I am confused; I have no idea what to do!Have there been occasions in your life when you’ve felt this way? Oftentimes we don’t know what we don’t know. Those are the occasions when we need mentors the most. Effective mentors have the uncanny ability to probe our motives and help us find our true potential when we struggle with self-doubt and self-imposed limitations.
Toastmasters’ founder, Ralph C. Smedley, stated, “We realize that the two most important factors in Toastmasters are mentoring and evaluations. There is no doubt that if these two are done well … your club will be filled with spark plugs ready to fire upon request. Mentoring and evaluations create enthusiasm, and once you light that fire, the only thing it needs is some kindling.”
Our Toastmasters journey becomes all the more exquisite with the help of mentors gently guiding us along and helping us navigate our paths. Whether we are new to the “rituals” practiced in our clubs or veterans with many speeches under our belt, mentors can help us all.
My mentors’ motivation, patience, and guidance helped me overcome challenges and obstacles that I did not believe I could.
I fondly recall my first Toastmasters mentor, the late Narinder Kumar Bajaj, who invited me to join and continued to mentor me until his last days. Janaki Prasad Pattanaik, DTM, past gulf territorial council chair, provided answers to my innumerable questions without demur when I served as division governor of a newly formed district. I met Past International President Dilip R. Abayasekara, DTM, when he installed me as division governor in May 2006. He has been a pillar of strength for me ever since.
Past International President Ted Corcoran, DTM, became a fast friend and my mentor from the time we served as region advisors together in 2011–2012. My mentors’ motivation, patience, and guidance helped me overcome challenges and obstacles that I did not believe I could.
We need mentors at every level. Even the Board of Directors has a strong formal mentoring program for every Board member. Past International President Jim Kokocki, DTM, served as my mentor when I was elected second vice president. Immediate Past International President Lark Doley, DTM, mentored me all through last year to prepare me for this year.
If mentoring is critical for the success of the Board of Directors, should it not be embraced by all our clubs and members? Make mentoring a prerequisite and experience how mentoring makes magic!
Deepak Menon, DTM