Have you ever considered the answer to the question, “What makes you awesome?” I hadn’t, at least not until a couple friends asked me during a phone call about my latest project. I couldn’t immediately answer their question.
At some point in our lives we’ve all spent time wondering how someone else sees us, but how often do you consider the good things others see in you? If your life was an open book for a stranger and they were looking for the things that make you awesome, what would they see?
I’ve made asking myself what makes me awesome a habit. As I answer that question each day, more often than not I find myself being grateful for the people who taught me the skills and habits that others now see in me and admire.
Larry Schumann taught me to keep my eye on the ball. Your reflexes will play tricks with you if the ball is moving slower or faster than you expect, but if you keep your eye on it, you can overcome those reflexes and catch the ball, knock it out of the park, or duck in time to avoid a nasty bruise…even when the ball unexpectedly curves.
There are some highly stressful things in my life right now, and they’re resolving much slower than I’d like. Because of Larry’s advice, I know I just have to be patient and remain ready for opportunity.
Nancy Van Donge, Brad Butler, Kenny Thomas, Jim Childs, and Roger Brown taught me that when the ball left my hands or my personal event finished, I played an equally important role in supporting my teammates and helping them succeed. I did much better at implementing their knowledge after I graduated, but it doesn’t change the value of the lesson.
In life, each person we interact with influences us. Sometimes we admire them and sometimes we don’t want to be like them, but either way, they influence us…and we influence them.
It feels a little strange to hunt for things in yourself that other people find awesome, but everything that’s awesome about my personality, I learned from someone else. For all of our society’s talk of being individuals, not one of us would be who we are without reacting to the influence of others. We all have our own definitions of success and awesomeness, and we build most of those definitions by our experiences with other people.
What started with a question that made me feel uncomfortable has become a daily habit of gratitude for the people in my life. It’s also a daily reminder that I want to be awesome. Sure, it’s cool and feels good. More importantly, though, I want to be awesome because even when I’m not trying, I’m influencing someone else. I make plenty of mistakes and do goofy stuff I later regret, but the more I practice the habits I associate with success and awesomeness, the more likely it is that most of my influence will be the good kind.
So, what makes you awesome?