I’m not an especially outgoing person. I stumble and mumble through mornings until my cup of decaf. It takes a while for the world to come into focus. But when you put yourself out there to potentially represent others, their concerns become yours almost automatically. It’s not a virtue; that literally is the job.
You need to know what it’s like for the person standing and wearing the apron, waiting to take your order, what the gang of older gents in the front of the shop think of the passing parade. You’re more inclined to stop and ask, and to sit and listen to the answer. You kind of need to sit with firefighters on their first night in a new station, to hear what they still worry about, despite all the new systems.
You see it meeting present council members for a coffee. They can’t leave a room without checking in personally with everyone in that room. Past members and candidates do it, too. However introverted they may have felt before, once they’ve opened up, it’s a habit they tend to keep. Say what you will, I think that’s a good thing.
Our volunteers experience it too, just calling people they don’t know to find out what’s on their mind, making a connection.
Maybe you’re more naturally empathetic and less focused on your own daily tasks and hurdles. Or maybe your kids plunge you into deep focus from Minute One. And you may already be in one or more service roles that put you in better touch with others. But if you resonate with any of this, you might try volunteering for a while with a local campaign, hopefully ours. It’s good to check in.