Since July 1, 2014, I am a member of Toastmasters International, specifically Camanava Brunch Toastmasters Club. Toastmasters International (TI) is known as an educational organization that caters to teach its members the art of public speaking. I have said this many times: I joined this organization to learn public speaking because I am currently teaching it right now, NOT as a form of bragging rights that I belong. I want to put it this way: I joined Toastmasters not because I know, but I want to know. This statement leads me to think of one word: Organization. In addition, I cannot help but mention some of the reasons why people join an organization.
There are people who joined an organization because they feel these people are their co-equal, like it is cool or elite by being part of them. In other words, they joined it with an exclusivist and elitist attitude. When they became members, they produced their own inside terms and language that, sadly, they deliberately let other people hear it. When you talk to these types of people, the mere mention of the club means, “Here I am.” I am not mainly like that. It’s bullying, and I’m not a bully. Another problem with this mindset is intellectual and developmental stagnation. If you joined an organization with someone of your own level and below your level, you’ll not put yourself to the next level. Why do international basketball players perform at higher level than those who haven’t experience one despite the latter having more talent and gift than the former? It’s because the former encountered foes outside his usual, sometimes co-equal, circle. I’m not saying to avoid people who “are not in your level”. That is pride and arrogance. What I mean is joining an organization because they are your co-equal is a bad idea if you want to grow as a person.
There are people who joined an organization because they wanted to meet new sets of crowd or friends. These people treat clubs as a means of socialization. I am not mainly like that, although I consider the friendship inside the Club as a wonderful God-given blessing. Friendship and socialization are not ends in themselves, but when they become the focal point or central part of a member’s mantra, the tendency is to get out of the organization when they felt it’s getting sadder than the usual or well, “boring”.
There are people who joined an organization because they wanted to get something out of it, in a negative way. Few months ago, a guest of a fellow member asked if I can lend that person some money. Uh-oh. Even until now, fellow members didn’t have any idea who that guest was, because it’s embarrassing on that person’s part, but also it shows that I have a respectful, courteous bone in me.
I think some of us are familiar with wolves coming in our churches. These types of people are the ones who victimize the weak. Does sexual harassment ring a bell to you? How about sexual predators? Okay, let’s mention something more deceiving yet so divisive when left unchecked: users and manipulators. This is the reason why I really try to be as wholesome as possible in dealing with other members: because I didn’t join an organization with a negative agenda such as the ones mentioned before this sentence. By consciously trying to maintain that wholesome mindset, not only you will grow as a person and as a member, but who knows? You’ll eventually notice guests coming in signing up to be your member. You may even have a celebrity signing up without you knowing it, all because you didn’t join an organization to fulfill negative agendas.
Some become members of an organization to intentionally proselyte its members on his or her belief. I am a practicing Christian, and some Christians may disagree with me on this one: not because we are commissioned by Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel does it mean that we deliberately assert to be leaders outside our own local church. Yes, state your belief, your position on certain issues, even Christianity, but to try to take charge simply because you are a Christian? Man, you are giving an impression that Christians are bossy people. As of this writing, I’m the Vice President Education of my resident Toastmaster Club (or some of us call it Home Club). Prior to this, in only my 4th month as a member, I became Vice President Public Relations to fill in the void left by a member. I didn’t do it by putting myself on top. In fact, I didn’t even intend to be in that position. All that I did was consistently attend our Club meetings, give speeches (it’s a Toastmasters club; nothing heroic or fame grabbing with that) or do task in that meeting or do both at the same meeting day (speech first, then task later). I tried to be as wholesome and responsible as possible in dealing, not only with the tasks that were given to me, but also with other members. Eventually, I saw myself in my current position. In an educational organization, you don’t need to proselyte to be a guiding light.
There are people who joined an organization or club because they assume this organization or club will teach them a thing or two on the things that they wanted to learn more. I am mainly that type of person when I joined TI. Now, this type of mindset is good if an organization is an educational organization. Hence, it is important to know first what kind of organization you are planning to join. If it’s educational in nature, then study in order to achieve mastery. If it’s socio-civic in nature, then expect to be on the road. If it’s a certain common interest group, then check if your interest is in sync with them.
Bloggers and readers, what drives us in joining and being in an organization? It may not be the things I’ve just mentioned, but definitely, something (or someone) is your driving force. I’ll not question that driving force, but I hope it will be a good one. Why? Because your driving force will determine your direction in an organization.