A Chance Today

Glimmers Of Light

This is, essentially, a hard post to write as 2020 obviously has not been a very good year in terms of the raging bushfires that caused destruction and death here in Australia early in the year and in other places around the world as well.

Then, of course, Covid-19 arrived seemingly, resembling a bad B-Grade Sci-Fi movie script that is causing illness, death, isolation and financial troubles etc.

I see a lot of posts on Social Media saying things like, ‘Farewell 2020, what an awful year,’ etc. This is quite understandable given what has happened/is happening.

Whilst overall, 2020 has been an awful year I believe it is a good exercise to turn the microscope on your own life and see what positive things have happened to you individually in this remarkable (for the wrong reasons) year.

We were not affected by the bushfires ourselves, though some people we knew were which did set the emotions running. Covid-19, however, affected our livelihood with both the Finance and Marketing sides of the business taking a huge hit due to lockdown etc. 

Things on that front are in recovery mode now thankfully, largely due to my wife, Susan on the Finance side and an awesome group of people that she is working with. I have recently become part of that team.

The following ’things that went right’, although insignificant in the world as a whole, were significant to me/us.

Business/Work

  • Completion of my Certificate IV Finance & Mortgage Broking course which allowed me to become a Finance Broker (after leaving a part-time role with a Bank) in December and better support Susan
  • Attaining a new part-time role as an Entrepreneurship Facilitator (mentoring/assisting start-up businesses)
  • Am currently studying the Diploma of Finance & Mortgage Broking 

Toastmasters

  • My involvement in Toastmasters International is approaching its 13th year early next year and this year provided a few highlights including achieving the following:
  • Distinguished Toastmaster (highest education and leadership level)
  • Completed my High Performance Leadership Programme
  • Completed by role as an Area Director
  • Completed my role as a Club Coach
  • Completed my role as President of Gledswood Club
  • Received my first Triple Crown Education award
  • Received a Leadership Excellence award
  • (My Club), Gledswood Toastmasters achieved 10/10 becoming a President’s Distinguished Club. My Co-Club Coach Rhys Tague, the Executive and all the members contributed here and we are all continuing to grow the club
  • I was the Toastmaster for the first time at a Division Contest

Creative Pursuits

  • Joined Red Point Artists Association at Port Kembla, NSW
  • (At date) have completed 704 Watercolour Sketch’s a Day in a row. The goal back on 26 January 2019 was to acquire the habit of a ‘Daily Art Practice’
  • Starting using Dip Pens for the first time
  • Had a group of my Paintings on display for the very first time
  • Sold my first and second paintings this year
  • Recommenced Oil Painting
  • This year I managed 100 posts on this blog for the first time ever
  • Have now written in excess of 400 Poems (300 on this Blog)

Some ‘not so good things’ have also happened this year, presenting us with challenges we have or are in the process of overcoming in health and other areas. I think it’s important to learn from them but not dwell on them.

If you would like to, apply that Microscope to your own life and see (despite what has happened this year on the world stage), what good things have happened to you this year? If you want to, list them in the comments below or just comment generally.

Thanks to May @ Forever and Everly for the inspiration to do this post. You can check out her Blog here: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/59870465/posts/3090980068

Wishing everyone a Happier 2021!

Written by David Johnson

31 December 2020

A Pleasure To Receive…Thank You!

On Friday, I had great pleasure in receiving my DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) plaque from Toastmasters International.

As an earlier post indicated, I reached the DTM level in Toastmasters last month which is the highest level.

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Since 1924, more than 4 million people have benefitted from the Educational program.

As of 1 July 2020, the new Pathways Educational is now the only educational program in use. There are 11 Paths to choose from.

I joined Toastmasters back in March 2008 and by committing to the program and consistently striving to improve myself, taking on board the mentoring and points for improvement and putting them into practice, it changed my life in many positive ways.  It can do the same for you too.

There is still more I can learn and whilst doing that, I can help others along the way, just like I have been helped. I am so grateful for the opportunities.

For more information: https://www.toastmasters.org/

Written by David Johnson
5 July 2020

Stepping-Stones… A Journey to DTM and Beyond!

Last week it was exciting to have achieved the highest Education and Leadership level in Toastmasters International, that of DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster).

There is no set time to achieve DTM, You do it at your own pace and whilst some Toastmasters are members of multiple clubs, in my 12 1/4 years in Toastmasters, I’ve been in one club (at a time), mainly.

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So, what does that mean to a non-Toastmaster, i.e. what do you need to do to achieve it?

I have listed the requirements below that were needed to complete DTM (in the Traditional program):

Competent Communicator

10 speeches (mainly 5-7 minutes in length).

Competent Leader

10 Projects (containing multiple roles ranging from meeting roles to serving on a club executive committee).

Advanced Communicator Bronze

10 Advanced module speeches (mainly 5-7 mins but up to 40 mins). There were 15 Advanced manuals to choose from; plus 2 x 15 minute Educational presentations.

Advanced Leadership Bronze

Served at least 6 months as a Club Officer; participate in preparation of a Club Success Plan; attend Officer training; conduct 2 x15 minute Educational presentations.

Advanced Communicator Silver

10 Advanced module speeches & 2 x15 minute Educational presentations.

Advanced Communicator Gold

10 Advanced module speeches & 1 x 15 minute Educational presentation or lead a Youth Leadership (6 weeks long) Program & mentored a member for their first 3 speech projects.

Advanced Leadership Silver

Serve a 12 month term as a District Leader, Serve successfully as a Club Coach, Club Sponsor or Club Mentor & complete a High Performance Leadership program.

Along the way you finish up doing more as its fun and you want to learn more and obtain more experience etc:

  • I led 3 Youth Leadership courses and participated in several more.
  • Participated (as a leader) in Speechcraft courses (for adults)
  • Have served as a club officer 6 times including being President of two different clubs.
  • Together with Rhys Tague (co-Club Coach) we have successfully built a new Toastmasters Club in the Macarthur Region and the club has achieved 10/10 in the Distinguished Club Program  (achieving all Administration, Education and Membership goals) in it’s first year.

Toastmasters has been in ’transition-mode’ for the past few years and the Traditional Program stops at Midnight on 30 June 2020. The new Pathways Education Program has been in for a few years now and offers even more opportunities for learning and development in terms of communication and leadership.

I’m currently about to start Level 3 (out of 5) of the one of the 11 Paths called ‘Presentation Mastery.’

Being a committed member of Toastmasters has helped me have greater confidence (inward & outward) and I have learnt so much. There is still much more to learn though.

Why do I stay in Toastmasters?

  • Continuing professional development
  • A chance to pay it forward/give back to other members
  • I’ve made many friends

I’ve included a link to the Pathways Education program should you wish to investigate it more. https://www.toastmasters.org/pathways-overview

If you would like to find a club near you that you can visit, there is a ‘Find A Club’ link on the same page.

Where to from here? I see the achievement of DTM as another stepping-stone to further professional development.

The journey is far from over!

Written by David Johnson
27 June 2020

Inspiration Plus! – Lions Club International Youth of the Year!

Yesterday, I had the most marvellous experience of being a member of a panel of 5 Judges on the Lions Club International Youth of the Year District 210 N2 Final here is South-West Sydney, Australia.
Initially, there were supposed to be 6 contestants, all aged 15, however, the only boy withdrew from the contest prior to the day.
As a panel, we interviewed each of the 5 contestants on subjects such as Leadership, Sporting & Cultural activities, Citizenship & Community involvement, Academic and general knowledge of Local, State, National & International affairs for a period of 30 minutes.
We then had to judge each contestant on two Impromptu Speaking questions, one 5 minute speech and on Presentation and Personality.
It was a fascinating process. Seeing and hearing the students present themselves via three different formats, handling the nerves as they did was a credit to themselves, their parents and their schools.
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Congratulations to all the contestants and in particular the Public Speaking Winner and the Overall Winner. Best wishes in the forthcoming State Titles!
In all-in-all, it was a very inspiring day! It was such a pleasure to interview and hear the contestants. They were so inspirational!
It was also wonderful representing Toastmasters International on the Judging Panel.
Congratulations to Lions Club International for conducting such an event and a HUGE THANK YOU for the opportunity!
Thank you also to fellow Toastmaster, Anne O’Keefe who put me onto the opportunity.
If you ever get the chance to be part of the Judging Panel for this contest, I would highly recommend that you take it.
Written by David Johnson
11 March 2018

The Toastmaster’s Journey

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Opportunity Awaits!

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Joining Toastmasters International has affected my life in many positive ways and opened up a lot of opportunities that would not have been there had I not taken that step, and continued the journey.

From my first speech at a Toastmasters Club meeting (where I could not sleep the night before and could hardly eat on the day) in front of 20 members to the amazing experience I had last Sunday is testament to the wealth of personal growth, in terms of confidence, communication and leadership that Toastmasters International provides.

Last Sunday, I was the ‘Test Speaker’ for the District 90 Toastmasters Evaluation Contest at the Annual Conference which was held at Rooty Hill RSL.

A ’Test Speaker’ in Toastmasters delivers a speech that is then evaluated by contestants, who are then judged to see who is the best evaluator by a panel of judges.

18405363_10209459931199732_1520567314_oGetting to deliver a 7 minute speech in front of over 100 people with many Distinguished guests including Mike Storkey, the current International President of Toastmasters International, is an experience that I will cherish for a long, long time.

Receiving speech evaluations from the Top 6 Evaluators in District 90 is something I am very, very grateful for. I learnt a great deal that day.

18426614_10209459931719745_1134015842_oIf you are looking for a way to gain confidence, grow personally and develop your communication and leadership skills, Toastmasters International is waiting for you…

Click on ‘Find a Club’ in the link http://www.toastmasters.org and start your journey today!

David Johnson
Camden Toastmasters
28 April 2017

Step Into The Light

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Why Toastmasters?

Logo Website Tagline LockupI was a ‘born introvert.’ At school I would not volunteer to ‘read things out in class’, at parties (even as an adult) I would only talk to people I knew, and at meetings at work I would have an idea though I would be too nervous to speak in front of others.

What led me to Toastmasters?

It was a chance meeting with a former work-friend, Wendy White in 2008 who was then President of a Toastmasters Club. (Wendy is currently District Director of District 70 in Australia).

I saw the changes in her (from when I knew her previously) and suspected that Toastmasters had something to do with this.

So what is Toastmasters?

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. It has 313,000 members around the world in 14,650 clubs in 126 countries.

Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending the meetings on a regular basis, either weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on the individual Club and applying themselves through the Educational program.

I joined Toastmasters in March 2008 for the following reasons:

1. To gain a greater general confidence
2. To improve my photographic judging evaluations at Camera Clubs
3. To overcome nerves

Joining and putting myself well and truly into the programme has been a life-changing experience because it has helped me in 18 different ways/areas of my life i.e.

It has helped me in the following ways:
– gain greater general confidence
– am able to control my nerves prior to and during photographic judging/speeches
– am able to take photos in front of others without getting nervous
– am now able to walk up to strangers and introduce myself
– has improved my networking/business capabilities
– have no fear of speaking in public
– have no fear of taking on leadership roles
– has made me a better leader
– it has made me a better listener

– to evaluate better
– I can now ‘think on my feet’ better (impromptu speaking)
– improved my performance at job interviews
– has enable me to write & deliver coherent speeches
– has enabled me to win speech contests (who would have ever thought)!?
– has improved my writing capabilities to the point that I am now in the process of writing a book
– has given me the confidence to start writing poems (133 at last count)
– has opened up ‘outside of Toastmasters’ speaking opportunities including me being able to accept an MC role at a wedding & being able to speak at community clubs
– has enabled me to have a positive impact on people within and outside Toastmasters

As with life in general, the learning never stops! In all of the above areas there are still improvements to be made but when I look back I am thankful I had the courage to walk through the door of a Toastmasters Club.

Members, both experienced and new will be there to support you and cheer you on!

Whether you are an employee or are in business for yourself, consider visiting/joining a Toastmasters Club.

It will change your life for the better!

Click on http://www.toastmasters.org to find out more and ‘Find A Club’ in your area.

To your Success!!!