For the last seven years, I’ve been working with an exceptional choir from a school in Atlanta. Each year, their teacher brings her students to Nashville to tour a local university and to have me work with them. One by one they sing, and I offer some coaching to help them get to the next level of their ability.
Having worked with the same group for a number of years, I’ve seen freshmen grow to be seniors. I’ve seen some with the beginnings of greatness put in the work to become excellent. I’ve seen others who sing purely for the love of it develop discipline that will pay dividends for the rest of their lives. So many of these students have stretched themselves to make the most of what they’ve been given, and in the process, their potential has increased exponentially. It’s beautiful and inspiring to watch, and it’s an honor to be a small part of it.
Do I think I deserve anything more than a grain of credit? Absolutely not. I see these kids once a year. I plant a seed. Their teacher waters it, and they tend it through discipline and practice. Together, they do the hard work.
But how might it be different if I never planted the seed that I’m specifically gifted to plant?
Who can know for sure – but over the course of years, I’m starting to see my fingerprints on the methods of this teacher and in the lives of her students. What a privilege! To help someone – to shape their ability – maybe even their future through a very small effort on my part. It costs me so little – just a simple seed of my time and experience. But once life waters it, what might it eventually grow to be?
You’re on the road up ahead of someone. You’re blazing a trail for others to follow after – whether you know and acknowledge that or not. You have wisdom and experience that someone easily within your reach could learn and benefit from. You’re an expert at something.
Yes, you are.
– Maybe you’re a great cook who could teach a single mother some fast, easy meals.
– Or you’ve grown a business and could help someone who’s just starting up.
– Maybe you’re crazy organized, and could teach someone to better manage their household.
– Or your marriage has seen hard times, and sharing your story could help a young couple avoid what you’ve experienced.
– Maybe you’ve found hope after tragedy or loss and you could offer comfort few others would be capable of giving.
You know something we don’t know.
Sharing it would make someone’s road ahead much easier… It might even shape their future in ways neither of you could yet imagine. What else are you here for, if not to share it? What is life about if it’s not about that?
Most of us would surely help in any way we could if someone were simply to ask… But that’s the problem. That small, seemingly innocent statement holds almost all of the reasons why everybody’s living life alone, trying to make it on their own, carving out their own road as if what they’re trying to do has never been done before.
Why in the world are we waiting for someone to come ask us for help? If we have something to share, why are we waiting to be invited or begged to share it? What are we so busy doing that this becomes such a low priority for most of us?
Can you imagine what it would do for someone who is on your road but steps behind you, were you to call them up and ask them to coffee or lunch? Would it blow their mind for you to reach out and make yourself available? What if you point out the potential you see in them? What if you invest some time answering their questions – and help them identify the potential pitfalls you see?
What seed might you plant in them?
You guys, this is so important. We’ve got to reach beyond our personal circumstances, and get this right. So I’m not writing you today to ambiguously encourage you to help someone. I’m writing to tell you to snap out of your regular routine, look around you, and find someone who needs to know what you’ve already learned. Then, go share it with them… THIS WEEK.
What if everyone reading this post made that small effort, and encouraged at least one person to do the same?
Coffee, lunch, a phone call… It’s small in the scheme of things.
But it will plant a seed.
Life will water it.
They will tend it.
And who knows what will grow in time?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, and if it resonates with you, please share this post. It may encourage someone in your life to invest in someone else.