Viewpoint: The Courage to Conquer to the Finish...
and Realize It's the Beginning
A message from our International President
Here it is, June – the end of our calendar year. Think back nearly a year ago to July 1. We were making plans. As individuals, we might have planned to complete the next educational level in our Toastmasters journey. Perhaps we challenged ourselves to serve as a club or district leader, or to mentor a new club or member.
As clubs, I hope you were setting your course to be Distinguished, determining which of your members could reach those Competent and Advanced Communicator and Leader awards, planning your strategy for recruiting new members and completing your administrative work.
As districts, you were completing your District Success Plan, laying out the groundwork for a Distinguished, Select Distinguished or President’s Distinguished year.
Funny thing about plans. I’m great at making plans. Just ask my husband! Ask him how many times (this year alone) I’ve planned to clean up my library. It’s easy to plan to do something; I find it even easier to think I have all the time in the world to accomplish it. Then you look up one day and you’re at the finish. You’re kidding! Where did the time go? I find myself, more often than I would like, lacking the Courage to Conquer the distractions that prevent me from accomplishing my best intentions.
I hope that as this year finishes, you have had the Courage to Conquer any challenge or distraction you may have faced on the road to your Toastmasters goals. I look forward to our end-of-year reports to see just how many educational awards were earned, how many clubs are Distinguished and how many districts will be honored at the International Convention in Connecticut.
Yet as Louis L’Amour wrote, “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” That’s the wonderful thing about Toastmasters; though we may come to a finish by completing an educational level or serving as a club officer, it is merely the beginning. This is an educational organization; as long as we are willing to learn, there is something to learn! Each manual will continue to expand our speaking skills. Each level of service we assume as an officer provides a depth of knowledge and skill not experienced at former levels. As long as we continue to work the program, it will continue to endow us with abilities that will permit each of us to be a more effective spouse, parent, employee, manager, leader and friend.
If you met the goals you established at the beginning of this year, congratulations! But success is not final. It’s time for different goals. If you are not yet where you had hoped, don’t be discouraged. Keep working! I know that with the help of your fellow members, you can find the Courage to Conquer the finish. But remember, when you do, it will really be a new beginning!
Now if you will excuse me, I need to go conquer my library, as well as my Competent and Advanced Communicator applications!
Jana Barnhill, DTM, Accredited Speaker