The President Speaks: Don't Quit!

In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson. In Toastmasters, you’re given a test and a lesson that you can immediately use to inspire others.

Deep! But ain’t that the truth. Excuse my improper use of the English language but that statement spoke to me! I was tested in the past and it feels like I’m experiencing midterm exams now. I’m sure my final exams won’t be coming soon if I expect to become a better and more amazing version of myself everyday. Let’s face it. If you are willing to open yourself to new and exciting opportunities, you have to be committed to passing the worst of all exams. This is not the time to crack and crumble. It’s the time to surround yourself with a supportive network of people who are willing to help you ace the exam. I welcome you to Toastmasters!

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking, and leadership. Now any active Toastmaster will tell you that these are healthy benefits that will keep your mind engaged and your body energized. I’m here to tell you about the icing on the cake. The leaders! That’s right. The 7 individuals who step up to serve as leaders help to keep the Toastmasters tradition alive and I thank them! Their hard work, commitment, and perseverance teaches one of the best life lessons that a dreamer can learn -  DON'T QUIT!

Yes. Toastmasters builds your mental stamina in ways that you may not comprehend right now. If you can survive a volunteer leadership role as an Area or Division Governor, you really learn what it means not to quit. This is a lesson that many individuals need to learn over and over again. People don't realize that it’s natural in the pursuit of any goal to come upon obstacles, to feel temporarily stuck on a plateau. Yes. It’s normal! So what do you need to do? Calm down. You are not the first to encounter this obstacle and you probably won’t be the last. Anyone who has ever tried to start a new business, launch a new product or idea, advance a relationship, or play a sport knows that you hit plateaus where it seems as though you’re making no progress whatsoever. Yes, it hurts. But you must understand that the pain is a part of the progress! 

Chicago Speakeasy President James Hendrix demonstrates this “never give up” mentality perfectly. President Hendrix joined Toastmasters in December 2012. He was a faithful member who always educated and entertained the audience with a speech at every meeting. He talked about his areas for growth and how he was not going to quit until he got it right. He was a speaker that commanded the stage but he wanted his unique speaking swag back. James was willing to take advantage of new opportunities in order to make it happen. Before his one-year anniversary, he did the unthinkable! Are you ready for this? He decided to become the President of Chicago Speakeasy Toastmasters Club! Ha – lle – lu – jah. You really don’t understand the significance of this action. Think about it. Are you courageous enough to become President of an organization when you are still learning and growing? As President, you are responsible for the direction of the club. You are responsible for building club leaders. We all know that when life happens, individuals leave the organization. James Hendrix supported member transitions while opening the doors for new members to come in and play a role. Even if there were only 4 people at a meeting, he was still committed to fully serving his role as President. His commitment led to more new faces attending our meetings. He was always at the meeting and ready to serve no matter what challenges may have been coming his way. Speaking of challenges, President Hendrix was working to publish a book during this time! Let’s talk about the roadblocks of doing that in a couple of minutes. There is no doubt that serving as President catapulted his growth. But I would be missing a huge piece of this blog if I didn’t talk about how his perseverance and resilient mentality funneled down to the rest of the club. As President, James profoundly altered the course of many lives through his powerful poems that were always the last words spoken at every meeting. During his last meeting as President on Tuesday, June 23rd, he left us with a popular poem that amplified the energy in the room. Here it goes! This is for YOU.  This is for the dreamer. This is for the leader. This is for the believer. This is for the person that has a vision of prosperity that is greater than anything that has ever been witnessed in the past. Whatever you are going through, don’t quit. If you really want it, make it yours. Keep going and make it happen. You can do it! What you want also wants YOU!

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
- Author Unknown

Remember, the obstacles are there just to determine how bad you want it. So turn that obstacle into an opportunity for you to show how AMAZING you are. Hang in there! The prize is almost yours. Don’t quit.

About President James Hendrix:
James Hendrix joined Toastmasters in December 2012 and stepped up to lead Chicago Speakeasy as President in Fall 2013.  During this leadership opportunity, James though it would be the perfect time to fuel his author pursuits. He put the pen to paper and got started on his dream. This book gives honor to all of the extraordinary people he met on his journey who have left a positive impact on his life. It all starts with his parents, then teachers, friends, co-workers, and the people that God placed in his life. 

James noticed that the older and wiser folks always had years of stories they would share, but they were always presented word of mouth. So he decided to put his story to paper for his 
Children; essentially giving back to create a legacy of children who would know who they are and have guidance to get where they are going.

So what obstacles did this fierce leader have to jump over? The obstacles James faced during his journey were simply learning curves. This is what happens when you step into new territory and commit to doing something you have never done. After a couple of years of pain, he gave birth to something that he hopes and prays will stand the test of time. 

On behalf of Chicago Speakeasy Toastmasters Club, we thank James for his leadership. On behalf of all the of the individuals who have the opportunity to read his masterpiece, we thank you for sharing your story with the world! Book is currently under edit. Stay tuned! 

Keep Creating Endless Opportunities,

Ms. Corporate America 2015

*Visit to find a club near you! Contact me if you want assistance. Chicago Speakeasy meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 5:30 PM in downtown Chicago.