Now that I have been a member of Toastmasters International for 10 years, it’s a good time to reflect on the experience.
It has been a life-changer for me.
As a born introvert I know only too well the ‘apparent fear’ one experiences when one stands up before a group of people to speak, whether it is in a work or business meeting, or if you are asked to give a speech somewhere.
After 10 years of ‘investing myself’ in the programme, here’s what I have learned:
* The old adage ‘you only get out what you put in’ is totally true.
Out here in Australia, Clubs meet twice a month and I’ve missed perhaps 15 – 20 meetings in those 10 years. I would say that I’ve been to at least 240 Toastmaster meetings if you count the other Toastmaster clubs that I have visited in that time.
* The benefits I have gained/positive impact on my life are immense.
I wrote an article back in 2015 for this blog and will post the link at the bottom for I identified 18 ways my life has benefitted from being involved in Toastmasters.
I’ve even managed to progress from Introvert to Ambivert as well!
* I sometimes get asked, ‘Why do you keep going?’
Simply put, Education, Motivation, Friendship & Fun!
I can’t remember how many times that I felt like just going home and vegetating because I had a hard day at work or whatever. Whenever I went to the Toastmasters meeting, I always came out at the end, revitalised and re-energised.
Every meeting you learning something new, either about yourself or about public speaking/leadership and with each time you do a role and/or speak you grow that little more in confidence.
I’ve made so many great friends who are so supportive, and we have loads of fun.
* It gives you a chance to have a positive impact on other people’s lives
I can easily relate to how other people (especially Introverts) feel and can help them through my experiences. The membership individually and as a whole want people to succeed. We support them through their mistakes, want them to progress and use their skills out in the World at large.
Toastmasters Clubs also run Youth Leadership courses in schools and Speechcraft courses for adults.
I’m really looking forward to the next 10 years and beyond in Toastmasters. Here in Australia, we’ve just taken delivery of the new PATHWAYS Education programme. 10 Paths to transverse. I’ve selected, ‘Presentation Mastery’ as the one I’d like to begin with.
There is another old saying that says, ‘It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey…’, well this journey is one that I am ever so grateful for!
17 March 2018
To find out the way 18 ways being involved in Toastmasters has helped me, click on
If you would like to find out more, click on https://www.toastmasters.org/
Like a lot of people at the start of the year, I did a Vision Board and set some goals etc.
One area I addressed was health. I set walking, meditation, exercise and fluid goals which were going tremendously well until the 18 February…
Whilst I was doing them I felt I had more energy and was keeping on top of things.
The goals were to:
- Walk 3 times a week
- Walk a minimum 15km’s (9.3 miles) per week
- Meditate every day for a minimum of 10 minutes
- Exercise 3 times a day (I have 10 stretching exercises a Physio recommended)
- Drink 1.5 – 2 litres (3.7 – 4.2 US pints) a day
With my Wife, Susan, we operate a Strategic Marketing business, I am in a BNI (Business Network International) breakfast networking group, holding two committee positions; Vice-President Public Relations for Camden Toastmasters and am a co-Mentor for Gledswood Toastmasters, a proposed new club.
Apart from that, we have our time together plus all of my creative interests.
Looking back, I can see the reason that the goals went pear-shaped over the last month!
It has been such a busy month on all fronts that the business meant quite a few late nights; it is contest season in Toastmasters and I was involved in contests at Club level and Area level. These led to late nights, and a lesser quality of sleep that definitely impacts the next day (especially when you have some early starts) and so on…
I restarted the activity today and feel much better for it! I believe the last month would have been a lot less draining if I had made the time and stuck to the goals I had set myself. I also need to look at perhaps reducing my involvement on committees from 4 positions to two.
Hopefully, I can learn from this ‘latest life lesson’ and that I won’t have to be taught it again. 🙂
17 March 2018
Photography has been a passion of mine for 35 years, though since 2010 (when I did a basic Drawing course and started dabbling in Painting), Drawing and Painting have been slowly increasing in interest for me.
For the first time ever, this year, I have spent more time painting than I have photographing… Wow!
They are two very different mediums, with some similarities, particularly since Digital impacted photography. Painting cannot compete with the immediacy of photography, however, photography (since the Digital onslaught) has become almost machine gun-like, in that where a lot of photographers churn out numbers in the hundreds and the thousands when they go out to take photos.
There are or course photographers who do not take this approach to photography. They give serious consideration to the idea before they even pick up their camera to shoot the image or image series.
These photographers remind me of the painter who gives serious consideration to the idea and plans the painting accordingly. They need to decide on the composition, the story, the colours and the lighting etc. They pre-visualise just like the Black & White/Monochrome Darkroom photographers of yesterday did. Some still do.
Sitting in front of a computer (for me) editing image after image just isn’t as exciting or as fun as sitting in front of the canvas and creating.
This did surprise me somewhat, being a passionate photographer for as long as I have been. Recently, a photographer friend went on an overseas trip for a few weeks and took 8,000 digital images. 8,000! Having to review that many images from the trip are a real turn-off for me.
I’m still passionate about photography, though in different ways than above.
So, why I am attracted to Drawing and Painting?
- They slow me down. They force me to think about what I am doing, what I am endeavouring to create, much like using an old TLR (Twin Len Reflex) on a tripod and taking the time to explore a scene with the eyes and the mind instead of firing off shot after shot with a DSLR…
- It really takes you back to basics i.e. just using the mind, the limbs, pigments and paper/canvas. It is a challenge to create something uniquely yours without the high-flying technology. This excites me!
- We, humans, spend our lives these days ‘tied to technology’ via our ever-present mobiles (cell-phones), tablets and other digital devices. Sitting in front of the canvas or creating in my Journal allows me to disengage.
- I was thinking the other day that one can’t get much closer to the raw beginnings of hand-made Art than Drawing, Painting (or indeed Sculpture). The cave-dwellers picked up a rock or some other pigmented material and started to draw/paint.
Drawing and Painting takes one back to the early days of Art, the person, tool, pigment and the imagination.
What you draw, paint or photograph depends on your genes, your environment, what influences your thoughts and actions and your beliefs etc just like those cave-dwellers.
In that respect, only the tools and Mankind’s thoughts and advancement have changed.
In regards to drawing and painting, I am in the early stages of my journey. I feel it’s a journey that I will be on for the rest of my life. Exciting times are ahead!
Written by David Johnson
30 December 2017
As a child, I was interested in Poetry, and that interest grew throughout my teens, into my twenties and beyond to the current day.
Whilst the Internet is a wonderful resource, I’m one of those old-fashioned people who still love the feel of holding a book, and so, over time I’ve picked up the odd poetry book.
– Selected Poems and Letters of Emily Dickinson – Edited by Robert N. Linscott
Reading poetry helps me to tune out from the world. I disappear into the poem and let my imagination run wild.
Poetry is really ‘Music to my Ears!’
Written by David Johnson
At my core I am ‘an ideas person.’ I have a lot of them and sometimes the phrase, ’shiny object syndrome’ comes to mind. Through 2003 – 2009 I was traveling 4 hours return by public transport to work in Sydney, Australia, was in two Photographic Societies, on committees and had lots of things on the go. Over the years, I have many ideas and some of them have progressed but many are still there, waiting…
I began to revisit Sketches (that were not connected with Photographic ideas) which led me to keep a related Sketching journal, which led to me completing a basic Drawing course. Up sprang another type of Journal!
Drawing led to me wondering if I could Paint? Up sprang a small Painting ‘Journal.’
I ascertained it had to be able to be good enough quality paper to be:
- Written on using a Calligraphy (or similar pen)
- Able to withstand Watercolour and Acrylic Paints
- Sketched or Drawn upon
As I found out, there is a whole industry devoted to Journals/Journaling. Here is one of the links that were indeed very helpful to me, as I hope it will be for you.
The next decision was, ’should I buy a ready-made’ product or make my own?’
The Journal I have chosen to combine all my Artistic, Writing & Poetical ideas is an A4 Ivory paper journal.
In this Journal, to my Heart’s content I can:
- Write Poetry
- Write small articles
- Formulate Ideas
- Paste photos
As I get on in years it is going to be so much fun delving back, re-engineering ideas and seeing what thoughts and ideas I have had. When I am no longer on this Earth the Journals will be left to relatives/friends who I know will appreciate and gain enjoyment from (and who knows) may progress some of the ideas and be inspired to record their own Artistic Journey.
Do you keep a Journal of your Art, Thoughts & Ideas?
As for me, I believe I can hear my Journal calling me… Bye for now.