Confessions of a Pathways-resistant President

By Lorinne Griswold

As an IT Professional, I understand that updates and upgrades are the name of the game.  Nothing stays the same, so keeping up with technology is required in order to remain competitive.  “Change is good,” I have touted on more than one occasion, often in the direction of colleagues struggling to adjust.  Agile…Flexible…Adaptable…were the words I often used to describe myself.  

Then came Pathways.  Instead of jumping in with both feet and seeing it as a chance to supercharge my growth and development, I froze.  I resisted the new, digital format.   The old program was my security blanket and I was like a 3-year old who wasn’t ready to give it up.   As our club President, I “talked the talk” and promoted the program but because I did nothing more than deliver my Level 1 Ice Breaker, I was definitely not “walking the walk.”  I kept finding excuses not to make progress. I was too busy. I couldn’t remember my password. Blah, blah, blah.  I was stuck.   

As time stretched from the delivery of my 1st Pathways speech, I became bored and frustrated.  I considered the possibility that I had outgrown Toastmasters altogether. While planning my exit strategy, I watched a fellow member begin to fully embrace the new program.  She was not only consistently delivering speeches, but she was sharing her positive experience with Pathways and inviting us to join her.  She was growing by leaps and bounds and I had a front row seat to her amazing transformation.  

Her contagious joy and excitement about Pathways reminded me of the way I felt when I first joined Toastmasters.  Back then, everything I did was out of my comfort zone – taking on a meeting role, delivering a prepared speech, and eventually becoming a club officer.  With every stretch beyond the familiar, I learned something new about myself.  I gained confidence.  I made new friends. I missed the energy and excitement of those days. 

And then it hit me:  I was the cause of my own frustration and boredom!  I had become complacent.  I had stopped stretching.  Thankfully, I also had the cure!

I decided to give Pathways another try.  With my Toastmasters password memorized, I logged in.  I completed Level 1 of my path, then Level 2.  I started the Pathways Mentor Program.  I attended Pathways training.  I read the FAQ’s.  I volunteered to be the Vice President of Pathways for our club, supporting and encouraging other members to join me on my journey.  Once I made the decision to release the old and grab hold of the new, my passion for Toastmasters returned and with it the realization that my opportunity for growth in Toastmasters is limitless!