I’m fairly certain that we all have a role to play during our time on earth. Some are leaders. Some are followers. I? I am The Directions Lady. If there is a group of 50 people around me, I’m the one that a total stranger will approach and ask how to get somewhere.
Great moments in my history of giving directions include:
- Once, while riding in the car with Mr. Incredible, an impossibly hot gentleman in a sports car I couldn’t even identify in the lane next to me made the universal gesture for “please roll down your window”. I did, and he asked me “Do you know how to get to Paradise?” Now, there is a street in town called Paradise Road, and we were headed in the opposite direction from there. And the answer that I very nearly gave him (“Honey, you better believe I do know the way….” etc) could have changed the entire course of my life (um, sorry babe). Wisdom prevailed and I pointed him in the appropriate direction. We’ll never know if HotStuff McHorsepower reached Paradise, or what he found when he arrived. Alas.
- I have been to New York City for a total of 72 hours in my life. On the third day, before I caught the train to DC (that sounds so very cosmopolitan, yes?) I was roaming the streets, soaking it all in. Now, I’m not widely traveled, but being from where I’m from, I know what tourists look like, and I endeavor not to look like that. I blend. I decide to take a rest in Bryant Park (best public restrooms on the planet, btw) when a group of tourists (fanny packs, knee socks, maps and all) approached me. I could hear the (likely self-appointed) leader say “She looks like she’s from here, let’s ask her.” I look like I’m from New York? Really? Made my day. As a bonus, she was asking where something was and gave the intersection. If you know your numbers, you can navigate Manhattan. She’s welcome.
I don’t know what it is that make total strangers think I know what I’m talking about. I just go with it. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll try to find it (whipping out my phone to google something as they stand there with their phone in hand makes me feel smug beneath my altruism, truth be told). I like it when I’m able to give legitimate help to someone who asks for it. Professionally, I’ve been at my most successful when I’m in a role that includes sitting down with someone to work toward a solution. Not every question has a black and white answer (although directions generally do…) and I’ve been told that I have a knack for finding the best path.
Evidently I’m approachable. I’ve been told countless times that I remind people of someone they know–a relative or a roommate or some good friend from long ago. So when people are lost (even little kids, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy) they come to the first familiar face they see, and that’s me. I’m cool with that. Even though I’m not really a people person, it’s important to me to be helpful when I can.
What’s your hidden talent? It may be so hidden that you don’t even see it, but others might. Are you a Directions Lady too? Or can you accurately estimate how many people are in a crowd of thousands? I have a friend who’s a Bringer of Truth, and that’s a valuable person to have in your circle. Whatever it is, cultivate it. Helping people find the right path is what led me to professional organizing, and since I started heading in this direction, things have just felt right.