As we move into the new Toastmaster year on Sept 4 our new club president PJ Reece has graciously accepted the arm twist to write a monthly dispatch. This is the first.
Ironically, one of the first jobs as President is to devise a new slogan for the coming year, and “Evolving together” appeared immediately and out of nowhere.
I let it marinate in my doubt for a couple of weeks and then put it out to the rest of the executive. The result is something more meaningful:
“Evolving together – shaping our world”
I’m sure it means something slightly different to every member, and I’m looking forward to hearing our many different interpretations. In Inspirations and Speeches and maybe even Jokes, we should feel free to put our own twist on it.
For starters, here’s what it means to me:
There’s power in togetherness. I know, I know, our North American culture loves its independence. Look at me living the life of the solitary writer. And I love it! But what is independence all about? It means freedom. Well, it turns out that independence may be one of the greatest obstacles on the path to freedom.
I have come to see the truth of this by pondering what is it that we want freedom from? Freedom from what? What prison am I in?
Clearly, unanimously! I want freedom from the outmoded habits that prevent me from growing. I need freedom from what I call my “small self”. That’s why I joined Toastmasters—to bust out of my fear of public speaking. My fear is a lazy old habit. The good news is, I’m shedding that fear. Frank told me as much after last week’s Poet’s Society meeting—thank you, F.C.
And, of course, I’m not doing this alone, am I? And for that I thank you all.
So I’m glad that in some small way I’m evolving. But what good is evolution if it doesn’t help nudge our culture toward more inclusivity? I’m trying to do that in my writing, and more significantly in my public talks. Perhaps I’m suffering delusions of grandeur, but I’ve been volunteering speeches all over the map. And without Toastmasters I wouldn’t have known where to begin.
That’s the long answer to the question “what does our slogan mean to me?” Here’s the Tweetable version:
“For us to evolve—as individuals and as a society—we need each other.”
NOTE: Katherine Scott has suggested that this short dispatch serve as the first of a regular monthly feature from the club President on our Morningstars website.
Sounds good to me.
A la prochaine.