I Survived and So Did He

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first off, all of our readers and friends are amazing. the first reason is because of your outpouring of well wishes for ryan’s speedy recovery after our big scare on tuesday night. the second is because of all the advice and encouragement i received when i gave my first speech in toastmasters on tuesday morning. tuesday was apparently a big day for us.

i suppose we should start with things in chronological order. on monday i wrote a blog post about needing some advice for my first speech that i had to give tuesday morning and wooowheee did i get some great advice! i practiced a ton throughout monday and then when ryan got home at 9pm, i finally practiced it in front of him.

i kept saying ‘no thank you’ when he asked if i’d like to practice with him because it made me so nervous. i’m not really sure why. maybe it’s because he’s an amazing speaker, maybe it’s because i’m used to sitting on the couch coaching him, maybe it’s because i sometimes have a hard time taking his advice because i’m stubborn. like all of you who know ryan personally, he’s always so genuinely supportive and caring that when i got finished with my practice run- he got up, hugged me and said he was so proud of me (nerves really set you up for some weird things).


i woke up early to practice some more on tuesday morning before the 7am meeting (and by ‘woke up early’ i mean my body woke up early because my mind was freaking us out. yes, apparently my body and mind are separate from me at times).

usually when i get nervous, i can’t eat but my stomach was growling so i ate a few of my trusty wheat thins and wrote up an outline of my speech. i took a lot of people’s advice of making sure my lips were well moisturized (so i wasn’t constantly licking my lips), i had my water bottle with me to wet my whistle before i went up and most importantly i remembered that everyone there (and virtually) was wanting me to succeed. now at first, that statement intimidated me. “everyone wanted me to succeed.” sometimes i turn simple sentences into stressful sentences and felt an enormous amount of pressure to succeed.

succeed because i’m not only married to the world champion of public speaking but also because i coached him. shouldn’t that automatically make me a great public speaker if that’s what i’m coaching on?! not necessarily, you see i’m just really good at telling people what to do. ha! i’ve also studied a lot of great speakers, know what to look for in stage presence, messaging and how to engage with people. i have also had to give presentations and speeches in the past but for some reason this felt like a whole new ball game (once again, nerves set you up for weird feelings). anyways…

right before i went up, i took two deep breaths, gave ryan a squeeze on the hand and thought to myself “ya know what-you got this.” i felt nervous in the beginning and then really nervous when the timing lights starting going off but i pushed past it (hopefully some of you chuckled, especially those of you in district 7 since ‘push past it’ was ryan’s semi-finals speech and everyone’s heard it 72 times). i didn’t use my outline because i knew my story. i didn’t pass out or puke (that’s what i was afraid of). i made my audience laugh, i held their attention (this is important because it was 7:15am) and i even messed up my ending but no one knew what it was supposed to be so no one (but me) cared. overall, i’d say i rocked it. i also need more practice, which i will get but i am pretty pleased with myself because practice paid off and it’s important to pat yourself on the back when you do something that terrifies you. so *pat pat.*

chelsea speaking my evaluator started off with saying “i’m so amazed and yet not at all amazed,” and went on to say that she was impressed by my first speech and the fact i didn’t need notes, i knew what to do with my hands and made people laugh. yet not amazed because i’d been massively studying and inadvertently practicing speaking for the past year. she totally boosted my confidence (thanks ellen!). i considered that i was owed by the universe a treat for my success and then remembered i ate about 3920 treats in the past month so opted for a homemade chai tea instead of the whole cake i was considering.

and then you know how we spent our tuesday night in the ER so i don’t need to go into all of that again. just know it was absolutely terrifying and also know that i kept it together (miraculously). another *pat pat.* when in a crisis, only one person is allowed to freak out and that is the person that feels like they are having a heart attack so i had to remain calm, drive the 2 miles to hospital and talk soothingly to my husband who couldn’t breathe.

in my head of course i was panicking and freaking out and wanted to cry because he was in so much pain and i couldn’t do a dang thing. instead i focused on the road, held his hand and talked about the relaxing time we at the red sea on our honeymoon. here’s how much i love him…i even stayed in the room when he thought he was going to throw up. have i mentioned vomit is one of my very worst fears in all of life? well it is but i covered my ears and stayed near-ish him. i am happy to report that he is feeling ever so much better today and thank you again for keeping us in your thoughts!

life lesson: things in life are both perceived as scary and then actually scary. in both situations, remain calm and just do your very best.


1) when was the last time you felt really scared or nervous?

2) what do you do to reward yourself for a job well done? (mine is usually food related but i need to find something else)

3) what are you doing this weekend? (we are headed to portland’s toastmaster leadership conference tomorrow and then having my first general meeting with HOBY oregon on sunday!)


  1. syrena

    January 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    1. that’s an excellent question because i try so hard to marshal my fears, so i tell myself i’m not nervous. i feel nerves every time i speak in front of a group; my throat dries up when a supervisor pulls me into an unscheduled closed door meeting; one of the hardest things is to give feedback in a constructive and positive manner, but i’m working on that daily!

    2. i usually buy myself something to reward myself… if i actually recognize the success in myself which i don’t often do. it’s usually food, but sometimes it’s an audio book or a concert ticket (going to see floater tonight in portland!)

    3.i’m presenting/facilitating activities at the d7 toastmasters event on saturday, and i’ll probably sleep on sunday.

    • chelsea

      January 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      thanks for sharing some of what makes you nervous syrena, particularly about when a supervisor pulls you into an unscheduled meeting (my stomach always drops) but the point is we are working on it, right? right. love that when you do recognize the success in yourself you will also reward yourself with an audiobook or even a concert ticket…i hope you had a blast seeing ‘floater’ last night!

      you also did a terrific job today at the d7 even facilitating the small group! enjoy that precious slumber tomorrow and it was great to see you today!

  2. Richard L. Bryans

    January 12, 2013 at 6:18 am

    Next weekend, I am teaching Public Speaking merit badge to about 7 boys in Elk Mound, WI. I am tinking about showing Ryan’s speech to the group.
    Yesterday I gave a speach at Royal Toastmasters, to encourage this club to become distinguished. Currently I am their mentor and their area governor. They are very excited about the upcoming TLI on February 12 which I am also coordinating.
    I really enjoy running, which is a reward in itself, but it also allows for some extra calories. I find when I’m running I am able to meditate and think about life, review my speeches, think about problems at work, or just talk to God.

    Have a great weekend!

    • chelsea

      January 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      that’s great you are teaching 7 boys about public speaking next week and by please, by all means show them ryan’s speech! i think it’s great for everyone, particularly younger people, to realize we do have great potential and can be achieving things early in life. i hope it goes great! sounds like your speech went great yesterday and what a great goal to become distinguished-they are lucky to have you as a mentor and area governor.

      thank you for reminding me that running and working out should often be viewed as a reward (i had not thought about it in that way). i should be more appreciate of the time and ability of my body when i do workout (not to mention burning more calories so i can feed by sugar addiction). i hope you have a great weekend as well and thanks for your comment richard!

  3. Vivien

    January 13, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Congratulations on your Icebreaker speech! I’m not surprised that you would do well 🙂
    1. Last time I felt scared/nervous would be Friday afternoon when my exam results came out. (Passed!)
    2. Usually it involves spending (way too much) time on the computer, or rewarding myself by buying yet another song (just 1 or 2) from ITunes. My recommendation is NOT to follow this.
    3. This is a boring weekend, catching up errands and various doctor appointments/checkups. But next weekend I am seeing if I can give a speech at an advanced club…Yikes!

    • chelsea

      January 13, 2013 at 11:36 am

      thanks vivien! also congratulations on passing your exam-that’s great (and it always feels better once those nerves leave us alone). oohh i like the song idea though! i already spend waaaay too much time on the computer (and not usually doing productive things) but i like the songs as a reward! best of luck hopefully giving a speech at an advanced club next weekend, i am sure you will ROCK it!

  4. Paula Howley

    January 13, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks for the update on the big day Chelsea and congratulations! I still think you should have taped it. 🙂 I’m waiting for a Toastmaster to tape their 1-10 CC speeches and youtube it, I think it will be very interesting viewing!
    1. The last time I was scared…hmmm… I think when my husband and I applied for a mortgage a couple of months ago- I was scared of not getting it and being a renter forever….
    2. kettle cooked chips and ginger ale would be it. They are my weaknesses!
    3. This weekend I took helped my daughter practice her first speech which she is giving on Tuesday at a Junior Youth Leadership Program that mummy is teaching at her home school group. She is almost 6 and a half. She is a serious badass. 🙂