By Greg Pick, DTM, Immediate Past District Director
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi
My experiences in Toastmasters have demonstrated the truth in this quote from Mahatma Gandhi. Point number six of the Toastmasters Promise states, “To Serve my Club as an officer when called upon to do so.” As club officers, we support the members so they can experience the benefits of our meetings. Serving at the club level provides a good foundation for every member.
Once we take a step outside our club to take on a district role, our service journey accelerates, as do the benefits gained from serving. I took this step in 2010 by serving as a contest Toastmaster followed the next year by becoming an Area Director.
The decision to take these roles increased my understanding of the benefits of serving others. While serving in these roles, I improved my interpersonal communication skills, developed a personal vision, developed close friendships, and increased my self-confidence. Skills learned and/or improved included event planning and organization, team building, conducting meetings, delegating and motivating others, and recognizing that our differences make our teams stronger. To my surprise, I learned the joy and satisfaction that results from aiding in the growth of members in many different clubs.
I believe what Past International President, Distinguished Toastmaster, Helen Blanchard stated, “If you get out of Toastmasters all that you can get out of Toastmasters then you will never get out of Toastmasters.” The benefits and growth in my soft skills continue through participation outside my club. Because of my personal growth and the opportunity to help contribute to others’ personal development, I will continue to participate in Toastmasters. I challenge you to take that first step outside of your home club. See if it changes you as it did me!