Categories
Life

A False Sense of Normal

We’ve all heard about people growing up with alcoholic parents becoming alcoholics themselves. We’ve also heard about people marrying people exactly like their parents – consciously or subconsciously.

The same is true for dysfunctional families and for children who witness emotional or physical abuse. Most will swear that they’ll be different parents, but they don’t account for a subconscious comfort level.

I’ve met people who either dislike or completely hate the type of person their parent was, and vow to be completely different. As they age though, and their children grow, they often look back and see that in some ways they were exactly the same as their parents; maybe not as obviously, but on a emotional level, and they didn’t even realize it until then.

The same can be said for the people we marry as well. We will swear we’re marrying someone who’s the polar opposite of our parent. As our marriage progresses though, we realize we’ve married someone with the same traits. Have you ever had a friend whose second spouse was almost the same as their previous spouse?

Why is that? I believe it’s because dysfunctional childhood breeds dysfunctional adults, and when we’re dysfunctional, we don’t know what normal is.  We’re seduced by the level of comfort we feel with a person, we con ourselves into believing they’re our safe harbour, our calm in the storm. How could it be wrong when it feels so right?

Because our behaviour has been conditioned. We don’t know what right is supposed to feel like. The “comfort” comes from the feeling of familiarity; that’s why it feels “right”.

Life is all about learning and growing. If you find yourself in a dysfunctional relationship with either your partner or your children, the first step is to recognize it and change it. If we didn’t like certain behaviours in our parents, and we find we’re acting the same way subconsciously, own it and apologize, and actively try to change.

If we’re in a relationship with a dysfunctional person, draw the line. Figure out if the relationship can be salvaged, go for counseling, either as as couple, a family, or individually. Have limits, know what you will accept, how you will respond, and what your deal breakers are. Then have a plan B. Always have a plan B.

If we’re starting a new relationship and we start to feel too comfortable too fast, run faster, much faster. The fact is you probably can’t trust your judgement. If you don’t realize it until it’s too late, see the paragraph above about being in a relationship with a dysfunctional person.

We can usually recognize a dysfunctional relationship if it:

  • Makes us feel bad
  • Makes us feel sad
  • Makes us cry
  • Makes us nervous (and not in a good way)

Sometimes these types of feelings have actually been triggered by some behaviour. Don’t accept it. Figure it out. Some people do that by keeping a journal so they can understand what triggered their negative emotion, and some people meditate for clarity and understanding. Find what works for you.

Some people never figure it out or they figure out the extent of dysfunction after the fact, when there’s some distance between themselves and the dysfunctional situation.

No matter what the situation, forgive yourself. The subconscious is a powerful thing, and self-discovery and understanding can take a lifetime. Thankfully, we have one. A lifetime.

We’ll get it right. Once we understand it.

And repeat after me:

I am strong
I am worthy
I will be okay

I found that when a situation triggered an anxiety attack, I would close my eyes and silently repeat that to myself. It is true for me and it is true for you too.

Just a piece of life experience and wisdom for you to think about.

7 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship
7 Signs of a Dysfunctional Relationship
Relationship Red Flags You Should Never Ignore
Psych Central: Dysfunctional Relationships

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Categories
Life

Fear of Flying

I was driving down the road the other day and I saw a tiny house fly hanging onto the outside of my driver side window. His little wings were flapping furiously as he struggled to cling onto the window. I wondered why it was so important for him to hang on – he had wings, he could fly away anytime he wanted. Was there something sweet on my window that he wanted? Had I simply taken him by surprise when I started to move?

I glanced to the other side to change lanes, and when I looked back the fly was no longer there. I didn’t know if he’d left on his own or if the air current had swept him away. For a brief moment I wondered if he would be okay – if he’d survived, and then I gave my head a shake. Of course he would be okay – he had wings and he could fly.

Then I realized this was a good analogy for life as well. Sometimes we cling onto things far longer than we should. We hang onto marriages, friendships, jobs, and even houses, when sometimes it’s better to let go. We hang on out of fear, out of a sense of obligation, out of pride, for financial reasons, and for a plethora of other, personal reasons.

We worry about what will happen if we let go; will we survive? Change is scary! People use the expression “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”, or “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”, but that usually doesn’t justify not taking a chance. We recite those types of quotes to make ourselves feel better about not making life changing (and often scary) decisions. I now know that sometimes it’s better to have no devil at all, and that sometimes even one bird can crap all over you.

“Action may not bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

We’ve all had those moments when we knew we needed to do something but seemed frozen – like a deer in the headlights. We all want to make the right choices, the right changes, and we’re terrified of making the wrong decision, but even doing nothing is a decision – and it’s the worst possible decision you can make.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing”. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

When I look back through the years, I realize that most changes were thrust upon me – broken relationships, lost jobs, relocations, and many more. There were changes I needed to make but didn’t. I stayed in jobs when a change would have been better for my career. I stayed in relationships long past their best before dates. Hindsight really is 20/20 though isn’t it? I’ve learned that it’s important sometimes to reflect on our lives and decisions and to use that insight to learn and grow.

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in”. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Sometimes that means making a decision to let go. To feel the fear and do it anyway. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Maybe we’ll find out that like that tiny fly – we too have wings and we too can fly.

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Continuous Learning

It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. Whether you just graduated from school or if you’re as old as dirt, it’s important to keep your mental synapses firing and keep learning. Besides improving your employment possibilities, studies have shown that continuous learning can also slow down or prevent dementia.

Stronger, Freer – A Celebration of Canada

“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”

That’s a quote from Jessica Hische, but how many of us have the opportunity to turn our passions into our work? Maybe there’s a compromise. Some companies/universities offer their tenured employees the chance to take a sabbatical and what a wonderful opportunity that could be. A year to re-ignite your passion and follow your heart.

Steve Harvey said that in order to achieve great success, sometimes you have to jump. You will never be a huge success by doing the same thing day after day and never taking a chance, never following our passion, never dreaming that we can soar.

A couple I worked with for several years are doing just that. They’ve jumped and they’re taking a break from their professional careers to follow a passion of theirs. That passion led to the creation of Stronger, Freer. In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, our sesquicentennial, Stronger Freer tells the story of a struggling Canadian family over the course of 150 years from Confederation through to present day, in a series of vignettes. It’s going to be playing June 15, 17, 18 at Nineteen on the Park in Stouffville, Ontario – even though it’s not on the calendar yet, the venue is booked and I predict it will sell out fast, so keep an eye on their calendar.

Two ordinary people taking a leap of faith to use their gifts and share their passion for Canada and for theatre with everyone else. I’m envious. And honoured to know them. They are setting an example for all of us and giving all of us this fabulous gift. You won’t want to miss it.

UPDATE: TICKETS ARE NOW AVAILABLE! 

 

 

 

#Canada150 #CrazyPassionateCanadians #Stouffville #Sesquicentennial #StrongerFreer

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Categories
Life

For the Love of Books

I love books. All books. I hold them in the highest reverence. I love to hold them, smell them, read them, listen to them; I love hardcovers, paperbacks, audiobooks, and ebooks. I have collected leather bound books most of my adult life, especially the classic authors like Hans Christian Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, Shakespeare, Tolkien, Jack London, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells, and John Steinbeck; classic books like To Kill a Mockingbird, Atlas Shrugged, and Vanity Fair; and great philosophies like  Plato’s Republic, and Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, and so many more! I’m reflecting on my books today because I’m purging. I’m about to have yet another birthday (will they never stop?) and I’ve decided to minimalize my life. It has to be done sooner or later because (a) I won’t live forever, and (b) I won’t live here forever and I’m tired of carting around boxes of books when I move. It’s nice to pass them on as well, for others to enjoy. Oh, there are some that I will keep – my collection of The Rise and Fall of Civilization by Edward Gibbons and a few first editions, among others.

Books saved my life. When I was first taken into care of the Children’s Aid Society in Toronto, I was given a shower, a new dress (blue and white and way too big), a bald doll (okay, she wasn’t bald, but plastic hair doesn’t count), and a book. The social worker gave me the book when she discovered I could read quite well. I had just turned six. I wish I still had that book. It was about two inches thick and full of magical tales. It slept with me at night; it comforted me when I was sad; it was my daily escape from my painful existence. I read it at night under my covers with a flashlight and when my foster mother took my flashlight away, I opened my curtains and read by moonlight on the nights when the moon was bright enough.  I carried it with me to the many doctors’ appointments and court appearances that eventually declared me a crown ward, when I become society’s child.

I’m sure that book fell apart eventually. I know it was replaced with many other wonderful books though. I remember a grade 5 teacher chastising me for not paying attention and discovering I had a book hidden under my desk. It was Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. She made me stay behind after class and asked me if I understood what I was reading. I did. And I must have been the only kid in my high school who not only loved William Shakespeare, but read all of his plays and even memorized the entire Merchant of Venice. And who could forget Sonnet 29:

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

And as a young adult, goofing off with my foster cousin Christine Chartrand, each of us dramatically reciting Shakespeare until we collapsed with laughter.

I always carried a paperback book in my purse. One thing I truly appreciate about being a woman is I get to carry a purse which is the perfect hiding place for a pocket book. On the bus or subway, under my desk, or hiding in the bathroom at work, if I could steal a few minutes to take me away to distant lands, shower me with love and emotions, caress me with caring and compassion and fill my heart and soul with wonder and faith.

A recent article in the Globe and Mail spoke about the importance of libraries and started me thinking about my own relationship with libraries and led me to deciding to share that memory in this post.

I always appreciated libraries, since I lacked the funds to purchase the many books I devoured. I grew up in West Hill, Ontario, and walked 3 kilometers each way to a community branch of the Scarborough Public Library at Morningside and Lawrence. I knew the school librarians very well also. And as an adult in downtown Toronto (and later in North York), the library was always close. I could relax and read, do research, borrow music and movies; it was and is a very magical place.

I’ve been on the library board of Georgina Public Library for a few years (okay it’s more than a few but I won’t say how many), and I love the value that libraries give to our community and to our lives. I once heard the expression that the library is the hub of our community, and nothing could be more true than that. Libraries are the ultimate equalizers. No knowledge or technology is out of your reach if you have a library in your community. You can use the computers and even take computer courses, you can borrow books and movies, either in the library or online, you can join a book club, a writing group, a knitting group. The world is there for you and the door that opens it all is at your library.

I’m sad to see some of my books leave, but I’m sure they’ll have good homes. I did not throw them out. Most of them I sold or gave away (I only sold them because I knew only someone who truly wanted them would be willing to pay for them) and they’ll enjoy a new life, in a new home, enriching other minds. Besides, like children, they never really leave you; they’re always in your heart no matter where you are.

And they’re as close as your library. Go to the library, make new friends, create new memories, gain more knowledge, see the world. It’s waiting for you.

2016 – The Year That Was

What an interesting year 2016 was! I’m hoping I can keep the momentum going in 2017.  One of the promises I made for 2016 was to try something new at least once a month. I wanted to get out of my box, and learn to enjoy life more.

Theatre

That decision led me to re-discover community theatre. I’ve been to small theatres from Newmarket to Whitby and witnessed an amazing amount of talent. This is definitely something I’m going to continue doing. Two coworkers of mine have been involved in community theatre – acting and directing – and I’ve enjoyed watching them perform and supporting their efforts. To anyone who has not been to a community theatre lately, check it out. Here are some of the community theatres I attended:

I also had the privilege of taking my daughter to see the musical Kinky Boots at the Royal Alex theatre in Toronto. The evening was made more magical because I got to spend time with my beautiful daughter!

Local Events

I went to a wine tasting this year put on by Fellini Fine Wines (http://fellinifinewines.com/) and joined in with Music Bingo and trivia nights at our local Boston Pizza. I also attended a butter tart festival in Midland, Ontario with a couple of other ladies. What a fun day that was! Ribfest and the Tragically Hip concert at the ROC (http://tinyurl.com/GeorginaROC), a new farmer’s market at the Link in Sutton, and the Sutton Fair, helped to keep my weekends busy. I even attended a drumming circle at De LaSalle Hall which was an amazing way to spend a relaxing afternoon, drumming while looking out at beautiful Lake Simcoe. I found out about that through Meetup. And who can forget the Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee that our library puts on!

Music

My brother in law told me about a concert series called Classic Albums Live (www.classicalbumslive.com) – this is so much more than just tribute bands, it’s the world’s greatest classic rock albums live on state. Note for note. Cut for cut. All I can say is it’s absolutely amazing. I listened to The Band’s Last Waltz at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts in October, and I’ll be going to watch a rendition of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, in February.

Relaxation

I also took up colouring in 2016. I now have many adult colouring books and a few sets of pencils/markers and it’s so Zen-like to just chill and colour – on planes, on my deck, with a group of friends.

Something Completely Different

I started doing some reviews of products on Amazon and that’s been really cool. I now have some really cool tech things and a bunch of junk I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for. Many of my friends benefitted from my free products as well, and I’ll be looking to get rid of more stuff as I “ease” myself out of this type of activity. Let’s face it; after awhile it starts to seem a lot like work with stress and deadlines, etc. The only really good thing that came out of this was my introduction to Android boxes. Because I was able to get some at a discount, I was motivated to become a bit of an expert in configuring these boxes, and loading them. When I realized what was involved, I also realized that many local sellers are taking advantage of people by charging $150+ for these boxes. Many of my friends have been able to get a much more affordable streaming TV box and I’ve helped some of them to become more knowledgeable and self-sufficient.

Not everything in 2016 was great though.

Family

My daughter moved away to British Columbia. She found love with an amazing guy and while my heart breaks with the loss, I am comforted by the fact that she is happy and working towards building a future and a family with Mike. I got to know him a bit more over Christmas, and he’s really nice. We had a going away party for her, and we were so blessed by family who cared enough to come and send her off with their best wishes.

Volunteering

One of the volunteer boards I was on actually voted me off. Yeah I know, it’s kind of hard to believe. I won’t name them, but their reason for voting me off (officially anyway) was that I was disrespectful to other board members. I guess that’s how they interpreted my requests to see their bylaws, to expect transparency and professionalism. I pointed out where they had deviated from standard board governance, and even found a couple of experts in board governance who would have volunteered their time to help them become a better board. Suffice to say there was some stuff going on that I didn’t think was very kosher, but they obviously didn’t care. So, after advocating publicly for this organization for almost two years, and raising money for them, etc. I was summarily dismissed for being disrespectful by asking too many questions. Questions such as “could I see the motion that approved that expenditure?” or “can you show me the bylaw that says you can do that without board approval?” I’m well out of there (obviously) and moving on.

My involvement with our local library board has been so fulfilling. It was the reality check I needed this year – a very professional, well-run board led by the Chair, Paul Nicholls. I’ve learned so much from his example and will even repeat a quote from him – good governance and inclusion are like tattoos – they get under your skin and last a lifetime. On the Library Board, I’ve attended SOLS (Southern Ontario Library Service) meetings and shared ideas with other library board members from other libraries. I’ve learned more about fundraising, advocacy, and grants. Through the Ontario Library Association (OLA) website, I’ve been able to take their course Leadership by Design on board governance and succession planning. Because that’s how good boards do things; they educate their board members to be better.

Education

Continuing education is always a good thing, and I’ve taken courses in other areas as well. I’ve become a huge fan of MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) and over the past year I took courses on Linux through EdX (www.edx.org) and Teaching Adult Learners through Open2Study (www.open2study.com). The latter one was a bit of a refresher as some of my friends will remember when I was a systems trainer in the past. For fun, I took a course wine making at Udemy (www.udemy.com) which was interesting, but no wine at the end (insert disappointed face here).

Travel

On the travel front, I went to Cuba in October with a couple of ladies and learned a few things – travelling in groups of three never works unless you’ve all known each other a long time. Cuba was nice though and just the break I needed.

I spent Christmas in Langley, British Columbia, where my daughter and her beau played tour guide and showed me around Stanley Park, the helicopter hanger where Mike worked, and a bit of the surrounding area in the lower mainland. I am already planning to go back when the weather is nicer and I will split my time between the mainland and Victoria, where I can visit my sister Catherine. It’s been too long.

Toastmasters

I’ve kept busy in Toastmasters as well. I’m currently the President of my local community club Simcoe Shores Toastmasters (www.simcoeshores.ca) and I`m honoured to be working with a group of fantastic people on the executive. We’ve moved the club out of the church basement into a brighter, cleaner location which, although not very large, is a lovely place to meet. My corporate club, PoSITively Speaking Toastmasters (http://tinyurl.com/PositivelySpeaking) has opened up to outside members and also has an amazing executive. The highlight this year has been the chartering of an online advanced club, Great White North Online toastmasters (http://tinyurl.com/GWNOTM) under the leadership of our visionary leader, Susan Ellsworth.

Gratitude

I was honoured to have a childhood friend, Sue Holbrow, visit and stay a couple of days with me during the summer. Thank you to those who kept me healthy and relatively happy – a fantastic Naturopath, Ashleigh Higgins (http://www.ashleighhigginsnd.com/), a great dentist and staff at Cook’s Bay Dental (http://cooksbaydental.com/), and my physiotherapy (http://www.kesact.com/). I’m a tough client and hard to please, but you’ve all impressed me and I recommend each of you often. It’s been a whirlwind of a year but I feel like I’m forgetting something. If you remember sharing an activity with me, leave a comment and jog my memory.

Thank you to everyone who added to the rich fabric of my life in 2016, family as well as old friends and new friends. I treasure each and every one of you and look forward to making more memories and having more adventures and new experiences in 2017.

Categories
Life Memory Lane

Unexpected Lessons

A speech given a couple of months ago by a fellow Toastmaster had a profound effect on me. I find myself thinking often about what she had spoken of, and many times I thought about forwarding the advice to others. It was her 10th speech project (Speaking to Inspire) and so meaningful and inspiring. It was about the 7 things we need to let go of in our lives and I wrote them down. I wanted to create a poster and hang it above my desk to help me remember and stay aware. I’ll share them with you further down.

As I thought about how much that message meant to me, I reflected on how much I’ve learned from everyone since I’ve been in Toastmasters; it’s been more than just learning to speak with confidence, or to listen, and evaluate.

From watching advanced leaders I’ve learned (and am still learning):

  • how to build trust and teams (thanks Lori and Merri)
  • how to run a meeting and parliamentary procedures (thanks Paul)
  • how to build enthusiasm and remain positive (thanks Brian)
  • the art of using humour (thanks Mark)
  • how to lead by example (thanks Al)
  • how to encourage and inspire (thanks Merri)
  • the value of servant leadership

Thanks everyone who gave me an opportunity to learn.

From watching advanced speakers I’ve learned how to pause, how to move with purpose, how to use the stage, how to use humour to connect with the audience, and how to use vocal variety and pitch to get my message across. And to always have a message; give the audience something to take away with them. And that’s what my fellow Toastmasters have done. They’ve given me so much knowledge that I took away with me. Some small things such as: it takes 21 days to develop a habit (thanks Debbie), some larger things such as the inspiring tenth speech given by my fellow Toastmaster (thanks Jane).

In between, I learned:

  • how to select the perfect dog for your family (thanks Ron)
  • why Canada geese fly in a V shape, and how they support each other in flight (there’s a lot we can learn from them) (thanks Lori)
  • about the re-oxygenation of Lake Simcoe (thanks Ron)
  • where the expression “never let them get your goat” came from (thanks Eric)
  • how to handle stress (thanks Lynne)
  • how to sell a solution instead of a product (thanks Craig)
  • how to create a vision board (thanks Monica)
  • how to identify weeds local to the area (thanks Bart)
  • about the inequality of power in Ontario (which has to do with electricity, not politics) (thanks Rita)
  • how proportional voting works (thanks Paul)
  • how to make plum pudding (thanks Nancy)
  • about Victorian architectural designs in Hamilton (thanks Marlena)
  • what’s really in Haggis (thanks Iain)

So, even if I had just joined Toastmasters and never said a word, I have still learned so much from so many wonderful people.

The profound message I heard a few months ago, that I am often conscious of, is the 7 things we need to give up (thanks Jane):

  1. Let go of toxic people
  2. Let go of past regrets
  3. Let go of the need to be right
  4. Let go of feeling sorry for yourself
  5. Let go of negative thoughts
  6. Let go of limiting beliefs
  7. Let go of worrying about the future.

Jane challenged us to track our thoughts for 72 hours. It’s been a month for me, and I’m still checking my thoughts.

While I’m in this grateful state of mind, I think the most gratitude must go to the person who brought me into Toastmasters, which ultimately led to me developing confidence and a network of incredible friends. He was my mentor in the club, as well as my mentor in ways he may not realize, as I’ve watched his professionalism, his discretion and his ethics, and I’m still learning. Thanks Paul!

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The Worst Decisions

I hate making decisions; I’m a fence-sitter at heart. When I’m forced into making a decision, I second guess myself for days afterwards. I have doubts and they can be crippling. That’s how I feel though, it’s not how I act. People who meet me in meetings would describe me as decisive, opinionated, confident. Which is true? They both are to some extent. The first one is internal, and the second one is external. You don’t always get to see what’s really inside some people.

downloadThere are people worse than me though; those who can’t even pretend to push themselves. They can’t make a decision and they’ve given up trying. people-who-have-an-indecisive-personality

Then there are those who will not make decisions so they won’t have to be accountable. Nobody can ever accuse them of making a bad decision; because they never make decisions. If things go wrong or don’t work out, they can point the finger at whoever made the decision, safe in the knowledge that the fingers will never be pointed at them. Let someone else take that risk. The people who do this, consciously or subconsciously, are much harder to recognize. I’ll point my finger at them though. It’s easy to abdicate your responsibility and let someone else take the chance and the risk. Then you can resent them if they fail, (but subconsciously you’ll resent them if they succeed, because you’ll feel it should have been you).its-not-my-fault

If there’s one thing I’ve learned though, is that the worse decision you’ll ever make, is the one you never make.

As the Dalai Lama said, Great results and great growth involve great risks.

  • Right or Left?
  • Chicken or Beef?
  • Mutual Funds or Bonds?
  • Red or White?

Just make a damn decision, take a chance. It’s always better than doing nothing.

 

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Evolution

Interesting fact:

Nintendo started as a trading card company. They released a few board games in the sixties. They also created Mahjong and Twister. All before they came out with a video game. An excellent example of how companies should adapt in order to stay relevant.

On a more personal level:

I have used Windows computers for years and even took a Linux course and played around with different distros, but with Linux, android tablets and smartphones, I was constantly trying to find a way to do something on the android device the way I could do it on Windows.

An interesting twist happened today.

I tried to find a way to do something on my Windows computer, similar to how I can do it on my android tablet.

It reminds me of when Fahrenheit changed to Celsius, I thought it would take me forever (if ever) to make the change mentally. And then one day I realized that I was mentally trying to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius because I understood Celsius better. (And spellcheck just told me that I was even starting to forget how to spell Fahrenheit.) I also remember the time when they introduced litres/100 kms (crap, now I feel old!). The change from mpg (miles per gallon) just kind of happened. Now I can’t even translate mph to litres/100 kms. Or I can’t be bothered. Either way, I’ve adapted.

Speaking of feeling old, we’re NOT going to talk about mimeographs, teletypes, dictaphone, Faulker / Pittman shorthand, or ditto machines, because I haven’t a clue what any of that means! And don’t you dare ask me what they are. God created Google – look it up!

Even as people, we must adapt to a changing society. Or get left behind and some day die out. 

Forgotten.jpg

Obsolete.


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Reaching

I often compare what is learnt as a club officer in Toastmasters to the skills needed to run a business. Here’s another area where the lesson applies to both Toastmasters and businesses.

While performing a club officer role, members learn the skills and acquire the knowledge to perform the role in the best way possible. Things may be shaky at first, but ideally they have the support of members who have performed that particular role before. By the end of their tenure in a role, they’ve usually developed confidence in what they’re doing and initiated some bright new ideas.

And then they need to move on; to a new role which is a little bit different. And so they grow.enthusiasm

Yes, you identify who has the potential to grow into a role. Not everybody is suited for every role. Part of becoming a leader though is being able to identify and mentor your replacement. You don’t stay and do it again, now that you know. A fellow Toastmaster once stayed on for a second term as area governor (as they were called in those days). He felt that he would do an awesome job now that he knew what he was doing. By mid-year, it seemed his passion and enthusiasm had waned. By the end of the term, he told me he felt he had made a mistake by repeating the role. While he may not have started with confidence the first time, he was constantly developing it, and acquiring knowledge and skill while doing the role. When he repeated the role, the challenge was no longer there and he became bored.

I’ve noticed this in business as well. If you hire someone who has absolutely all the skills you need and want, and who has done this job or better in the past, you run a huge risk that the person will become bored and lose interest. If you must hire an expert because of a pressing business need, hire someone on a short term contract to just get the job done and leave. If you need someone to take on the role permanently, hire someone who has to reach a little bit to grow, they’ll do it with enthusiasm and passion.

So the lesson I take away from all this is not to look for pre-made experts, regardless of the benefit you perceive they can bring to your club or company, whether you’re in Toastmasters or in business. Give someone the opportunity to grow and enjoy doing it. Let the ready-made experts look for their next challenge as well.positive energy