Every time I take a trip, I’m reminded of a good lesson when I return home. I’ll travel to some exotic location (like Nebraska) for a few days, and then return to normal life. My friends inevitably ask, “how was your trip?”
Some people really want and need to know the details. Other people ask and, “it was good”, is the only appropriate response.
Check out my high-tech art below.
We start sharing with those closest to us. These are the people who should know intimate details of our lives. They know the ways our eyes light up at the mention of certain topics. They call to check in on bad days, and celebrate on good ones. They know the details of vacations, including the people we saw and the emotions we felt. We are continually invested in each other.
The next circle out are the people we interact with on a regular basis, but they won’t necessarily know details of our lives. They may know where we work and how we act in public. These people may be important to us at certain times in our lives. The investment isn’t there, but we regularly share parts of life together.
The third circle represents the people who come in and out of our lives. These people will see glimpses, but will likely never know intimate details of our life. If we saw each other at a Norah Jones concert we’d share the excitement, but would probably offer no more than, “it was great to see you!”
So here’s the deal. If we focus our time sharing intimate details of our life with people who are in the outer “Networking” circle, we feel empty, misunderstood, lost, and lonely. We’ll live in “I’m in a crowded room yet I’ve never felt more alone” thoughts.
Because we’re always reaching. We’ll always be trying to build a relationship that doesn’t want to be built.
However, if I pay attention to the relationships going on around me, and begin investing my time and energy finding people who want to be in the inner circle, incredible things begin to happen. I become stronger, more confident, and I grow like a tulip in the spring.
As I grow in strength, that small circle grows with me. When strong roots grow with close friends, I find myself free to give to others. Since I’m not as busy trying to figure out the crazy in my life, I own the emotional capacity to mentor people, or walk with someone through the crazy in their life.
It seems then, that if we pay attention to the relationships we’re building, we’ll become whole people. As we grow, we’re able to offer our time and energy into loving others, beginning from the inside (circle), out. We create a ripple effect, or “sphere of influence”.
And that, my friends, is how you change the world.