I aim to get back to my identity series eventually.
This wasn't on the list when I originally started, but I've come to realize lately that I enjoy encouraging people. And offering helpful solutions, which I seem to be able to do a pretty decent job doing.
Not in all circumstances, but in two areas in particular. It seems like at work I've done at least an OK job encouraging. Not everyone, but at least some of the direct reports I've had over the years. I have to admit, I've had an easy job - I've worked with a lot of great people, the need to correct has been few and far between. But there have been a few cases where I've been able to offer a listening ear and also a few helpful words of advice that I've later come to learn were quite helpful. In some of these cases I have to probably admit to divine intervention - that the words that came from my mouth weren't necessarily mine - but that they just came to me or were given to me or spoken through me or whatever. Regardless, that's a fun place to be in - to hear that something you've said has helped someone.
Another area where it's far clearer is MyAutismTeam - a website that I'm a little bit addicted to. The site is far more populated with moms than dads and there are people in all stages when it comes to dealing with their children.
There are certainly a number of areas where I can't relate, but I still end up finding a lot of places where I can relate. Sometimes it's simply cheering along with another parent who's cheering over a success they've had in their life, but other times, I feel like I've got something to contribute - some experience we've been through that's relatable to what someone's now facing, or some idea on how they might solve a particular issue they're facing, or just being able to tell someone that I'm praying for them.
It's weird - I've always struggled with introversion, but I've loved managing people. And now on this website, I've loved being able to encourage people, to tell them they're doing a great job, that questions, doubts, fears and frustrations are normal, that they need to fight for their children, and that there may be other alternatives to situations they haven't thought of. Or that patience and perseverance are wonderful qualities to cling to on the days where it's tough.
I don't know exactly where the optimism comes from, but I just really feel like I have something to offer. And the feedback I get back suggests I'm being helpful.
It feels good.