If playing a role at the club meeting is like swimming in a pond; stepping out of the club, is like swimming in the ocean, and our mentors in Toastmasters are our oxygen tanks, who help us to sail through.
In my speech today, I’m going to talk about how I got pulled out from the pond to the ocean by my mentor, DTM Lalitha Giridhar.
Good morning fellow Toastmasters and Guests,
I joined Toastmasters in the year 2006. But, up until the year 2009, I was just sticking to the pond. But, I never Stepped Out of the walls of the club and always operated in my comfort zone, until I received that call… in the year 2010.
1st Phone Call
It was a call from my mentor DTM Lalitha Giridhar, who was then an Area Governor.
She said “Saro! I’ve a friend who is hospitalised. Unfortunately, there is no one to take care of her. I’ve to be in the hospital for the next 2 weeks, to help her out. Coincidentally, our Area Contests is coming up in 2 weeks. As an Area Director, I’m responsible for organising it. Since I’m not going to be available, would you be able to organize it as a Contest Chairman”.
I told her “Lalitha! I have not organised any events in the past. I don’t even know what to do for an Area Contest.”. Lalitha in her usual tone said “Don’t worry Kanna. I’ll support you over the phone. I’ll email you all the templates and checklists. I know you’ll do a great show”.
With some hesitancy, I signed up for the role. But, when I got into it, I really enjoyed the experience of forming a team, planning for various tasks, getting props like certificates/trophies, promoting the contest to the members/guests and last but not the least… putting together a great contest. Signing up for the Contest Chairman role, instilled the confidence in me that I can also work with a team … and influence people without a formal authority. That was the first ever role that I played outside of the club.
2nd Phone Call
Months moved on. It was the year 2011, right after I finished my Presidential term. I didn’t know what to do next.
One fine afternoon, Lalitha called me and asked “Hey Saro! We are starting a new Toastmasters club in Amazon. Would you be able to mentor the club? The club meets on Thursdays in the evenings”. Until that time all of my Toastmasters activities were confined only to the weekends. So, I was a little hesitant to take up the role.
I told her “Lalitha! I’m not sure if I would be able to take time off from the work every week. It will be hard Lalitha…”.
Lalitha, without giving me any additional time interrupted my conversation and said “Don’t worry Saro. I have identified 2 mentors and 2 sponsors for the club. You don’t have to go there every week. The 4 of you can take turns. All that you’ve to do is visit the club once a month and support them”.
I told my boss that I have to leave a little early from the office on Thursdays and he said “As far as you can take care of the deliverables, I don’t mind”. That’s how my club mentoring journey started.
After a couple of weeks, I got a call again from Lalitha … “Saro! I don’t know what magic you did. Amazon Toastmasters are amazed by your leadership. They are very impressed by your evaluations. They admire your coaching style”.
Lalitha said “By the way… Saro! The other 3 idiots who signed up for mentoring the club, they dropped out. Can you please go there every week?”. Hesitantly, I said “Yes!” to her…. With an urge to help my poor mentor. That coaching experience enabled me to learn how to motivate a group of people to deliver their best.
Dear Toastmasters and Guests,
With all of the skills that I developed by stepping out of the club,
- I was able to able to work with large teams at work place,
- I was able to keep them motivated,
- I was able to influence them, get things done and produce superior results
As a result, from just a Technical Marketing Engineer in 2009, I grew up in career to be the Delivery Head in a Fortune 15 company, managing a team of 300 employees… in 2015.
- Like a sculptor who discovers the statue hidden in a stone …
- Like an alchemist who transforms soil into gold …
- Mentors help you to form, reform and transform
- Mentors help you to step out of your comfort zone, standout from the crowd and step up in life.
I’ve stepped out… and stepped up… how about you TMOD?