I like taking on the role of facilitator to help people realize their potential, whatever it might be. In a strategic planning class I audited last year, I found myself spending more time (and enjoying myself more) turning other people’s vague concepts into plans, than I did my own. Many of the AmeriCorps*VISTA members I work with have trouble recognizing their abilities, expressing their roles, and most importantly, translating their experiences into a narrative they can parlay into brighter pastures. I’ve learned a lot about how to work with them to do this.

This I’ve learned: no one ever has everything they need, and not even everything they want. Being able to make do with with what you got (“have” for the grammar police), is one of those key lifetime skills.

The following substitutional characteristics are how I try to make do with what I’ve got. These are for use in situations where I have to persuade someone of my abilities or those of something I represent or anything that requires more than a broad smile (though that goes far as well):

If you lack ______, stress your ______.

For example,

  • If you lack Education, stress your Competence: demonstrate your hands-on experience or abilities; use big words and big ideas; show analysis and foresight
  • ExperienceDedication: talk about how far back your interest lies; create a narrative that makes where you are right now seem like a mandate from god; talk about how A led you to B, which led you to C
  • ResultsParallels: refer to similarities from other semi-related successes; “Albert Einstein failed math in school, therefore you should give me a chance”/p>
  • ResourcesPopularity: talk about your base; describe a safety net of friends or constituents
  • LegitimacyCredibility: explain why it should__ work; show planning and due diligence
  • Partnerships/Collaborators/Corroborators: Get some!