At today's meeting we had the pleasure of being visited by a team of leaders from our district, including District Governor Tom Novotny from Las Vegas. Tom gave a very moving presentation that included sharing a couple of very personal experiences. These experiences he described as taking him from a member of Rotary to being a Rotarian.
Tom's central theme was how important it is for us as humans to roam outside our comfort zone. The couple stories he shared demonstrated how when he was placed into situations that were very uncomfortable and uncertain, he forced himself outside of his comfort zone and found himself incredibly enriched from the struggles that came with going into the unknown. While I do not have the time to go into the details, let's just say that there was not a single dry eye in the place after his presentation.
As I drove to my next meeting I was replaying his stories and wondering what I would have done if placed in his shoes. And over and over I came up short. I repeatedly rationalized and came up with reasons why I would not have ventured outside MY comfort zone. While I don't think my decision would have made me a bad person, I see in hindsight how I would not have benefitted from the life experiences that the opportunities presented.
One reason why I love Rotary is because it is good people coming together to do good things. Belonging to Rotary makes me feel good about myself. But today I realized that despite my contributions to Rotary, as of today I am only a member of Rotary. What I am not is a Rotarian as I have not had that "Rotarian Moment."
Every now and then I experience something that has a long term effect on my perspective. Today I am happy to say that learned an important lesson. In a sense, my eyes have been opened and I now know that being a Rotarian is much more than being a member of the Rotary. I also know that in order for me to become a true Rotarian I will have to make that leap outside of my comfort zone. Something for me to work on.