You may recall from Day 7 we humans all have the same big five fears. From our pre-historic wiring, fear of the outsider is #2. Outsiders were a threat to kill, rob, destroy, or infect us. This fear has surfaced its ugly head during the pandemic, where we are told to mask up and social distance from outsiders.
You may also recall from Day 16 we learned about The Four Loves. The Greeks had four different words for love, and the noblest one is called agape. Agape love is not self-centered/others-controlling. It is CORE-centered/self-controlling and it gives of itself, not keeping score, not transacting tit for tat.
And this kind of love loves the outsider, the refugee, the newbie on the playground, the free agent, the new in-law, the stranger…
It takes a higher power and a second nature to love this way, but if you’ve ever been loved this way when you were the outsider, you know its impact is transformational. In our weekly BTL band calls, our newest band member is Jim Gant — he quickly earned the nickname “T.L.C. i.e. The Love Cat” — because his heart is bigger than Afghanistan. If you’ve wondered what his sign-off handle 1 COR 13:13 means, it’s a scripture from 1 Corinthians which reads: “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love — but the greatest of these is love.” Same word. Agape. And it’s the same love TLC felt from God at a time when he felt he least deserved it. Talk about a jaw-dropper…
Sadly, in many team cultures, we regularly see many teammates and leaders who after years of service still feel like outsiders. Some of that is on them to own. Some of it is on the rest of the leadership team to own, because they’ve neglected the one ‘L of a difference that transforms a culture from a lone toward all ONE.
The one ‘L of a difference is Agape love. It takes intentional, deliberate practice to make it common practice, but it’s worth it.
Happily, in many BTL team cultures, we regularly see many teammates who as early as their first day feel like they’ve found their tribe. Some of our favorite BTL team practices are when the newbie gets center stage to tell everyone “Why are you here?”, followed by curious questions to learn more about their Builder’s Journey, dreams, and aspirations. Seems a little scary at first for the newbie, but it’s intentional and deliberate and nearly always exhilarating in the end.
If you want to build true ONEness, love the outsider.
PA: This is a lay-up. Before the end of the year, initiate a lunch or a coffee with someone at work and someone in your family over the holidays outside your comfort zone. Practice 7 good minutes. Experience the flow of giving yourself away and getting lost in another.