I love making lists. Especially when I am sitting somewhere waiting, e.g. on the Metro. It might be alphabetical lists of just about anything to entertain myself and occupy my brain (e.g. “things that stink” or “things that make me happy” from A to Z) or to-do-lists to organize my next steps. Yesterday I experienced the power of making a list of: “When do I feel competent / What makes me feel competent?” Try it out. And feel free to add whatever small or big thing it is, not just professional skills. I feel very competent when baking and cooking with my toddler daughter. It makes me feel competent both as a mother and as a cook/baker. And that has just as much value and beauty as feeling competent when a stranger from the other side of the world sends me a tricky question about how to best implement Net-Map to understand human rights abuses. Or when a friend asks about advice on how to deal with an unclear situation at her workplace or how to find out what she really wants to do and be in this world.
I guess to answer this last question: “What do I want to do, who do I want to be?” I would recommend that she makes a list of the situations in which she really feels competent and takes it from there. Not: What kinds of certificates do you have, what does the outside world tell you? But what are the kinds of situations in which you feel strong and confident and useful and very much like you are living up to your potential? Have a look at your list and see if you can find common threads. Analyze it with a rational, structured focus, looking for categories etc. But also see what it makes you feel like. Enjoy and connect to the good feeling that you have when you read this beautiful list of everything you are good at and enjoy doing. Put it away for now and have another look at it next Sunday. See if this ever growing and changing list can guide you towards spending more time doing things you feel competent and content with and less that the make you feel like you are just not the right fit.