How many times have you been in a situation like this? You're at an event, a seminar, a training session, a church service and the material being presented is impactful, speaking to you in a powerful way. It sticks in your mind, echoing "I wish he was here...I wish my mom was here...I wish my wife was here."
It's powerful, but not to you; it resounds enough for you to think it's good for someone else.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a strong believer in sharing stuff that impacts me, whether it be music, podcasts, articles, sermons, or whatever. I especially love introducing my friends and family to new music. In fact, I'm currently listening to a band I just discovered today. The band is Bleachers and the JAM is Like a River Runs. I'm digging it because of the neo 80s sound that's getting real popular these days. They even say they're inspired by John Hughes movies, which is awesome. The Sia version is especially strong.
Anyway, I'm appreciative when people share new material with me, so I invite it if you have something.
But there's a major difference between sharing something because it has meaning to you and sharing something because you think another person will benefit. I should state this a different way. If you are in the middle of listening to a podcast or a teaching and your mind starts drifting into a space where you begin to think about how someone else will "get a lot out of that" you've instantly cut yourself off from receiving what's being taught. In other words, in thinking another person will benefit you keep yourself from learning, growing, and being changed by what is happening in that moment.
Again, I have no problem with someone thinking I will benefit from a podcast or sermon or training, but if that person hasn't first absorbed it and considered how it's benefited him or her, I will smell danger.
We all smell danger when someone says, "I think you should listen to _____. I think it'll be really good for you." Why? Because we know that we are being set up to be fixed!
I hate typing that. I've done it so many times with people I love so much. I convince myself that because I love the other person I share stuff that I "know" will be great for them. Then they either reject it, hate it, or don't get it at all. In this case, when we think about others before ourselves, we've moved for wanting to receive for ourselves to wanting to fix someone else.
Here's what's going on. In listening to a podcast or a sermon or a training, I embarked on a specific journey in my own life to get there. I might have been searching on iTues, going to church, or checking out a specific topic online. I was the one who voluntarily did all of those things. I said "yes" to it all out of my own volition. Now, in sharing one of those things with someone thinking it will help them, I'm effectively saying, "I went on a journey I don't want you to go on; I want to give you a shortcut because I know what's best for you." It comes from a place of control, not a place of invitation.
So the next time you find yourself saying, "I wish so-and-so could hear this!" do the following:
- Focus on what you're learning. Flag that thought of the other person and put it away so you can focus on what you're learning in that moment. You are in that situation for you and for no one else.
- Take time to reflect on what you learned. Spend time after listening to a podcast or a training on how it impacted you personally. What did it reveal about you? What actions do you need to take for your own life first?
- Ask why you want someone else to listen. Revisit who you considered would benefit and ask why you want that person to listen. Is it because you think it will be the clincher in a fight you've had? Is it because you think they'll finally understand why you are so mad? Or is it because you truly care and are curious to see if it will actually help them as it has you?
- Invite them. Don't tell them to listen. Invite. It could be, "Hey, I spent some time listening to a podcast that really did a number on me. After reflecting on it, our relationship came to mind and I'm wondering if you'd be interested in listening too and talking about it. Would you be interested?"