W.C. Blackmon, DTM
With Thanksgiving taking place at the end of November, followed by the many other traditional holidays celebrated during the month of December, it is not uncommon to find ourselves reflecting on those individuals who deserve our thanks and appreciation. I know that I have a very long list because there have been so many who have added to the enrichment and vibrancy of my life. For many of us, family, loved ones, and co-workers top this list. However, also amongst those who are deserving of my gratitude are my fellow Toastmasters. Because of their speeches shared, insightful evaluations, listening ears, discerning eyes, and their willingness to participate in the growth of every Toastmaster member, I have been afforded a cornucopia of opportunities to grow and level up, not only in the Toastmaster Pathways program but also in life itself. How have I leveled up?
Due to the many evaluations that I have received and given, I am now much better at assessing situations and delivering helpful and immediate feedback. Because of Toastmasters, when I have a presentation to give, my confidence and my competence are expressed in every word. In the area of leadership and business, hesitancy and indecision due to a lack of confidence is now yesterday’s history rather than today’s continued bad habit. However, it is not just my more active or assertive strengths that have been enhanced, I have also learned to transform what are usually thought of as passive actions into great strengths. Some examples include learning how to strategically delegate, communicating concerns without expressing or engendering negative emotions, keys to active listening, and the ability to channel positive energy.
Finally, I have learned the wonderful art of turning rejections into connections. No matter what one’s professional or personal expertise, this is a quantifiable keeper! I am, and will continue to be, extremely thankful for all of these lessons learned, because I know that they will continue to push me forward in the direction I wish to go and person I want to become in life.
This, dear reader, brings a couple of questions to mind. Have you received or experienced similar gifts in the past year or three? Then too, have you ever considered showing your gratitude to someone by giving the gift of a Toastmasters membership? It is a gift which truly NEVER stops giving back. The reason why is because along with being a gift, despite the inexpensive cost, it is also a huge investment. Expressing gratitude is an important aspect of personal growth, and personal growth is essential to leading a productive personal as well as professional life. In short, through Toastmasters, one can fast-track onto a happier and more fulfilling life.
Lily Tomlin wrote, “The road to success is always under construction.”
I would add to that truth these words: A road of success cannot be soundly constructed without gratitude and growth. As we move closer to the New Year, I invite consideration of these three questions: How will you show your gratitude today? How will you help to ignite another’s growth for tomorrow, and last but certainly not least, will you choose today to multiply greater growth in yourself?
Just so, I will see you on the Road to Victory!