You have been growing in many ways in many areas. One evidence: you can now read this and are reading this with the willingness to apply in life whatever you will learn in this article. There’s more to your story of growth!
Today, let me share with you some ideas about growth.
I joined Toastmasters in June 2010. In July 2017, I finally received my certificate as Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) – the highest norm bestowed to Toastmasters worldwide. That was after seven long years. Being a DTM (in the Toastmasters traditional educational program) means you have delivered 50+ speeches in Toastmasters, have served in club and district leadership positions, have helped build clubs, and mentored individuals. The journey to being a DTM wasn’t easy but it offered a wide opportunity to grow as a communicator and leader. Being the constrained communicator and reluctant leader that I was (and sometimes, still ‘am’), Toastmasters helped diffuse my hesitations and hone my capabilities.
That’s why when this 94-year old organization launched its revitalized education program (now called Pathways) in July 2017, I signed up. After all, the first path is free. I chose the Persuasive Influence path. There are five levels requiring at least 17 speeches in total and a High Performance Leadership project. I gave my first speech last September 1, 2017; delivered the rest of the 17 speeches in 12 months; completed my HPL project last month; and finished with the final speech last friday at our meeting in Pines City Toastmasters Club. After 13 months, Toastmasters International granted me the certificate Persuasive Influence Proficient.
All these, combined with my other experiences, and learnings from the masters, I came to develop what I call the Growth Code.
The Growth Code presents three fruits: growth in competence, growth in confidence, and growth in compas (values and vision). The seed to be planted that shall bear these fruits is YOU – who you are, what you have, what you know, what you can do, and what you aspire to be. To plant your seed, you need a good soil and nutrients which shall come in the form of people (circles of support and stretch), program, and platform. Finally, to nurture the seed and reap the harvest when the right time comes, you need a farming guide – actualization, attendance, and alignment.
Even though I am not yet perfect in applying the Growth Code, I have started to gain some fruits from it. Looking at my previous self, I say that I have grown in competence and confidence particularly as a trainer, speaker, and author. For the past 12 months, a number of clients trusted me to conduct Life Skills Training for 40 days in 4 different locations (CDO, Palawan, Bulacan, Negros Occidental) and Training of Trainers in two occasions, 18 talks and workshops, and 4 recollections. With my dear friend, we also organized 2 events, and I also wrote and published my fourth book. In Toastmasters, I was able to serve as Vice President Education for my club, became the Division G Champion for International Speech, and is now serving as Division G Director.
With the growth in competence and confidence is the growth in compass (in values and vision). These accomplishments were not without struggles. There were some challenges with people and personalities, with the planning and implementation. But those struggles helped me clarify what my values are and what my vision is. For example, I put more value to rules before more than anything, now I am learning to value relationships more (even if I still fail on this these days); I tried to seek the false face of perfection before, now I am learning to seek steady progress instead; I dreamt of becoming a famous person before, now I simply aspire to give value to the society through my books, talks, and trainings. Thanks to this process called growth.
I do not take credit for all these. What made me reap these fruits are the soil and nutrients that I met the process. In Toastmasters, for example, I am blessed to be surrounded by people who become my circles of support and stretch – they cheer for me and challenges me to aspire for something greater while being grounded. Here, I am glad to have access to well-developed programs that is available to members worldwide. Here, I am given a platform to practice my pieces in a friendly and safe environment where an eager learner receives constructive feedback to level up.
But the good soil and nutrients in the form of people, programs, and platform will not help your seed grow and bear fruit without you abiding by what I call the farming guides:
Farming Guide 1 is Actualization. Actualization means to realize in action. You have to put the theory to its tangible form, the philosophy to practices, the idea to implementation. Bo Sanchez said it powerfully, “Education without execution is extinction.” You have to actualize.
Farming Guide 2 is Attendance. Attendance, as defined by Oxford Dictionary, is ‘state of going regularly to’. Let me repeat, going regularly. Not once in a while, not occasionally, but regularly. You have to be in attendance. You have go to your platform regularly, access your programs regularly, and attend gatherings of your people regularly. At times, attendance outruns ability. What if you even combine the two? So, I repeat: be in attendance.
Farming Guide 3 is Alignment. Alignment in what you do to what your vision and values are is essential. Say No to projects if they are not aligned to who you are and/or to where you are. It is just right to say No to good things so you can say Yes to better things. It is Ok to let go of other projects to grow the right projects.
With these farming guides, nurture the seed you plant in a good soil with the good nutrients, expect the the good fruits will come in due time: growth in competence, growth in confidence, and growth in compass.
Let us help each other. Let us grow together.
This early, I want to personally invite you to join us at the GROWTH Summit 2.0 on July 13, 2019 (Saturday, 8am-5pm). For more details, visit www.chrisdaoanis.com/growthsummit and like www.fb.com/growthsummitph. Take this opportunity to meet like-minded people striving to grow in their professional and personal life.
(Chris Dao-anis, CPA, DTM is a communication and leadership trainer, inspirational speaker, and author of 4 books. His latest book SPEAK: How to Craft and Deliver a Speech or Presentation w/ competence & confidence is available at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City or the ebook version at Amazon, bit.ly/speakbychris.)