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a) on an airplane
b) at an event
c) in a meeting
d) on the internet.
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When you look through your front door peephole you get a pretty wide look as to what is in front of you. It helps you recognize if there is a friend waiting at your door, someone else with bad intentions or merely a stranger. It gives you a pretty good look of what to expect. After looking through the peephole, though, you have an option – to open the door. Opening the door provides you more. More opportunities to interact with the person on the other side of the door, more perspective to look left and right and of course, the chance to leave and to explore what is beyond your doorstep.
Many of us are locked in. We live life through a peephole in our mind, only allowing in those things that we know or with which we have experience. We often don’t take the time to open the door, look left and right and possibly venture out. There is a whole world out there that is looking for you to find it. What new friends are waiting on the front stoop of your building? What exciting business and life opportunities are available to you? Why not open the door today and find out?
Late Sunday night Ashley and I returned from our honeymoon and unsurprisingly, there was a significant amount of laundry to be done. Ashley tends to wash clothes on warm/hot while I wash on cold. When I threw in my load of laundry, it was set to hot. I suggested to Ashley that cold would suffice and she pushed back that she would be happy to take care of it. I then reminded her that she had had a few laundry “issues” recently with the loss being a few sets of sheets. (stupid move, Nan) I suggested that I would happily wash my own laundry for the rest of our lives with no issues, after all, I had a list a mile long on why cold water washes were better for my clothes. Ashley became upset. I had blown it.
For me this conversation was no big deal and I was wrong. By pushing hard on this I was forcing her out of the role that she has been dying to play her whole life – being the wife, caregiver and person in charge of making our house a home. In this situation, I had made an error in leadership. I was failing to delegate, trapping me into doing something that I didn’t need to be doing and taking a special feeling away from my wife. Hopefully, these lessons will become easier everytime. This particular one spoke to me and it is shaping me to be a better leader overall.
This morning I had the pleasure of hearing from my friends at Viigo. They have been hard at work getting their Viigo mobile app that does RSS, Weather, Flight Status and and and and… on th BlackBerry Storm. Check out the video here. Look for my BlackBerryCool.com piece today talking more about Viigo and how I use it, too!
How can you tell God is talking to you? Everyone has their own explanation. Mine is when he repeats himself. A few weeks ago I went to the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, where Craig Groeschel spoke. One of the struggles he mentioned was empathizing with others, especially during the hard times. This was a new concept for me that I was unfamiliar with. It just isn’t a message that you hear at church much, I guess because it is difficult to teach people to “feel.” I thought about it a bit and I recognize that I do a poor job of empathizing with hurting people. In fact, I don’t even like watching sad movies. The following Tuesday, I attended my men’s bible study and we were talking about Romans 12. My new friend, Davis, was explaining that the Romans were a tough bunch. To get a visual, think about Russell Crowe in Gladiator. Paul was telling these macho, alpha males to take off their armor, love one another, laugh with those who laugh and cry with those who cry. How tough would that have been – yikes! Then, last week, when I was at the Gazelles Growth Conference, Annie McKee spoke about emotional intelligence. She once again explained the need for leaders to empathize with those around them and the value of doing so. At this point, God told me the same thing THREE TIMES over the course of three weeks. I wonder if he was trying to tell me something.
Over this period of time, I asked God to show me how to empathize, how to cry with those that cry (I don’t struggle with the laughing with those that laugh part). Today, after church, a new friend shared his story with me. It was a difficult story of his childhood and adolescence that was bold, raw and vulnerable. His story moved me. I felt a drop of the pain that he must have endured through his youth. I felt the goodness and hope that stems from him now as well. His story moved me to tears, something that I admit with a shred of embarrassment (I’m still learning here).
I feel that God has provided me with the opportunity to connect with people quickly and easily and today, I am taking that gift a little more seriously than I did before that email. I recognize that my life impacts those that I touch, whether I want it to be that way or not. I appreciate the fact that you and I are actually the hands and feet of God and that each day, we live it by the stories we share with others, the small things we do to pick one another up and the heart that is behind our actions. So, if you are living your life not feeling the highs and the lows for people around you, I pray that you ask God to show you the way. Having begun on that path, I’d say it is worth it.
Whether you realize it or not, you have a network. A network of people that range from acquaintances to extended members of your family that love you. As Keith Ferrazzi says "Too many people see relationships as pies—where if you take a piece, there won’t be as much left over. Relationships and networks are more like muscles. The more you work them, the bigger and stronger they get." So how do you work out your network? Consider the workout being connecting the folks you know together. Is there a person that you are trying to connect with? Can you find a pain they might be having and solve it yourself or with someone you already know? This builds your reputation, no matter how big or small. I do this daily on twitter. The most important point is that you do this with the right intentions, because people will see through you sooner or later. Secondly, do it without keeping score of who you’ve helped. By the way, this is a life long process.
The beautiful part about a network is that you can ask your network for help, too. People are wired to want to reciprocate and it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help. In fact, people want to be needed! Recently, I took a tour of Google. People freak out when I tell them that, but it was merely from asking my friend Vid (@vluther on twitter) who asked his friend Eric at Google. Eric is now part of my network and he knows that he can tap me for anything he needs. A friend asked me if I could get a team of 40 to 60 people a tour of Google. Guess what? The process is under way with Eric, simply by sending a nice email!
Which one of your friends needs help today? Who can you look for that could use a hand? Are you the person that needs the assistance? Ask your network and be amazed by the goodness of people.
I am always excited to find a cool new way to use my BlackBerry. One way I have found to triple the speed of my typing is by adding words to my autotext. Here is how to add words and shortcuts as well as a list that I currently am using. Do you have some good ones that I should know about? Please share in the comments!
To access autotext, go to Options (usually wrench icon) > Autotext > New
This morning I am flying to Atlanta with some friends from Imagine Fellowship to the Catalyst Conference. I found out that this morning was different for Ralf and Linda. They had never flown on a plane before. I, on the other hand, fly nearly every month. They both were asking Kevin and I questions, really good ones, too. “Will my phone work there?” “Do I have to wear my seat belt the whole time?” I loved getting to sit with them because of the wonder in their eyes and getting to explain what seemed to me to be common knowledge. It’s funny how we do that. We do something enough and believe that everyone knows. Ralf, for example, works in construction and is a rock star and Linda is a mom, among her other talents. I don’t know a thing about playing any of those roles and would be scared the first time, too! i know, though, that if it was my first day to build a house, I could rely on Ralf to guide me. I can’t imagine how many silly questions I could ask in a day and how patient he would be with me.
Today, it is likely someone’s first day at something. Remember, it can be a scary event. Take an extra minute to answer their questions and let them know its okay with an extra level of warmth, it’ll be your first day to do something soon, too. Why not set the example for others?