I spent this past weekend in a Speaker Salon. I am a professional speaker so that is not a surprise that I would keep developing my craft. What was surprising was what I witnessed in the power of community.

I participate in groups, but generally I lead them. I often say that I am not a great participant- and I am not. I get distracted. I don’t have patience. And I am fast and ready to move on. It takes real effort on my part to manage myself to be a participant.

This weekend was so surprising to me because it wasn’t like that for me, at all. It was profound, much like the work I do one-on-one and the work I used to do when I led programs for a transformational education company. That allowed me to observe the surprising power and brilliance of the community, of the group.

What I got at a new level:

When people give their attention and their listening, for no reason, but out of choice to contribute, miracles happen for the person who is gifted with that attention and listening.

I also got how much effort it takes for each person to participate and be ‘for others’ without a real reason to do so, other than they chose to. Here is the thing- when we pay for something, we are generally ask (to whatever degree this is true for each of us) What Is In It For Me? We want what we paid for. Most of the time, we don’t want to stop working on whatever we are working on for ourselves in that moment. And what we miss is that the gift of contribution is part of what we get for ourselves.

There is a pure joy in giving. One of the most impactful things we can give to anyone is our attention and our listening. Not hearing, but real listening to them as a person from the commitment to them and their lives. On one hand, I know this, and I discovered the degree to which it IS a gift in a group, when I am a participant in a new way.

It leads me to wonder what is possible if I, and you (if you are so inclined and curious), related to every group we are in newly. What kind of brilliance and power would we discover among one another? What would it take on our part, to gift people with our attention and our listening? What would that world be like?