(Don’t Be a) Burnt Out Toastmaster

“I need a break from Toastmasters, I’m so burnt out!”

You might be surprised, but I do hear this from time to time.

In such cases, the person complaining probably forgot – at some point – the point of his volunteering.

Volunteering is not a continuous act of self-sacrifice for greater good. It’s offering your skills and energy to work on a project you find meaningful with people you enjoy working with.

True, it can happen that while you’ll get into a new role (e.g. VP Education, Area Director, Conference Chair) of your own free will, over time the role will expand beyond what you initially imagined. Then, it will start draining your energy instead of feeding you with satisfaction.

This is a crucial moment. Here, it’s important to remind yourself: “You’re doing it voluntarily. You should be enjoying this.”

Here I don’t mean that you should drop your responsibility for anything that stops being fun for you. I’m suggesting something more along those lines:

“Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be. Anything you hate to do, someone else loves. So find that person and let her do it.” – Derek Sivers, Anything You Want

When introducing the education program to every new member becomes too time-consuming, launch a mentoring program. When you start losing enthusiasm for running demo meetings, find some instruction materials and teach someone else how to run the show. When responding to messages about “will there be gluten-free vegan options at the conference” becomes a nuisance – pass it to that new girl on the team who’s texting on her phone all the time anyway.

There’s nothing heroic in getting “burnt out”.

Don’t.

You’re doing this in your free time. Make it anything you want.


Photo by Arthur Savary on Unsplash

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