Viewpoint: Shaping Ourselves...Shaping Our World

Viewpoint: Shaping Ourselves...Shaping Our World

A message from our International President

Hello, Toastmasters around the world! Thank you for the confidence you have shown in me by electing me as your International President for 2007-08. It is both an honor and a privilege, and I’m committed to serve you and our wonderful organization to the very best of my abilities during the year ahead. Of course, you now have to put up with my mugshot in the next 12 issues of this magazine, but I’ll hope you’ll read my Viewpoint anyway!

Who among us is in perfect shape? Anyone out there? I know I’m not! Let’s face it; we could all be in better shape – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. There’s always room for improvement! In Toastmasters, we’re all about getting into good shape as communicators and leaders, and once we get into shape and stay in shape, we’re better able to shape the world around us. Hence my theme for this year is, “Toastmasters: Shaping Ourselves...Shaping our World.” What does this mean?

Shaping Ourselves. Depending on where we are in our Toastmasters experience, our emphasis varies from shaping ourselves as individual members to shaping our organization in support of the member. Those serving in club or district leader positions, and international positions, not only experience self-development as individuals, they also re-invest in the development of Toastmasters International as a whole. So as we take shape individually, we also develop better shape organizationally.

Shaping Our Worlds. We all have an impact on the world around us. Perhaps we’re not individually or even collectively going to save the whole world, but we can make a difference in the worlds we live in: our personal world, our world of work, and our world of community. The skills we develop in Toastmasters are of limited value unless we export them outside the Toastmasters environment. When we use effective communication and leadership skills to make a difference in our various worlds, it’s a way of paying our share of the rent for the space we occupy in this world.

During this Toastmasters year, I encourage you to think about how this organization is helping you to shape your life, and how you in turn have the opportunity to shape your worlds – both locally and globally. As Ralph Smedley expressed it: “Sometimes a man gets hold of an idea, and it shapes his whole life.” I would respectfully add that it is by Shaping Ourselves through Toastmasters that we are indeed Shaping Our World.

Chris K. Ford, DTM
International President