Masters in Action
T US ,J IN PA
N AI G
No Pain, Just Gain! by Feng Zimin
No Pain, Just Gain! A catchy theme, isn't it? I like this idea, a lot. And this is not because of the insinuation – if perceived that way – that promotes idleness and procrastination. Rather, it is a motto that encourages an optimistic point of view on life. One amazing thing about the human brain is that it somehow magically connects together seemingly unrelated events scattered in time and space with some kind of internal and underlying similarity or logic. And it just happened to me! Months ago, I personally experienced a change in life. It was a surprisingly blissful joy followed by a loss – quite a lesson that exposed things that need attention, but that had unfortunately been neglected in the past. Pain at first, but it soon became clear to me that in my case, such a misfortune was the most effective way – if not the only way to bring to my attention the inevitable leap that I had to take before I became a better person. That was the first event, and this is the second. During the summer break, I got a chance to talk to one of our award-‐winning toastmasters, Rosalia Felice. She told me that she liked giving
speeches because she enjoys the feeling of steering the audiences' emoWons and ideas. For the ﬁrst few ! speeches she felt nervous and anxious like most other people, but aYer a while, she said, "it was just pure fun!" Finally, a third event in my life that provoked change -‐ recently I've been reading MarWn Seligman's The Authen3c Happiness. In this book he claims that complete engagement in something (for example, work, a hobby etc…) results in the true-‐est happiness – a state where we are completely absorbed in the moment, to the point that we no longer feel the surroundings or even ourselves! Voilà! Somehow my brain connected all three events when the newsle`er called for a theme, so here it was! Gain through a step forward – not through pain, and through fun – rather than anxiety, through total devoWon – not the hurdle of a ‘self’. No Pain, Just Gain! ****
What No Pain, Just Gain means to me
A note from the Editors
What does ‘no pain, just gain’ mean to me? I have two conflicting views on
Hearty thanks to all contributors to this newsletter. To the writers and photographers, interviewees and readers! Thanks to all new and old McGill Toastmaster Club members, without whom the encouraging environment that nurtured this newsletter would not be possible. Read on to find out how Toastmasters interpreted ‘No Pain, Just Gain’, and all about your adventures this Summer and Fall. Enjoy! Sarah Ali-‐Khan and Feng Zimin Editors
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
by Eric Landy
this motto. On the one hand, I disagree with the statement wholeheartedly. Any lofty and ambitious goal worth striving for doesn’t come without some degree of sacrifice or pain. Every ounce of success I have ever achieved has been because I have put in the time, effort, and dedication required to realize it. That coupled with a little bit of luck of course! However, creating luck is often a very painful and strenuous process. I think a more realistic concept would be ‘no pain, no gain’. As I write down my thoughts on this subject, it is 11:39PM on Friday, September 28. I just got home from the office half an hour ago, after yet
another grueling and high-‐pressured workweek filled with client
MASTERS IN ACTION!
demands, investor relations and disgruntled employees. Much to my dismay, I was in the office so late on a Friday night to prepare for a massive client launch across the pond in the United Kingdom on Monday. Everything we do for the client has to be in place – if we don’t come through on the deliverables, we stand to lose a contract and all the credibility we have worked so hard to attain for the past 3 years.
On the other hand, if I interpret that sentence from a more optimistic angle, I think it could imply that you gain from every experience in life whether you fail, whether it's easy or whether the circumstances are difficult. It’s basically to say that no matter what happens, just be positive, and make the best out of every situation. Everything in life is about learning and perspective. If you have a positive perspective, then really it is ‘no pain, just gain’. For example, I had mentioned to the club that in my previous business, everything went sour, and I ended up losing a best friend and the majority of my life savings. For most people
that would result in a mindset like ‘pain and no gain’! However, when I reflect on the words ‘no pain, just gain’, I realize that subconsciously that is essentially what ended up happening. In retrospect, there was a lot of pain and sorrow, but over time I learned to accept the loss, and spin it into a positive experience. Now, I can analyze and appreciate this concept from the standpoint of being both a realist and an optimist. As a realist, I believe that nothing great comes easily, and that hard work and pain will always be encountered while on the road to success. As an optimist, I believe that we are always learning and no matter what trying circumstances we find ourselves in, we can always gain from them. It’s not the outcome, but learning from the experience that really counts. ****
As an entrepreneur everything is on your shoulders. Results are directly correlated to the effort you put in. As you go, the company goes. Obviously, it’s painful for me and my team to be stuck in the office so late on a Friday night. Who wouldn't rather spend that time leisurely with friends and family? The point I'm trying to illustrate is that in the short term there is a little bit of sacrifice and pain, but it’s all with the goal of
turning it into long-‐term gain. If I didn’t suffer and go through the tough times and keep tenaciously persevering, then I wouldn’t ‘gain’ what I wanted to achieve. It takes pain to gain!
McGill Toastmasters enjoying yet another stimulating meeting - Sept 4th
MASTERS IN ACTION!
The Pleasure of Crea8ng by Louise-‐Véronique Sico9e
we do it to evolve, to blossom and be connected to our inner self, and to share our essence with others. Fortunately, my fears disappeared quickly, because I discovered that the other parWcipants in the course are rich in their human experiences, and we are all there together to learn both from ourselves, and through each other. Primarily, it is important to allow our creaWvity to emerge without blockage, to open our mind, to connect with our feelings, and to let out all the ideas that conWnually crisscross within us -‐ to go with the ﬂow! I don't know what will be the result of these ten weeks of song-‐wriWng classes. Will I write one or few songs? I don't know. But for me, I believe, as someone has already said: the desWnaWon is less important than the trip itself. The joy of being creaWve is a powerful source of well-‐being! ****
I just have begun a new course, it is something challenging, requiring imaginaWon, sensiWvity, and creaWvity. It is a course about how to write songs.
McGill Toastmasters’ Website v 2.0 rocks!
Before starWng this course, I was anxious about it. AYer all, I'm not a musician, nor a singer, or an instrumentalist, but instead only someone who likes words. I was wondering if I would be able to take this course, and feel conﬁdent doing it. It's so natural to compare ourselves to others, and to feel less creaWve. It's very easy to become highly self-‐criWcal.
Our new website is here! W ith a f resh style, new articles, pictures, v ideos, FB g roup and m ore coming! We have been working really hard updating and improving everything. C hanges m eans evolution (as a m ember told m e once) w ith this I would like to thank: • Always t here, m ultitasking a nd available J ohnny S it, o ur Sergeant at Arms for all the h eavy-‐duty work compressing, uploading a nd o rganizing t he videos • M y t utor, l eader a nd o ur President M arzieh G hiasi for managing, u ploading, creating content and even p rogramming! Is t here a nother skill that you have n ot told u s about? : ) • And you! Yes -‐ m embers for a ll t he comments a nd s upport. • And m e, h ere a nd t here, a s your webmaster!
WriWng songs is something extremely personal -‐ we dip into our personal values, background, memories, emoWons, and tastes. Of course, we want to reach out and touch everyone with our words, melody and message, but this is not always the case. What we make might reach some people more than others, but this reality should not prevent us from creaWng, because
Thank you a ll! Ivan Murcia McGill TMs Webmaster http://mcgilltoastmasters.ca/
io Act n i s #er a m # Toa ll i G !
Oc h rc Ma
012 2 r tobe
Love -b - Sep irds t 4th
District 61 Speech Comp - George our hero - March 30th
18th Comp - Sept
ed in a
Summer Joint Meeting - July 23rd
Mor e Sep t 4th fun
July 23rd - summer smiles
MASTERS IN ACTION!
Flight across the Rockies by Elise Fryml We made it, we survived, we crossed the Rockies! What an adventure! After breakfasting on toast and Nutella (what better food to eat before this flight?), we arrived at Springbank airport, and needed a flight briefing for mountain flying. Thank goodness Damien, my copilot, already has 200 hours experience flying in the Alps! I, on the other hand, just became increasingly nervous as the Calgary Flying Club instructor explained our route. ”You should give a position report over Canmore and Banff, that way if something happens at least we���ll know your last position.” Eeek! It’s just another flight, right? No big deal. Weather checked: hazy, but overall good. Hazy conditions indicate a stable air mass, which is very good, especially for first time mountain flying. Flight plan filed to Boundary Bay airport in Vancouver, via Kelowna, right in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Thorough aircraft inspection (definitely don’t want an engine failure in the mountains!), re-‐ fuelling, and a quick last-‐minute sandwich, and we were set to go. Damien needed a sugar rush, which he satisfied with Coke. I chose Haribo
candy (duh!). We climbed into the plane. Buckled up. I wanted to jump up and down, both with fear and excitement. Takeoff briefing. Anddd “Line up Runway 34. Cleared for takeoff!” The moment I’d been waiting for since trip planning started. The climax. Major adrenaline rush. Who needs sugar when you have wings! Elevation in Calgary is 4000 feet, and our planned cruising altitude was 10500 feet. Legally, you can’t fly for more than 30 minutes between 10 000 and 13 000 feet. Our entire route was planned at 10 500 feet, and we were flying through valleys. Hypoxia was definitely a possibility. First symptom: euphoria. Well, I was already suffering from excessive excitement! Three hours of mountain flight, and we were supposed to check each other for hypoxic symptoms. And make sure we stayed hydrated. And
all this after I’d heard some nasty stories about hypoxic pilots. Oh boy. The controller vectored us through the use of directional headings towards the mountains, which loomed larger and larger as we slowly approached. The hazy sky was somewhat disappointing, as the mountains, though visible, were veiled behind a misty fog. On the bright side, there was no turbulence. As we approached Canmore, the controller bid us a safe journey. Which actually means that no one cared to talk to us anymore. We were on our own, so to speak, for the entire journey through the Rockies. Time for another eeek! Despite the haze, the Rockies were a breathtaking and awe-‐inspiring sight. At times, we were so close I almost felt like we could touch them. Snow-‐ covered tops, glaciers, turquoise lakes. The most beautiful sight I have ever seen. We couldn’t fly in the middle of the valley, because of ascending and descending mountain currents, so I had to be ready to veer away from the peaks just in case we hit a current of rushing air. We tried to follow a routing along the Trans Canadian Highway through the
MASTERS IN ACTION!
valleys. I was piloting, and Damien was Navigator-‐in-‐Chief. If you know me, you know that I get lost. A lot. But obviously I didn’t think that getting lost in the Rockies would be a big deal. Didn’t even cross my mind actually. So that’s exactly what happened. I was trying to follow the river and the T-‐Can, but was so distracted by the Rockies that I forgot about the highway. There were forest fires in sight as well – spectacular. Eventually, I looked below. River, yes. Highway, no. Oh no, not already. ”Damien, umm, I think we’re lost. Already” (in a very timid voice.) We determined that we’d taken the wrong fork, and were in the wrong valley. Damien decided this would be the perfect opportunity to practice real mountain flying. I grabbed the camera as he took the controls, and we whooshed past a peak. We were banked so that our wings wouldn’t touch the peak. That’s how close we were. I actually shut my eyes at one point – what an immense adrenaline rush! Back on track. Catastrophe averted. The valleys and rivers can be quite confusing on the map. As we continued our flight, the haze began to lift, and the peaks were illuminated by sunlight – striking, to say the least. It is the most incredible feeling to fly past glaciers and lakes that have not been touched by mankind, that haven’t even been explored by human beings. The peaks rise up to meet you, offering up their surprises as if they were a reward for our hard work and concentration. As if we were being shown a hidden treasure that didn’t belong to anyone yet. Almost as if the mountains were commanding our respect while giving us theirs. Beautiful secrets. The vast immense-‐ ness of the Rockies, and their breathtaking splendour make them the most gorgeous sight I have seen from an aircraft. Indeed, it would not be hard to get lost among the seemingly never-‐ending, glistening peaks. Over Revelstoke, it started to rain. It seemed like there were patches of virga (rain that falls but doesn’t hit the ground). We noticed ice forming on the wheels, which thankfully dissipated very quickly. Otherwise, we would have had to land in Revelstoke. Cute town, but it’s still in the middle of nowhere. Another crisis averted! We flew on, noticing forest fires here and there dotting the
hillsides. We could even see the flames in one of them.
supposed to be talking to everyone. Anyway.
Close to Kelowna, the weather started to improve, and the valley is beaonce in the Okanagan Valley, the sun was shining. The valley is beautifully coloured – it is an agricultural haven after all. We called Kelowna tower, and were informed that we were already within their control zone, and that we should have called sooner. Well, on our entire flight through the Rockies, no frequency wanted to talk to us. Even the dial-‐up remote communications
Upon touchdown in Kelowna, I called weather briefing services for a weather update, and ended up closing my flight plan because of rapidly deteriorating weather conditions. There was a line of thunderstorms advancing. Radar systems had picked up lightning along the US border. Not a good sign. It was 4pm local time. We decided to find some food while waiting out the storm. A 20 minute walk to the terminal, and we were
MASTERS IN ACTION!
eating pasta and brownies. Yummm. When I called back 1.5 hrs later, the lady remembered me. Still not good. More waiting. It was now almost 6pm. Waited another hour before calling back. Would we or wouldn’t we be arriving in Vancouver that night? Third weather briefing call. There was a bubble in the clouds, and we could head towards Hope and Vancouver. It was 7:15pm. Pilot decision-‐making time: we were GO at 7:45pm! Cloud ceiling was at 9000 feet, and our planned altitude was 10 500 feet. Slight problem. We rushed to take off, as our flight was estimated to be 1.5 hours to Vancouver. Sundown was slightly before 9pm, but we were flying west. Finally, cleared for takeoff. As we were climbing, we noticed rainbows to our left as we turned towards Hope. The only condition: don’t wander off into the wrong valley or get lost in
climb. As we continued, the cloud ceiling became more and more visible. And it was becoming darker. The combination of darkness and mountainous terrain is stress-‐ inducing, especially since I have zero experience in mountain flying. Sunset in Calgary is around 9:15pm, what it felt like pulling up so close to a solid whereas sunset in Vancouver is much cloud base. It was the same sensation of liftoff earlier, around 8:30pm. Somehow, as on takeoff. The sky was blue and pink this fact had escaped us. We started ahead of us, the ever elusive sun was setting. off by flying into the sun, but it We were actually chasing the sun! rapidly became darker. We were flying just over scattered clouds, and I had the sensation of running on cloud, and we could see the not being able to fall dark valleys like It felt like I could analogize our flight to through. As if the chasms underneath life. Like there was a safety net, even cloud could hold us us. though it was made of thinnest mesh up and support us, and would break at the slightest touch even though hidden Eventually, as the just beneath the and swallow us up. clouds surface were became thicker and thicker mountains and valleys waiting to swallow us and formed a solid ceiling up. The same mountains that earlier had looming ahead of us, we willingly offered up their hidden gems and climbed over the cloud secrets. It felt like there was no way to fall tops. Burst of adrenaline through. Running on clouds, but with wings. and excitement! Magical. Invincible? Not quite, just confident that We were only a couple everything would work out. Granted, maybe hundred feet above the that was the hypoxia taking over my brain. It clouds. You don’t realize felt like I could analogize our flight to life. Like how fast you’re going in there was a safety net, even though it was a Cessna 172 until you made of thinnest mesh and would break at the fly over clouds that rush slightest touch and swallow us up. Eerie, but by. It was as if we were incredible. It felt like we were floating over top running on clouds. As if of a vast ocean, blissfully ignorant of what we could just land on lurks just beneath the surface. Oh, the top of the clouds and ramblings of a hypoxic mind! Seriously perch there. Like a though, there can be mountain peaks buried sled being pulled over within the clouds, and this reality is part of smooth ice. The flight what makes night mountain flying so stressful. was incredibly Although I became more at ease as we smooth, we could pull continued towards Vancouver, Damien was the the nose up and one stressing out. Which probably means that climb, which I had to I should have been in a total panic. try so I could see
MASTERS IN ACTION!
As we approached Vancouver, we knew that the terrain flattened out. The cloud cover did not seem to have an end, so Damien took over the controls and pointed at a ‘hole’ in the clouds up ahead. We began our descent, relying on approximations and instruments. As we descended, I had the sensation of being plunged under water. We were leaving our cloud paradise and returning to the underworld. We became completely immersed in cloud. We could not see anything in front, to the side, above, or below. It was very easy to become disoriented. Apparently we were in the incipient stage of a spiral at one point, and I didn’t even notice. Emerging on the underside of the cloud, it felt as if we had discovered Atlantis. Lights were everywhere below us. Cities dispersed over a vast expanse of land. Lights on mountains, illuminating highways and towers. Absolutely stunning. Breathtaking. There are no words for the pure ecstasy I felt on seeing the lights in Vancouver.
Club a mem nd ber d isti -D
nctio ist ns 20 n e w sr i c t 6 1 , A l e t te p 12 r i l 201 r 2-B - Pre est c highe sident lub ’ s s t Dist level possi o i a c h i e b l e . We f To a s t mn g u i s h ved a met t e for th t lea h e p a s t e r s ’ r ed C l u b
e 10t h s t rsat 9 o f t hree - r e q u i s i c o g n i t i o n( t h e te ight y 1 e a r, s0 g o a l s -, aa n d - ‘Be i nce 2 c 002!) hieved twice at the C l
m e m b t h i s y e a r o c k ’ Aw a ers w i t h i nf o r r e c r u i trd - e a r n e a2m i d onth ng most n perio ew d
CONGRATULATIONS to .... Makram de Freige for achieving his Advanced Communicator Gold (ACG) Rosalia Felice for achieving her Competent Communicator (CC) Marzieh Ghiasi for achieving her Competent Leader (CL)
Elevation in Boundary Bay: 6 feet. We were still at 6000 feet. The controller asked us to do a 360 turn next to the runway in order to quickly lose altitude and level off at 1000 feet. Anddd touchdown! Epic. It felt like success, like we had attained our goal. Relief, at not getting lost or swallowed by mountains. Ecstasy, because we had reached our target destination without too many hurdles. Incredulity, that this trip had actually worked out. Pure adrenaline, aided by hypoxia. Once landed, we were the only ones at the airport. We began searching for a hotel, not always the easiest task at 9:30pm. Eventually, a C172 landed and parked nearby. We rushed out to see if the pilot could help us out. Turns out, he was an instructor at one of the local flight schools. And that’s how we found our hotel. Half an hour of a taxi ride later, we were in downtown Vancouver! Mission completed. ****
Joint meeting with Outremont Club at HEC Montréal - July 30th
!10 1 4
MASTERS IN ACTION!
No Pain, Just Gain – a true reﬂec5on of my Toastmasters a8endance experience
by Angela He, AC-‐G, AL-‐B I j oined Toastmasters i n summer 2 003 and have been a devoted member ever since. Tuesday evenings h ave b ecome my p reset t ime for Toastmasters meetings. Even when I was a full-‐time graduate student at McGill, with a p art-‐ time job at t he same t ime and h ad to take care o f two young children o n my own, I b arely missed a meeting. Why? -‐ you may ask. The a nswer i s s imple: No p ain, j ust gain. W hy would I want to m iss a ny o f our meetings?! Here a re the three major gains t hat come f rom attending each week: Self transformation: f rom a very s hy, reserved, meeting o bserver at t he very beginning to today’s confident s peaker and writer, I gained confidence by actively i nvolving myself i n various roles at each meeting: by giving speeches o n a regular b asis; by w riting on a regular b asis for o ur c lub newsletter; a nd by i nteracting with others, a nd l ending a h elping h and when n eeded. I took o n various leadership roles as well, f rom V P Public Relations to M entorship C oordinator, to V P M embership to President a nd Area Governor. Toastmasters empowered me and I received ‘Club President o f the Year’ f rom the D istrict for 2 008 -‐ 2 009. I n o ne word, Toastmasters t ransforms me i nto a better p erson i n every way. Talent discovery: As a club with l arge membership, we h ave p eople o f all ages and backgrounds. We h ave students, as well as p rofessionals. We had a member who s peaks s even languages, and we h ad another who aspires to be Prime M inister o f Canada. It i s a mazing to find out h ow talented
your fellow Toastmasters are. In past years, t here h ave b een t hree of my fellow Toastmasters who f ly airplanes. The most d ecorated McGill female athlete i s also o ur beloved member. We h ave physicist, a rtist, fashion expert, actor, a nd comedian. I remember that at one meeting, we h ad a round robin Table Topics s ession based o n t he q uestion ‘What d o you want to t ransform y ourself into?’ – t he answers f rom each member i nspired me, and prompted me to write a n a rticle ( Volume 8, I ssue 2, January 2011). Another time, a Table Topics s ession about o ur members’ h obbies encouraged me to p ick u p my p en again for another article: ‘Can y our Hobbies ‘Make a S plash?’’(April 2 012, ‘Masters i n Action’). We h ave members from all walks o f l ife, from all over the world. Our club i s l ike a mini United Nations. G etting to k now each of our members really opens my eyes, a nd i ndeed enriches my l ife i n many ways.
Unforgettable m oments: As o ur club’s u nofficial p hotographer, o ne o f my p assions i s to u se my camera to record t hose m emorable m oments, of which t here h ave b een t housands t hroughout t he years! L ooking through those p hotos feels l ike walking d own m emory l ane – i t b rings back many cherished moments, a nd b rings a b ig s mile to my face. O ne project I a m working o n i s to take s ome p ictures at each meeting, a nd make an album at the year’s end as my h oliday gift to my b eloved club and m embers. S o n ext time, i f you see m e with a camera, you a re n ot only o n Angela’s camera, you will b e a lso h elping c reate M cGill Toastmasters C lub h istory too. M ake s ure you s ay: C heese! Cheers, to a great c lub a nd even greater m embers -‐ you m ake my journey s o enjoyable! ****
MASTERS IN ACTION!
Report from Mykonos by Natalie Fong Hello Fellow Toastmasters! I t’s b een quite a w hile, a nd I m iss you a ll s o much. D ue to s ome p rojects I ’ve been w orking o n, I h ave n ot b een t o meetings i n a year. B ut I ’ve g ot s ome great experiences to share with all of you o n h ow Toastmasters h as transformed m e i nside o ut. I recently a ttended my s ister’s wedding i n M ykonos, G reece -‐ a nd since I was the Maid of Honour, I was asked to g ive a s peech ( although I did a lso v olunteer t o). A lthough having h ad experience i n g iving speeches a t t he c lub m ade m e l ess nervous t han I n ormally w ould h ave been, I still h ad b utterflies i n my stomach, e specially d uring my preparation for i t. S ince I h ad n ot given a s peech i n s o l ong, I was worried I w ouldn’t p ull i t o ff. Once I g ot my s peech w ritten u p, I made a s mall c ue c ard w ith t he key points of my speech highlighted. And off I w ent t o G reece. T he d ay b efore the w edding, I a sked my m other to help me rehearse in our hotel room. I stood a cross f rom a m irror w hile my mother h eld o nto my s cript to s ee how w ell I remembered i t. I p racticed five t o s ix t imes, a nd t owards t he end, I f inally g ot m ore c omfortable and s poke i n a m ore n atural tone. And f inally c ame t he w edding d ay. After t he b anquet, i t was f inally my turn to s hine. I was d etermined to make e veryone l augh, o r c ry ( well -‐ laugh m ore -‐ b ecause i t was m eant t o be a h umorous s peech w ith a s light touch o f t ouchy-‐feeliness.) L o a nd behold, I w ent u p o n t he stage, a nd owned i t! I s poke s o n aturally, smiling t he w hole t ime. W henever I spoke a bout a c hildhood a necdote about my s ister, I a dded a p ersonal touch -‐ s o I d id n ot a ctually h ave t o follow my s cript w ord for w ord. I once e ven stopped t o a sk my s ister
whether s he remembered w hat I was talking a bout. T he a udience was s o into my s peech, a nd t hey a ll l aughed and c heered. T he feeling o f standing up t here c apturing e veryone’s attention was i ndescribable. A nd guess w hat? -‐ I h ad a lmost zero crutch w ords-‐ o nly o ne to b e exact! And w hen I a sked my s ister afterwards h ow s he l iked my s peech, she s aid s he “ loved i t -‐ i t was s o funny!” After my s peech, f riends a nd g uests came u p t o m e a nd e nthusiastically complimented o n my s peech. I t hen, of c ourse, b rought u p Toastmasters and t old t hem h ow g reat i t was to b e able to p ractice p ublic s peaking w ith the c lub o ver t he years. T his experience i nstantly b oosted my confidence a nd s howed e veryone who k new m e f rom w hen I was a s hy little k id, t hat I h ad h ad a h uge breakthrough (according to my father, a former Toastmaster a s w ell). Toastmasters i ndeed c hanged my l ife. Thank you! ****
Your current execuDve team President Marzieh Ghiasi, CC, CL VP EducaTon Elise Fryml VP Leadership Kelly Barbosa VP Membership Angela He, Mehrnoosh Azodi VP Mentorship Anand Beejan VP Public RelaTons Sarah Ali-‐Khan, Feng Zimin Secretary George Tabah Sergeant-‐at-‐Arms Johnny Sit, Gaétane Ferland, Johhny Boghossian Treasurer Lila Malde, CTM, CL, John D’Agata, ATMB Webmaster Ivan Murcia Immediate Past President Saif Malhem, CC
MASTERS IN ACTION!
Thoughts about Pain .... and Gain by Sarah Ali-‐Khan I am h aving a baby i n a bout a week – o r m aybe l ess, i f t hat young gentleman gets i t i n h is head h e wants to come o ut a nd see t he s ights s ooner. M cGill Toastmasters h ave s een me swell over t he l ast 9 m onths. And rather than l etting p eople wonder i f I was j ust getting chubbier -‐ p erhaps h aving developed a s ummer o bsession with p outine and Bilboquet i ce-‐ cream-‐ I ‘announced’ that I was pregnant a s my C C3 s peech. That was a l ittle n erve-‐wracking as I got kinda shy just b efore – but by t hen i t was way too l ate to head b elieved. T his revelation h as change my mind about spilling the been u seful to me i n many o ther beans! areas o f my l ife – often your t houghts and worries about s omething are far The topic o f p ain, a nd managing worse that the reality o f actually it, h as b een s omething I h ave doing i t. D reading t he p roject you been t hinking a bout q uite o ften need to start i s a l ot h arder t han of l ate. T he general p erception o f actually j ust d oing i t. O nce you begin, birthing i s t hat i t i s a h ighly you realize, h ey -‐ i t’s actually n ot that painful experience – i n fact at t he bad! I t hink l abour must b e a b it l ike Royal V ictoria – t he h ospital that too... where I will give b irth – 90% o f women end u p choosing to h ave I have always been someone w ho an e pidural i n order to p ass spends a l ot o f t ime ‘in my h ead’ -‐ my though l abor ‘discomfort-‐free’. A s mind spinning with analysis, mental an athlete (a runner, w ho stopped abstraction, dreams a nd concerns. running 4 months ago n ow!) I But, over the l ast few years -‐ actually used to p lay with p ain a lmost as I started d oing m ore yoga -‐ I ’ve everyday. Hard workouts o n the enjoyed l earning h ow to d rop i nto my track are designed e ither to body, a nd take a b reak f rom my mind. extend your a erobic capacity, o r This feels really wonderful p hysically your b ody’s ability to p rocess as i t a llows you to d eeply relax, b ut lactic acid. Believe me, p ushing even more i nterestingly i t allows you either o f these systems i s p ainful! to p ay f ull attention to t he m oment To i mprove your p erformance a s a you’re i n, and p articipate i n i t more distance runner you l earn to fully. H aven’t you n oticed, w hen transcend the pain, to recognize you’re i n your h ead analyzing your that i t’s only an ephemeral, every word, that p resenting a speech physical s ensation. I f you can is much more d ifficult? It’s l ess train your mind not to get caught enjoyable, and you appear l ess up i n i t – rather to b arely n otice i t spontaneous a nd f resh. O n t he o ther – you f ind you can achieve a l ot hand, when you ‘drop i nto your b ody’, more than what your l imited l ittle place your attention o n t he a udience
WELCOME TO !
OUR NEW MEMBERS
masters mcgill toast
Baktygul Aliev Alexandre Aubert Diana Cheptane Armita Dehmoobadsharifabadi Mouhyi Eddine El Bouhali Xiaofan Fu Elise Fryml Marlon Kevlar Baraa Noueihed Alex Petralia Sahar Sajadi Vivian Zuo
MASTERS IN ACTION!
and turn o ff t he mental dialogue, your speech comes alive. A l ot less p ain, and a l ot more gain! O f course, a s much a s I realize t his i s true, I have to keep practicing i n all areas of my l ife… the temptation to fall i nto c ritique o f myself, a nd t he s ituation i s a lways there. As for giving b irth, I am q uite curious about the whole p hysical experience i tself – a nd I know i t will b e a spiritual p rocess as well. I aim to stay very relaxed, and not think too much at all. In t his type of s uper-‐relaxed state t he b ooks say you d on’t feel a ny p ain at a ll! So we’ll s ee… I’ll keep you posted!! No p ain, s upposedly… and yes, all gain – what I a m m ost looking forward to i s the p recious prize I get afterwards – s eeing o ur baby’s face for t he f irst t ime! ****
Fall Social Sept 25th: a report by Feng Zimin The McGill Toastmaster Club’s Fall social event was held on the evening of Sept 25th, 2012, in the very room where regular meetings are held -‐ 1559. More than 25 members, and a number of guests attended. Most of the attendees exchanged extensively their ideas and enjoyed the group game in the latter half. And the present McGill Toastmaster Club President, as well as many members, highly praised this social event. At 6pm, Sept 25th, the social officially started as planned. Club members had decorated the room with colourful balloons, and rearranged it so that there was more space for party-‐goers. Beverages and pizza were provided by the club, while some members also brought dishes of their own choice –
including treats such as salmon, cheeses, croissants, salad, pancakes, pies, etc… In the first half, attendees chatted with each other, enhancing their friendships and mutual understandings. In the second half, there was a group game which most of the members took part in. The game was called Taboo, proposed by Ex-‐President Saif. Participants were divided into two groups -‐ ladies and men. The organizers then distributed small slips of paper on which participants wrote nouns -‐ one per slip. As the game progresses, one team member goes up front, randomly picks a piece of paper from the reservoir, and describes to his/her team the noun written thereon -‐ but without direct reference to the word itself, or it’s spelling. The team then try to guess the noun. The number of hits a team gets in
one minute is the number of points it gains in a round. Teams take turns to guess… and if they choose to give up guessing a particular noun, they forfeit one point. The men’s team won with 39:31. After the game, at 8pm, the meeting was drawn to an end. Attendees bid each other farewell, and parted ways with joy and satisfaction. Since it was held, this social event has received plenty of positive feedback. A lot of members spoke to the organizers about how much they enjoyed it at the end of the meeting, and some expressed their appreciation by email. It is believed that this social event provided members with a great opportunity to get to know one another better, and to extend friendships between club members. ****
Shenanigans at the Fall Social - Sept 25th
!15 1 8
MASTERS IN ACTION!
Wondrous steps by Marzieh Ghiasi, CC CL, President 2012
It must have been my 73rd lap or maybe the 13th lap. I wasn’t sure. I’d lost count aYer my 3rd lap, and the only thing I knew with full certainty was that this was as far as I could go. Collapsed on my back there on the ground on the sunny aYernoon, feeling completely exhausted— I saw a familiar shadow hovering above me, and felt the ﬂat sole of a shoe on my belly. Then I heard the growling voice of the instructor. “No pain, no gain. Get up.” It’s commonly held belief that suﬀering is an inevitable part of achievement: How oYen do we hear of athletes’ pain and subsequent glory? Or scienWsts’ disappointments and subsequent successes? Perhaps no group has encompassed the We between pain and gain more than the tortured ar3sts for whom suﬀering is the doorway to creaWvity itself.
Ernest Hemingway, an author who most certainly wasn’t known for his cheery disposiWon, once wrote “ There is nothing to wriWng. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” AYer reading his book For Whom the Bell Tolls I thought here was a writer whose steps one should strive to follow. So I sat in front of my keyboard and began to bleed. Well, ﬁguraWvely anyway, or at least I hope that’s what Mr. Hemingway meant. But, aYer all the hours of bleeding and emoWonal bandaging in front of the keyboard, I was no closer to producing a ‘Hemingway’ sentence than when I’d begun. In fact, it had become hard to construct any kind of meaningful sentence… “Remember… no pain, no gain.” The instructor’s voice echoed through my mind. Maybe he was right—I aYer all, that sunny day I pushed through the pain, and running the laps became easier. At that Wme achievement did necessitate pain and suﬀering. But then here was the dilemma: in buying into this slogan—I began to expect pain in every step to come, in every sentence to be wri`en or u`ered. I did not only expect it, I clung to it as though my success
itself depended on it. No pain, no gain. Pain, gain. Unwi|ngly, aspiraWons I’d held on to dearly began to crumble under the weight of these heavy expectaWons. In running, in wriWng, in speaking—I began to fear the next step, the fear of success—and the failures, the pain and the sacriﬁce that would be inevitably accompany every step. But with Wme, voices become echoes, and echoes become murmurs, and eventually you can’t hear anything at all. And so one day this past summer, I could no longer hear the instructor’s voice. On that sunny summer aYernoon I began to run again, leaving behind the heavy anWcipaWon that would have burdened steps to come. With each step I focused instead on the millions of small ﬁbers working in wondrous unison to propel me forward. The next day, I sat in front of the keyboard and began to type. For the ﬁrst Wme in years, I was not bleeding words from my ﬁngerWps; rather, I was plucking them from my dreams, one by one. And then it came, that scary moment of standing front of nearly ﬁYy people who I was supposed
MASTERS IN ACTION!
to entertain for two hours. But instead anWcipaWng all the things that could go wrong, that maybe I was not ready… I began with a smile, grateful for the opportunity to make somebody else think, maybe even laugh, whether by intenWon or accident.
There is always that extra meter that might suddenly stretch to a mile… there is always that next sentence that might not sound right… there is always that ‘funny’ speech that no one laughs at… And most certainly, there are always those moments where physical or emoWonal pain is inevitable, and we just have to push through them. But to couple pain with gain, to view our journey as a road laid with hot coal is to deprive ourselves of its joys and wonders in each step. And yes, the journey is not always easy, but there is no pain in doing that in which we revel. It’s all gain. ****
Looking sharp at our August 7th Meeting
!17 1 9
MASTERS IN ACTION!
Meet a Club Member -‐ Q & A with Sahar Sajadi QuesDons originally conceived by Rosalia Felice. Write-‐ups by Sarah Ali-‐Khan. Over t he l ast m onths regulars a t M cGill Toastmasters meetings have had t he p leasure o f g etting to know Sahar S ajadi. S he h ad t he w hole r oom entranced w ith her s ensitive a nd emotion-‐provoking C C1, i n w hich s he talked a bout h er c hildhood i n I ran, a nd h er t houghts about h er l eap to C anada a nd n ew l ife i n M ontreal. S he is a lso making a h abit o f enchanting u s with h er poignant m oments o f r eflection, a nd h er d elightful sense o f h umour…
Do you have any nicknames? Sometimes my friends call me ‘Sahari’. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I am not patient enough sometimes. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? None of them seems overrated to me! What living person(s) do you most admire? Nelson Mandela, and Aron Ralston. What behavior do you most deplore in others? Being fanatical... arrogant…prejudging... What is your greatest extravagance? Potato chips… I can’t stop eating when I take the first one. What is your most treasured possession? My cute and lovely cat ”Pishooli”. What would you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Waking up early on a Saturday winter morning… and knowing that I am going to freeze all day in a ski resort! What is your current state of mind? Busy!
MiniResumé Sahar studied general medicine at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences -‐ one of the top Medical Schools in Iran -‐ and made the move to Montréal in 2008. Since then, she has synergized on her biomedical background studying psychology at Concordia (compleWng all the core undergrad courses in one year!), and is now pursuing a Masters degree in psychiatry at McGill. Her research examines the role of anxiety in decision-‐making in hereditary breast/ ovarian cancer paWents. Impressively, Sahar is tri-‐lingual -‐ speaking French, as well as English and Persian! She loves books, books and more books – even curling up to enjoy one in nature… and cats. In Canada she has also learned to love working out -‐ something she didn’t do in Iran! YMCA ahoy! … here Sahar reveals some more of her secrets!
How would you prefer to die? While I am sleeping at night. It should be very peaceful. Besides you don’t need to worry about waking up early in the morning Who is your favourite hero of fiction? Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s novel ‘Les Miserables’. What is best compliment you’ve ever received? “You are very hard-‐working!”. What talent would you most like to have? I wish I had a good singing voice. Favourite word? ‘Arc-en-ciel’ and ‘Pishika’. I just discovered it means "Cat" in Romanian. I love the pronunciation and I think it is a perfect word for cats :).
!18 10 1
MASTERS IN ACTION!
Least favourite word? ‘Exercise’ - the spelling is difficult with all these “s”,”x” and”c”…I don’t know where to put which one Favourite name? Soﬁa and Sarina. Do you have a motto? This is one of my favorite quotes: “My country is the world and my religion is to do good”. This is from Thomas Paine, the political theorist. What is the most hurtful thing someone has ever said to you? “You have gained so much weight since last time I saw you”…Some people always say that even if you loose weight!!! If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Good job Sahar!…You did it!… … Welcome to the heaven and enjoy yourself!...(I hope I can find potato chips in heaven) ****
Masters in Action McGill Toastmasters Club Newsletter What / When? The McGill Toastmasters Club NewsleYer Masters in AcTon is published several Tmes/year in order to help encourage and document our club and its members. Everyone is encouraged to parTcipate and submit arTcles. We want to hear from you! Any comments or suggesTons for improvement are greatly appreciated. You can contact the newsleYer editor at publicrelaVons@mcgilltoastmasters.ca.
McGill Toastmasters Club 688 Sherbrooke Street West Corner University Street Room 1559 (15th ﬂoor) Montreal, Quebec H3A 3R1 District 61, Club #4311
MeeTngs are held every Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Guests are most welcome! To aYend a meeTng as a guest, please RSVP by sending an email to the VP Membership at email@example.com.
Last look: Fall on Mont Royal - our beautiful city