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Are You in the Groove?


Richard Peck smiling in suit jacket and red tie

As we enter the fourth quarter of the 2020–2021 Toastmasters year, are you on track to achieve the goals you set when the program year began? As you may be aware, I am a professionally licensed race car driver, drag racing to be specific. Drag racing is a straight-line race from the starting line to the finish line. As racers we use the term “in the groove” to indicate when we are in the best part of the track, have the best traction, and are on path to reaching the finish line. It is not uncommon to lose traction, get out of the groove, and need to adjust to get back on track.

As we race toward the end of the Toastmasters year I ask, “Are you in the groove?” If you are, keep up the great work. If not, there is plenty of time left to adjust, regain traction, and cross the finish line strong.

How? To make the proper adjustments, first assess where you are and compare it with where you want to go—a gap analysis. For example, maybe your goal was to complete a path in Pathways, and to date you have completed three levels. The gap is the remaining two levels. After identifying the gap, you begin planning out the remainder of the projects and realize that your home club won’t meet often enough for you to achieve your goal by June 30! You may feel you’re losing traction and getting out of the groove. Don’t worry, there are adjustments you can make to regain traction. Try reaching out to other clubs and ask if you can give a speech at one of their meetings—with clubs meeting online there is bound to be one looking for a speaker at an upcoming meeting. The world is open before you, and it is never too late to regain traction and get back in the groove!

This quote from Garth Stein in The Art of Racing in the Rain is applicable as well: “In racing, they say that your car goes where your eyes go. The driver who cannot tear his eyes away from the wall as he spins out of control will meet that wall; the driver who looks down the track as he feels his tires break free will regain control of his vehicle.”

Take your eyes off the obstacles—they are the wall. Look down the track and focus on your goal. Make the adjustments to regain traction and charge toward the finish line and achieving your goals.

It is never too late to regain traction and get back in the groove!

Want to see where International President Richard. E. Peck has been on his virtual world tour? View this interactive map and click on the circles to see which countries he’s visited.


Richard E. Peck, DTM

International President


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