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God seeks Himself in us, and the aridity and sorrow of our heart is the sorrow of God who is not known to us, who cannot yet find Himself in us because we do not dare to believe or trust the incredible truth that He could live in us, and live there out of choice, out of preference. But indeed, we exist solely for this, to be the place He has chosen for His presence, His manifestation in the world. His epiphany. — Thomas Merton

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Josh has an incredible heart for God and is passionate about helping create environments that lead people to experience God.  He has tremendous gifts that enable him to help churches advance the Kingdom of God.

Is Your Heart Condition Keeping You From Engaging Your Audience?

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Experience

I’m excited today because I’ve been invited by Technologies for Worship Magazine, (TFWM), to write a monthly column for their digital magazine. TFWM is the leading educational technology resource for houses of worship. You can go here to find out more about them. Here is a link to my article.

But enough about me, I’ve been thinking about something for a while now and I believe it’s incredibly important if you are to Create the Awesome with your passions.

Let me begin by asking you this one question.

Is your heart condition keeping you from engaging your audience?

That may not make sense, so let me explain.

Courtesy of Hugo Campus

Courtesy of Hugo Campus

In my career of working with influencers who have huge audiences, I have witnessed many great successes. Last monday, I briefly described how I witnessed Stevie Wonder over and over again, capture and engage his audience, creating awesome experiences. This has obviously led to a very long and successful career. But more often than not, what I’ve witnessed are artists, entertainers, pastors, speakers, and leaders missing the mark on engaging their audience.

It is no longer enough to just simply connect with your audience. Having the most Facebook likes, or retweets on Twitter, or even comments on a blog post should never become the benchmark for your success. If you are going to truly make a difference, you must engage your audience. And before you think or make some kind of agreement with yourself, saying that you do not have an audience, let me be quick to point out that we ALL have an audience, whether we recognize them or not. We all have been given permission by someone to impact them.

[It is no longer enough to just simply connect with your audience, making a difference means you must engage them.] [tweet that if you like]

Because your audiences have extremely short attention spans, 8 seconds roughly, you must make it a point to be intentional with every single move you make, and word you speak. While that may sound intimidating and impossible, it really isn’t if you choose to put in the hard work necessary, dealing with your heart condition.

Have you ever heard the phrase, the heart of a man, or the heart of the issue, or something along those lines?

At the core of every single difficult season or event in life, rests an issue with the heart. How you choose to respond tells the secret, revealing the condition of your heart. There should be little doubt that there is a battle going on all around you, but a battle not just for your minds as the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10, but also for your heart. Your heart is where life emanates from and where your words overflow (Matthew 12:34).

Using some simple google economics, subtracting the references to the once great band, Heart, there are roughly 156 million sites discussing the heart. There are well over 64 million book references to the heart and 281 million articles referring to the heart. Obviously, you can see there is a trend here.

So it stands to reason that if you ignore the condition of your heart, you will continue to not only frustrate your efforts but also frustrate your audience, robbing them from the engagement they so desperately seek.

[If you ignore the condition of your heart, you will frustrate your efforts and your audience.] [tweet that as well]

So what then

Now there are numerous ways I’ve witnessed this play out over the years, but probably the biggest way is through the lack of being present.

I love the contrasting definition that Psychology Today offers for what it means to not be present.

“If we are not present, we are simultaneously living in the past and anticipating the future, working from a script that is a crucible for forging an expectation based on our past.”

As you can see from that definition, it would be virtually impossible to connect with any audience, never mind engage one.

All of us can relate to that definition at one time or another. Some of you consistently live there.

So here are 5 actionable items you can take, to begin the journey back to being present.

  1. Get alone, and close your eyes.
  2. Take several deep breaths.
  3. Concentrate on the what and where. What are you feeling? Where are you feeling it?
  4. Speak those emotions, naming them out loud.
  5. Take more deep breaths.

Like I said, these things merely begin the process. Many times, this journey toward living a life of being present takes some very hard work and involves the assistance of a community and a professional counselor or therapist. Have no fear though, speaking from experience, I can assure you, the peace that lies on the other side is worth every ounce of energy invested.

I decided to write The Awesome Manifesto partly because I’ve seen this play out year after year. You can get it for FREE by subscribing to my newsletter. You can either enter your email address in the box below or sidebar above, following the steps, or just click on the cover of The Awesome Manifesto and that will take you the landing page and tell you more about it as well. I’d love for you to join me in Creating the Awesome!

What stirs in you when you read the definition of what it means to not be present? What scripts are you letting deceive you?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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The-Awesome-Manifesto-cover Join the growing number of influencers in Creating The Awesome! Best of all, its FREE and only takes a second! (And I'll send you The Awesome Manifesto as well!) Privacy Guarantee: We will never share your e-mail address with anyone else.

Josh Collins

Josh Collins is a Communicator and Experience Architect who lives in Franklin, Tn. His passion is to create awesome experiences that change the way we engage audiences and help you do the same.
  • Tamaryn Imrie

    Great article Josh, I love the quote from Psychology today, and you have raised some interesting points! Thank you! And well done on your offer to write for TFWM.

Posted on: May 6, 2013

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