I am getting ready for an important presentation. The purpose is to give a group of key stakeholders the information they need to understand what I am doing on their behalf. If things go well, they will give me candid feedback and input. If I am not successful, the room will be quiet. As I begin to consider the possible reactions, I realize that there is a worst-case option that I have not considered.
Very few people intend to fail. Regardless of how one approaches work, I have not found anyone that starts out thinking they are going to fail. Even those that take on impossible assignments think there is a possibility of succeeding.
I realize that there are those around me that are failing. If I am going to avoid the worst scenario then I need to understand the reasons behind the fall. As I think of the possibilities, the following lessons stand out.
It is important to listen. While I know there are people with evil intents, most hope others succeed. Communities tend to offer help to each other. In order for the voices to make a difference, someone needs to hear with their heart as well as their mind.
When an awareness of what can be done better is there, action is the only response that makes it real. I can hear the echo of a Wisdom Father’s words across time; “No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They’ve got him all backward.” (1 John 3.6)
It is never enough to listen once. One must hear and hear again. One must hear deeply and in the heart. One must open one’s self up to the possibility of reaching higher. The strong take these helpful gifts and give them life, repeatedly.
My worst-case option is that my audience simply does not care. They listen in silence, responding to any distraction. Whatever response I get, I pray that they care. We need to need each other.