Welcome to the 2021–2022 Toastmasters program year! Just like with any new year, this is a time to simultaneously look back on the previous year and make plans for the new one.
What goals did you set for yourself this past program year? Did you complete one or more paths in Pathways? Personally, I was able to complete two and have started a third. What did you learn about yourself—and about others—during this historic time? I have witnessed resilience, a desire to continue to grow personally, and a willingness to help others, despite the challenges. I have watched as the world became smaller, not in size but in the distance between us. All of this is a true testament to the heart of our members and to ourselves as an organization.
As we enter this new Toastmasters year, let’s look forward with an optimistic eye.
We should also remember that the past is behind us, and it should serve more as a reminder than a focus. Now is the time to look toward the future and what is in front of us. Think of it this way: The rearview mirror of a car is very small—everything in that mirror is behind us and isn’t meant to be focused on, whereas the windshield in front is large, allowing for greater focus on the road ahead.
If you weren’t able to achieve all of your 2020–2021 goals, celebrate what you did accomplish and let those accomplishments be the steppingstones for a great year ahead. If you achieved your 2020–2021 goals, congratulations! What new goals will you set? Charter a new club? Become a mentor? Take on a leadership role? Whatever your goals, set them high enough to stretch yourself.
As we enter this new Toastmasters year, let’s look forward with an optimistic eye: That all our clubs will soon be able to meet in person again; that we will be able to share in handshakes and high-fives. No matter how this year unfolds, I am confident, based on what I have seen and experienced, that we will continue to be there to support and encourage one another, to help mentor and guide one another, and to help others reach further than they think they can.
As T.S. Eliot said, “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice.” How will you share your voice and stories with the Toastmasters community in the new year? How will your experiences change you … and change others?
Happy New Year! Let’s make the 2021–2022 Toastmasters year the best ever!
Richard E. Peck, DTM