How’s This for a Challenge?

J. Keith Hughey


Volume XX, Number 44 (Issue 996) October 31, 2022

How’s This for a Challenge?

Describe yourself in three words.

You may want to take time to think about this because narrowing it down to three words is harder than you might imagine. At least it has been for me. For instance, there are a litany of labels that readily attach themselves to me and vis-a-versa. Terms like Sandy’s husband, Alicia’s, Colleen’s, Jake’s, and Anna’s dad, Papa to our grandchildren, and Papa Keith to our goddaughters all fit quite nicely. We can add to that list Christian, Episcopalian, consultant, hacker (as in lousy golfer), friend, volunteer, donor, baby boomer, college football fan, teacher, writer, wine enthusiast, RVer, dog-owner, and more. Every one of those labels tell you something about me, be it who I am, what I do, what I enjoy, my relationships, as well as what I believe. But apart from describing myself as a Christian, what do any of the above labels tell you about what makes me tick? For that matter, what do most of them tell you about the qualities and characteristics I hope others see, experience, and know to be true about me?

Having chosen Christian as the first of my three words, I still get to select two more. But before going there, you may recall I suggested you take your time with this exercise. Here is why I say that. The notion of describing yourself in three words was presented to me on August 17, 2022, or ten weeks ago. Since then, I have been considering a sizable list of the qualities or attributes that might best encapsulate my being. As part of that reasoning, I have concluded that context and point of view are important. Thus, were you to ask Sandy, she might pick words like stubborn, impatient, and absent – all of which would be true in her experience. Or you could ask my children, grandchildren, friends, clients, suppliers, and business associates. I imagine each of them could quickly arrive at three words – maybe more – to describe me. The test would be is there any similarity in those lists? One would hope so, but I am not certain of it – especially if some of those we ask knew me when.

But back to my list. After considerable thought I believe the second word that describes me is learner. According to Strengths Finder 2.0, learner is one of my top five strengths. There is no way I can argue with that since I do see myself as a life- long learner. I love reading, being open to innovative ideas, different points of view, new things, studying history and human behavior. So, learner it is. That leaves me with one final word.

One of the words I considered for that final spot is trustworthy. I also considered all its synonyms. I toyed with blessed – so much so that I have repeatedly returned to that term whenever I consider all the good things that have come my way. Optimistic seems to fit my personality as well for I am a glass half-full kind of guy rather than a glass half-empty sort – believing as I do that all things will work out for the better if I am open and patient. However, when I think about the future we are leaving to our children, grandchildren, and others I am deeply concerned about the extent to which we have messed things up for future generations.

Shifting to a physical context, I must acknowledge I am past my physical prime. Yet my mental abilities remain sharp. Thus, add my experience and store of knowledge and I would have to describe myself as better than ever. Come to think of it, that is three words: better than ever. And I like that. But is a phrase consistent with the challenge?

So here is my third and final word: Inspired. I am inspired by the people I know, the creativity and generosity of others, the challenges and opportunities that I experience through my work, and the wonders of nature that surround us.

Three words: Christian. Learner. Inspired. But better than ever is not bad either. So, how would you describe yourself in three words?

Soli Deo Gloria

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” Proverbs 27:19

J. Keith Hughey

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Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance
Copyright 2022 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The entire early library of Monday Morning Musings issues may be found at Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

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