Sunday, September 27, 2009

Good For Nothing

(Please do not misconstrue this as a feeble attempt to gain praise from the dedicated readers of this blog. I am not looking for communal encouragement, so please don't comment about how great I am. You can save that for another post.)

I was talking with a group of friends about a month ago. We were figuring out what kind of businesses we would run, if we weren't moms. It was so easy determining the professions for my friends. In less than a minute I could tell you: That one would make a great politician. The next one could easily own a restaurant or be a chef. And the other could effortlessly be a party planner. And if they ever wanted to switch careers, I had no trouble coming up with back ups: Shop Owner (a classy boutique shop), a gardener/landscaper, and a home decorator respectively.

But here's the thing: I wasn't able to come up with anything for me - and neither were they.

NOT that I can't do anything, just that I don't do anything exceptionally well. I can do lots of things, but nothing really seems to be my specialty. Cooking, gardening, singing, writing, running, crafting, decorating, fashioning (I know it's not a word): All things I can do. I'd give myself a strong B in most of these areas, let's even say B+. But where is my A+? What is my specialty?

All this begs the question of why I find the need to define myself in this way. Why do I need to have something I am good at - or said more honestly: better at than anyone else? Besides the obvious (Pride, Vanity, Self Centeredness) I can think of two solid reasons.

1. I think this all has something to do with the recent Big Change in my life: All of my children are gone at school, All day. I have defined myself as a stay at mom for so long, I am not sure how to define myself for those 7 hours a day when they are gone. When they were home I was the washer, cleaner, lunch maker, book reader, the whole she-bang. I didn't have to be amazing at anything, I just needed to be the mom.

They of course, come home each day and I am needed in every same way, but since they have been gone, I've got to thinking. What is good about me beside my mom-ness? What am I good at? Even though my youngest is only in Kindergarten, I realize that someday - sooner then I think, they will be gone and my mom-ness will be a lesser part of the whole of me.

2. My second reason: I have some pretty amazing friends/sisters/people who let me hang around them. They are all talented in many ways, but seem to have a particular specialty that sets them apart. I love who they are and cheer them on wholeheartedly. But being around them, makes me look at myself and think, what's my thing? How am I great?

I had a couple of friends over. (Visiting Teachers for the lds crowd.) In a round about way, this very topic came up. I mentioned how I felt that I didn't have any one true talent that sets me apart.

One of these women, who doesn't even know me particularly well, FIGURED OUT MY ONE TALENT, my specialty. Right there on the spot. Something I haven't been able to do and I've been really thinking about it for awhile. My talent?

Being social.

It's true. I am a good conversationalist. I like large groups, I know how to work a room. I would go as far as saying that I at party, I can be charming even.

I know how to talk to people, almost anyone. And I enjoy it. As I've gotten older, I learned that asking questions and really listening to the answers is even better than talking. Because people are super interesting. I remember things that people tell me so I always have more to ask and listen about the next time I see them.

I didn't realize that some people don't know how to do this. It never occurred to me to label this as a talent, let alone THE talent, because it is just part of me. I don't even have to think about it.

Now, I am not saying this talent of mine has any street value. I certainly couldn't make any money off of it. But U feel really good about this talent, because it truly is something I don't need to be better than anyone else at. I have never found the need to compare myself with people in this area.

It is something I am exceptionally good at so I am just going to be happy with that.


Heidi Lyn said...

I envy your talent. I am terribly shy in a large group and it seems out of character for me because in a small group I'm the exact opposite. At so many events I've dreamed of ease and grace . . . You're so blessed!

justjen said...

So Carie, being that you rank so high in most every area and especially so in the department of being social I think you would make the the GREATEST host of any kind of talk show. You could have a fascinating TV show interviewing anyone and everyone. You'd look fantastic on camera, you're incredibly smart and well read, totally classy and down to earth enough to make anyone feel like a dear friend in moments, you'd ask questions in your fascinating way, they'd spill the beans and have a good time and everyone would tune in! News show, radio show, entertainment whatever I think you'd be perfect!

Meredith said...

I think that you'd be a great "life coach". I know they exist; I don't know how many people actually hire them. But who knows, maybe on the east or west coast...

Anyway, you're just so well-rounded and are good at a lot of things. I think you'd be great at helping people find their strengths and enhancing them as well as introducing them to new ideas about anything and everything.

I'd hire you, that's for sure! :)

heidi said...

"asking questions and really listening isbetter than talking..."

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