What are you know for?
It is a simple question. It cuts all the fluff and gets right to the heart of things. If I ask you what your boss, favorite celebrity, or your football team was known for you could answer right away without much thought.
Think of the 5 people who know you best. If I were to ask them the same question about you, do you know what they would say?
That’s a little more personal. What do you want them to say?
Toughest question of all, is there a gap between what you want to be known for and what you are actually known for?
This is the thesis Jeff Henderson takes in a book I recently read called “Know What You Are For?”. Jeff is a follower of Jesus, a successful business man and now a pastor. He wrote the book to business leaders and fellow pastors as a guide to think about how the customer or the community thinks about business and churches.
You can check out the book here "Know What You Are For"
I found it helpful but I also think it has a very personal application as well.
There is a podcast episode that goes deeper into how this can transform your business (or church). Give it a Listen
I try to use this blog space for two purposes 1) to encourage you, there is plenty of negative out there, encouraging is much better and 2) to invite you think about, see the world through the eyes of, and love your neighbors. So what do your neighbors know you for?
If I asked my neighbors what I am known for, I can think of a couple of answers (because they have told me in various ways).
Here are a few of the descriptions:
“You are the every night dog walkers”
“You are the guy with the wood shop in your garage with the green car”
“You are the bald guy” (she was only 11 but apparently that is how she knew me!)
A few other neighbors said:
“You’re the guy that did the neighborhood directory”
“You’re the family that brings gifts” (we gave the kids on our street Easter baskets, Christmas stocking stuffers, teacher bags, parent bags etc)
The first three don’t amount to much. That is not how I want to be known. The last two are starting to move things in the right direction.
I want my neighbors to think of me as being “for” them; this is what I want to be known for.
In church language I want to be known for loving my neighbors. It is actually really important. In Galatians Paul says the entire law is fulfilled by loving your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said all the law and the prophets hang on this and loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
It will never be perfect, but I want to close the gap between what I want to be known for and what my neighbors actually know me for. (I know the wording is weird, but I am not known for being a great writer).
Maybe this is a better version,
I want my neighbors to know me, for being for them.
My guess is, your heart is the same.
There is no three step plan or quick fix. Start with saying hello, try to be thoughtful, see where it takes you. Your neighbors are more than willing to connect with someone who is for them. They just need to know you are for them!