'8 Tips on How to Beat a Champion' from Dananjaya Hettirachchi
One such session was conducted by Dananjaya Hettirachchi – the only Sri Lankan to complete at the Finals of the Toastmasters International Speech contest 3 years in a row (holding the District 82 title for the same amount of time), winner of the World Taped Speech competition in 2006 and he is amongst a handful of HRD consultants in the Asia-Pacific region that specializes in Performance Prediction, Profiling based Recruitment and Rapid Competency Development in adults. A charismatic, engaging and captivating speaker – when he takes the stage he never fails to deliver. Dananjaya has been a mentor, inspiration and friend to many young Toastmasters, including myself and we are lucky to know him.
His session was called ‘8 Tips on How to Beat a Champion’ – and in my option the 8 lessons shared can be applied to work, your personal life and help to create a remarkable destiny for yourself.
Lesson 1: Don’t wish for something – want it
How often do we simply spend our lives wishing that our goals, dreams and hopes will happen? Stop wishing and start wanting – when you want something bad enough you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. Stop wishing – start wanting.
(Toastmasters: to beat a champ you have to want it more than the champ. Dana said that when he competes he doesn’t worry about the competitor who has the better speech, but the one that wants it more than he does)
Lesson 2: Take risks
Risks are the currency of success. Anybody who was somebody, anybody who did something they didn’t play it safe. They didn’t err on the side of caution. After all as they say the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who will.
(Toastmasters: Never play it safe up on the stage. Go big, take risks, and be crazy. The winning speech champions are those who change the game, who pull off what has never been done before)
Lesson 3: Keep showing up
The struggle isn’t failing – it’s the journey of a champion. Your mistakes teach you more than your successes and the struggle is what defines you. Edison failed 1,000 times before he created the light bulb – the ones who make it are the ones who never ever give up.
(Toastmasters: never let a single loss derail your journey of becoming a champion. Dananjaya said that one never worries about the one shot wonders but the competitors that keep showing up year after year)
Lesson 4: Be a better you
There is only one you in this world – focus on making it the best that you can. Take every chance, opportunity and adventure that comes your way. Never stop trying to learn, be better, keep growing and becoming as great as is possible.
(Toastmasters: Dananjaya referenced his most recent and successful speech in a competition - ‘Who’s your Daddy?’ and said the speech was created because he became a father. It’s not about creating a better speech – it’s about becoming a better you)
Lesson 5: Dreams are overrated – you need a purpose
What if your dream is to reach a certain position by a certain age? When you achieve that you begin to feel lost, unmotivated and lazy. Find a purpose in life and remember the larger picture – make that your canvas. Now you can begin to paint your dreams on this unlimited scope.
(Toastmasters: It’s not about becoming the World Champion – its about having a greater purpose that drives you and is helped by being a World Champion. Whether its to touch lives, inspire, create – have a larger purpose)
Lesson 6: Have audacity
Ever read Barak Obama’s ‘The Audacity of Hope’? He says “make a way out of no way” - you have to be a path creator and not a path follower. Be audacious - go where no one has ever been before, explore the uncharted. Coco Chanel didn’t become an icon by playing by the rules – she did it by shocking.
(Toastmasters: don’t be conventional – change the rules. Get up there and change the way the game is played – shock and scandalize)
Lesson 7: Don’t be afraid to fail
“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear”. Fear is what holds us back, fear is what keeps us from breaking that barrier between good and great, fear is the greatest enemy we have. “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”. Don’t be afraid to fail - go ahead and fail, it’s your stepping stone to success
(Toastmasters: Conquer your fears by doing what scares you the most. Fail, learn from the mistake and do it again. And again)
Lesson 8: Surround yourself with people who give you a chance
Your environment makes all the difference and in life your environment is the people your surround yourself with. Do it with people who uplift you, not drag you down. Make sure the people in your life see the greatness that lies within and strive to help you make it shine brighter, not dim it.
(Toastmasters: This means picking a club, picking mentors and picking comrades that who give you a chance – not those that dim the light within)
BONUS Lesson 9: Have someone in your life that you don’t want to disappoint.
Nothing more needs to be said
“If your dream is shared by the people around you – that’s the mark of a champion” – Dananjaya Hettirachchi