and Psychic Medium.

She is also the author of Touched by Divine Love: A Personal Journey into the Unknown, available online from all good book retailers for $22.99 (RRP), or for more information visit, or Facebook.



These workbooks are AMAZEBALLS! I use these throughout the year to achieve my dreams and goals.

These workbooks are AMAZEBALLS! I use these throughout the year to achieve my dreams and goals.


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