Did my words reach them? I mumbled on the way back to my office from presenting to another team. Will my words take root and grow them into effective manager-coaches who bring out potential in others?
The audience greeted me and gave me their attention for ten minutes. Then, despite my preparation and passion for the subject, some listeners retreated. One pushed his chair backwards and closed his eyes. My words fell on the table, never reaching him.
Others stared out the floor-to-ceiling windows, some distant thought or plan choking out the sound of any call to action I suggested. And I noticed some, who leaned forward at first and scribbled notes, now straightened in their chairs and frowned as if their energy for the task before them withered under the heat of a challenging climb to success.
I failed to engage them, I concluded.
The email from their manager came an hour later. “Gloria, thank you for coming to speak with us today. The information you discussed was invaluable. Just in the time it took to walk across the hall after the meeting, there were so many comments about … how they can carry out the information into their next coaching sessions.”
I smiled, realizing that for some, my words landed on fertile ground. They took root. These will blossom into solid managers one day.
Heaven on earth would be everyone paying 100% attention whenever we speak or share our passions. Unfortunately, Jesus predicted that would not always happen. He told the parable of the farmer who sowed his seeds. Not all seed produced. Birds snatched the seeds that fell along the path. Those that fell on rocks grew but with shallow roots, so they withered and died in the sun. Other seeds fell among thorns, which choked the plants to death.
The only seeds to produce crops were those that fell on fertile soil. Soil tilled, watered, fertilized.
Did my words reach them? As I consider different soils on which my words may fall, I expect not everyone will listen. Not everyone will hear.
And, lest I get too smug about those who missed my message, I must walk to the other side of the table and ask myself, which soil am I today?
Other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop — a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown…the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understand it. He produces… (Matthew 13:8, 23, NIV)
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