Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Be who you needed

A friend posted this on Facebook (I wish I could remember who, but my apologies to whomever it was!) and I was very intrigued by it. I think I actually said, “Hmmm” out loud.

It made me think about who I needed when I was younger. Then it made me think about how much younger. When I was a young kitty-cat, I very much needed my parents, and they were there for me. My Dad, especially, reinforced that I could pursue what I wanted to pursue, and my gender didn’t have to be a factor. He encouraged me to speak up and to not be meek about what I said. Although we came to disagree on things in politics, he knew that I got my outspokenness from him!

But I can’t be that person now because I don’t have kids of my own.

So for the purpose of this exercise, I’ll think about who I needed when I was a young adult. After all, that is possibly our most formative time, in which we set our worldview and the seeds are sown for who we will be as adults.There were plenty of people who influenced me during that time, including my sister Diana, but if I’m going to be totally honest, I have to say that I’m really not sure who could have broken through my stubbornness and sense of invulnerability. No one could tell me anything and I pretty much did whatever the hell I wanted to do. 

Things have changed a lot since then.

Bahahaha! No, they haven’t. I’m still as stubborn as ever and still do my own thing. In that respect, Ken has been the person I needed as I got older because I feel more accountable. I still have fun, but it is tempered with knowing that I am not a solo unit and I can’t just go out and do whatever I want.

Some of the people who had the most influence on me in my career were a couple of managers. Bonnie in Grand Forks helped me realize that I didn’t need to be perfect right off the bat when I got out of school. Yes, I had work to do, but not being a perfect technologist didn’t mean that I couldn’t work towards that goal. I eventually became one of the Employees of the Month in that lab, and much of that was due to Bonnie and her confidence in me. My supervisor in Indianapolis, Paul, told me that he wished he could clone me and he gave me the confidence to keep doing what I was doing. There were others in my career who encouraged me and helped me to work harder and try to do my best. I didn’t always succeed, but I took all their lessons to heart and tried to remember that our main goal was to do right by our patients and give them the best care possible.

As I think about all of this, I struggle to come up with the person who I needed when I was a young adult and how that might translate to “be who you needed” at that age. I had so many influences, but I cannot fathom who, in particular, I might have needed at that age. Did I influence people in my life? I taught many students over the years in the lab, and I hope that I had a positive influence there. Some of the people I had as students turned out to be some of the best techs I’ve ever worked with and at least one went on to become a doctor.

I guess the only thing I can take away from this is that the best lessons I got were from people who encouraged me and who didn’t try to force me onto any sort of traditional path. They told me to be my own person and to find my own way. That’s the advice I would give to anyone, no matter their age. Find your passion, or better yet, find several.

It will keep you from being bored, which will also keep you from being boring.


  1. I posted it about a week ago too Beth. It did make me stop and think and reflect.I think the encouragement part is very important. I think helping people forge their own way is another important component to helping people be all they can be. It transcends age. I may not have been able to help many people when was younger because of the place I was in, but now that I'm on the other side, I can't help but help. Others helped me find my passions and strengths and voice and I think it is only fitting that I give back. We have to be the light for others to find their way through darkness.

  2. ...I like the idea of being "the person who I needed" to others... and I like to think that is how I have been to others throughout my life ..!


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