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The Jar of Abundance

( The Speech was delivered at Highway To Excellence toastmasters on 19th November 2020. I dedicate the speech to Charles Roy Mencke (Chuck Mencke) , my mentor and guru.

I wish Chuck will continue to guide and create abundance for all of us - Ankur Bora)

All of us in life face different kinds of experiences, successes or failures, ups and downs, triumphs or tribulations. But for each of us there are a few defining moments which become treasured memories. Friends, have you ever experienced a situation when life throws you in a corner, and you have nowhere to turn? Eighteen years ago, I faced such a situation, when the world was going through a crisis and my dream was shattering to pieces. But I faced the situation bravely with the help of an ally, my Jar of Abundance!

Life is house of treasures. When I was a child, I was fascinated by the story of my uncle who at the tender age was invited to the United States after winning an international essay competition and who met the President at the White House. As a young boy, I studied hard to achieve my childhood dream of coming to America. As a professional, I took the risk of quitting a secure and a lucrative government job to leap into the world of private industry. All of these moments as a boy, a grown up man, and a professional molded me into the person I am. It’s as if those moments from my life were deposited into what I call a Jar of Abundance. The jar is like a bank account – whenever I achieve I add to it and when I face any critical moments in life, I draw from that reservoir.

Do you remember the financial crisis of 2001? It was one of the worst recessions when hundreds of thousands of Information Technology jobs were lost. It was a situation I never thought I’d have to face. I had arrived in America along with my newly married wife in the previous year. It was the peak of the dot-com boom; the year saw the spectacular rise of many Tech companies, and I witnessed the entrepreneurial energy of America at its apex. But within less than a year, the dot-com bust began; companies shut their doors, employees were laid off, and new jobs disappeared. Soon we heard stories of fellow techies from India heading back leaving everything behind. Then, the company that I was working for announced a big loss in profit, and we were informed that anyone not in a project or not earning would be send back to India immediately.

As the cold and piercing air moved in, the winter of 2001 turned into a winter of despair; things looked bleaker with each passing day. Speculations, rumors and anxiety gripped everyone in our office. Some of my colleagues, getting ready to pack and leave on short notice, began to sell their kitchenware, furniture and cars. Every day was filled with gloom. But my Jar of Abundance was telling me, “Will you give in to your fear?” The jar took me down memory lane- my accomplishments and all of my good deeds and I realized the only way to be unafraid was to fall back on my strength. The jingling of the jar filled me with a new resolve, “No matter what I will not quit and will never leave this country!”

But then there was yet another twist. We, around ten families, were living in an apartment complex in an Atlanta suburb, close to our office. One evening a coworker from our office came to see us. I did not have a favorable opinion of him – I found him cynical and not trustworthy. Still, we welcomed him and had dinner together. In between, he was querying me about the job situation and my future plan. My wife unsuspectingly revealed to him that my project was ending but we were not leaving since I was trying to find a new job in a US-based company. It was a huge mistake.

The next day we received a registered letter from Human Resources directing us to leave this country. When it all sank in, I realized I had two choices, either find a job within 15 days or leave, a galling defeat or an exhilarating victory. Thirteen days passed; there was no breakthrough. We sold all our belongings and bought the flight tickets. But destiny had other plans; on the penultimate day, I received a call from a friend of mine- the company he worked for in St. Louis had shortlisted and would interview me the next day! It was going to be a one hour phone interview and everything was dependent on the result. If I failed, I would have to board the flight back immediately, unceremoniously, but if I passed, I would renew my faith in myself and my accomplishment would inspire my friends, colleagues and family. In the night before the interview, I stayed awake studying until I knew every concepts and details in them. Thus, I faced the interview with confidence and “Bingo!” I got the job. Friends, eighteen years back, I won the most difficult battle of my life, and thus added another priceless jewel to my Jar of Abundance.

Life is overflowing with plentiful abundance. Life is a great learning place, and everyone can experience, grow, and prosper. Friends, ring your Jar of Abundance, rekindle your moments of glory, and light up the world with energy, action, and progress.

Toastmaster Evaluation

Neetu Rishi is a Toastmaster and an entrepreneur being the CEO and Founder of The Success Door, LLC, a coaching, and image consulting firm. She is also the Director-Youth Education –Dale Carnegie. Following is her evaluation of the speech.

· You started with a powerful opening by using keywords – defining moments, treasure house which not only grabbed the attention of the audience but also inclined with the objectives of your speech.

· You also used an analogy - jar of abundance is like a bank balance.

· You took us to into you journey by sharing your life moments.

· We all love to extol about the happiest memories, but you also shared those tough moments with us which adds credibility to your speech.

· Your facial expressions while you shared about getting your job added life, it portrayed that you were enjoying it so much and that’s how we reflect our journey.

We all are here to become better than yesterday , So here are few suggestions: The objective of the project was to reflect your journey with respect to your pathways, how did the project shape your life. I guess that was missing. The opening and body of the speech was inspiring but the closing needed more justice. I would suggest on leaving with a strong call to action which could be a message for all and inspire them to finish their pathways level too. However, overall, I always love the way you structure your speech, it shows your level of preparation


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