Sharpening our Saw

As I write my newsletter entry this month, I realised that I am in danger of beating myself up and as such, I think the content is going to write itself. I wanted to do a video, but now I am out of time to hit the deadline. I wanted to add a relevant picture for a subject I had in mind, but I am out of time. This is an important leadership lesson for us all. Things do not always happen the way we would want them to. As leaders, we must re-plan and re-prioritise and at the same time, always remember that as volunteers while it is important that we carry out the role that we have agreed to do, we must accept that sometimes other life priorities like our work, family and health comes first.

I am going back to Stephen Covey again. He talks about sharpening our saw. We cannot sharpen our saw if we keep knocking ourselves about the fact that we let it get blunt in the first place. We must sometimes accept things for what they are and look to move on.

Last month I spoke about shining a spotlight on a future club or district leader and then encouraging them to run for office. How did you get on? Did you find someone, or did they say no to you. Is it worth supportively asking them again whether they would reconsider?

A few weeks ago, at the University of Law in London, we held our latest District Executive Committee meeting and afterwards held another round of District Officer Training to support the work of our Division and Area Directors. I thanked them on your behalf for all the work they do as District officers, and it was fantastic to see once again how talented and driven they are. But I also wanted to thank you, our members for all that you do. I know that we all join Toastmasters for specific individual reasons but along the way don’t forget about how you have helped by even just saying hello to a guest or explaining the agenda, or offering to be a mentor, or to sort refreshments for your club. Whatever you have done for others beyond your personal reasons for being in your club – thank you! This is the sort of selfless activity that gives our clubs and our program the quality we can all be proud of. In addition, congratulations to those members who have earnt one of the 851 educational awards since the start of the program year.

Talking of educational awards, one of the things that is asked regularly is “What news do we have about the new Pathways system?” The honest answer is that we do not know much. We have been told by WHQ that we are going to be given around 2 months’ notice which should give us enough time to support with training and messaging. But I can assure you that no one in the District Leadership Team is sitting on a secret pack of slides with all the answers of how it is going to work and when – we do know it will be in 2024 but we do not know when.

Finally, the very best of luck to all those members that have competed or are soon to be competing at the Divisional level contests – we look forward to seeing you in Bristol for the District Conference

With thanks again for all you do.


Steve Vear, DTM
Program Quality Director 2023-24