One thing Toastmasters does for most of us, especially at first, is take us out of our comfort zone. After all, it’s pretty scary to get up in front of a room full of people and give a speech – even if it’s a very small room, and all of the people are friendly and encouraging. Before long, we become more comfortable giving speeches, but there are always new roles, challenges, and situations that take us, again, out of our comfort zone. Serving as Toastmaster or Table Topics Master for the first time. Becoming a club officer. Competing in our first Speech Contest.
With each new experience, however, we are accompanied by that same group of friendly and encouraging people. No matter what situation or challenge we encounter, we are usually with others who have “been there, done that,” and who want to see us – and help us – succeed. And at the very rare times when we have to go through something no one has ever done before – as we are all doing right now with online rather than in-person meetings, for example – we are in the company of others who are patient, understanding, and supportive as well as friendly and encouraging. Because that’s what Toastmasters are. And it’s what we do.
As you face new challenges, in Toastmasters and in other areas of your life, remember that although stepping out of your comfort zone is, by definition, uncomfortable, you won’t stay in that state for long. Not because you will quickly retreat back into your comfort zone as soon as you can, but because you will find that your comfort zone has expanded to include whatever new circumstances in which you find yourself. You’ll be stronger and more capable than you were before, and ready to step out of your comfort zone once again, and face whatever new challenge awaits you there.