The meeting was a mixture of new colleagues and one that I have known for years. The atmosphere was quiet, collegial, and inquisitive. I wanted to know more about them and them about me. As we put the initial pleasantries behind us, the questions and answers sharpened.
“What is your vision for us? What role do you see us playing?”
My responses touched on the ideas that each could do more. The team was strong. They were energetic. You could feel that they wanted to see and reach for an opportunity to play a more important role in the organization.
As I spoke, echoing back what I had already seen in them, I found myself trying to describe a world that they found hard to imagine. Their performance had not suddenly changed; it had been strong for many years. As much as they wanted me to believe, they found it hard to accept that I already believed. Disbelief was traced on their faces and in the tone of their speech. I knew the storyline I was trying to share; “All who are hunting for you – oh, let them sing and be happy. Let those who know what you’re all about tell the world you’re great and not quitting.” (Psalm 40.16)
Even as I talked, I could see that they did not believe in my belief.
The old colleague watched in silence until he could not.
“You may think that the conversation today is just words. I would like to tell you that it is anything but! I have seen, been witness, to this conversation before. It has never been offered in anything but sincerity and belief. You have someone that believes in you and wants to help you make a difference. I believe in his belief. I hope you do to.”
I found myself at a loss for words. It was as if I was listening to someone offering the strongest proof, personal experience, in support of words and intent. The act of telling one’s story starts with the heart and ends with the mind.