Meredith Grey Joined Us for Happy Hour
We were sitting at TGI Friday’s last night when Meredith Grey joined us in my mind for some unknown reason – not Ellen Pompeo, the real Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy, but the fictional character who, in the previous night’s episode bravely volunteered to do a risky surgery and said, “I’ll do it. I’m the best one for it.” That statement must have been sloshing around in the back of my mind since the night before until it found an audience in my husband, Mike, sitting right there at a table in TGI Friday’s. “Meredith Grey!” I said. “Can you imagine being in a room full of people saying, “I’ll do it. I’m the best one for it?” Luckily Mike knew what was I referring to and without hesitation, he answered a simple, “Sure” while he ordered us two Happy Hour drinks. Not being able, in a hundred years, to imagine a situation in which I would feel comfortable enough to say, “Here, I’ll do it. I’m the best one for it,” I continued to explore the topic while I waited for my chicken wings. (How’s that for a pun?) But I really did order chicken wings. (Mike had shrimp cocktail, but I digress).
“A Room Full of People” Exercise
And then it came to me. I asked Mike, “In any circumstance? “You’d volunteer to step up and do whatever it is you had to do in any circumstance?” “Well…” he equivocated. I forged on. “So, let’s imagine a room full of people from random backgrounds. There is one task to be done that will save the world. Under what circumstance would you step forward and say, “Here, I’ll do that. I’m the best one for this job?” “Hmmm…” By now he knew there was no way out but to answer. He obligingly responded, “If they would say, ‘You can save the world by getting this 8-ball in the pocket, I’d step up and say, ‘I’ll do it.”‘ “Excellent!” I was halfway through my Margarita still waiting for my chicken wings, so of course, I decided to take this one step further. (Mike wanted to play Hangman on the bar room napkin, so I spoke while he created blanks for me to fill in.) “Now, let’s imagine a roomful of pool players,” I said. He pointed to the napkin. “How about a ‘T’?” He put the ‘T’ in one space on our Hangman puzzle and said, “Well, let me think.” “If there was a long shot with very little room for error, and they’d ask for someone to do it to save the world, I’d step up and say, “I’ll do it.” “Ah, ha! So that is your area of expertise!” I felt I had discovered a gold nugget in the hills of Azusa. “Yeah, I know that’s what I do best. So, what letter are you picking? It’s a phrase, remember.” He pointed to the napkin once again, a little more impatiently. But now I was satisfied that I had discovered some new way to discover one’s inner expert. We finished the puzzle and the Happy Hour appetizers and drove home. As the evening wore on, so did the thoughts in my head during moments of silence. Maybe there was a circumstance when I’d step forward as Meredith and say “Here, I’ll do it.” I tried to imagine what those circumstances might be. In a roomful of people from random backgrounds, I imagined, I might step forward to save the world if the task was to sign a sentence in Sign Language. “There!” Now let’s say I was in a roomful of interpreters! I might not step forward except if, to save the world, the task was to sign a sentence in Signed English. I liked this game so much that I continued finding circumstances where I’d raise my hand and reasoned that someone who might read this little post might like this game too.
“Here, I”ll do it. I’m best at it.”
You get the idea of how to play the “game”. You think of circumstances under which you’d step forward out of a given group of people like Meredith Grey and say, “I”ll do it. I’m best at it.” (Hopefully, you don’t invent the task of “yelling out in anger” or “crying from the deep wells of your sorrow” or some such thing that you do better than anyone else.) Think of all aspects of your life – your work life, your family life, any or every aspect you can think of. “But,” you say, “isn’t it easier to just go the conventional route and ask yourself, as they might in an interview, “In what areas do you consider yourself an expert?” Of course, it is, but it isn’t nearly as much fun! Try my “Room Full of People” game/exercise and let me know in your comments if any brilliant insights came to you – or any insights at all, other than this author should discard all ideas that are connected to Margaritas. (My thanks to Shonda Rhimes, Ellen Pompeo, TGI Fridays, and my husband Mike for their help in inspiring this essay.)