A TOASTMASTER’S TALE

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Enid rapidly tapped her right foot under the table. It was one of her long list of bad habits she needed to learn to control, but no matter how hard she tried, that foot would not stop. Why? Because she was nervous and the promotion she had dreamed of was just within her grasp. All she had to do was to survive this conference. Much to her surprise, she was ready. As she waited for her introduction, she remembered how the air had been knocked out her, literally, when her boss asked if she could stand in for her and speak. Enid had nodded yes, smiled, and ran straight to the ladies’ room to throw up. What had she agreed to do? Of all the things Enid knew that frightened her, the main one was to speak up or speak period. In public, it would be a nightmare come true. Between her mother patting Enid’s knee to keep her foot from tapping the floor to her father opening her mouth to see if there was a tongue residing there, Enid knew with all her heart that she could not do it, neither speak up in front of people she didn’t know nor even the ones she knew.

Greta noticed Enid had moved timidly back to her desk as if someone had given her the worse news in the world. The poor girl was talented and very intelligent. She could write the best suggestions in the world, complete the best-written drafts of policies, and even had other employees looking forward to the once dull company newsletter. But getting her to speak more than two or three words was a daunting challenge. One that most of her fellow employees had given up on which made Enid seem like a loner of sorts. The pain of watching her shrink away into her cubicle almost hurt. Not that Greta had been the most talkative in her early corporate years, she could at least hold a conversation and wasn’t afraid of the higher-ups, but back then she was acutely scared to speak in meetings. Greta’s greatest fear was of saying the wrong thing in the wrong way, not like Enid who was fearful of everything and everybody except her computer.

“Enid, could you come into my office a minute?” Greta had asked as she walked out of her office and called to Enid. The look of fear surfaced in Enid’s eyes. Greta smiled hoping that would calm her a bit, but the jilted way Enid removed herself from her chair made her realize the smile had failed to soothe her.

“Have a seat,” Greta pointed to the chair across from her desk. Enid sat down, and her knee started pumping.

“You are okay with speaking at the conference next month?” Greta had asked.

“Hmmmmm. Yes,” Enid nodded, her eyes appearing teary.

“You have six weeks to rehearse,” Greta offered. “I’m sure you are going to wow the crowd. And don’t worry, my crowd is the smallest crowd at the conference, usually about 40 people. They are really nice though. You will be fine.”

“Why me?” Enid realized the words had spilled from her lips before the thought had been completed in her mind.

“Because I see greatness in you, Enid. You just haven’t discovered it yet.”

“Ma’am?” Enid couldn’t believe her ears. Her father used to ask her to open her mouth and then jokingly he would look inside of it saying, “there’s greatness in there. One of these days, you are going to have to let it out. Speak up, young lady.”

“This is what I want you to do,” Greta smiled. “I realize I didn’t give you much time, but you are more knowledgeable in our department doings than anyone else. You write so eloquently and professionally about everything we do, every little detail. You know this profession inside out, and you can share that with others at the conference. You can tell them why our department is always the top one in the company in the nation, and it’s because of people like you, but you don’t have to brag. You know what I mean?” Greta laughed.

“If I write the presentation, can someone else give it?” Enid asked.

“Nope. You write it. You get the credit. You get the recognition,” Greta said as she opened her desk drawer. “I learned how to stop being bashful and how to speak professionally as a leader in this company by joining a club called Toastmasters. Ever heard of it?”

Enid shook her head.

“No problem, I want you to start a club right here at this company,” Greta said handing her a manual. “I want you to be their first president. Here’s the information on who to contact to get started. In the meantime, I want you to write your presentation and start rehearsing. Every day, I want you to give me 15 minutes of the segment at the end of the day. In six weeks, your life is going to change, but once you get started in Toastmaster’s, well, let’s say everybody will see the same greatness in you that I see. Are you ready?”

Enid put her hand on her knee applying a little pressure to stop it from bouncing upward, the same way her mother used to do. She nodded her head yes, she was ready for greatness.

That was the tale Enid shared as she took the podium at the International Speech Contest two years later. Before emerging on stage, her foot had not tapped, and the words were not hidden inside of her. With the help of her Toastmaster friends she had made, her confidence had grown. Composed and filled with the lessons she had learned in Toastmasters, she was no longer afraid to hold conversations. There were no nervous moments before speaking her truths and sharing her expertise with others. She took that stage owning it, letting everybody in the room know there was greatness inside of her and inside of them.


Yes, I am a Toastmaster, a Northlake Toastmaster!!! Proud of it and always moving forward earning every award that I can. Toastmasters has been very instrumental in me moving forward in my career. Everything I have learned in Toastmasters has helped me to become a more confident leader and communicator in all areas of my life, not just work. Another great benefit of being a Toastmaster is the networking. I have had the pleasure of meeting people from all walks of life, professions, ethnicities, and nationalities. We find that we have so much to learn from each and so much that we share, a special community. If you haven’t visited a club, if you are afraid of speaking in public, or if you are just looking for like-minded individuals who are all about growth, check out Toastmasters. And, be careful, you may join our group of Toastmaster junkies before you know it. It’s intoxicating! Hope you enjoyed the story I wrote for a Toastmaster‘s project toward another award. Let me know what you think. Dilsa S. Bailey, ACS, ALB aka simplydilsa


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LIVING LIFE ONE STORY AT A TIME

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INTRODUCING GUEST BLOGGER AND FELLOW BOOKPRENEUR-PAULINE MANSFIELD as she shares her experiences “Living Life One Story at a Time.”

Twenty years ago, I never imagined that I would ever call myself a writer; the first time I said those words out loud, “I am a writer,” it was a very weird feeling because it took a while for me to really to believe that I was worthy of claiming that title. Now I am living my life – one story at a time as a writer, and I am loving it!

We all have hundreds of stories hidden within us, waiting to be written and then shared with the universe. For the past three years, it has been a joy for me to help others to carve out those stories like a sculptor carves images out of a piece of clay. Like a sculptor, each of us, as writers, must connect first with our souls to pull out the images we want to create in any book we finally make the decision to write.

I remember how absurd and impossible it seemed to me to even start a journey to tell my story. When a dear friend suggested that I share my life challenges to help others in my very first book, “The Turtle Story – 7 Steps to Breaking Free from Domestic Violence”, I was very reluctant to start that journey down this unknown road. This journey wasn’t easy, but I acquiesced, and since then, I have never looked back. It took me several years to build the confidence to put those first words on paper. I had to move past the discomfort of asking others to help me through the process of turning mere words scribbled on pieces of paper over many years into a book worthy of being published, then shared with the world.

As a writing coach and developmental editor, I now guide others to reach their destiny as confident and joyful writers. Like anything that we are passionate about, writing your story should be joyful. It does not matter if you are creating a murder mystery, a love story based on lives you have touched along your life’s journey, a self-help book, or a biography about someone you know and love. What matters is that you always write with passion and clarity, as if holding a paintbrush on a canvas or a chisel in hand to bring life and form to a chunk of wood or marble.

We, as writers, must see ourselves as artists with a gift given to us by God. We are charged to enlighten, uplift, inspire and bring joy through our fingers just like other artists with their own gifts. Our gifts are already buried in our souls, we must just recognize it, accept it and release it out to the world.

So, say it loud and say it proud – “I AM AN ARTIST – WATCH ME WRITE!”

Writing is her passion and Pauline Mansfield translates that passion into life stories. Pauline says that she writes books to educate, to enlighten, and to empower those suffering from broken spirits.  She has created from her experiences four inspiring books. In addition to being an author, Pauline is a public speaker and community volunteer. She currently chairs the COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD for the GRADY HOSPITAL NIA PROJECT, a non-profit organization devoted to positively changing the lives of men and women – one life at a time.


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The World is Full of Cousins

This world is filled with cousins, not just for me. Although, I admit I may be unique. You see, I have over 50 first cousins. Add to that, I can’t even count the number of others that are designated cousin in the relative tree. On my maternal side, my grandparents had over 20 siblings, and on my paternal side, my grandparents had at least 10 that I am aware of. So, start multiplying those aunts and uncles’ offspring and their offspring, as well as the offspring of my 50 first cousins and their offspring. If you brought us all together by my bloodline alone, we could build a city. Do I know all of them? Of course not, but I am proud to say that I knew all 50 plus first cousins. Some have passed on much too early. But, out of the ones left, some were as close as if they were my own siblings, others I vacationed with and got to know them that way, others I didn’t get to know until we were adults, but all of them I know personally and love. Thanks to Facebook and occasional family reunions, I know a few of their extensions, and in other cases, I know their offspring well. That’s why it was so exciting to have all three of my grandchildren together this past week. They were getting to know each other better, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Watching them connect made me consider our connections beyond our bloodlines, and it hit me. We, humanity, are all cousins to some extent.

To take that thought a little further, all of creation is related in some manner. We are made of the same substances, the same energy as plant life, animal life, and the soil and rocks beneath our feet. We were all created by the same Universal source, whether you refer to It as God or the Universe or your cultural name for either. One thought created this world and all that is in it, so that thought, that God is the parent of all that exists. If we came from one parent, then we are definitely brothers and sisters and whatever we create makes our offspring, our creations, cousins. When mankind finally realizes we are one family exhibiting a variety of uniqueness that contributes to the betterment of us all, we will accept each other as family living in a world full of cousins.

Dilsa Saunders Bailey is an independent author who has not only self-published three novels and a non-fiction book; she has spent most of her medical services career writing policies, bylaws, operations manuals, and more over the last 27 years. Dilsa is now coaching writers through the self-publishing journey and helping them to set up their businesses using their books as a marketing tool to build their platforms. If you want to learn more about how she can help you, contact her at dilsa@simplydilsa.com or join her blog below to keep up to date with her books and seminars.

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Our World, Our Stories

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TheSperlingChroniclesBanner-FINALHumans love stories.  We exist in stories.  That is why the great teachers like Buddha and Jesus are still revered by the masses. They taught through storytelling, vivid parables and examples of how life should be lived. Their stories resonate within our souls. Stories. They are timeless and are continually seeding our minds with worry or hope or faith, dependent on your life’s situation.

Think about it. You are always telling yourself or someone else a story. Other people are always telling you a story as well. For instance, people listen to the office gossiper because that person is so good at relating a story, even if it’s detrimental. How do you think President Obama was elected or even Trump?  President Obama seeded us with stories and visions of a better progressive world. Trump planted the world with stories of fear. He had his followers envisioning the past as the good old days. Let’s face it, there is never a time when we are not amid a storyline, one that has happened, one we are creating, one that we are planning, or one that we are fantasizing about. Isn’t this why we have become a society of television watchers. We are hooked on stories. I admit I am a binge-watcher. There are only a few shows that I worry about seeing as they air anymore. I’d rather watch the whole season at once for the story. I want the entire story from beginning to end, like reading a book or a series of books. I must have it all.

As a writer who loves to read books for stories as much as she likes to watch television, I know the value of all stories is the word. The words that tell the stories evoke emotion and possible action. What words are creating your stories today?

Dilsa Saunders Bailey is an independent author who has not only self-published three novels and a non-fiction book; she has spent most of her medical services career writing policies, bylaws, operations manuals, and more over the last 27 years. Dilsa is now coaching writers through the self-publishing journey and helping them to set up their businesses using their books as a marketing tool to build their platforms. If you want to learn more about how she can help you, contact her at dilsa@simplydilsa.com or join her blog below to keep up to date with her books and seminars.

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Build a Book, Build Your Business

Why would writing a book help build your business? People prefer to do business with an expert. If you want to establish yourself as an expert in your business specialty, you should consider writing a book. You may have already thought about it and dismissed it, considering the number of books and experts already available to your client.  Or, maybe you don’t know where to start. My advice, start. What will you have to lose? Writing a book to teach or reach others doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple and direct, and informative enough to be beneficial to your potential reader or client. If you are wondering who will publish it, don’t sweat it. Publish it yourself. Or not. You have the option to choose how you will release it.

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Who knows? You may have expertise that a traditional publisher will want right away. Can you share your knowledge uniquely and entertainingly? Think about it. Either way, don’t discount the advantages of self-publishing of your book. Your ability to remain in control and to reap most of the benefits with one less middleman should be your determining factor of how to get it published. The other essential element in making that decision is your targeted audience. Your target audience may not be the same audience that will put you on the New York Times’ Bestseller’s list, but it could be an audience that generates earnings excelling that of most best-sellers or even well-sellers. For instance, if your book is about team building or is process driven, or any topic that helps employees in a large corporation, those corporations may buy more books than you could dream of selling anywhere. For instance, a company with 10,000 employees could potentially buy 10,000 books. Multiply that by your profit per book. $$$$. You can breathe now. But, take your book a step further. Create a seminar or speaking platform based on your book or your expertise in creating income streams in addition to your book sales. Think about it. Just thought I would give you something to think about today.

Dilsa Saunders Bailey is an independent author who has not only self-published three novels and a non-fiction book; she has spent most of her medical services career writing policies, bylaws, operations manuals, and more over the last 27 years. Dilsa is now coaching writers through the self-publishing journey and helping them to set up their businesses using their books as a marketing tool to build their platforms. If you want to learn more about how she can help you, contact her at dilsa@simplydilsa.com or join her blog below to keep up to date with her books and seminars.

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The Top Six Reasons You Should Write a Book

 rawpixel-com-267082-unsplashThe reports may differ, but a huge chunk of Americans want to write a book. That chunk is reported to be anywhere from 82% to 90%. Consider those percentages and you will calculate about 200 million adults in this country that dream of writing a book one day. Why shouldn’t they? Why shouldn’t you? More than 725,000 self-published books were registered in 2015, and the numbers are climbing. If you include the traditionally published, that adds up to more than one million books released per year to a population where one of four people do not read books and only one out of four reads more than 12 books a year. Sounds daunting, but it really isn’t. There is an audience out there to read your book. It may be smaller than some, and more substantial than others. Neither the size of your audience nor the statistics I have presented should deter you from writing your book. If you are a writer, you have to write it. If you have something to say, you have to write it. There is room for your book somewhere, even if it’s just meant for your family members. I believe everyone should record their book in print form. Hold it, feel it. Cherish it. Stop giving yourself a pass on why your book isn’t written.

Here are six tips to remind you why you must write it.

1.    Capture Family History – So many of us have a cultural perspective and family history that we need to pass on to our children. This is becoming more evident to me each day as the last few members of my previous generation are becoming sick, frail, and forgetful. Like those before them, they will be taking some very precious history with them. A history that our family will never be able to recover.
2.    Share your struggle to help someone else – What have you overcome? How did you overcome it? I have often wondered how one person who is filled with pain and faced with one tragedy after another not only survives but succeed in life when a healthy person with all the benefits handed over freely misses the mark. We know perseverance and commitment are two of the determining factors, but what was it, that special something, that set you apart and helped you. Can it help someone else?
3.    Support or build a business platform – Increase your earnings by becoming an established leader. The book is your credential supporting your expertise in the field of your business. It’s your badge of honor.
4.    To entertain people who like a specific genre – Do you love Star Wars, Star Trek, and other science fiction? It doesn’t matter the genre if you love to read the books, watch movies, and binge watch television shows, you can easily create episodes in your mind, or recount what you have seen to others in an entertainingly, write your book. Don’t be afraid. In fiction, you create the world, and the characters create your book. It’s like kismet.
5.    To teach other people a skill – In today’s environment, I think we should all learn how to garden. But, we should also know how to monitor our finances, write a simple letter, use Word, or anything that you can think of, such as cooking, sewing, and coding. Teach someone how to create an app. It doesn’t matter. Each one. Teach one. Put it in a book.
6. To improve someone’s quality of life spiritually, mentally, or physically – Have you found your source of peace? You know how to meditate. You have seen the results. You use words games and your memory has improved. You walk or jog or line dance, and you are getting your waist back. Maybe you changed your diet. Or, perhaps you travel and have the best places to visit for a relaxing vacation. All of it counts. You know what you can share.
I have been googling reports, and one stated that 97% of people who start books, don’t finish. Make yourself one of the 3%. Set aside time daily, even if for starters it’s a half hour during your lunch break. Start somewhere, and work up to finding a time slot somewhere else in the day until your project is complete. Think about the amount of time, you spend checking your phone. You could be writing on it instead of monitoring social media. Put yourself on a schedule and get it done. There is a reason so many people want to write a book. They want to be heard. We all do. And, that’s perfectly fine. Write it! Start it today!
From Dilsa Saunders Bailey, author of The Sperling Chronicles and A Comprehensive Guide to Finding the Right Doctor, loves to blog as “simplydilsa,” a woman who loves to write out loud and share her journeys in the self-publishing world. The third novel in The Sperling Chronicles, No Tears for Dead Men, is now available in Print and on Kindle.

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