Choose to be the Light Rita Esterly, District Governor

Rita Esterly District Governor

Edith Wharton, a short story writer, stated: There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.  As most of you know by now, I end my District Governor’s Official Speech by challenging your club and you to be a shining light and to shine brightly because when you shine, the world feels the light of your service.  Light is synonymous with change.

What do I mean when I ask you to shine?  And what does Edith mean by saying you can either be the candle or the mirror?   As leaders of your club whether you are the president or the membership chair or the program chair or the treasurer or the person asked to say the prayer at a meeting, you are a leader.  But what is the leader without followers?  If you start up the mountain and no one follows, are you a leader?  If someone else starts up the mountain and no one is following that person and you decide to follow and everyone then joins you, are you the leader?

In order to be a leader, you must engender in others the motivation to follow you whether it is your idea or whether it is another person’s idea that you support.  Both take risk especially when it is a change in what you have always done.  Change is hard for people, but that does not mean it will not be good for your members and your club.

So you can lead by doing one of two things.  You can implement change with your creative ideas by being the candle.  Or you can implement change by supporting a new idea from another member, thus being the mirror that reflects the light.  At times, you will be the candle and at other times you will be the mirror.  Both are ways of being a leader.

My personal motto for 2011 is: Be the Light.  From the time I started training my District Leadership Team in February, through PETS in March, through Club Retreat in April, and during my Official Visit Speech in July, August and September, I have shed the light on the Rotary International Strategic Plan which is a structural model to create vibrant clubs.  My hope is that you will come to the Rotary Reunion/District Conference to hear Stuart Heal speak about how this revised plan will help your club continue to be vibrant, exciting, and dynamic.  Be the mirror and help me by reflecting this light.  Encourage your members to attend the Rotary Reunion.

Whether you are the candle or the mirror, you can be that shining light that helps Rotary to continue to thrive over the coming years.  Generate new ideas for how your club can be innovative and creative.  Listen to your New Generation members for ideas that will attract the Millennials.  We are on the cutting edge of the paradigm shift in Rotary.  Lead your club towards the changes that will help us get new members and raise more funds so that we can do more good for people in the world through our spirit of Service Above Self.  Shine brightly, because when you shine, the whole world feels the light of your service.