I’ve gone to Starbucks far too much of late.

This was a line of thinking that had a genesis a few weeks ago, but came into clearer focus this week, when I picked one for a “coffee-esque beverage” meeting. One typically calls it meeting for coffee, but I don’t drink coffee. As it turns out, none of the people I’d met during my prolific Starbucks-based run did either. That made me feel better, somehow.

As a creature of habit, it was an easy choice- I’d been to that place before, and because it was familiar ground, the conversation came more natural, without overthought or analysis. I’d stayed until closing in that particular Starbucks twice, in recent meetings. We wouldn’t this night, since the gentleman in question had a later engagement. This drew an internal, sarcastic “rats” reaction from me, as if there was significance to this streak. There wasn’t.

I imagine I come across as a quiet person, but I enjoy connecting that way. It’s been a recent insight that relationships don’t get easier as an adult, they get harder. You don’t have the easy social circle of a school or a church to force interaction and friendship, for relationships to maintain. You need to seek it out, to work at it, and to make time for it. It’s not something I’ve been good at, historically.

I’ve written less the past year than I have in recent years, and that’s been good and bad. The good is that I’m pushing out in small ways, meeting people, and trying to be more open and honest, rather than internalizing and saving it for a long-winded blog post that no one will read. The bad is that, well, I’m not writing. I like to write. I just haven’t. Whether it’s work, or other things, it hasn’t happened.

During my “coffee-esque beverage” meeting this week, I was asked if I thought I was a leader. My immediate answer was honest, but thoughtful. I didn’t consider myself a leader. I COULD lead, were I engaged and believing and in the right situation, but in a general sense, I didn’t fit the mold. I’m not confident by nature, and not typically one who finds and forges a path for others to follow. I engender trust, which is part of what makes me good at my job. And I can get up in front of people and spin a good yarn. But a leader? Not me.

Speaking at length, this person thought I would be a leader, at some point- that he wanted to see me lead something. This intrigued me. As someone who can engage in things when I’m interested, it was something that stuck with me.

It was almost too bad that we didn’t get to close down that particular Starbucks, our conversation went through a great many topics, and was rewarding for both of us, I believe. But that thought was good enough to stick with me, I think. As someone prone to over-evaluating and being “uncomfortably self-aware”  (hat tip to Community’s Abed Nadir for that nugget), I think it’ll be rolling around for a while.


One thought on “Reach

  1. Josh Patterson

    I think that there is both a cost and a gain when we push ourselves into roles that we do not fit the mold for. I have been really big on the idea, as of late, of “Do what you are good at and be amazing at it and avoid doing what you are not good it.” I don’t know if it is a phase. I have always pushed myself to overcome my short comings rather than improve my talents. I feel I am coming to a point where a healthy balance of both is important.

    I also know that people tend to see who we are when we cannot. True they only see what we show them, but, character comes through in our actions. Which everyone sees. Did this person give you a specific area he wanted to see you lead in? if so, was it an area that you are interested? once in the position what type of supports would you need to create in order to fulfill your role? Is it an area that you can maximize your natural talents to attract people? What is holding you back from jumping in?

    I think a lot of your traits are great for leaders. Things like compassion, honesty, thoughtfulness, respectfulness, charity… man Dave you have a ton of great talents that all leaders need. Confidence is not required, only the image of it. I would challenge you to think about it somemore. Besides you do not have to do it alone! Like I said, creat the supports you need to be successful in that position. If you need me support I will be there for you!

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