Have you recently renewed your Toastmasters membership? In our subscription culture, where we place everything on auto renewal and autopay, whether we need it or not, it can be difficult to keep track of our memberships. Until two years ago, I used to be that guy, the one the treasurer had to chase and arm-twist to renew. At the eleventh hour, I would make a snap decision on whether to pay or not to pay.
After a few years in Toastmasters, my snap decision was not to pay, I was ready to call it quits. After all, I thought I had learned everything I could from Toastmasters. However, it was something my mentor, Aniket Singh, said that made me think again. He said, “Toastmasters is a tool. It’s up to you to find all the uses for you.” It was at the moment that I asked myself, what else can I get out of Toastmasters? Also, how can I apply the goal-setting process I use in my professional life to Toastmasters?
Renewals have become a time of reflection for me to set new goals. Granted, goals are perhaps the most abused word in the modern world, but to me, goals have a different meaning. Your goal is a compass – the systems and processes help you to achieve your goals. It is the map to get you safely to where you are heading. The habits we do regularly, every day, slowly move us along that map. While you need all three to get the result, success starts with your goals.
As Viktor Frankl quotes Friedrich Nietzsche in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning: “He who has a why to live can bear almost any “how.” Therefore, thinking and setting goals as a compass allows you to find your “why”. Reflecting on your goals annually helps you keep your why relevant.
Since I started my reflective renewal process, Toastmasters helped me evolve into a better speaker, not just to win the District 101 International Speech Contest in 2020, but also to deliver global product launch videos and keynotes on behalf of my employer.
So, how do we do this in true Toastmaster style? I believe you will find your answers in the following three questions, which I call my 3W’s.
What have I learned from Toastmasters so far, and in this last year?
Keep it specific, personal, and limit it to your top three learnings.
What is one thing someone else in Toastmasters has learned from me?
Write down your initial thoughts, and ask your club members and other Toastmasters you have collaborated with on projects. Find the one thing that had the greatest positive impact.
What skill can you learn or improve to help you excel at your work, hobby, or relationship?
This is usually the toughest question for me. Identify your biggest challenge and one skill that you can practice in Toastmasters and implement.
- Challenge: I want to get a job promotion, but I’ve been told I need to speak up in meetings.
- Skill: How to speak up in-office meetings.
- Implementation: Become a club officer and practice speaking up in officer meetings.
This is the process I use in many aspects of my life. Of course, you are the only one who can strike a balance between being present and happy with the now and setting the right goals to guide you as a compass in your path of continuous growth.
What will your compass be for your next Toastmaster year? Will it be that one goal that will help with some of your larger goals? Start writing down things you learned and taught. Teaching also strengthens your future goals. When you teach, you learn twice.
Let the review of the renewal commence! For resources on renewals, please visit:
Written by: Nish Neelalojanan – ACG ALS PM5 EH5 – AMD Speak