Email is a bad form of communication but I rely on it. Email is a bad form of communication because it’s incredibly stale. It lacks personal connection. A year ago I sent an email to 10 friends of mine who are prominent writers and/or authors. I heard back from 2 of those friends. I’m not mad at the other 8, mostly impressed by the 2.
One of those friends is Karen. She wrote back with one sentence, “Tyler, let’s talk about this on the phone.” And then she left her phone number.
So I called Karen.
This is where the story should surprise you. Karen is a successful author and writer. She’s written numerous books. A few years ago she started reading my blog for a reason I’ll never begin to understand. Authors are busy people. I know few who go out of their way to make time and space for an unknown writer like myself. And they definitely don’t give out their phone numbers.
Ok, back to the story. I remember all the details about our conversation on the phone. I remember the stereotypical gray clouds covering Portland. I remember the crisp breeze of the cool air on an early summer evening. I even opened the living room windows. Normally I like to trap the heat inside our house, but on this night I had the nervous sweats and cool air kept me from pitting out. It’s not everyday you call a great writer and ask questions. At times I paced around the living room. At times I sat on the couch and laid flat so I could listen more intently.
Somehow we remember all the details that accompany conversations that change our lives. It’s as if our minds know to remember the details because what’s happening is important.
Karen spoke to me for 90 minutes. Most authors won’t give you 9 seconds of their time. Karen gave me her entire evening.
Karen gave me two gifts in that conversation—two gifts I’ll never forget: space and encouragement. Space to ask questions. Space to voice uncertainties. Encouragement that I could do this. Encouragement that pushed my writing to where it is today.
As I wrestled over whether this opportunity to write a book was something God had placed in front of me or one of those opportunities I needed to let fade away, Karen said, “Tyler, you can write a book. The question is whether you sense you are supposed to.”
From that point forward I changed my mindset. No longer was the question, “am I good enough?” The question now was “how can I make an impact?” My mindset shifted away from being scared to being called. All because one woman made an effort to bless me.
These gifts of space and encouragement directly changed the trajectory of my life.
Why do I share this story?
We need more Karens! Actually let me rephrase. We need you to be like Karen! When I say “we need more Karens” that creates the idea that we should be on the lookout for other people who can reach out to bless us. But that’s not actually what we need.
We need you become like Karen. Looking for others. Sacrificing some time, energy, space, and encouragement to change the trajectory of someone else’s life.
I think we get these opportunities everyday. We’re just good about coming up with lame excuses that justify our inept care for others.
People all around are looking for you to be that one person who can change the trajectory of their lives.