गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णु र्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः
गुरु साक्षात परब्रह्मा तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः
To decipher this Sanskrit verse: the mentor is the creator, operator, and destroyer. Creator of confidence in you, operator of the environment where you will grow, and destroyer of your self-doubt.
I had a role model – my brother, my close relative. He was always happy, smiling, and helping people. He had a wonderful wife, a daughter, 9, and a son, 5. One day my brother hanged himself. I was emotionally devastated.
I shared this incident with my mentor, and one fine evening under the glitters of Boudha with a coffee on the table, my mentor said something that inspired me to persevere. He said, “Ending his life was his choice, ending that memory and becoming better for them is yours.” Those words impacted me deeply, and since then I have never looked back.
This incident is a part of many experiences when my mentor was instrumental in guiding me. Out of all the experiences of my Toastmasters journey, I vividly remember three.
Since the very start, I had always been a curious protege. In my first speech, I asked my mentor like a 5-year-old, “I am feeling nervous, anxious, but especially I have butterflies in my stomach. What should I do?”
He calmly said in a Shakespearean way, “Butterflies in your stomach will have to fly but you just have to keep giving speeches.” That day I learned that the only way to let go of my nervousness is to come to the stage.
Next time I was even more curious when I was to deliver P4 – How to say it. I told my mentor, “I am going to deliver the speech but I am not sure what to say about the topic.”
He asked, “What’s the topic?”
I hesitantly said, “Understanding women”.
He was surprised at my choice of topic but eventually helped me deliver the speech. My evaluator made me repeat the speech not once, not twice, but three times. Here I learned that Toastmasters is a perfect platform to apply our creativity and experiments.
The third time it was my mentor who became curious and asked me, “Why don’t you become the treasurer of our club?” Astonishingly I replied, “It’s just been 6 months that I joined!” He then asked, “You are a Chartered accountant, right? I said, “Yes”. “You have a lot of clients in your portfolio, right?” he further questioned. I said “Yes”. He then said, “Imagine you have added a new client – your club. But the difference is, your client pays you the money for your service, but here you pay Toastmasters for the service.” I forcefully agreed. That was the moment I dived into my leadership journey. I learned that Toastmasters is a perfect blend of leadership and communication.
Since then I have completed my CC and CL manual, and am currently serving as the Vice President Membership at my club and as the Division Finance Manager of Division A, District 41.
It was possible through the curious questions I carried in my mind that were answered through the guidance of my mentor. This is the way I have evolved, learned, and led as a protege.
Sometimes when you fall, your mentor will lend you a hand that will get you back on your feet. Sometimes when you want to remain where you are, your mentor will gently push you taking you beyond your comfort zone. And sometimes when you need a company, your mentor will be a friend who will remind you ‘everything will be alright’.
I hope you will find your mentor.
Rupak Mainali, Vice President Membership, Himalaya Toastmasters Club, Division Finance Manager, Division A, District 41
Published in Inkspire Issue 1, Sept 2019.Click here for the full newsletter.