Who, Not What

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Now there’s a question guaranteed to stop me dead in my tracks – E V E R Y T I M E. I marvel at folks who have always been able to answer that question with certainty. Me? I’ve always wondered why a response required that I must choose just one occupation – why can’t I be everything that appeals to me – an astronaut, a ballerina, a rodeo rider, an artist, a waitress, a rockstar, or a Hollywood stuntman? Why must I be pigeonholed into a single defining vocation before I’d even had my first kindergarten nap? With endless opportunities before me, answering that question seemed impossible as a child and now that I’m an adult, I have no more clarity than I ever have.

Perhaps the better question is, “WHO do you want to be when you grow up?”.  Now THAT is an approach which requires introspection and allows us to ponder a CHARACTER path instead of a CAREER path. And let’s be honest – aren’t we all more interested in surrounding ourselves with people of good character rather than simply hiring or befriending a mere body possessing a detached set of skills? We all know that the person of quality character is always the better choice to employ or otherwise engage with.

In my life, I’ve been many things – a rodeo rider (yes for real!), an actress, a farm girl, a bench jeweler, a mother, a widow, and so much more in addition to my varied job titles. I’ve stepped in more manure figuratively and quite literally than I can count. I’ve fallen, dusted myself off, and gotten back up with determination and grit befitting a prize fighter. I’ve kissed away pain and consoled broken hearts. My own heart has nearly burst with pride while I’ve been quietly content to give wings to others so they may soar to their highest heights. I’ve counted it joy to collaborate with a team to make a collective dream come true. But I’m not defined by any single one of those things or attributes or positions. My character so far is the result of the melding of all my experiences and choices.

And I’m far from being a finished product. I’m still exploring the possibilities of who I might become. I look forward to adding to my skill-set and achievements throughout my life so that when I’m done here, I can say I had become the “who” of my dreams rather than the “what” of my dreams.

Being the proverbial Jack of All Trades, I’ve picked up a few traits which transcend any job description, and which are translatable to any position. Some of these qualities which I embody, value, and may be of interest to potential employers are (in no particular order):  

  • Thrives in a virtual/remote environment
  • Coordinates projects, sets priorities, and meets deadlines with minimal direction
  • Uses initiative and independent judgment within established policy & procedural guidelines
  • Resourceful, reliable & manages time effectively
  • Completes tasks with accuracy and efficiency using task reminder tools
  • Designs creative ways to refine and improve processes to enhance workflow
  • Swift learner with outstanding problem-solving skills
  • Adept at compiling and analyzing data utilizing various databases, spreadsheets, sources, and tools
  • Strong attention to detail and outstanding organizational skills
  • Well-versed in standard office administrative practices and procedures
  • Communicates effectively with co-workers, subordinates, superiors, and the public
  • Maintains strictest confidentiality with honesty and integrity
  • Listens with empathy to overcome objections and resolve conflicts
  • Flexible and adaptable to new/changing environments

So, if you asked me WHO I want to be, instead of WHAT I want to be, I’d tell you this:

I want to be the BEST version of me I can possibly be. I want to be a team player who makes valuable contributions to a worthy goal. I want to be known for being kind, generous, caring, funny, creative, meticulous, responsive, and thorough. I want YOU to be a better person for having known me.

And I want to be valued.

Who do YOU want to be when you grow up?

Colleen Ann Guest
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