6 Steps To Your Best Life-Changing Conversations
TODAY: An Introduction
Come visit us in the summer. If it’s your first time (or your 37th, or you even live here) we are ready to take you on one of the exceptional “Robert’s Tours of the Rockies.”
This past week Judy took a welcome call from a friend in Florida with whom we’ve not had connection in several years. Part of the delight of that conversation for her was him saying that when their family gathers (the kids are now all grown up, married and birthiing kids of their own) they still talk about their visit with us many summers ago. That’s amazing!
Over my 70 years I’ve learned, and relearned, times over one never knows the power of a conversation, whether brief and an easy trickle of thoughts shared, or long and intense, or an accumulation of conversations that grow in layers of depth and meaning over time.
Allow me to give some insight to having your best conversations:
On this journey I’ve experienced deep sorrow and great joy. On this morning I have to say--
What a life I’ve been granted!!!
Taking time this summer to reflect over and celebrate the seven decades of my life, one of the strongest and best threads that has woven through the fabric of my existence is the art of conversation. We will get more into that as we unpack the 6 Steps To Your Best Life-Changing Conversations in future blog posts.
There are moments when I need my solitude and space. There are moments when people will say, “What did you ask me 45 minutes ago? I’ve just told you more about myself than I’ve ever shared with anyone in that amount of time.”
From total strangers, to the best of friends, to the stimulating and humbling privilege of mentoring leaders around the globe, it is the art of conversation that gets us to where we need to be, and who we need to be, in all 8 dimensions of our lives. We get there via intentional, creative, honest conversations.
One of the best days of this Summer of ’12 was when Judy’s sister, Martha (who recently lost her dear husband Carl, our brother-in-law), and Martha’s grand-daughter, Jessica (thus, our great-niece) came to visit us for several days. Looking over the pictures from our overnight sojourn in the mountains, what I remember most are our conversations, which were varied and lively.
On our first day in the mountains, Judy and Martha stayed behind to have some “sisterly” conversation. Jessica and I, after lunch at a picnic area on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, took off to explore an old historic homestead.
What a beautiful, deep-hearted, talented young woman. She teaches elementary kids near Sacramento, CA. (lucky them!). She was devoted to taking a number of pictures to use in her classes this year.
In that brief hike we covered all 6 steps to having a life-changing conversation. She may not have known that, but I did. As her olde, great-uncle, I still treasure that day. We learned a lot about each other in those hours in Rocky Mountain National Park.
This is a picture of the very beginning of the Colorado River. Here, it’s just a bubble of a stream, beginning about four miles behind us in the Never Summer Mountains (great hike if you want to come take it with me next summer).
If you’re familiar with the Colorado, it builds and grows from other tributaries through several western states heading for the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. Along the way it powers dams to electrify the west and irrigates thousands of acres of verdant farm land that provides food for the world.
Conversations are like that. We go from stepping over the river, to flowing river with some of the best fly fishing and rafting in North America, to vast lakes/reservoirs to generate electricity, to taking for granted the lettuce we eat in our salads that were watered by the little tiny river Jessica and I hopped over in July.
This picture, as we hiked up to the remote homestead, took us into deeper conversations. The theatre shooting in Aurora, CO had just happened. The National Park System was the first to lower their flags to half-staff in honor of the dead, the wounded and their families.
Even in remote beauty, we were reminded of that tragedy. Eaves dropping, it was the talk of the trails as we took several walks throughout the park that day. There were no shallow conversations with this to remind us that life is fragile, with we humans, and in nature.
One final thought before we invest time in the next blog posts and unpack 6 Steps To Your Best Life-Changing Conversations. We never know what seeds will be planted for the growth of a person, a dream, a business or ministry, an on-going relationship. Every mentoring conversation I have I respect the opportunity to nurture seeds I may plant or seeds others have planted in the life before me.
It’s hard to see all the tags (unless you can zoom in) that define the life of this 85 year old stump of a pine tree. Rangers estimate it got planted in 1903. It was cut down during park road expansion in 1988.
In 1915 Rocky Mountain Park was established. 1932 Trail Ridge Road (the highest continuous US highway in the nation) was opened. 1946 World War II ended. 1961 we witnessed (those of us alive then, of course) the first manned space flight. In 1963 we lost John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis, all on the same day. In 1968 Martin Luther King gave his "I Have A Dream" speech. 1969 the first man stepped on the moon. In 1973 we moved to Colorado (that's not on a stump tag). Those of us who were living in Colorado in 1976 will remember the devastation and life-taking of the Big Thompson Flood.
You get the drift. Conversations, even brief ones, plant something in another, and yourself. A life-changing difference is made with each conversation. Plus. Or minus. Small. Huge. We often do not think of the power in our words and conversations, even brief ones.
The best life-changing conversations always involve 6 steps. No telling what will flow and grow from taking those steps in your future conversations, from the casual to the deep, from the unexpected to the intentional.
Step One--Coming Soon:
6 Steps To Your Best Life-Changing Conversations