Monday, December 06, 2010


Sometimes God hits you with something profound when you least expect it. For instance, the other day our marketing department spent 3 hours in a mandatory Creative Collaboration session. Right off the bat everyone was handed one of these name tags and asked to write one thing we’re really good at. Some people wrote “Making Cookies” or “Herding Cats” or “Keeping Things in Perspective” but I sat there holding my sharpie marker with a blank name tag. What am I really good at? I wondered.

In these situations you can’t help but wonder what will happen based on what you write on one of these tags. If I write “Singing” then what if she asks me to sing something for everyone? I didn’t want to write something boring like “Blogging” because it’s no big deal to be good at that. Plus, it’s pretty close to what I already do in my job as a writer anyway. The goal was to find something you’re really good at outside of work that most people wouldn’t know about necessarily.

I turned to the person next to me and said, “I don’t know what to write.” He said, “You’re a good writer.” Yeah, I said, but that’s what I do here. Someone next to him said, “You’re a good blogger.” That sucks, I said. Another person said, “You save people” because he knows I used to be a pastor. I’ve never saved anyone in my life, I said. Then another person said, “You enable people.” I’m an enabler? That sounds pretty negative. Then someone said, “You’re really good at helping people.” So, I wrote that down and put the label on my shirt. That’s when God really started to deal with me.

“This is who you are,” He said. “I made you to help people.” Immediately I remembered Robert Higgins. My heart started to break again and I nearly started to cry in the middle of this workshop.

The more I thought about this, the more it continued to bless me. Not only had God spoken to me in this silly exercise, but he did it through four of my co-workers. In fact, He could only have done it through the four of them because on my own I honestly didn’t know what to write. They were able to tell me that I was really good at helping people when I was immersed in my own self doubt. “Am I really good at anything?” I wondered. And God nudged these four co-workers to say, “You’re really good at helping people.” And then I wrote that on a sticker and this defined me for the rest of the day.

As the day progressed, I got to watch this woman Dyana Valentine, facilitate our motley group of creative professionals through a process of collaborative thinking. This woman quit her job and started her own business so she could spend her time standing in front of a group of people and help them to think through creative problem solving techniques. As I listened to her talk and watched her draw the solutions out of us, I knew what I wanted to do when I grow up. I want to do what she does. One day I am going to start my own business. I am going to find a way to get in front of groups of people and I am going to help them learn how to work together and collaborate and find solutions creatively.

I’ve always loved teaching and facilitating groups of people. There’s something in me that’s been part of my identity since I was a very young boy that comes alive when I’m in front of people. It’s why I used to do impressions of famous people at age 9. It’s why I starred in school plays in elementary school. It’s why I started a rock band in college. It’s why I love to preach and teach in Church settings. I love being in front of people. I love interacting with people. I love helping them to learn and to grow and to see things they couldn’t see before.

All of this happened in one three hour workshop. None of it was what I ever expected. But now I know two very important things: What I want to be when I grow up, and what I’m really good at.

What is it that you are really good at? If I handed you one of these name tags, what would you write? Do you know what you're made for? Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? Knowing this and doing this are two of the most important things you can ever experience in your life.

I can't wait to help people and to find ways to show people things they've never seen before.



Dyana Valentine said...

Keith: I am so moved by this post. Thank you for taking "what you are really, really good at" seriously. You GOT it and that is thrilling for me. I want to know how I can support you being even more of who you area naturally: an educator, advocate and a man who takes a stand for what matters. Reach out and let me know how I can help. I'd also like to hear more about the Robert story you mentioned above. Thank you. Thank you. Dy

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am also moved by this post/experience. I have a hard to admit what I am good at and lately I've been thinking that I am good at helping others, but my question is always how do I make this as a job/work?? Thanks for sharing your experience and for Dyana for posting this.
Patricia Hoyt

Anonymous said...

Keith....thnx for being so transparent helped me search inwardly too....I look forward to meeting you in heaven someday...Lindsay Cofield rush.