Human scrapbook

Who am I? This was the big question posed last week as there was a build up to our team day. People responded. They posted about the costumes they were going to wear and added favorite songs to the day's playlist. All I can say is, as a collective we very eclectic taste!

In preparing for the day, I asked myself repeatedly - 'who am I?'. It's an odd question when you think about it. How does one frame this question so one can come up with a single answer? I don't think I am one thing, I think I am many. Am I supposed to be one? Am I thinking about a lighthearted question too deeply?

I decided to attack the problem by coming up with multiple words, and then illustrating each descriptor with a photo. When I arrived I found our beautiful Kate had done the same thing (just better). We were tagged the human scrapbooks.

My over-shadowed attempt started with words on the front about my culture - British decent, migrant Australian, migrant local to Cairns. I gave some thought to my age - 60's baby, 70's child, 80's X gen, 90's traveler. Then came the phase of settling down with a family. Who am I? Someone who is loved. I found photos of the kids now, a photo of when Rudolf and I meet (back in '84) and one of us now. I am a daughter, sister, aunt - I found a family photo from our celebration of Mum, 25 years after her passing (I was 15 when she died). The picture I prepared but didn't pin to my top was menopausal. I think if I ask who I am at the moment, that sums it up beautifully. Each time I showed someone they laughed. I did too, but why is it so funny? I hate everything about this phase.

On my back I put my study achievements with a picture of one of my graduations. I didn't go to the graduation ceremony for my Masters. I would have liked to but I had returned home toward the end of my study heavily pregnant with Tasha. We couldn't afford for me to return so I could parade the streets of Oxford in a gown and cap. It would have been quite an event! I pinned a few personality attributes - introvert, persistent, creative. I found a picture of an exhausted Rudolf when he and Steve (my brother-in-law) renovated Factory 17, and labelled it proud. Then it came to where I am now. The words flowed - entrepreneur (GSL and Piranha), influencer, gentle activist.

Our resident pastry chef, Deb, had created a costume to be a cup cake while Paul came dressed as a leprechaun. I'm not sure why; I don't think he's Irish? Everyone was wearing something that prompted a conversation, and sharing a little personal something about them self. I looked around at all the GSL-ians who had gathered to share the day.

I know it was a BBQ and everyone was relaxed as they mingled, but it was fun watching this eclectic bunch enjoying each other's descriptions and stories. In any other context, I don't think these individuals would likely cross each paths. GSL has brought them together, and together they form our GSL 'tribe'. So then, what makes us a tribe? This is another one of those questions. How does one frame it to come up with just one answer?

Just recently I read Robert Greene's The Laws of Human Nature. It's an interesting read. I felt uncomfortable all the way through because of his position. I'm sure he would describe it as realism; I found it to be exceptionally negative. He describes personalities by their flaws and detrimental impact on others. Having said this, and as I progressed through the book, I bumped into many personalities I've meet in the past. Greene warns to keep them at a distance - I'd agree!

As I reflected on our team 'Who are you' BBQ, something brought this book to mind. Greene saying too many people go through life with a false purpose - driven by money, social status, ego or the like. Our sector doesn't serve this type of personality very well. Anyone who comes thinking their is money is deluded; there is a superficial social status associated with being a 'kind person' but this is far outweighed by the realities of needing to be a genuinely caring person; and, anyone with an ego doesn't really venture down the disability path.

Greene says most people don't align what they do with their natural inclinations or strengths so they ultimately end up miserable and unfulfilled. I don't see this in our GSL-ians. Perhaps this is the issue with those who come, stay a while and then leave again. Of those who have stayed, they are people oriented and naturally connect well with others. The reason the BBQ naturally flowed.

Lastly, Greene argues that following your passion isn’t practical, as more often than not, it’s probably not something that will make you money. He clarifies this by arguing you should follow your purpose - go where your brain naturally heads, what excites you and what you love to invest countless hours learning about.“You can’t learn quickly unless you’re excited about the subject”. This is what resonated.

So in answer to my question of 'what makes us a tribe?' I suspect it must be something along the lines of purpose.

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