I was talking with a friend. He wants to make a difference. He and his wife understand some things about life and they want to share them. He’d love to do retreats. But they take time. And planning. And logistics. And so he’s talking about “someday.”
“Have company some night,” I said. “Pick out 3-4 people. Invite them to supper and conversation. Tell them that the two of you would like to talk with them about some shared experiences and what the two of you have learned. Instead of doing a weekend retreat, start with an intentional supper.”
It’s a simple strategy that we often neglect. We want to change the whole world. We forget that we can change a part of the life of a few people we know.
As I write this, I realize that my friend doesn’t need to wait to plan a supper.
- He could spend the next ten minutes writing down three lessons he’s learned.
- He could spend the next two minutes texting his wife with the same assignment.
- They could take twenty minutes tonight during their walk to share the six lessons.
- After their walk, they could take a 3×5 card and write down the resulting list of either three lessons or eight. (The math of conversation and relationship often means that either we identify the same lessons or we discover more.)
The process of distilling and writing lessons means that when they talk with anyone about this aspect of life, they will have a few clear suggestions that can help others.
I offer the same suggestion to you. What have you learned through the challenges of living that you could share with someone else? Make some notes. Compare notes. Distill truth. Share in conversation.
You will make a difference in the lives of others.
First published in 2016. Still true.