There are times when I realize that I’m not showing a ton of depth. Or maybe, it is that I get so pigeon-holed into being the person someone needs that I don’t get to exhibit depth.
I feel that way right now.
I’ve gotten ingrained here in San Diego as a social media geek. Within my world that may be true. But I recognize that within that skill is a tie to lifelong passion. But the passion itself is much more important than the method I’m trying to master. At work this is perfectly natural. I have no doubt that people there value me beyond my skills because I know that, in turn, I value their friendship beyond their skills or positions.
Let me restate what I’m saying. I care a lot about building community online. I care deeply about networking people and ideas. I have learned best practices, nuance, and supporting skills to make it easier to convey my passion in more effective ways. Ultimately, that’s a skill set that could be applied to a lot of genres and businesses. But my passion is for working with middle and high schoolers and encouraging/networking/sharing life with those who do the same thing.
Take the passion out of what I do and I don’t want to do it. I may be able to give some sage advice or share a few things about what works… but if you’re out there trying to network with me so I can help you build a social networking strategy, I’m probably not going to be that useful to you. I know you are just using me.
At the end of the day, I’m good at social media only because I care so much about the message I’m trying to convey.
The frustrating thing is that I think I am only interesting to some of the new people I’ve been getting to know in San Diego because of those auxiliary skills and not because of what I’m passionate about. It’s as if my only value is tied into some skills I’ve learned and that feels really, really shallow. It’s a slight that I see right through. Asking me about my kids or my hobbies to try to get me to share some tricks of the trade is lame. I don’t ever want to tie my value as a human being into the fact that I can build a website, or develop a brand, or tie that into a social media strategy. Lame. Lame. Lame!
I don’t think this is unlike people who become fake friends when you work at a church. You kind of know they are fake but you’re so desperate for friendship that a fake friend is better than no friend at all. When we worked at churches there were plenty of people who valued our friendship because of a socialogical positional thing. 24 months ago if I had written down a list of people who would be our friends if we stopped being their pastor and I would have have been 100% correct. Not to sound emo, but the shocking thing is how sincere people pretended to be all those years. You’d be surprised by how few people we hear from after nearly 10 years of full time ministry friendships. 10? 15? 20 tops.
For church staff, this is one shallow nature of relationship that makes the job so hard.
But, now that we aren’t there anymore we have no value to them and we’ll never hear from them again.
The flip side for church staff is simple. Open your lives up to those who are legitimately sincere in their friendship. Trust your gut. Just like Kristen and I have found real friendship over the years… a couple of bad apples shouldn’t catapult you into a life of keeping people at a distance.