Viewpoint: Are You Where You Want to Be?

Viewpoint: Are You Where You Want to Be?

A message from our International President

Mid-year already! How can this be? It seems we’ve only just begun the Toastmasters year, and already we’re looking at the home stretch! At the start of the Toastmasters year last July, we were full of anticipation and optimism and enthusiasm. I sincerely hope that is still the case for all of you at the start of this 2008 calendar year. Now is the time to take stock of where you had planned to be – in your personal development as a Toastmaster, in your club’s progress in the Distinguished Club Program, and at district level in the Distinguished District Program – and where you are now.

Measuring progress in Toastmasters is like measuring progress in anything else we do in life. We would not think of embarking on a long trip without some way of being able to measure progress toward our destination. Working toward an educational degree or diploma? For sure you’d want to track progress to ensure you achieve your goal. If you’re saving for your retirement years, wouldn’t you want to know that your wealth is accumulating according to plan? How about running a marathon? When I ran my first marathon in Amsterdam a few years ago, I tracked my progress continuously. When I reached the mid-point of my estimated time and realized I still had more than half the course to complete, I had to do some serious evaluation of progress versus goal. Hmmm...I thought I was in better shape than that!

We set goals because we know that by achieving them we will satisfy some needs that are important to us. Look back six months. When you made a commitment that you would achieve your CC this year, or your ALB or your DTM, you did so because this goal had meaning for you. Likewise, when your club officers decided this was the year to earn that Distinguished Club ribbon that may have been just out of reach in recent years, they did so for the good of the club. And the same applies at district level: District officers set goals because they realize that if the district is to succeed in achieving its mission, there must be some specific and measurable goals to guide activities during the year.

At half-time, are you at least 50 percent of the way to your goal? If yes, great! If not, what sort of reshaping do you need to do to get you, your club or your district back on track? As Vince Lombardi (coach of the Green Bay Packers football team in the 1960s) once said: “If you settle for nothing less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your life.” At half-time, these are challenging and inspiring words for all of us!

To all my fellow Toastmasters around the world, Happy Mid-Year, and Happy New Year!

Chris K. Ford, DTM
International President