Viewpoint: Transition Time in Toastmasters

Viewpoint: Transition Time in Toastmasters

A message from our International President

Transitions: a part of life, a scary time, a creative time, a turbulent time… and a time for re-shaping. We’ve all been through so many transitions in life. Do you recall your transition from high school to college, or perhaps to your first job, or to join the armed forces of your country? How about transitioning from single life to married life… and maybe back again? From a carefree lifestyle to the responsibilities of parenthood? We’ve been through a lot, you and I, and somehow we survived it all!

Well, it’s transition time in Toastmasters, and once again we will survive! Your club’s new executive committee has just assumed responsibility for the leadership of your club, and it will be busy creating and implementing a blueprint for a successful year. On the first of July, a new district leadership team took office, with a commitment to serve the district to the best of its ability during the forthcoming year. And next month, a new President and nine new directors will be elected; the new Board will be responsible for managing our organization’s transition into a new and exciting future.

What about you? What Toastmasters transition are you going through, as a communicator and leader? Are you transitioning into a leadership role at the club or district level? Or maybe this is the year you transition from good speaker to competitive speaker? Regardless of the specifics of your transition, you can do a number of things to stay on an even keel.

To me, most important is to stay true to the values of Toastmasters International. No matter what we do, if we are always guided by our shared values of respect, integrity, service and excellence, we cannot go wrong. Second, keep mission and vision at the forefront. At club, district or international level, we would be wise to check everything we consider doing against our mission and vision statements. If the action contemplated will contribute to delivering our mission and realizing the vision – do it! And if it doesn’t – don’t! It doesn’t get much simpler than that! Third, embrace it, don’t fight it. Transition is inevitable, so you may as well enjoy the ride!

As the late baseball hero Willie Stargell once said: “Life is one big transition.” He’s right, of course. We will go through so many more transitions as we continue shaping ourselves and shaping our world. After all, change is part of life!

Chris K. Ford, DTM
International President