I've been thinking about the things that I think I excel at. I don't mean specific skills or talents, like dancing or public speaking, although that is certainly important. I am thinking more about broad buckets of strengths that I have.
Here's what I've come up with so far.
I'm a good listener. I can give someone space to share where they are at, without judgement or interruption. And when I get confused, I ask for clarification or explain back what I heard, so I truly understand what is being explained. A lot of this comes from my years as a Quaker and the practice of sitting in expectant silence with other people for hours and hours.
In group settings, that sometimes means re-focusing the group when I hear something really important that others might have missed.
Asking Good Questions
I ask good, sometimes hard, questions. I have lived pretty long, and had a wide variety of life experiences — from living in a refugee shelter in Texas to speaking at the United Nations. That gives me a pretty unique perspective on things, and see the wider implications of what someone is talking about.
When my hand goes up at a work meeting, my co-workers know I'm going to ask a potentially controversial or at least provocative question.
Focusing on the Big Picture… and the Next Steps
I'm good at keeping my eye on the prize of the larger goal I'm working on, as well as what needs to be done next to get closer to that goal. In meetings, I'm focused on what is our purpose together, what do we need to accomplish by the end, and what is the larger goal we're aiming toward. And I get impatient when meetings aren't structured this way.
Being Gentle and Forgiving with Myself
I've lived with myself for awhile now. I used to be much more judgmental and hard on myself for even small slights and faults. I've gotten better at forgiving myself, laughing at myself, and just being comfortable with myself. Which in turn helps me be gentler and more forgiving of others.
I'm sure there are other things. But these are a good start.