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Cheers to the New Year!

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go." — T.S. Eliot

I sat down to read Maria Shriver’s blog this morning “Sunday Paper” and her topic about embracing the New Year with a sense of adventure struck a chord with me. Most of us like to live our lives from our comfort zone because frankly, it feels safer.

Toastmasters encourages us to step outside of our comfort zones, to get up and confront our demons, and deliver speeches and become better communicators. We have members who range from novices and are embarking on their journeys to deliver their first Icebreaker speeches to those who have completed the Advanced Communication Series. There are also those who have won awards for their speeches by mastering the ability to connect, move, and inspire people in speeches with clearly defined parameters. This is what is so great about our Club. We welcome all people and encourage our members at all phases.

Life is about making choices. In the morning, we get up and make a ton of choices: muffin or yogurt, sweater or jacket, bus, train or car? In fact, I’d argue that we make more choices in the start of our day then we do during the rest of it. Saying “yes” to what’s next is about choice, and it’s as simple as the striped tie or paisley scarf you select at 7 a.m.

Sometimes, we hesitate to make our choices and take time to evaluate or we’ll cocoon ourselves under our blankets with munchies and binge watch TV. Other times, when we’re feeling brave, we’ll step out and try something new. In 2018, I had the opportunity to take on a new job with a university in Manhattan. I chose to say “yes” to many things outside of my comfort zone: a complicated commute, the longevity of the contract job and working in an unfamiliar work environment. Saying yes was not hard even though it might have meant missing out on a long-term opportunity. I’m glad I took the risk despite the vagaries of NJ Transit as I now have a sense of fulfillment and work with a team of people who inspire me every day. For this new year, I throw out a challenge: How will you take on 2019? Will it be from a place of fear and trepidation or one of a sense of adventure? Because, as a colleague of mine once said, “The year will pass regardless of the choices you make.”

Which pathway will you choose? I hope you’ll join me in taking on a year of adventure.

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