In an attempt to clear my mind of sad endings I turned on my computer. Scanning my email I saw one from CLASSEMINARS. Opening the email I read the words, “you have been selected to receive a scholarship to ….” My heart skipped a beat as I read the rest of the email. A dream of writing, publishing and speaking lay dormant beneath the weight of grief. Slowly that dream began to stir. I hurriedly answered the email and filled out the application. I had first heard of CLASS from Florence Littauer many years earlier while attending a women’s conference high in the Rocky Mountains outside Denver. As I watched Florence speak I knew I wanted to do what she was doing. But, I had zero self-confidence!
Walking through the door to my first conference was both exhilarating and frightening. As an introvert rooms full of people terrify me. Clearly there was something wrong with me and I needed to learn how to be bubbly and social. Attending various classes I began to learn about the publishing industry, proper writing for publication, and why being an introvert wasn’t wrong it is just who I am, introverted, thoughtful, kind and funny. Then I met Gloria Penwell. At first, speaking to an actual editor was unnerving, soon I realized she was not scary at all and simply trying to help me become a better writer. Gloria has become a life long friend and continually encourages me to become a better person, as well as a better author and speaker.
I will attend my sixth CLASSEMINARS conference in November of this year. I am no longer the shy, terrified woman who attended the first time five years ago. Each year I have learned new things and conquered more fears. The process of learning the world of writing, publishing and speaking is ongoing. I have met many amazing people and am now a published author with several stories and articles to my credit. As an accomplished speaker and the Club Growth Director for District 23 Toastmasters International, I still get butterflies when I speak but I am now confident in my skills as a speaker and a trainer. When life as I knew it had ended I looked up and saw the window, I opened that window with the help of an email and a whisper from heaven.
Never underestimate what God can do when you think your life is over. Thoughts of “You are not good enough”, kept me from realizing my dreams for many years. CLASSEMINARS was and still is an amazing investment in my future. If you are struggling with your own goals and afraid to take that next step, think about what could be and take the step into your own future. You will not regret it.
Danni Andrew, ACS
Club Growth Director
District 23 Toastmasters