I’ve been getting involved with my village’s campaign to save its surrounding countryside from development.
As a local journalist I have key questions to ask to make sure that the readership is properly informed about the plans. As a resident I’m heartbroken that the rural home of wildflowers, butterflies, deer, foxes, red kites and horses at pasture is under threat. But I’m also determined that developers and our cash-strapped council don’t get away with pulling the wool over the eyes of local people.
It’s interesting to meet people in the village I never knew before. Common causes unite people and enable us to make friends we might otherwise not have made. And it’s fascinating how people have different strengths and gifts that come to the fore when the pressure’s on.
One of my fellow campaigners is an absolute whizz at contacting people and engaging them. She knows everybody in the village (I guess growing up here does help) and is extremely proactive in picking up the phone to talk to national agencies and the local press. As a result she’s coordinated radio interviews with two different local radio stations and made contact with the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, as well as generating a swathe of Facebook followers that are well over 100 strong.
So I wasn’t surprised that her Twitter profile describes her first and foremost as a connector. She’s a wife and mum too and runs a party hosting business, but before all this she recognises her greatest strength is to connect with people, and them to each other. She’s an absolute gift for our community group.
What is delightfully surprising though is that she is sufficiently aware of this innate talent of hers to name it. How many of us can really sum up in one word what it is that others can most count on us for? Something that reflects our special gifts and strengths?
Maybe this is something we can get closer to understanding for ourselves through journal writing and reflective practice. What is it that you can do so quickly and straightforwardly, with your eyes shut and without even thinking, that others might struggle with? What’s your particular talent that you can put to use to help others?
As I reflect on this for myself the words that keep coming up for me are messenger and truth-teller. I’ve often got into trouble for telling things like they are. It’s not that I enjoy rocking the boat, I just can’t help doing it sometimes, because I couldn’t live with the situation where the true story hasn’t been expressed, or where someone has tried to deceive.
Councillors and developers beware.