by Steven Timmons, DTM
The real question to start with is, “Where Do You Want to Go?”. You see, it is always about having a goal and then creating a plan to get you there. Pathways is simply a tool and it is partly up to you (as with every tool) to figure out how to use it to get you where you want to go.
Getting started with Pathways is pretty easy. You optionally can take an assessment that recommends three paths to follow based on your answers. Or, you can simply pick any of the eleven paths that you wish to take. Not only that but you have 30 days to change paths if you decide that the first one you chose is not for you.
Paths are built on five competencies to advance your confidence, communication, and leadership skills. Communication takes the form of public speaking and interpersonal communication while leadership involves strategic leadership and management competencies. You select the mix of competencies with the path you chose.
Recently, I have been watching a program called “Expedition Unknown” with host Josh Gates. Josh fancies himself a modern-day Indiana Jones for both his archaeology degree and exploration interests. He has made many expeditions into the Amazon jungle and many other terrains, gone beneath the waves, and flown into the sky to find what he seeks.
He has sought to unearth 5,000-year-old relics as well as locate elusive creatures such as the Abominable Snowman. However, his expeditions all have one thing in common. They start with a goal of discovery and effectively use our five core competencies to deliver their show. Let me provide you with some examples of what I mean by this:
Public Speaking – he presents in a variety of formats both prepared presentations as well as impromptu discussions. He addresses the camera like he is talking to each of us individually. He shares his thoughts, goals, suspicions, hopes, and dreams and delivers them with the authority to convince you he is the knowledge expert. He also utilizes a great deal of humor in his discussions.
Interpersonal Communication – he must develop a variety of relationships and trusts to allow him to host his show. Some are behind the scenes and you never meet them. Some are the film crew that travels along with him. Then there are those people he meets in the field that he is there to follow (and lead). Each of these relationships is based on his ability to gain their trust and confidence.
Strategic Leadership – every expedition is dependent on someone to pull it all together and develop a coherent plan. He does not just climb unto a plane and head out. It is way more complicated. He must have a vision of where to start, what comes next, and when it must end. Each mission depends on it.
Management – this is where the secret sauce is revealed. Managing the process requires the combination of those first three. Without the proper management, budgets could be blown, trusts could be lost, and goals could fail. Keeping the eye on the ball is crucial to delivering the content that his audience has come to expect from his show.
Confidence – this is the underlying factor that makes this all possible. Without developing the confidence to proceed, nothing would likely happen. Whether it is skydiving, scuba diving, or managing the crew across an international border, confidence does its part to help him deliver time after time.
Competencies are all soft skills that you will not necessarily get from a technical school or class. There is a myriad of hard skills that Josh must have working for him, such as archaeology and scuba diving, but they would be completely useless on their own in delivering his show; “Expedition Unknown”. These five competencies are the mix of soft skills that help him deliver his exciting content.
What does this mean to you? Toastmasters’ Paths are designed to help you develop these competencies for yourself and in a mix that is customized to fit your personal goals. Working within a given Path, you can develop skills in a combination that is right for you.
Can you see how this will help you accomplish the goals you have set for yourself? I ask you. What will your personal expedition be? This is where Pathways will take you!