Could You Be Getting More Out Of Toastmasters?
Message from the District 42 District Director Katrina Aburrow, DTM
When I began my Toastmasters journey in 1998 at Bedstone Olympics Toastmasters I had no idea I would ever become a future District Director, but like many of you we started Toastmasters for one reason and our journey takes us somewhere far better than we could have ever imagined at the outset. I was an education volunteer at the Calgary Zoo and I wanted to feel more confident when giving presentations about conservation and wildlife, and I needed help developing those skills. However, once my Toastmasters journey began, I knew I had found something special – a place where I could share ideas and all the topics that interested me among people who became good friends. Many of you may not know it, but you have started a similar exciting journey and it is thrilling to think of all the possibilities your Toastmasters journey will open for you. Someone reading this will be a future District Director, someone else will travel to another country for their dream job and dream life and someone else will find that Toastmasters has to lead to a better life overall. Your possibilities are endless!
I am proud to be your District Director and I am proud of all of you for your commitment to your personal development path and to your dedication to your clubs. We are living through challenging times that have affected all of us on so many levels, and yet we have managed to remain a strong District. At times I know I felt that life was less than it used to be – I worked less, I went out less, I socialized less, I was with my family less and it seemed like life would never be normal again. But because of Toastmasters I still had more in my life than other people. I had more support and a sense of community – it was just online instead of in person. I still had structure and purpose in my life because of our meetings and the leadership opportunities I had with Toastmasters. And I had more time to pursue those opportunities. We are slowly returning to new normalcy that still has more uncertainty than before covid, but I hope that Toastmasters helps you find ways to bring more of what you want in your life. I encourage you to reach out to your members and participate in your club to invite more opportunities into your life. I have found that when I least felt like attending a meeting is when I needed to attend a meeting the most. Think about the most inspiring or entertaining or thought-provoking speech you have ever seen. The speech that reverberates with you years later, or the speech that changed the way you think or interact with your world, or the speech that makes you smile every time you think about it. Imagine if you did not have those speeches influencing your life because you missed that one meeting or that one event.
And what about the speech you gave that make you most proud. The speech you gave, that got an even bigger reaction than you anticipated. The speech that you really worked on because you knew it was an important speech to give. Imagine if you had not delivered that speech because you didn’t take that opportunity. I think the most important thing we do for each other is, give speeches and listen to speeches. It is the way that we inspire each other, and it is what makes Toastmasters the success that it is. I am going to encourage you to get more out of your life right now by committing to going to more meetings and to giving more speeches.
Throughout my Toastmasters journey, I have had one simple commitment. I will prepare one speech a month and if I am scheduled to speak, I will give a speech, no matter what! Have all of my speeches been the best speech I could deliver? No, of course not. Some have been speeches I have been really proud of, and others were the best I could do at the time, but I am proud of keeping that commitment to myself and to my clubs. I am also proud of being a contributing member of my club and I have gained far MORE from this journey by keeping that commitment. I hope this year is the year you also gain more from your journey and I believe now is the best time to make that commitment to yourself and your future possibilities. After all, you never know where that journey will take you.
Katrina Aburrow, DTM