I’ve got a confession. I haven’t been to a Toastmasters meeting or event since June. Whaaaaat?! How can that be? I know! Many of my posts have a Toastmasters connection or theme running through them. So how is it that I haven’t been to a meeting in months?! Read on to learn about eight reasons for my break from Toastmasters.
I was club president from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017. That’s how the Toastmasters year runs, from July through June. During that time I was also the social media chair for our Toastmaster’s district, which is most of Minnesota and small piece of southern Ontario. Both roles are a great experience. Looking back I wouldn’t have done them at the same time. Individually they are a lot of work. So when the year ended and my roles were done, I took a break. And I’m still on that break.
Carter “technically” has every other Friday off. I say “technically” because crime doesn’t take a vacation. As a detective, he doesn’t always have the luxury of taking a day off when the calendar tells him to. There are suspects to interview, search warrants to write, and judges to see.
I wanted to take advantage of the Fridays he has off so we could do things together. We spent a couple of them visiting family in Wisconsin. A few were spent on road trips to Chicago and Yellowstone. A heck of a lot of them were spent just hanging at the dog park and doing whatever else we wanted. And a bunch were spent with him at work on his day off.
There are weeks where I thought I’d make it back and then just didn’t. When you’re a club officer you feel like you need to be at every Toastmasters meeting. When you don’t have a leadership role, it’s easy to skip.
I thought about trying out other Toastmasters. Not because I’m unhappy with my club. I love it and the people that belong to it. But sometimes I don’t want to give up an hour of my Friday to go to a meeting. Clearly, since I haven’t there for three months!
We all need a break from something. A break from: work, working out, a friend, religion, politics, studying, school, or responsibility. The list could go on.
What we need a break from varies from person to person. As does how we handle that break. Here are some reasons I took my break. Some were driving forces. Others are in retrospect. Some may resonate with you. Others not so much.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Sometimes you need to be away from something to know how much you miss it. Taking a break is a great way to realize how much something means to you. Or it doesn’t mean to you. Only time will tell how much I miss my Toastmasters club.
Taking a break is a great way to mix things up. I like structure but sometimes I get bored with routine. I don’t like to do things the same all the time. I go to the dog park almost every day of the week. But I don’t always go at the same times or to the same parks. Mixing things up is a way for me to prove to myself that I don’t need to be a control freak about things. I can go with the flow.
Is there something better out there? Sometimes everything is great but you just want to see if there is something else out there for you. You never know until you look. National Speakers Association is an organization for speakers and aspiring speakers. It’s something I’ve started to look into. The Moth and Ignite are two events for storytellers that I’m interested in. It’s easy to only do things the Toastmasters way. It’s the thing I know the best and have the most experience with. When things are going well, you don’t always think to see what your other options are. Once you stop and look around, you may find other things. And they might even be a better fit for you. I’m keeping my options open.
Summer! Like I said, I had planned to check out other Toastmasters clubs. But when it came down to it, I was looking to be indoors less not more during the summer. So I didn’t get around to it. If there was a Toastmasters on the quad, I probably would have checked it out. Minnesota summers are too short so you really need to take advantage of them.
Avoid something unpleasant. I love my club but… There is always a but, isn’t there? There is a person in my club who, how should I say it? This person is a very strong personality. They want things their way all the time. Even when they aren’t in a position of leadership, they are manipulating things behind the scenes.
I miss my club but I don’t miss being around this person. While my hiatus started out as just needing a little break from Toastmasters, the longer I stay away the harder it seems to go back and be around this person. In work life, you sometimes have to deal with an unpleasant person for the good of the job. In non work life, you have more control over avoiding people that you don’t want to be around.
Laziness. Not going to Toastmasters means that I don’t have to prepare for meetings. I don’t have to write speeches or come up with Table Topics questions. As a kid, I always asked for extra school work over the summer. I always took summer school classes to learn something new. I’m definitely being lazy by not going to Toastmasters this summer.
Not a priority. We make time for the things that mean the most to us. No one will lose weight when it’s not a priority to them. Or go back to school. Or train for a marathon. There are only so many hours in a day. Limited time means we can only commit to so many things. We can’t commit more time then we have. If it’s not a priority, it won’t get our attention.
Rejuvenation. A break can be therapeutic. It can have the power to energize us. Being away from something can get us more excited for our eventual return. It allows us to return better than how we left.
The good thing is that priorities change and shift. So just because something isn’t a priority right now doesn’t mean in won’t be a priority in the future.
There are many reasons to take a break. Some of these may have resonated with you. And I’m sure there are a bunch I didn’t think of because they didn’t apply to me.
Whatever your reason for taking a break, you can (almost) always go back. The longer you’re away, the harder it may seem to go back. That first step is the hardest. The rest will get easier.
When will I return to Toastmasters? Who knows. I mailed in my semi annual dues check, so that’s a start. Beyond that, I haven’t given it much thought.
What have you taken a break from? Did you find it hard to go back?