Viewpoint: A New Year Begins...

Viewpoint: A New Year Begins...

A message from our International President

Yes, in just a few weeks this Toastmasters year comes to an end and a new year begins. Congratulations on what you have accomplished so far! I trust you’ve found the year to be productive and rewarding. As Toastmasters around the world focus on completing this year in great shape, it’s not too early to be thinking about goals for the year beginning on the first of July. How will you continue to shape yourself in 2008-09? How will you contribute to your world’s shape in the coming year?

Let me introduce you to a principle of military operations that applies to Toastmasters, and in fact to anything you choose to do in life. It’s called: “Selection and Maintenance of the Aim.” Simply stated, this principle means “Be very thoughtful and deliberate about the aim you select, and then maintain your focus and energy on that aim until you see it through to accomplishment.” Think of this from the perspective of the member, the club and the district.

For the member, what is your aim in 2008-09? Is it to achieve the Competent Communicator award? Is this the year you complete the requirements for Distinguished Toastmaster? Do you want to become the World Champion of Public Speaking? Whatever is important to you, make a deliberate choice to get there, and stay focused on the prize throughout the year.

Newly elected club officers, what is your aim for your club? Get back up to 20 members? President’s Distinguished Club...again? Institute that mentoring program you’ve talked about for so long? Be clear, be specific, and then apply your collective energy to achieving that aim. Distraction is the enemy of success, so don’t allow other fascinating but less productive things to divert you from your mission.

At the district level, one aim district leaders will certainly want to focus on is achieving Distinguished District by June 30, 2009. What else does your district need to do to get into – or stay in – great shape? Perhaps a clear focus on low-member clubs is in order. Is now the right time to make a concerted effort for new-club development in a specific industry sector? Clarity of aim and concentration of effort on your aim will pay handsome dividends at year-end.

By applying the principle of Selection and Maintenance of the Aim, regardless of where you are in this Toastmasters world, you will hit the ground running when the new Toastmasters year starts. And if you’re running right from the very start, you’re bound to be in great shape as you cross the finish line!

Chris K. Ford, DTM
International President