|The DISTRICT DIALOGUE||Page 9|
This Toastmaster Has Regrets
I joined Thunderbolt Orators, in Lakewood, nearly a year and a half ago. My reason? I like it…it’s as simple as that. I got into the spirit of it, right away. I have been elected Vice President of Public Relations, I established a respectable club website, I won a couple of trophies in the District’s Humorous Speech Contest, I attended the Toastmaster Leadership Institute and I sincerely enjoy helping new members. In spite of those fascinating experiences, I am left with a legitimate regret.
About a year ago, our Club President, Christine, approached me to see if I would like to participate in the mentor program. I didn’t really see the purpose. Christine went on to tell me I would need to participate in the program to complete one of the projects in the Competent Leader Manual and thereby earn the CL Designation. I told her “I am already helping new members, and I am not a ‘Credentialist’ so the designation simply doesn’t matter to me.” Naturally, she said to let her know if I changed my mind, and she dropped it.
After that, the officers regularly reminded all of us to “Bring your CL Manuals” to the meetings. Heck they did just about everything except come to my home and bring my manual for me, but it remained at home in a drawer.
Later, at one of my first officer meetings, a symbolic two-by-four hit me over the head. Julie, our VP of Education, revealed one of the requirements for our club to earn the President’s Distinguished Club award was for somebody to earn the CL Designation. She went on to say that nobody seemed on track to make it in that particular cycle. I could tell that this was really important to her and the other handful of officers. I thought about the ribbon-packed banner that another officer, Nancy, always hangs with pride at the front of our meeting room. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. I was looking at the CL designation all wrong…from a “What is in it for me” perspective.
I suddenly realized great clubs are the result of the combined efforts of a collection of selfless volunteers, from the Club level, Division level, District level and the International level. Those people are just as focused on what they can put back into the club and the TM experience, as they are on what they can get out of it. And it was that combined effort that made our club so enjoyable to me.
When I got home, I finally opened up my Competent Leader Manual and took a good look. That is where all the regret came in to play. Seven of the ten projects in there just fall into place by keeping track of the weekly roles we take on. Good grief! I have been the weekly Toastmaster, the General Evaluator and all the others enough times to fulfill all of those.
Further review revealed that of the three remaining projects one of those was in the bag. Since I set up our club’s website, I qualified for project (6). “Help promote the club”. That meant there were only two remaining projects for me to earn the CL designation that my club genuinely needed. One of those, project 9, is Participate in the Mentor Program. I realized that if I would have formalized my efforts with one or more of the new members, whom I enjoyed helping anyway, that project would also be fulfilled. It would have been easy.
That leaves one project: Organize and chair a special event or speech contest. Well, heck, that’s not much different than being a weekly Toastmaster and I have already learned how to do that.
The bottom line is I could have earned that award fairly easily, not for my sake, but for the sake of my club. That would have taken all of us one step closer to repeating as a President’s Distinguished Club. Now it appears the outcome is iffy and if we don’t make it, I am partly to blame. All I had to do was keep track of what I was doing and structure it in a way that qualifies to fulfill the projects. My club members certainly deserved that.
I recently shared all this with the VP of Education and she has put me on a fast track, so that I might get this worthy goal accomplished in the last half of this term. I vow to do my best.
Finally, it is my hope that you will recognize how important your success is to the other members in your club. You can begin by simply keeping track of your accomplishments in your CL Manual.