22 May 2017

Looking back to the path travelled so far

Destiny has a strange way to direct you. Not always on the path you decided to go, but often the one even more interesting for you. That happened with me this time.

At first, I chose Presentation Mastery from the ten possible path: hoping to improve my presentation skills. Normal, not? But, I was also eager to read more about the different, five levels and what is hidden behind the short descriptions. I went to the Toastmasters International Website, and I paid for a printed copy to have delivered home. To experience also how it goes when you want to learn about the material farther from the computer.

Well, I am still waiting.

First, I was delivered a CC and a CL manual, "by mistake." Then after ten or more days of negotiations, they recognized the mistake and promised to send me... the Manuals of the first two levels of the path I ordered. "The rest, after your VPE tells us you did finish the first two levels." What? "We will send in three part, you do not have to pay each time for the postage." I wanted to be able to read at first all of it! To understand where I will be going and how. Then, begin to study and do it one by one.

Still not comfortable with that decision, to get it bits by bits and not all I paid for at once.

Happy as I already had the free path, the Presentation Mastery, when I joined my club in the D27 Pilot District, they offered to change the online version to a new path. Which one to take? Give me please the Visionary Communication. I liked the idea to communicate something new to the audience!

I could see the five interesting and increasingly going deeper levels, on screen now, even if till I did not deliver at Witty Birds club online meeting my Icebreaker, pathways style, I could not read anything more. Seen only the titles. Frustrating!

Looking over the information about other paths, almost all had the same titles for Level 1 & Level 2.

There are 5 Levels in every path:
     1. Mastering Fundamentals.
     2. Learning your Style and preferences.
     3. Increasing knowledge.
     4. Building skills.
     5. Demonstrating expertise.

What is inside? After I got through the Icebreaker and the President of my "base club" approved it, I could now see the details of the Fundamentals Level 1. Two more Projects were now ready for me to read, Evaluating & feedback and the Research and Present.

The  Evaluating project contains in fact three tasks. A) Give a speech and have it evaluated. B) Give it again incorporating the feedback. C) Give a feedback to someone other speech. Till now, my favorite Project! It is normal for any professional speaker to repeat the same speech again and again till it shines. And also to adopt it depending on the audience. And the situation, and the time given the last minute even.

From now on, I will try to offer the same, but improved story many times. At least, twice. But if possible, deepen it and find new messages from it. One at a time.

Research? Why it is in the "fundamentals" level I asked myself? I have now the answer: it got me used to research and deepen all the subjects I was given after that.

What subject to use ? I want to know more about Pathways! I want to know more about this wonderful, but not always easy Transition period. I knew, from my own PhD research that combining two subjects pays and decided to research both. See what is at the frontier of them. An interview with George Marshal, the Chief Guide in the first Pilot District 57 from California. Looking up the page in TMI "all about Pathways" and in plus, two books read (digitally) Transitions, inside us, and Managing Transitions, for leaders helping those who will have to change have a good transition. One by William Bridges, the other also by him but with Susan Bridges. Fascinating! From now on, I begun to see what happened to me with new eyes.

Perhaps, more important for the future, Managing Transition, decided me to communicate as much about Pathways as possible. 
  • Open this blog
  • Create a special Pathways meeting in Witty Storytellers Online club: this Thursday. 
  • Find those who have been inside their path tell their stories.
Yes, as someone remarked yesterday to me, I went fast through my first level, but I went deep. I took all the tasks very seriously. Not all my stories had the same success. Each time, I had mixed feedback. I got ideas of improvement. But I did learn so much on the way!

Level 2. Stumbled trying to understand my Leadership Style, and generally what are they, my Communication Style, and how many different they are, how different we are from each other, I got first stuck into words that did not speak to me. Alas, each trade has his own language. I struggled with them. But once I did begun to research on Google, then buy a book, Leading with Style by Jonathan Sandling, I begun to understand. Not only what is my main leadership style but how important is to adapt it to the situation.

I also did buy a second book, best not tell about it, so complicated, each time I open it, it gets fast closed. But yes, I did my research, before I offered a funny true story to Firebirds Collective online club about how I decided to become TM club president, and why.

For the Communication style, I found lot of interesting material and even videos on Google and YouTube, then because our communication style has to vary depending on who are the one we talk with, I remembered my worst experience of it. Relating it now, is funny, but at the time it was not. I had to learn at age 77 how to reach to young in Standup Comedy clubs. I did. Using what I learned they see when I arrive and using their language.

At the third speech, I spoke about a respected toastmaster, and tried to make it funny. I still have to tell the tale a day of my personal mentor and friend Stephanie, for 25 years, from the day we met till she died. So many memories come out after I read about Mentoring, in work, or in life!

This was my path and those were my adventures in the first two levels.

In a few weeks, two month only? I came out from it almost changed. With lots of new energy and new stories bubbling out, new ideas to talk about. Better equipped then I was toward end March. I got my level 2 certificate, but I got so much more going through my path!

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