Let that quote sink into your brain for a moment.
If you desire to change, grow, and develop as a believer in Christ, then you must have an action plan that includes books and people.
Any old book is not going to cut it. Sure, you can read novels, sci-fi, fantasy books, and so on, but are you really going to grow as a person as a result? I personally like to read books from the thought leaders of our day (in both the Christian and secular worlds) whether it be Francis Chan, Bob Buford, and Andy Stanley, or Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, Jim Collins, and Richard Koch. These are the authors that are really writing some of the most thought-provoking material of our time.
Most fiction books can be beneficial for recreation and creativity, but at the end of the day, do they help you grow as a person? I will concede that if you're a fiction book author, then they would be helpful to read, but not necessarily that helpful for the average person who wants to grow in their life.
Reading blogs can also be beneficial as well. Many authors use daily blog posts to work out their writing for future books. An example of this would be Don Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. You can check out Don's blog at donmilleris.com. Blogs are wonderful vehicles of relevant, consistent, and informative reading.
Also, in a way, reading good books and blogs is very much like building a relationship with people. Although it's a one-sided relationship, you are learning from an author, a writer who has taken the time to write about his own life experiences and what he has learned.
Start with those people you already know and make your connection stronger. Your family is a great beginning point: parents, brothers, sisters, spouse, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and so on. Next, move to people in your network that you haven't visited with in a while. Make a phone call. Schedule a lunch. Send an email, tweet, or Facebook message. Reach out to them with no particular agenda other than to renew the connection and swap stories with each other. Who knows? Maybe once you hear their story and they hear yours, you can help one another. Perhaps, you will grow as a person just by sharing and learning from each other.
Everyday, people cross our path from whom we can benefit from making a connection with and they can benefit from making a connection with us. Let me give you a couple of recent examples from my own life:
- A couple of weeks ago, I did a 3-part series about the book The 80/20 Principle, The Secret to Achieving More With Less by author Richard Koch. The day after my first post went live, I received an "out of the blue" email from Mr. Koch himself, thanking me for promoting his book. Since that first email, we have had a couple of brief email conversations back and forth. How cool is that? Here's what I learned from making this connection: First, if people are talking about you (especially in a positive light), you need to make a connection. And second, none of us are too big or too small to reach out to each other. In the blogosphere, I'm just a small fish in a big pond and Mr. Koch is a successful, big-time author, but he took the time to make a connection.
- As the Financial Peace University coordinator and stewardship pastor at my church, I receive a number of letters and emails from various local financial institutions attempting to make a connection with me. Unfortunately, I haven't always been wise enough to make connections with all of these folks, until just a few weeks when a local company called Wise Wealth reached out to me via letter, email, and phone. After they went through the work of trying to make a connection with me through these three communication points, I figured I needed to talk to these guys. So, we setup a brief meeting yesterday morning to discuss how their company could benefit members of my church who were having financial difficulties. Here's what I learned from making this connection: First, be persistent and use different forms of communication when attempting to make a connection with others. Sometimes it just takes time to get somebody's attention with whom you desire to make a connection. Second, explain the benefits of building relationships with each other. In the case of Wise Wealth, they offer a number of free services in order to build relationships and trust with people who are having money problems. Third, you may discover that you both have common goals and can benefit each other in a relationship.
So, let me ask you today, what good books are you reading right now? Also, are you making important personal and professional connections on a regular basis? Feel free to leave me a comment below and tell me your story. Let's make a connection.
Also check out these related posts:
- Givers gain | Networking isn't just for business people
- Expanding your influence with people (part 1)
- Expanding your influence with people (part 2)
- Let's Do Lunch