Who Am I

Who Am I? Many of us may ask this question over and over again. It is something many of us search for but often cannot define or find an answer to the question. I usually have some type of response for this question. Sometimes it is the right response or I believe it to be the right response. Other times I discover that my perceptions about self are completely inaccurate. I am simply not listening or paying attention to the answer. Today I listened.

I measure my own definition of who I am by an age. I remember when I began to see the real person inside me when I was 41 years old. A late start to be sure. I would like to suggest that many of us discover our real self later in life. I also believe you need to experience life before you can really know who you are. Understanding who we are is also about reflection and understanding the depth of who we really are inside our hearts. Some of us will like what we see while others will not want to see the truth. Some will call this a process associated with maturity but I do not believe that maturity comes with age. It comes from the heart and in my case it comes from points in time when I have an unrelated epiphany that hits my heart and soul with something that cannot be measured. Today was one of those days.

The last few months have been a complete roller coaster both on the emotional and professional aspects of life. I moved to three states within 3 months. I quit or resigned my job without another job. Something I have never done. I started a new job. It is one of the most challenging and yet rewarding jobs I have ever had in my 40 year management career. I was reunited with a friend who continues to challenge our friendship. I discovered a group of individuals who represent one of the most significant, smart and caring staff, who I know with all my heart, can make a significant impact on the lives of the people they touch. I find myself actually doing a job that I have wanted to do my whole work-life, “Make a tremendous difference in the lives of others.” It may be the most significant job I have ever experienced. I also believe more than ever that it was a plan designed by God. I have asked myself many times over the past few months, why am I here. I have a better idea today.

This morning I was watching one of my favorite news programs, “Sunday Morning” on CBS. They had a woman who worked with prisoners and the relationship program she developed. She was truly making a difference in the lives of the prisoners she interacted with each week. I sat there listening, and suddenly I knew more about myself, about “Who I am.” I sat up in the chair and it hit me like a ton of bricks. She was talking was about me.

She was asked why she had such a tremendous impact on the lives of these prisoners and she answered, “I am dedicated and addicted to making a difference in their lives.” Several states have tried to replicate her program but had not been successful. Why? It is clear; they do not have her to lead these efforts. She is the one who makes the difference.

I discovered a new truth. The importance of this awakening is not my dedication to others. It is my addiction to impacting the lives of others. I cannot help it. I cannot stop it. I have never been able to stop this process. I give without any expectations. I love without any requirements and never think that I am being abused or mistreated. It is who I am. I was placed on this earth to give to others. That is what I do, every day.

I work with a young woman who, due to her youth and depth of inexperience, may not be perceived as being qualified to do her job. The most wonderful thing is that she is really over qualified. I have known what she is capable of accomplishing from our first meeting. Why do I know this? It is simply a gift that God has given me. I have known about this gift for many years. Sometimes I run from this awareness, this level of intuitiveness and I run because of the impact that it has on others. It is a truth that I have been given through their own definitions about who they are.

Sometimes I have these instinctive and intuitive feelings and my words are not listened to. This is also very common. Denial is an easy way to hide. One of my new work partners emailed me and said, “No one can do what you do.” I was struck by her comment. What did she mean? Who am I to have someone say such a significant thing? I know where the comment came from and what brought her to this belief. But it still caught me off guard. I was impacted deeply by her comment. As a result of her comment I spent an afternoon going through what I am. I was having a conversation with a group of my staff, self-disclosing to them and allowing them see more about who I was and yet I learned more about who they were and how they make a difference every day. It was a wonderful meeting.

God put me on this earth to give. He did not expect me to get anything back. He just asked that I give without any hesitancy. I have done this for many years without much understanding of why. I am not a minister. I am not a sage. I am not a fore-teller of the future. I am just a poor boy from Illinois that has been provided the gifts of an education, challenging life experiences that support my gifts and a willingness to give to others who need support guidance, love, caring and an internal willingness to make a difference in their own lives and others. It is what I do every day and I am glad and honored to help them discover who they are. It is about what is inside the heart.

I spent some time alone this weekend, thinking. This included time in prayer. I asked for guidance and understanding about some challenges I have been facing. I was seeking and asking for some type of confirmation of who I was and why I seem to suffer so greatly for giving to others. I received my answers the next day, ten-fold. It was amazing. I had the answers to my prayers. God’s Grace is amazing.

This time alone has helped me think more clearly. I think we all need time to separate ourselves from the world in order to understand who we are. I have actually gone through this time of reflection many times. It has always provided great benefits. The time in reflection must be purpose driven. Mine are always purpose driven.
Who am I? I am the one who God has challenged to give to others without questions or restrictions. I was called to make a difference in the lives of others. I am the friend for life. I am the one you trust with your life. I am the honest side of your questions that are provided with love and caring about you as a person. I am the person you count on to help you make a difference in your life.

Who am I? I am the person who gives more than he receives because he was called to do this for the rest of his life. I am overjoyed, dedicated and addicted to that end, helping you make a difference in your life. That is who I am.

About Jim Jones

Jim received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Human Resource Development and has over 40 years of management experience in 5 different industries. He has consulted for Raytheon, Century 21 and Motorola. He retired in 2005 as the Sr. VP, Human Resources for Trident Health System (an HCA facility). His specialty is talent-based organizational development.. Jim has recently accepted a position with Shorter University as the Associate Vice President for Online and Professional Education. Shorter University's primary campus is located in Rome, Georgia. His role will include the strategic management of online programs for the university to include the College of Adult and Professional Programs located in Rome and Atlanta. Dr. Jones is looking forward to helping change the lives of those he touches every day in the pursuit of excellence in adult education. This includes students, faculty and staff.
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