It took me nine years to become an Area Director. By the time I made that decision, I understood the role of leadership – to serve others while accomplishing a mission. As individuals, we have many motivations for any endeavor we choose to do. One of my motivators is learning new things and becoming proficient at activities, such as managing club funds as Treasurer, being a great planner and scheduler as the Vice President Education, or keeping members informed as Secretary.
Somewhere along my Toastmasters journey while still focused on Club activities, I came to understand the true role of officers in my Toastmasters club. Club officers administer the club to keep it running. They also help create the foundation for all members to achieve their individual goals. This epiphany skewed me from being a learner to being a servant leader. This new, outward focus led to helping other Toastmasters achieve their goals and overcome their fears.
A second milestone in my Service journey was noting the role of an Area Director when they visited and offered their assistance to my club. We did not need assistance with achieving education goals; but we did need to participate in district activities outside our club. We also needed to create an atmosphere that retained our members. Because of their visits and the role they played in improving my club, I decided that it was time to become a District leader. I was anxious when I took this step but soon learned that I was part of a team serving the clubs and members in District 25.
As a District leader, we are taught many things. The focus is always on helping our clubs and members achieve their goals. Similar to club leaders, it is important for District leaders to uplift, encourage, and help other Toastmasters. By ensuring a positive, quality experience, members are empowered to become confident speakers and leaders. What is my payback? It is the wonderful feeling experienced when helping others achieve their goals, to see a struggling club increase its membership, or to see a member step into a leadership role and experience personal growth.
In the17 years I’ve belonged to this organization, I have learned how important fostering positive relationships truly is. Working with other members has helped me grow personally. The focus on servant leadership and skills learned in Toastmasters have positively transferred to the other areas of my life. They have allowed me to be a better leader both at home and in my professional life. It is no longer about just getting my work done. As I complete my work, I look for opportunities to encourage my coworkers. This results in team building which helps my agency’s level of work efficiency. In my personal life, consciously uplifting others has resulted in better communication with my friends and family. I’ve seen the results of building relationships and bonds with those I’ve interacted with in Toastmasters, at work, in other organizations, and with my family.
My Service journey was key to my focus this year – It’s Your Journey! My vision for the members of District 25 is to enjoy themselves as they improve their skills. This journey – Your Journey – should be FUN!
What is your next step?
Greg Pick, DTM
District 25 Director 2017-2018