Business | Personal Growth

On Being Resourceful

The best compliment I ever remember receiving is when a roommate (or suite-mate like we called it) in college told me I was resourceful.  Yes, resourceful.  Not words like beautiful or sexy or kind or generous.  But resourceful.


Why was (and is) this such huge flattery?  Well for one thing, this praise came sometime between 1998 and 2000 (Yes, I’m showing my age a bit…) when Google wasn’t a household name and the Internet was only just starting to take off.  Not everyone had it on their home or work computers yet.  At the time I was called “resourceful,” I wasn’t doing internet searches to find things but rather just paying attention to clues around me for things to do, people to meet and opportunities to seek.

Does anyone remember how to just pay attention these days?  To not be attached to an electronic device?  How often do you see people not look at their phone as they are walking or eating in a restaurant?

Now the internet is a wonderful tool and of course I use it to find sources for my research papers, to look up my daughter’s school holiday schedule and to even find recipes for my family.  But it still isn’t as rewarding as when someone provides a resource for me or I can share a helpful tip with someone else.

Just this week a colleague sent me an email saying, “I think you may be interested in attending this event.”  That sure put a smile on my face.  Plus she was right, the occurrence was definitely one I wanted to bookmark.  The extra effort she did to share this resourceful happening meant the world to me.  I try to do the same thing often for others.

I recently shared my Toastmasters meeting agenda with a client who said he wanted help with public speaking.  When I met a graphic artist trying to gain more work, I later sent her two different networking group names and websites that I thought could help her.

This is what I mean by resourceful.  I take a few extra minutes to share helpful details that may actually help others.

But that’s not the only way I try to be resourceful.  That word takes on other meanings too. When I look up its definition now, the dictionary says this:

Resourceful – (an adjective) Having the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties.  Synonyms include ingenious, creative, clever, capable, inventive and enterprising.

In that sense, resourceful means taking on obstacles with a positive attitude.  I then reflect back on times in my life when I’ve made mistakes or been faced with huge difficulties.  I definitely had to dip into my resourcefulness to find ways to pull myself from a slump or bad situation.  These have occurred in all aspects of my life too – personal, professional and leisure.

I use my resourcefulness to learn in different ways, to apply my imagination, to ask good questions and to take risks.  Being resourceful is key to me doing all of these.

I gain ideas all the time.  I don’t always act on every one but when I do, I know it’s because I’ve been resourceful and tactful with a plan and the details.  I’ve not shied away from being a bit bold, especially within the past two years.

I’m proud to be resourceful and be a resource for others.  I consider it one of my greatest skills and a fantastic trait to have.

People have been so thoughtful to me over the years.  I’ve received many encouraging words and phrases of praise.  But for my own personal tastes, the act of being called “resourceful,” is the one that sticks out in my mind.

What is the greatest compliment you ever received?  What’s a word that someone used to describe you that delighted you?  

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