It is said that everyone possesses gifts – talents or abilities unique to them. For the longest time, I have searched for what my particular gift(s) might be, and where I might best be suited to lend my talents, whether it is in a career or in volunteer work. Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a “gifting/personality” assessment (the DISC profile). I had high hopes of achieving something lofty - perhaps even somewhat glamorous. You know…I had hopes that I was LEADER material.
I very carefully read each question, trying to remember to follow the instructor’s guideline of “follow your first instinct” when answering. I sometimes have trouble with over-analyzing and double-guessing things, so this really was a bit stressful for me. After all, this was going to be THE answer to what my purpose in life is, right? When the class as a whole had finished the questionnaire, we were instructed how to find our particular gifts based on our personality traits (or behavioral traits). I added up my scores very carefully, going back over the assessment again to make sure I had the math right. Then I turned the page to see my destiny.
The four behavioral types in the DISC assessment are “D” (Dominance); “I” (Influence); “S” (Steadiness); and “C” (Conscientiousness). I … was an “S”. Excuse me? I didn’t WANT to be an “S”. “S” people are NOT leaders! “D” people are leaders. “I” people are leaders. Even “C” people have potential to be leaders. “S” people…not so much.
“S” people are the behind-the-scenes people. We are the ones who are cooperative, supportive, always helpful. We are the ones who try to please everyone. We are empathetic and predictable. We are the peacemakers, avoiding change and conflict nearly at all costs. No, I certainly did NOT want to be an “S” person! I wanted to be a “D” person – the one in control, the one that everyone looked to for the answers – the one who HAD all the answers. I couldn’t believe it – I had even failed a personality assessment!!!
All kidding aside, though – after I got home and had time to read over the material and really think about what it means to be an “S”, I must say this…it fits me perfectly. And it’s not a bad thing. (Really, all the personality types in the world work together and make everything go ‘round and ‘round.) I thought being an “S” meant that I was weak…unimportant…not needed. Oh, how wrong I was! You see, we “S” people are the supporters, we are the detail people, we are the ones who so carefully and lovingly take care of all the little details so that others – like the “D” people – can do what THEY do best!
To further my amazement at the outcome of this particular assessment, one of the gifts listed for “S” people is… are you ready for this??? Hospitality! You know…serving others? The dictionary definition of hospitality is “the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers”. Someone who is hospitable is described as being warm, cordial, and friendly.
I laughed out loud! All this time I had been searching for the very thing that I was ALREADY DOING! In my work, I am a support person – I’m an administrative assistant (the biggest part of my job is “other duties as assigned”). The things I love to do most when I volunteer at church all center around hospitality – setting up tables, helping prepare food trays, greeting people as they arrive to the event, or preparing meals for families in need.
So now I no longer wish to be something I’m not. I proudly claim my “S” status.
It is my gift. This gift was chosen specifically for me. I was meant to have it and to use it. That makes me important and necessary – not in a conceited or selfish way…no, my gift is not to be used for myself. My gift is to be shared with others. I have the distinct honor of having a gift that is MEANT to be given away. Lovely, isn’t it?