You can say YES!

We are two short months away from the end of the Toastmaster year for 2021-2022 and it is hard to believe how quickly this year has gone by.  I am feeling particularly inspired after our annual conference, and feel energized and ready to support our clubs and leaders to make this year a great success!   In addition to celebrating success at our conference, we elected a new District trio and Division Directors who will begin their term on July 1. 

May is the time when the new leadership team starts to assemble who they will work with next year.  They will be appointing Area Directors from current nominees and looking for other potential leaders to take on remaining Area Director positions or to serve on District Committees next year. 

It is also the time when Toastmasters take on new club roles in the club executive during club elections. Now is the right time for anyone who is thinking about stepping up to leadership to take that next step! 

I have had the honour of working with the A-Team of District leaders this year and I know our leadership team for next year is simply phenomenal.   You could not be in a better position to have amazing mentors and leaders by your side as you take on a new leadership challenge.  We are a part of Toastmasters because we want growth opportunities, but we fear just how much of a challenge we can reasonably take on.  I think when we face the unknown, it is easy to think it will be too big for us to take on.   But this is not just any organization, this is Toastmasters, and as they say – it is the safest place to fail.  Or as I like to think – it is the safest place to succeed!!! 

Success vs. Failure

My leadership has had failures.  All leadership journeys do.  But my successes far outweigh my failures.  So much so, that failure is not as scary as it once was.  I think I am more afraid of missing out by not trying. Recently I was reminded of that.  I was talking to a young lady with a tonne of talent who said she was inspired by me at one of my first club leadership training events.  She remembered how confident and assured I seemed and that I knew so much about Toastmasters.  I was so thrilled that’s the impression she got.  

Because I was a new and nervous Division Director putting on my first big event and I know all about the problems I had at that event.  It was an in-person training event in August.  I did a bbq because I thought it would be fun.  When I arrived, the venue had arranged space for the bbq beside a construction zone.  Not fun and not what I had envisioned.  So it turned into a tailgate bbq event.   At first, some people complained that they didn’t have time to grab food.  So I asked, no begged my chef, to be on duty for the entire evening.  I had a great idea for my event volunteers since it was going back-to-school time.  Candy apples.  It was the first time I had ever made candy apples, and let’s just say that they looked pretty.  But I still think I deserve some points for effort on that one.  But by the end of the evening, people were socializing over slices of cream pie, and it was a success!

Division F Director’s journey

Division F had a phenomenal year, that year that I will never forget.  If I had allowed the fear I felt at taking on a Division Director role to stop me from trying, I would never have had a bbq leadership training event.  Or met the fantastic Area Directors who made up my dream team,  or gone on to be the District Director who worked with the A-Team this year.   So don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from taking on a leadership challenge.  There will be small failures, but there will be a FAR greater success!   When you see the A-Team around you, when you think you do not have what they have, but you would like to try, step up.  I can assure you that you DO have exactly what you need to succeed in the safe space that is Toastmasters!  

I have learned so much simply by saying yes.   You can too!  Just don’t ask me to make candy apples.

Katrina Aburrow, DTM
District Director (2021-2022) | District 42
Toastmasters International


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