You are the only DGEs’ group I know that has survived running around miles of sand and then rolling up the sand dunes, and bouncing down. And you made it, didn’t you? But that’s not what’s going to happen to you next year.”
With these words RI President John Germ welcomed the Class of 2017-18 DGs at the GETS Convocation ceremony at the Dazzling Dubai Rotary Zone Institute in the glittering city of sand dunes and skyscrapers.
The next year, “you’ll be riding a desert safari and feeling so good that you’ve done it when you’ll suddenly fall down because somebody has not done their job. So I want to talk to you a little bit about how you yourself are going to be the key to the success of your Governor year.” Advising them to think that “today is the first day of the rest of your life,” he said their success would ride not on their individual capacity or efforts but on their taking back “what you have learnt here to your district and selecting the best people you can find to form your team. And, as I said in the boat (at the GETS session in a catamaran), together everyone accomplishes more. So build that strong team to make yours the best district it can be.”
You can be a DG who watches things happening; you can wonder what happened or you can make things happen, because you are the best.
— RI President John Germ
They should also remember that “Rotary is only built one day at a time, one village and one person at a time. Now’s the time for you to put the workers together to make your year the very best that can be.”
Germ recalled Walt Disney’s words: ‘If you can dream it, you can achieve it’, and added, “This city/country was built on a dream. India believed it could be polio-free and it is polio-free. You believed you can come outside your zone and have a very successful zone meeting.” Anything could be done with a positive attitude and thinking outside the box.
Be a leader, not manager
In his pep talk, another vital thought Germ left with the incoming DGs was not to be ‘managed’. “Do remember that people don’t want to be managed. They want to be led. They want people who can give a direction. We’ve not heard of world managers, but we’ve heard of world leaders, political leaders, business, community, labour leaders; they don’t manage, they lead. You need to be the leader of your club, your district,” he said.
Reiterating that nothing had ever been achieved without enthusiasm and a realistic approach to problems and the commitment to solve them, Germ said, “You will be limited next year by two things; your imagination, and your lack of imagination. Whatever you can dream, you can achieve. So set your goals high, because you have the ability to get the job done. Count on us to support you, give you advice, but be prepared to make some sacrifices as a DG because the joy of achieving your goal will be well worth the sacrifices.”
Because of your contribution to TRF, the next generation will be in a world that is better, happier, healthier. Nothing you do is ever small. It all adds up.
— TRF Trustee Representative Gary Huang
He also advised the DGEs to surround themselves with positive people. “You don’t need people who say no; you need those who say how can we do the best possible.” He reminded them that it takes “all of us to make Rotary succeed. You can be a DG who watches things happen; you can wonder what happened or you can make things happen, because you’re the best. You are the town Sheriff who can ensure success by having the right attitude. It is your job not only to lead, but also to teach, motivate and inspire. The success of your year is in your hands and nobody else’s.”
Why TRF matters
Addressing the graduating DGs, TRF Trustee Representative Gary Huang urged them to motivate their districts to contribute as much as they could to TRF “which supports so many poor in so many parts of the world. If I start to tell you what our Foundation does in so many parts of the world, we’ll be here till tomorrow.”
Their satisfaction in motivating contributions to TRF would be that “when you see any programme that the Foundation supports, you can proudly say I was a part of that. That happened because of me. Because of you, the next generation will be in a world that is better, happier, healthier. Nothing you do is ever small. It all adds up. And every candle you light makes a difference. Altogether, Rotary is serving humanity and I can’t thank you enough.”
Short course in human relations
Germ shared with the DGEs a few pointers to “help you during your year; it is called the short course in human relations.” The five most important words here were ‘I have made a mistake’; the four most important words were ‘You did a good job’; the next three were ‘If you please’; next came ‘Thank you’.
And the least important single word was ‘I’ and the most important single word was ‘We’. “If you take these seriously and practise them you will build the most fantastic team that you’ll need for a successful year.”
The RI President also warned the Class of 2017-18 that during their year, they would encounter all kinds of people in their district. “You will have those that just watch things happen while they come to the meetings, and
worse — and we have several of those — who’ll wonder what happened. They are going to watch the successes and say how the world did it happen. The third group is the one that makes things happen. Your team should be the third.”
Germ also advised the DGEs to develop a positive attitude, the desire to achieve and build and to eliminate those who say ‘I can’t’. “Take away the ‘t’ and say ‘I can’; take away ‘if’ to ‘I will’. Take away ‘I don’t know and I don’t think’ to ‘I know’ and
‘I don’t believe I have the time’ to ‘I’ll make the time; ‘maybe’, to ‘positively’; ‘I’m afraid’ to ‘I’m confident’; ‘I don’t believe’ to ‘I do believe’. People will remember you for your success. Have 365 successful days, one day at a time.”