Two types of people
According to me, there are two types of people. Those who love running and they do it for fun on their own, and those who like running and enjoy the excitement during organized races, receiving medals and crossing the finish line with the sound “you are the champion”, even though the distance is 5 km. In Toastmasters, there are members who love taking part in competitions, fulfilling deadlines, following the program, finishing open projects no matter what and those who are not treating the Toastmasters program as a big picture, but picking just the part of the program which they like and need. There are people whose ambition is to be recognized as a DTM and those who don’t care about it. Guess which type of a person am I? No doubt, I’m a finisher who, at the end of the race, likes to receive a medal, a task oriented person who loves getting things done. I had a dream to accomplish this achievement and so I proudly did!
Yay!, I’ve been recognized by Toastmasters International as a Distinguished Toastmaster and what does it mean to me? Should I be an outstanding speaker? I prepared so many speaking projects, rehearsed them in front of the mirror and delivered in various places and occasions, so probably yes – I should, but there are so many fantastic speakers around me and I still see a huge area for improvement. Nevertheless, right now I’m always ready. Ready to deliver a speech, no matter how much time I have to prepare it, how big the audience is and what kind of a channel I’m going to use: face to face, camera, teleconference. I’m always ready to speak up.
Maybe I should be an outstanding leader then? I organized so many meetings, conferences, special events, trainings, contests, held various roles in the club and District Officers Boards, so probably yes-I should. However, I still have leaders around me from whom I’m learning how to work in an international environment, how to manage a team and be a valuable team member.
DTM means to me that I trained several speaking and leadership skills in a live environment and I was able to learn from them a lot.
Master’s Degree with Toastmasters
When I received my DTM award from the postman-in one moment I had in my mind the whole Toastmasters journey-projects I realized, places I’ve visited and people I met and worked with. If someone would ask how much time I spent on this journey I could compare it to the time I invested for my Master’s Degree. Meetings, speeches, special events, conferences and of course, afterparties consume a lot of time and energy, however, in this case, I had a choice which projects I can follow, what I would like to learn, what events I can organize-truly life learning experience where my only limitation was me. Apart from the skills which I gained, I met fantastic people who are my inspiration on a daily basis, my mirror which in a supportive way shares feedback and simply, my friends.
There is still so many things to learn! Toastmasters with various leadership roles, the crowd learning formula and the new educational system, which is Pathways, makes me feel that there is always something new to learn, experience and grow. Currently, I’m the District 108 PR Manager and together with the PR Team we support Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Lativa, Estonia. The best thing about this journey is that -I decide which way I’m going, what skills I’m developing. Following Oscar Wilde “you can’t never be overeducated” I know one thing after receiving a DTM: there is still so many things to learn.
Author: Justyna Szumińska, D108 PR Manager 2018-2019