Friday, 24 April 2015

The Comfort Zone (DG News October 2014)

The Comfort Zone
I’m going to let you in on a simple, yet alarmingly underrated and underutilised activity for improving your club, meeting new friends and broadening your horizons. It is a simple thing you can do with very little effort, but our statistics suggest so few Rotarians actually do it… ever.
Are you ready? Here it is. VISIT ANOTHER CLUB.
Right now I can hear you all shouting out, “What are you on about? I often visit other clubs”. Well, I once read a statistic which suggested a whopping 70% of Rotarians will go an entire Rotary year without ever having a Rotary experience other than their own club’s regular meeting. Not only do they not visit other clubs during that year, they don’t attend District Conferences, District Training Events & Seminars and don’t sit on any District committees or have a Rotary role outside of their own club. In fact, if it wasn’t for the occasional Rotarian guest speaker (from another club) at their meeting, they could actually go a whole year without even seeing a Rotarian from outside of their own club. I’m glad we all get a DG visit!
So how do you really know how your club is performing, if you never compare notes with other clubs? There’s so much out there in that big, wide Rotary world to see.
I’ve been really privileged to serve at District level for a number of years now. For a couple of years on the Rotary Foundation Committee, the last 3 years as Group 6 Assistant Governor, and now as District Membership chair – and each role has meant a good deal of club visits and presentations, not to mention presenting at various training events. I won’t say it’s all been easy, there have been some really busy weeks and late nights, but boy I’ve had some fun and met some great people along the way. And if I’m completely honest, I’d struggle to imagine my Rotary experience any other way.
There have definitely been a few added bonuses too, like the great ideas I’ve gained from the way other clubs do things. Every club is that little bit different. Some are very formal, some informal. Some are very traditional, and some are more relaxed and progressive. Some club meetings have been bright, loud, colourful and exciting, and to be honest, some have been a little “beige”!
But do you know what? There’s no place like home. I still love my own club (Edwardstown) and really appreciate going to my own club meetings and participating in my own club’s events, projects and fundraisers.  There’s nothing wrong with being a passionate, dedicated and hard working member of your own club, but I think everyone can benefit from occasionally taking off the blinkers.
Next week, the members of the Rotary Club of Edwardstown are doing something which, for most of us, will be out of our comfort zone. We are having a “scatter meeting”. There will be no meeting at our regular venue, instead we have all been given a list of other clubs to visit, all of which meet on the same night, so there can be no excuses. I know there are other clubs that do this regularly, and good on them. The following week we have all been asked to report back on the good, the bad, and hopefully not too much of the ugly.
So please think seriously about my challenge – get out of your comfort zone and see more of the wonderful world of Rotary!

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