I don’t like to be so quiet when it comes to blogging because blogging gives me so much joy.
Lately though, apart from our business kicking back into gear, I’ve been working on finalising a new speech for Toastmasters. I know I’ve already said (many times) that doing so takes me away from blogging, but I then get to enjoy sharing my speech once I’ve presented it to my club – which I did last night.
The following speech is a Level 5 Project that now sees me having completed this my selected Pathway – Presentation Mastery – and although the following isn’t word for word what I delivered, it is what I had written regarding my leadership experience and the impact of a lessons learned meeting.
– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –
In all honesty, I never have, and still don’t, see myself as a leader.
Madam Emcee, ladies and gentlemen, despite what we’ve been taught, I believe there are only three days in any given week.
There’s Yesterday, where we lay our past to rest along with all our deeds and misdeeds.
There’s Today, where we flourish and have the opportunity to learn the lessons yesterday was always meant to teach us.
And then there’s tomorrow, where we plant our seeds of hopes and dreams for what another day may hold.
I remember sitting at the Parklands Tavern with Tracey and Lorraine one yesterday. Even though that yesterday was a lazy Sunday afternoon more than three years ago, there we were, enjoying a meal and discussing the ins and outs of what lay ahead for this new clubs’ executive.
Suddenly Lorraine indicated, as Tracey and I were the club sponsors, one of us should also be the Club President. Without hesitation Tracey said “Clare, that should be you!” and so, for me, began a rollercoaster ride of excitement and uncertainty.
There I was, with no clue regarding what to do and how to go about doing it, let alone how to lead where others may wish to follow.
As I said, I don’t consider myself a leader.
I do see myself as a problem solver. I’m very good at solving puzzles. Perhaps I should have been a detective because that’s the way my brain works. It likes to think things over and over, and often over and over and over again and, there can be problems when creating a new club.
I’m also a person who’s not afraid to ask questions, and Toastmasters is full of people willing to offer the answers. All you have to do is ask. Sometimes you don’t even need to do that. There is always someone willing to offer their advice and there are lots of questions around forming a new club.
I’m also a person of honour, that if I say I’m going to do something, I do it. And yet, I don’t believe in “reinventing the wheel!” Creating a new Toastmasters club does not require the revamping of those building blocks.
That particular pathway has already been flattened and cobbled and laid with asphalt so many times, it’s like a cockroach. Capable of withstanding anything and even though, as the club’s Charter President, I face my fair share of lumps and bumps in the road, I know that was only one measure of an experience that allowed me to learn from yesterday’s lessons.
There’s a reason Toastmasters’ core values reside in the acronym IRSE and NOT, as some would have you believe, the much easier to remember, RISE.
Because before we can reach excellence, as a result of a service we provide to others, and above and beyond the respect we must have for each other, our integrity is paramount.
For someone who doesn’t see herself as a leader, I’ve had a lot of people follow me and come along for the ride, and what a ride it’s been. Despite the fact there were times when the ‘going got tough’, I’m proud that 60% of our charter members are still here enjoying the ride and helping make this club a force to be reconned with.
In his hauntingly beautiful song, One Life, James Morrison, the English singer, songwriter, laments:
I know I said there are only three days in any given week, but the two most important days are Today and Tomorrow.
Worrying about what happened yesterday will never change the past and, thanks to Lewis Carroll, I know:
Ladies and gentlemen, bygones are bygones and they belong where they reside and the best that any of us can hope for is to learn the lesson that was sent our way to help us grow and develop and have the strength to better face new and exciting challenges.
That’s how we become the best versions of ourselves.
I am a stronger leader today than I was yesterday, and I know within me is the potential to be an even stronger leader tomorrow.
So too it is with this club. We are stronger today than we were yesterday, but nowhere near as strong as we will be tomorrow.
– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –
I am so pleased to have had the experience of being the Charter President for a new Toastmasters club and recommend this incredible challenge to anyone.