I have never had the right energy or skills to command others to do things. I don’t have the instincts to be a boss. For many years, I thought it was better and more impressive to be in charge. I took classes and read books about being a leader, managing people and being in control. I observed and hoped to learn from the leaders and directors I encountered along my way. But a fellow traveler recently told me, You can’t teach leadership. I believe she is right. The desire and abilities are within you or they are not. Not everyone is meant to be a leader in the traditional sense. Just because you are not a leader does not make you a follower. There are non-traditional ways of leading that do not involve commanding or bossing.There are other positions like advisor and healer.
I have been told many times…
I have a way of calming, comforting and healing others. I have the ability to put myself into others’ feelings and then use the subsequent knowledge to inspire and help them. This is my natural skill set. I did not have to read books or take classes to know how to do that.To be honest, you couldn’t stop me from reading about conflict resolution and improving the human condition. I read and study those topics for PLEASURE. I did, however, have to take classes and read books in order to see those abilities as useful and valuable.
It’s possible to be competent and kind
I have a friend who works in IT. She often feels overlooked and under-valued because the overlords at her place of employment only seem to hear the loudest and most direct voices in her department. This is not unusual, the squeaky wheel gets the oil and those that speak with conviction are commonly given the most credit. The interesting thing is the end-users at her job LOVE her. She has a way of working with them that they adore. She is patient, understanding and helpful. My friend is happy when she is helpful. Her empathetic nature is her strength but often it is not recognized.
Calm begets calm
In the last six months, a calm has come over me. It could be the magnesium I now take at night before bed. It could be the wonderful man who entered my life and steadfastly stands by my side. It could be the perspective I developed enough to see the strengths, rather than the deficits, of my personality. No matter the reason, I am content. When I am content, those around me benefit. Not only can I self-soothe, releasing others from the obligation to take care of me, but I can also let this personal peace flow outwardly into others’ lives. I am not so naive as to think this state of grace is permanent. I know this too shall pass, as all states of the mind/heart do. I will simply try to roll with the changes/upheaval when they come and spread some light in the meantime.
Your story matters
The more new experiences and people I encounter the more I hone my understanding of humanity. I use all of the images, ideas and conversations to make associations that serve me and those I interact with. I run all of the input through my internal processing and deliver empathy, healing and comfort. I do this by telling relatable stories or listening without judgement. My personal favorite recollections are those of tragedy and triumph. I also cherish and express memories of sentimental significance such as when the ordinary becomes extraordinary. All of the stories and ideas I have collected demonstrate how unique yet similar our lives are. I do my best to express that to the individuals who enter my little universe. This is what fuels me — giving away bits of soul salve. If I can immerse you in an emotional experience in a good way — I am satisfied on the deepest level. I am energized by healing the conflicts others feel within themselves or with others.
Are you like me? Do you care deeply about the inner worlds of others?
I am not the CEO of anything, but I know I make a difference and I believe we are entering a time when the ability to empathize and tell stories will be more highly valued. I do not want this post to sound like a chance to toot my own horn. I want others to recognize themselves in my words.
Do you have a healing, comforting, emotionally astute nature? Are you using it to your fullest ability? Do you build relationships easily? Are you in an environment conducive to nurturing your strengths?
If this piece resonated or affected you in a meaningful way, I would truly appreciate it if you would share it with others who may benefit.
P.S. Susan Cain happened to post this article on Quiet Revolution today. It’s the perfect companion piece. Check it out.:) Why Extroverts Earn More Money Than Introverts