Making a Difference With Our Strengths

Evernote Camera Roll 20121227 201111I am a person who likes to make sincere connections. It's not enough for me to make small talk, I like digging deeper. I want to know who you are. What makes you tick. I want to know your story. Some people, including my kids (and their friends) describe me as intense.

It's a fair statement. I recognize that I am intense. The older I get, the more intense I seem to get. But it is because I'm all about making things matter these days. I refer to the connections and conversations in my life as opportunities to "collect kernels." We meet, we talk, we each hopefully takeaway "something" from our conversation. If we don't, in my was a missed opportunity.

I'm not sure when digging deeper started to matter so much to me, maybe when I passed the halfway point of life and realized that I went through days where I didn't actually matter. I mean, I obviously matter to my family, but I want more than that. I want to make a difference in the world, not just to those who love me because they have to.

I've spent the better part of the last couple years attempting to cut to the chase of who I truly am. I've asked for help along the way, from friends and family, and even from brand new acquaintances who probably had no idea they were helping me figure myself out. I've discovered that I have the ability to challenge people, to inspire them, to guide them, and to sometimes redirect them. All for the sole purpose of helping them move forward. There's really nothing in it for me, other than I just hate to recognize untapped potential and not try to do something about it.

Potential is a person's unused and unrealized power to do, and to become.

Until recently I never knew this "talent" of mine was something unique. But a recent series of events, and a very insightful friend have shown me that it is a "talent," and it must not be squandered. I won't kid you and say this skill makes me popular, in fact it sometimes has totally the opposite effect. I make people uncomfortable, accountable, defensive and maybe even a little mad. For a person who wants to make a positive mark on the human connections in her life, that is NOT my desired result. But it happens, especially with those who need the help and direction the most.

And for that reason I will gladly accept this role of "challenger" for all those in my life who need it.

Personal growth does not come without mistakes. And I've made my fair share this past year, and I no doubt will make more. Discovering who I am and attempting to make a difference in my corner of the world is both freeing and terrifying. But I not only cannot seem to stop myself, I've found I really don't want to.