This past weekend was the kickoff for the NFL season . . . and a dream come true for one undrafted player. His story offers a lesson to Toastmasters, seasoned and just starting.
Within the Seattle Seahawk’s organization there is a powerful group of defensive players nicknamed the LEGION OF BOOM. The current LOB (as they are lovingly called) members are cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Cary Williams and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas III.
However, a week before their first game, safety Kam Chancellor failed to report in due to a hold out over contract negotiations.
“He’s not here right now, so he’s not playing,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said when asked about Chancellor, according to an article on Seahawks.com. “That’s it.”
And that is when the stars aligned for one lucky former USC student.
Safety Dion Bailey went undrafted in 2014 (wasn’t selected by one of the teams during the big draft event) and spent most of last season filling out the Seattle practice squad. Now, his NFL debut is to replace one of the top, if not the best, safeties in the league.
Nerves? First game jitters? Worried about filling another person’s shoes? The positive young athlete spoke volumes about his mindset going into the game with this one comment:
“For the first time in my life going into a big game, I don’t feel any pressure,” he said. “I’m not here to fill Kam’s shoes, I’m here to be the best Dion Bailey I can, and the best Dion Bailey has done me well so far for the first 23 years of my life, so I like my chances on Sunday.” (Courtesy: Seahawks.com)
We’ve all been in a position where we are trying to fill someone’s position, shoes. Where we feel, in the least, we need to match their strengths, at the expense of overlooking what we do best.
When others deliver their speech at a Toastmasters meeting, it is easy for us to wonder how we can be polished, enunciate or create emotion like the person at the lectern. How we can adapt our style to take on the strengths of another.
The takeaway lesson here is that no matter which speech you are on or what manual you have reached, the goal is for you to be the best YOU can be. Give the speech you were meant to give. Utilize your unique talents, delivery, style to be the best YOU that you can be.
Sure, look for ways to develop your ability . . . but don’t overlook what you do best. Your strengths.
Your authentic voice will speak volumes to the audience.
— Contributed by Weegee Sachtjen
Resources & Courtesies:
- Seahawks Dion Bailey: It’s a “Dream Come True” to Start in Place of Still-Absent Strong Safety Kam Chancellor
- Legion of Boom (Wikipedia)