Three words that can be used to describe me are trustworthy, enterprising and determined. These are three traits I have displayed throughout my whole life from when I was young. It would take some deep reflection and a psychology degree to know why I value these traits, but as early as I can remember I have found these traits important.
While trustworthiness is a positive trait most people strive toward, for me it was less a choice to be good than it was an inability to lie. From an early age I was completely incapable of not telling the truth when directly asked. Once, when I was very young my Mother asked my brother and I if we had peeked at our Christmas presents. My brother skillfully denied everything, but when it was my turn I broke down and told everything (including blaming it on my older brother). My skills of deception never improved.
Like trustworthiness, I also displayed an enterprising spirit from a young age. Beyond the typical lemonade stand, I always had some sort of summer money making scheme from picking fruit to selling something door to door. I always thought it was somewhat lazy and unimaginative to just accept standard means of making money or working for other people. That extended to later in life when I worked as a private music teacher and an independent dog walker and pet sitter. Now, I am working towards a computer career that allows me the freedom and flexibility of working for myself. That takes an enterprising personality that is willing to take some risk for the reward of freedom.
Determination as a trait can be a double-edged sword. Being exceptionally determined can sometimes mean you are driven to a fault. Being determined can also mean you are extremely disappointed when things don’t happen the way you wanted them to or when a goal isn’t met. When I was younger I experienced many of the negative aspects of being determined. Now I have learned to temper my determination with acceptance and perspective. The cliché of “things happen for a reason” is useful to some people amid frustration brought on by failed determination, but to me it is more accurate to say that unwanted or unpleasant outcomes can open any imagined possibilities. That is how I temper my determination in a world where things rarely turn out how we plan.
My determination has been my most valuable trait, especially over the past year. Returning to school after 25 years away isn’t something many people would attempt. Most people around me didn’t think I would last two weeks. I just finished my first year with a 3.95 GPA. Half of the time I didn’t have enough food to eat or a safe place to rest, so I didn’t sleep very much, but I didn’t miss any assignments through 3 quarters. To me, that is strong determination.
In my mind, the traits of enterprising and determined go hand in hand. There isn’t much point in being enterprising if you aren’t determined enough to follow through with your vision. Without that determination, you are basically daydreamer. I can’t imagine how many good ideas were wasted because the person that thought the idea was too lazy to follow through. I am putting a lot of effort into better organization of my time and energy so that I can use my determination and follow through with my enterprising ideas. I am trying to become powerful enough to make all my good ideas into reality.
Trustworthiness is like a third leg that stabilizes everything. It is something intangible that can change at any moment. We trust someone until we don’t, after trust is lost it is hard to regain. When you are an independent contractor your trustworthiness is everything. Especially in the two previous jobs I’ve had, teaching kids and taking care of pets. If someone is going out of town for an extended amount of time, they must know that you will be there for their pets and property without fail, one hundred percent of the time. If they don’t feel that trust, they will not hire you. Since it is something that is felt, not seen, it is very important to actually “be” trustworthy, not just pretend. I have been through some difficult times and escaped some perilous situations. Somehow my trustworthiness opened doors for me that weren’t open to others similar situations. It also kept me alive because it meant I always had friends to watch out for me.
It was difficult to pinpoint three words to describe myself. We possess a lot more than three attributes. Most notably, passionate, reliable and motivated were three words I could have chosen just as easily since they are in some ways synonymous with the words I chose. Still, I believe the traits of determined, enterprising, and trustworthy are three traits that I exhibit daily.