From Jeff: This is a guest post by Geoff Talbot. Geoff is an an actor, screenwriter, and sometimes comedian, originally from New Zealand and now living in Hollywood. You can read his blog, follow him on Twitter, or “friend” him on Facebook.
“What would it serve a man if he gained the whole world yet forfeited his soul?”
Implicit in this ancient writing is the assumption that gaining the whole world is automatically bad news for your soul.
But is it possible to gain everything you’ve ever wanted and still keep your soul?
Perhaps, our souls are most truly and vitally “human” when we live with open hands and share all that we have with others.
We may, quite naturally, know what it means to give, but do we understand what it means to share?
Sharing requires friendship. We can give from a position of pride, and we can give without receiving or connecting. But sharing is something more.
Sharing is just as important in cyberspace as it is in real life. Freely sharing who we are and what we know connects us with others in a powerful way.
Sharing requires vulnerability. It involves horizontal transactions than can only exist in the safety of friendship.
It is not how many people we know, but how well we are known by others that truly matters.
Do they know us as friends, or are they just “connections”? How do we stay in this place of humility, living in the duality of both giving and receiving?
It is difficult enough in life, so how on earth is this possible in cyberspace, where we are all significantly disconnected behind our computer screens?
Is online friendship actually possible? Yes, I believe it is.
But as with everyday friendships it takes time and patience to cultivate. It is a journey worth taking, for when we forfeit our own little world we may gain our soul.
What We Can Share
Here are seven surprising parts of our lives we can all share:
1. Our Ears
Everyone is talking online. So many people talking, shouting, buzzing, tweeting… so few people actually listening. Listen and ask questions.
Take a week off tweeting your own tweets or updates and just spend the week reading and sharing in the updates of others. Then, practice doing this every day.
Sharing our success is also an effective way of building friendship. Sharing success does not simply mean “telling the whole world about it,” that’s called bragging.
Sharing success involves engaging others and thanking them for their support. Also share the fruit of your success whether that be resource, information or “space” (i.e. guest posting).
Failure builds friendship; we need to lean on each other when we are hurting.
First, we connect to each other through stories; empathy often comes from mutual pain. Sharing your failure makes you human and that makes you approachable.
Second, acknowledgement of failure provides an opportunity and a space for friends to encourage you and inspire you; sharing their hope. It’s what a friend would do.
We can share our friends with others. We don’t possess or own our online friends or our blog readers. Friendship never involves possession.
Communities are built through friends by sharing friends. Never be afraid to recommend a friend’s blog or their online business; even if they appear to be in direct competition with yours.
The opinions of our friends matter.
They are our friends; they care about us and what we do. The collective opinion of a community of friends blesses the whole union with a wealth of exponential intelligence. Share your opinion, through comments, tweets and emails.
Your voice matters.
Share the path that you are walking with others. Share your past, present and future. Don’t hide anything. Friends like to know what friends are up to: we like to feel involved.
This knowledge allows as to support, encourage and pray for you in tangible ways. Friends are a part of each other’s lives.
Withhold nothing, not even wisdom. Let us keep nothing back for ourselves.
Legacy is all we leave behind; information not shared dies with us. Do not be afraid to share everything with your friends.
I will finish with a confession: So often I get caught up in my own little world, in my own business plan, in my own blog, in my own life that I forget that the secret to living is a “shared life.”
I plan to spend a little less time building my own empire and a little more time helping others.
What about you?