Melvyn Tan
December 4, 2013 — By tanmelvyn@gmail.com

Stay True To The Message

[blockquote source=”1 John 4:4-6 (NIV)“]You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.¬†They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.We are from God, and whoever […]

[blockquote source=”1 John 4:4-6 (NIV)“]You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.¬†They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.[/blockquote]

Body of Work
As I create the body of work that (a) enables me to spread the message, (b) makes the best use of my gifts, (c) earn a living; it is sometimes tempting to skew the work towards what’s popular and accepted. Arguably it would be an uphill task to sell works that nobody wants.

Sometimes it can become an issue of: the work is unpopular but it is absolutely necessary for people to embrace it. Hence do you:

  • bend your message so that it is more palatable for the masses or
  • do not compromise on the essence of the message but find a way to deliver it?

The first instance seems to be selling out. Just because it is tough for people to accept the message, hence we soften it or bend it such that people will embrace it but the impact is being compromised.

The second instance would be the right way to do it. Stay true to the message but deliver it in such a way that it is easier for people to accept.

Not Selling Out
Make no mistake, the second instance is not a compromise. It’s about getting into the state of empathizing with the audience in order to pitch the message that directly address their needs; or even latent ones.

The framework that I use during my coaching session is that of listen, learn, lead.

Listen
Some people hear but they don’t listen. We hear all sorts of sound at any given time. Right now, if you pay attention, you’d probably hear the wind, the sound of the birds, maybe the crickets, or the waves. Depending on where you are, there are so many sounds that you hear. But your mind is able to shut out most of these sounds because it is not something that you are paying attention to. The same with conversing with another person. You may hear what they say, but are you really listening? It turns out there are some tools and strategies available to engage in active listening. One is to pay attention to the predicates. In other words, pay attention to their choice of words. Do they use words that are highly emotional? For instance, someone may tell you that each time I get into a goal-setting session, I feel the stress that comes with the amount of work I have to deal with.

Learn
Two people may experience the same incident but can relate to it very differently. And that’s to do with how we interpret the experience. How we interpret is based on our perception and background. It is our internal stories that make up the context with which we interpret any experience. To learn how someone interprets the given experience, you have to ask questions. These questions should aim at disciphering what their beliefs are about the given experience. Their beliefs, rightly or otherwise, are the guiding principles with which they evaluate the experience. And you’d need to understand these rules in order to lead them.

Lead
To lead is basically to influence others with integrity. You want them to take action because it is the right thing to do, or it is good for them. But you need to know how to lead them. Now, people won’t be moved to take action if there are too much uncertainties. Therefore, the key is to reduce the amount of uncertainties or to manage it in such a way that they would find it acceptable to undertake the action.

Stay True To The Message
Learning from today’s verses, we must stay true to the essence of our messages. Not to compromise.

Pray
Father, as we strive to deliver the truth, please guide us in the way we should listen, learn, and lead others in the ways moving forward. In Jesus name, Amen.