Toastmasters : Finding the Old Me

Hello everyone. On 29th of August 2017, I’ve done my first Project Speech at the Toastmasters. Here I’m presenting the text of my speech for anyone’s reference on Ice-Breaker topic and also for my own keepsake. After reading this, you’re welcome to continue reading my next post as I talked about my experience, tips learnt and some ideas for Toastmasters newbies to kick-off your shot. Click here.

Thank you Toastmasters of the Day and Good Afternoon everyone.
My Name is Saleha, and this is my first speech. It’s on ice-breaker, so I’m gonna tell you a little bit about myself.

First, let’s have a flashback to a time when I was in university, 10 years ago.
When I was a student, I was a really active student. I joined clubs and societies, I involved in events and programmes.
And these activities required me to speak in front of many people, give speeches and lead a team.

In class, whenever the lecturer said; “Anyone wants to volunteer?”
I would go… “Me!” I loved to volunteer in class!

And I loved doing presentations! You know in every subject we have assignments and we have to present our assignments? That was the time I looked forward to in every semester!
Well, not saying that I was so goood. But it’s just something that I enjoyed doing.

So… that’s a little bit about myself when I was in U. But that’s an old story. 10 years ago.

Later, after I graduated, I worked. I worked in a position that was….not presentation-oriented.
I didn’t have to speak in front of many people, I didn’t even involve in open communication.
Most of the time, I worked with the computer. And it was really busy it was all about work, work, work.
I didn’t have time to really join events or be a committee in programmes or be active.

So you can see the difference about myself and my life – when I was studying and working.
And I can say that, in about 8 years of my working life, I never really did a proper presentation.

Except one day. That was… in BP already. There was a group of Graduate Trainees, you know..some of you are GTs here.
So this group of GTs, they made rounds from department to department and they were coming to my department.
So my boss asked me to prepare a presentation for them regarding our job scope.
Just to give them a little exposure about our roles, what we do for the company and all.

So I was like… “Okay, no problem, I can do this.”

Buttt….on the day when I was about to present… I tell you, I was so nervous! So scared I was shaking so bad!
It was only 5 minutes simple presentation but my voice was like cracking all the way I couldn’t speak properly!
I tell you… It was a really, really baddd presentation!

So after the meeting I was like… what happened to me?? Why did I present like that?
I was thinking…these people are GTs. They’re juniors. I am senior. And I was just talking about my daily job so what’s the big deal??
It’s something that I know of, of course I’m good at it so why was I so nervous?? What’s so scary about that??

I felt so embarrassed with myself. I felt so embarrased with my own self!
Because, that was the time I realized that I have change… a lot…
From someone who was confident, well-verse. Now I become very timid and… not convincing at all.

So I thought…. I gotta do something! I gotta change myself I can’t stay this way. I wanna improve myself. I wanna find my old self!

But I was thinking… What do I do? What do I do to improve myself?

And suddenly one day, I met Alex (the TM President) at the Career Fair event that day and he explained to me about Toastmasters.
He explained to me on how it works and what it’s all about.
And I was like… oh, this is good. This is what I was searching for! This is the place I can improve my skills. This is the place… I can find the old me! Right….

So… this is why I’m here today. Speaking, in front of you, for the first time.
Taking the challenge, and making a pledge that I will improve myself.

This is my new beginning. Do you think I can do thisss? *Smile wait for the “YES” =D*

A little bit before I end my speech.

In life, always we hear people say that we have to move forward, move forward, never look back.
But to me, at some points of time, we really do have to take a break, pause for a moment.
Look back, and reassess ourselves. And see, how much different have we been?

Better? Or worse?
If better then good.
If there’s any quality in ourselves that we cherished, that is good… Keep it. Never lose it.

But happened to be, because time passed by and life changed from one phase to another. And we also changed.
We’ve become a different person. Someone we’re not proud of. Not like before.

So what do we do?
We do something, to gain ourselves back!

That’s all for today. Thank you very much everyone. Back to you Toastmasters of the Day.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Advertisements

A Ride Full of Messages

grab

Since a year ago I guess I can say I am a regular customer of the increasingly popular public transport – GrabCar, or UBER sometimes. Not a routine but quite frequently I’d rather ‘grab’ than drive just because I’m lazy. Do you usually chat with the driver? I usually only take short trips around 10 to 15 minutes to arrive so normally it doesn’t really spare time to chat. Being in cars without having to concentrate on the road is the time we should steal to do our little things or just – scroll the phone, right? But today’s experience was completely different.

Today I took the longest trip in my record – a 50-minute ride involving highways so I had set to read a book all the way to kill the time. But then, after 10 minutes of muteness I felt really awkward because it was so quiet, the radio was low volume and the driver seemed bored. It’s still a long way to arrival so I thought let’s say a word just to break the silence if it’s cold, I can continue with my reading. Little did I know, from just a typical question “Hey do you do UBER as well or just totally Grab?” it turned into a conversation about life!

It went on and on to talking about doing it full or part-time, to his current other job, to his job prior to this, to why he’s doing this. This guy was really a talking personality he talked talked talked so openly. Haha. But of course because I also kept asking from one question to another just to relate anyway. He told about a major accident he involved years ago and that now he’s wearing an artificial backbone! It was so incredible that he broke his spine and not paralysed? MashaAllah.

After the accident, a series of drama happened in his life from having to quit from a governmental job, on how unfair the employer treated his situation, the tough recovery process, the devastation of not able to do his favourite thing before – cycling, he was an active cyclist by the way. After he somewhat recovered and found himself jobless, he went to Perth, Australia to find luck. With his brother and cousin, first they got cheated of 15 thousand dollars, which was another drama, but still managed to get there. The trials of getting a job there was another hardship so his brother and cousin couldn’t survive, because they have families, so they went home leaving him alone. It was really a rough journey he even told that sometimes he cried in shower. Erp, my God. An astonishment not because of the crying-in-shower thing but for telling a stranger so!

He managed to secure a job, and worked and lived a life for I’m not sure how long but earlier this year he returned to Malaysia to urgently settle his insurance case pertaining to the accident. It involved lawyers to fight for his rights but in the end, for what he’s gone through since then it only compensated an undeserved amount of money for him. How awful.

So there he was. Starting over in Malaysia with this GrabCar service almost full-time and also another job. With GrabCar was another challenge as well but I’d rather not continue here or it’s gonna be a novel, haha.

The ride was one of a kind. It left me reflective with a deep thought that how life can be so tragic for some people. Everyone in this world is tested, we all are. But for certain people we somehow would say they’re the chosen ones. Some tests happened once and they changed the person’s life completely after that. But some tests happened in a way to generate problems after problems like a never-ending story. Either way, that’s what life is! This life is a test for the believers and from time to time it will be difficult. And for as long as we live we in fact don’t know when actually the turning point of our life is. We could think we have been tested enough and that made us stronger but do we actually know Allah’s plans on us? Who might not know for one day people will look at us and say we’re ‘the chosen ones’? Honestly it’s scary to think of.

It was coincidence that we, husband and I, came across this ayah just two mornings ago so when I had this conversation in Grab, it instantly reminded me to what we just tadabbur. Allah mentioned in ayah 214 of Surah Al-Baqarah; “Or do ye think that ye shall enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: “When (will come) the help of Allah?” Yes! Verily, the Help of Allah is near!” – Telling us how difficult the trials of the believers (may Allah bless them) were for Allah to let them into paradise so what about us? Wanting such an easy life with a trial or two, getting over and expecting paradise? Shame now. We actually just forgot what we were here for.

2,214

To the driver, I may be just another passenger that came in and out of his car like the others. But to me, the ride was full of messages that still left me thinking about life.

Till the next post,
SALZY

A Dream Job You’re Wishing For

BP

I received this letter last week unexpectedly, just because I forgot my anniversary with the company that I stepped in 5 years ago. 5 years! A complete set of fingers to tell me that I’ve been here for such a significant duration. 5 years of undeniable blessings I can say. Having a job, a solid source of income is really something we can’t take for granted of that we should be thankful every day, not only on paydays okay. In total, I’ve been working for 8 years since I graduated and this is the second company I work for. 8 years and 2 companies – pretty loyal, no? Hehe, or maybe just unaggressive in finding opportunities.

I began my career journey in 2009 and what I can say is it was not a good start. The first company I worked for taught me the harsh truth of working life. Unreasonably heavy work load, bad boss, stupid system and sickening people surrounding me every day. It was so stressful and in fact the most stressful period of my life making me traumatic if I throwback the moments. Driving to work felt like handling a cable car – so heavy and the weather was always gloomy all the way to the workplace. In those 3 years, I lost appetite badly and turned from an originally thin girl to almost anorexic. That’s how ugly a bad job could make of me and that’s a true story.

Of course there were still good things I should be thankful for – the knowledge, the experience and there were still nice people I could talk to – and yes I did, thanked God for every little thing I gained from the company. And thank God I have my mom, she was there listening to my whine every time I came home crying. That was all my motivation when dealing with the depression with the hope that things would change for me even though I thought it was impossible. It was my first job and that concluded an impression that working life was never a good thing. I wanted to go back to my wonderful and happening university life but that was just impossible. And it was also impossible for me to not work because I am an adult already, so adults work, adults must work, we have bills and loans now, a pile! So all I thought was, then on and for as long as I’m w.o.r.k.i.n.g, my life is miserable. Nuff said.

But who actually said so? It was just a blind assumption of a hopeless young girl who just began to ‘live’. Who just hasn’t realized and truly believed the power of the Lord who can do miracles. After three years trapped in such a destructive environment, I married my husband and moved to KL. A few months of job hunting, I finally secured a position in here where in the beginning I brought with me the assumptions from my previous work life to the new one, just to be ready to face the “norms”. Amazingly as the days went by, my guesses got all wrong. This place is bliss! The people, the environment, the culture and the boss are all so nice I never thought they existed. Things totally changed as different as night and day. I turned to a positive person, happier and fatter! Haha.. that was due to another reason as well –  being married, exactly.

Alhamdulillah I’m happy here. At the moment, I’m surrounded by the people whom I can call friends, not just colleagues. Work-life balance is something really necessary for employees and this company has it ready. Flexi work arrangement and tolerant superiors who understand our commitments at home, not just all work. Some days are bad days and some people are unpleasant which can’t be avoided anywhere but I choose to focus on the good. This place is my comfort zone.

Of course not everything is perfect and I’m not telling those means to brag that I am the lucky one to have the best job ever. No, I’m still at a moderate level of the career ladder and in fact I am not a good employee enough so how could I boast? What I’m trying to tell is, guys, if you’re having a hard time at your work place or have been going through such a disappointing journey to find the right job I truly, truly understand the feelings, because really I’ve been there. If you could see, Allah tested me for three years to grant me with such a wonderful gift I couldn’t ask for more. If you’re tested even longer or harder, imagine what’s awaiting for you in the future! Allah’s arrangement is beautiful. When He tested me with the stressful job, I was single and had less commitment. My focus and weekends could all be spent at the office and no one got affected. Now that I have a family to look at, He gave me a work-life balance job, a company that’s so supportive towards mothers. Our stories are different but believed; the best is yet to come, right on time.

Two years back, the oil and gas industry was having downturns and that affected the company as well. As a result, it worked through a few cycles of retrenchment that impacted even some of my lunch buddies from other department. It’s so devastating to know that from a steady position you held for years, suddenly being told that you’re out of place. It somehow threatened everyone’s security and belief on the company’s stability, including mine. Things improved after that but the incident somehow serves as a constant reminder to me to rely everything on Allah because anything could happen and that a good job does not guarantee a fine end. While I’m cherishing my time here on this anniversary, I pray that if you’re seeking, soonest Allah will bestow you with the dream job you’re wishing for. Ameen.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Snap a Picture & Talk about It

JemyAira

Happened to be, it’s TV. So what’s up with TV I am going to talk about? I guess let me reveal to you about my behaviour when watching TV. Just so you know when it comes to watching drama on TV, I’m a very expressive person. If the story is funny, I’d laugh my lungs out. If it’s a tearjerker, I’d cry a river that will flow into oceans. Romantic scenes like above, blinking heart eyes. Suspense, I’d panic like I’m the one to be killed or being chased. I would go OMGGGG, Noooo, Dammit!!, Huwarrrr to the highest pitch so whoever watching with me around would surely get annoyed with this temperament but what can I say? When I start gluing my butts in front of the TV for a movie or drama, I naturally dive into the characters and my name instantly changes to the hero’s or heroin’s name. If you’re too like me, know that you actually can be an actress. Hidden talent! Ahaks

Being expressive when watching is fun, and healthy if I could add. At least for ourselves, not for the annoyed buddies they might go depressed after that haha. Being expressive itself is important in our daily lives because our heart (I mean the heart-shaped hearts) is a storage of limited space. Just like the real heart that takes in blood through the veins and pumps it out to the lungs and other body parts; the blood doesn’t, and in fact cannot, stay there forever or else – I don’t wanna mention scary things.

Same goes to the feelings and emotions that we collected from our days, remember that our heart is just a stopover especially for the negative feelings. It is hurtful to let it stay for long so what do we do? Express it out! Talk to a good-listener friend, write a journal, cry alone or most effectively, cry to God. Don’t ignore the feelings with the thought that it will later fade or be forgotten just like that. Yes, time heals and this is too what I always tell myself when dealing with problems but at the same time, do something in a way that can entertain your heart a little. For example, watch TV emotionally! Haha, does it help? If not, find a better option.

Okay, this means I am done with the task “Snap a Picture & Talk about It”. This is an activity from the book I just finished reading – The Tao of Writing. This book gives me an understanding of writing based the Tao Te Ching – a Chinese philosophy. It’s really basic yet significant, to get anyone who found it hard to write, don’t know what to write about or been losing words; to simply get started. Many suggestions listed but when the eyes met this one I was like, okay easy I can do it now. Grabbed my phone, turned on the camera and saw the TV through the lens. Snapped it up and began writing. I’m done!

tao writing.jpg

Till the next post,
SALZY

Moving House

I never, ever thought this was gonna be one of our agendas this year. After 5 peaceful years of living in our first rental house since we got married, without any calls from the landlord, no rental fees increment, no nothing no problem; suddenly we gotta move out. One fine evening a message came in from Hubby intro-ed by; “We have a problem”. Is that how you announce a bad news? Come on Hubs, it’s not a problem. It’s a BIG problem!

2 months’ notice and that’s it. True headache. I know it’s a common thing in life, people come and go from one house to another before they finally settle down at a proper place for long term. We do look forward to it but we thought it’s gonna be an exciting well-planned experience moving to our own house, not out of the blue like this! But our future house is still way under construction and there’s no chance to extend the tenancy of this house anymore. In an instant my brain was loaded with the hassle of this moving house thingy. The house-hunting, packing unpacking, spring cleaning and whatsoever. I was in denial for a moment trying to tell myself this is not happening.

No point. “This is really happening”. And so house-hunting began. From Googling, to annoyingly driving slowly, to loading the Whatsapp with home pictures – the rooms, the toilets, everything – to viewing and declining; we finally secured an apartment in just two weeks’ time. Booking done, move-in date confirmed.

After this one issue resolved, I told my Husband : “Can you imagine? In two weeks’ time, our life will change!”. 

Hubby replied : “Mom, nothing. will. change. We’re only moving house. The new house is just 5 minutes away from here, walking distance. We’re still working at the same places, route to work no change, the kids will still be sent to the same babysitter, it’s not that they have to change school, it’s not that we gotta do new registration for them. Nothing will change.” *No sweat face*

Hahahahaha. I’ve been making a big deal out of all these!

Hey! I’m a homebody okay. My home is my life. So when my home changed, my life changed. How could you not understand that? But I didn’t even try to explain it. Slowly absorbing his points and for a second I was like, “yeah..nothing change”. Fairly agreeing and calming myself at the same time.

Truth is, I am so bothered with uncertainties. Living in comfort zone sometimes will make us forget that nothing remains forever, or for as long as we like it. This is like an alarm for us to always be thankful for the everyday thing, before anytime it can be taken off from our clutch.

Moving house like now now was never in my programme, but it’s definitely already well-planned by Allah. It looks rushed and head-aching but He made it easy for us. The new place is much better than the previous one. Nicer view and better facilities. Only that, it’s affecting our financial commitment more than the existing as we couldn’t get any better offer than what we secured 5 years ago. It’s just impossible. Believe, and hopeful this will still be within our abilities. May Allah ease.

I am foreseeing 2 years of living in this new place before moving out again as we’re so looking forward to stepping in our own house, soon. Oh, forget it. 2 years is a long way to go we don’t even know what’s gonna happen next week!

Till the next post,
SALZY

Bad Feelings Habit

Currently reading – The Bounce Back Book by Karen Salmansohn. Bought early this year and target finished date; end of this year. Really?? A year taken to finish a single book? Yes! Hehe. This is how I read ‘tips books’, or quote books. Books which contents are formatted in points form, have only brief explanation and they’re not linking to each other. You may read them not in sequence and mostly they have many pictures or graphics.

The Bounce Back Book

Quote books, for instance they have 50 quotes collection and I time-frame it for 6 months. I will allocate reading only 2 quotes per week, it can be in sequence by page or just randomly. Why? So that I can allocate my time for other books at the same time; books of total wordings that require continuous reading from cover to cover or else, you would get lost of the plot. Also, by reading and pausing, you allow some time for thinking and applying what’s advised before moving on to the next one.

What a lengthy intro you must be quizzical what does this have to do with bad feelings habit, right?? Haha, sorry. Back to the book, The Bounce Back – presents 75 tips to regain your footing after a life setback. Haven’t finished but really would love to share this one advice that really hits. At least to me, and I think it’s not something specific for traumatic situations but also vital for everyday life.

It tells that Bad Feelings Habit is learned habitual responses towards situations that have been triggered in the past. Example, you came from a broken family, you watched those bitter arguments of your parents and how it ended up – these were the ‘past’. Now that you’re married and currently facing a rocky situation with your husband. Your condition itself is stressful but what added salt into the wound is; your family history. Your present is re-triggering the feelings from your past due to similar situations. It’s like you’ve ‘learned’ the feelings so you tend to react the same way. It is actually a habit! When in fact, you should separate out any feelings from the past and don’t let them get in the way of dealing with your present emotional trauma.

So heavy talking about this. Let’s take a simpler example, my own one during my son’s potty-training mission. When he began to understand the ‘nature’s call’, he would come to me and tell “Mom, I wanna pee” – most of the time, when I wasn’t free. I was cooking, I was eating or even when my favourite drama was on important scenes! Always, always I’d feel disturbed and respond to him drearily like, “ahh…why now?”, “like, again??”, “oh please, Dhany” – so bad right? Haha. Well of course I still attended to his request, it’s a must! We went to the loo together with my mouth babbling this and that.

Until I realized this is not healthy! My son was progressing for another milestone and Mom was being so discouraging? What a bad habit. This is what the book called the ‘Bad Feelings Habit’ that brings about negative reactions from me to my son. Poor boy.

So I decided to change – I set in my mind that every time my son calls to accompany him, I would immediately say “Ok, take off your pants and let’s go to the toilet” – before I could think of any annoyance or disturbance at the moment that could affect my feelings negatively, it moves me to put whatever chores on hold and do what Moms gotta do. Just by practicing a single statement, things changed emotionally better to me.

That’s how I can relate when I read the topic. Not similar but something that we repetitively feel which actually can be changed. I think I have a lot more bad feelings habits I need to analyse in myself. Those situations that we perceived as an “allergy” to us and let it take control of our emotions. Those people that we thought bring us that negative vibes when it actually comes from within. Let’s get rid this “roller coaster of feelings” as the author says.

I like this book. It dug out all kinds of creative ways to overcome your adversity and put them in simple straightforward bounce-back assignments. The pages are also fancy and instantly lifting up your mood the moment you flip it through. Will continue reading till the end.

Till the next post,
SALZY