Most of us are inundated by e-mails and we may regard our unwanted messages as ‘time stealers’. However, we appreciate those that enable us to function more efficiently in our business or private lives. These are important. We also enjoy receiving others because they share something special with us. It might be a photo of a friend’s child’s first day at school or a grand-daughter wearing her new glasses. It could be a message or newsletter giving us a glimpse of friends lives. Or it could be another personal message that we are delighted to receive.
And occasionally – just sometimes we receive an unexpected message that truly enriches our lives. Let me tell you a story. I’m part of a coaching group and my ‘class mates’ know I’m passionate about sunrise and the changing light at sunset. These experiences are what I call ‘touchstones’.
Every now and then, one of the class members will send me an e-mail with a photo and this is so easy to do from their phones. I just love those e-mails. Some-one has cared enough to ‘take action’ and let me know in a positive way that they are thinking about me. That is truly powerful.
There have been many of these thoughtful messages and I’m grateful for every single one. For example, Pam sent me a beautiful photo of sunrise with the message ‘I thought of you when I was driving to work this morning and took this photo’. This week, Guy sent me the photo below with ‘Brenda, I thought of you and took this picture.’
This ‘cares for my soul’. By the way, if you haven’t yet read Thomas Moore’s ‘Care of the Soul: a guide for cultivating depth and sacredness in everyday life’, you’ll be doing yourself a favour if you order a copy and read it.
With one of the clients I’m coaching at present, as a distinction, we used a picture of blue sky, mountains and trees and then a busy river with logs and lumberjacks at the bottom of the photo. These were all metaphors for different aspects of his life. Over the 6 months of our coaching sessions he has done exceptionally well in establishing new habits and enriching his life. Recently, in the KZN midlands where we live, he moved home and told me about the new view from his veranda. Yesterday I received this photo from him and was so very thrilled that he had thought of sharing.
His message was simple, but powerful:
This is my view every day from my veranda.
Sky, trees & hills, "small" water.
This spontaneous message is also one of the best e-mails I have ever received. It shows me a beautiful scene, one of great peace, and helps me to visualise his new life in context. This ‘picture’ fits so well with our distinction and ‘future narrative’ in our coaching. So, he has turned many ‘stumbling blocks’ into ‘stepping stones’ and I’m so happy for him.
So, what is my message to you? There is great power in sharing. And I’m not talking about group messages. Let people know individually you care and that you are thinking of them, in a way that ‘touches their souls’. You’ll be enriching their lives and yours as well.
You may wish to do the exercise below:
1. Calculate roughly how many e-mail messages you have received over the last week. (You don’t have to be exact.)
- How many of them have meant a great deal to you personally?
- What is it about those messages that have made you feel good?
You’ll most probably find that the percentage of meaningful messages you received is low.
2. Then reflect on:
- How many individual messages (not group messages) have you sent where you have let some-one know sincerely that you thought of them in a special way?
- Right now, look around you. Who could you take a photo for? Continue looking over the next few hours – or even days – until you find something that will mean a great deal to that person. Send it to them with a message that will ‘touch their souls’. The message can be very short – see the examples above.
Take action! Tell others that you care. Share in a personally meaningful way and you will be enriching the lives of others. You’ll also be building stronger relationships.
You are welcome to share your stories with me – firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!