My sixth @SAFirstYears blog post – published date of 2/29/2012:
Last Wednesday I went to the weekly SWE (Society of Women Engineers) lunch meeting. I regularly attend to support these women who are paving the way for more women to be engineers. This meeting happened to feature a guest speaker, Shari Caudron, who spoke about reaching your “highest goal.” Apparently, research has shown people who aim for their highest goal are most happy. Someone’s highest goal is what s/he ultimately aims to do. This could be building the tallest building, curing AIDS, or simply loving. These things do not happen in one day. But as long as you are working continuously towards your highest goal, you are more likely to be happy. She didn’t give a specific reason why, but it made sense that if you have determined your purpose in life and each day you learn more about how to achieve, and work towards achieving, that purpose, you will be more personally fulfilled.
This got me thinking about my daily work. What is my “highest goal”? Am I working towards that every day? After much thought, I determined that I currently do not have a “highest goal,” such as what I want to be or where I want to end up. And, after more thought, I am alright with this. I have so many friends that are determined to be SHO/CHOs (Senior/Chief Housing Officer) or VPSAs (Vice President of Student Affairs) or Deans, which is great. I have said those exact positions are my end goals at many points in my Student Affairs career. These are fantastic goals to strife towards, and perhaps one day I will arrive there. However, I would like to pose the following questions:
Are your goals derived from the logical path? Or do you really want to do it? I liked being a Resident Assistant, and didn’t particularly see an immediate future with my chosen major, so I decided (and was shoulder-tapped) to go to graduate school for Student Affairs. After going to graduate school, one generally gets a job in the chosen field. So I did. It was a logical move. It was what I have been told and coached to do since I got to graduate school. This is not to say I am not driven. Those of you who know me personally, know I am. And I LOVE my job. I really enjoy it a lot. I would not change what I am doing for the world right now. I am just saying, that I do not want to map out my entire life when I have so much more toexplore.
However, what I realized during this talk was I like teaching and mentoring others. Shari asked us to describe our most significant impactful, or enjoyable activity of the past week. My two significant activities of the past week were hanging out with my little sister (BBBS) and teaching my step class at the Mines Student Recreation Center. As long as I can teach or mentor, I am most happy. Futhermore, it’s not just teaching and mentoring, it’s connecting. I like being a connector.
Let me elaborate. I did not realize the importance of the ‘connector’ piece until Friday, as I was on the plane to Orlando, Florida for the coveted Disney Princess Half Marathon. I was reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. He posits ideas are transferred and become big because of three types of people
- Connectors: bring people together. To the outside observer, they span different worlds and their social circles are wide and varying, but connecting to others is the central world of a connector and they don’t view it as different worlds.
- Mavens: are knowledge holders, who have charisma to spread what they know. They spread it because they truly care about others and want to share what they have discovered. (Which makes me think of “input”. StrengthsQuest, anyone?)
- Salesmen (which I, of course, changed to Salesperson): are persuaders. They can convince you to buy or adopt anything, including ideas.
I find myself to fit best into the Connector category. I have a multitude of connections, colleagues, friends, and acquaintances, and nothing gives me more pleasure than to connect with these people through a common idea or activity, especially when I have the opportunity to help them through teaching or mentoring. This is my true calling. I may not have a solidified final job goal. But that’s alright. At this point, I am going to focus on connecting.