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Fish and Loaves

When I shared with my wife that I would be presenting to a group of 15 at a leadership symposium, I must have sounded disappointed. I spend many hours preparing for speaking opportunities; 15 seemed like such a small group.

For several years I’ve follow a path of writing and speaking as a business development, lead generation, and influence building strategy. It’s a draining, challenging, and expensive path to follow. I regularly have to ask myself “What’s the return on this investment of time and resources? Is it really worth it?"

Right before I began, my wife sent a text:”Praying for your talk this morning and meeting this afternoon.”

The room began to fill; the group grew to at least 25 thanks to a speaker from another session who was a no-show.

I gave my presentation, answered questions, and was preparing to leave when an individual approached me and handed me her business card. She introduced herself as the vice president of a senior living institution, and said “I think we could use your help."

As I left the room, another attendee—the director of communications for a private school—introduced herself, thanked me, and asked how I could specifically help her organization.

By asking questions of another attendee, I learned of the potential for referral business and building influence through speaking engagements within her industry. At lunch, through asking questions of yet another individual, I learned of many mutual acquaintances and organizations with whom we both work; and how some of my published writing could be of benefit to him.

Later that day I met with two consultants who wanted to learn more about our respective work and companies.

The fit between the consultant’s firm and my agency was extraordinary. Our processes were exceptionally complementary; how we serve our clients showed that we could potentially find great success in working together.

At the end of the day, I added up the results: over 20% of the total attendees of the leadership symposium attended my presentation. I had conversations with two new leads, met two professionals to whom I could add value (and who had the potential for being referral partners); and found a common bond with two like-minded consultants who share a counter-cultural view of consulting.

To me, these were stellar results!  All I can do is be grateful, because it had nothing to do with me.

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus feeds thousands with a few loaves and some fish. The question he asked to the disciples, who did not understand how they could feed thousands of people, was “How much do you have?”

When I arrived at home, I eagerly shared the news of the day with my wife. With tears in her eyes, she asked “Do you know what I prayed for today?

Her response humbled me. “I prayed that even though there were only 15 in your session, that God would multiply what happens through your efforts, just as he multiplied and met the needs of many through a few loaves and fish.”

I would have been content with one lead. One became two. Two became four. My wife prayed; God took what I had to offer and multiplied it.

Whatever you think you have, it will never seem enough. When it is enough, you may be surprised that you have some left over.

How much do you have? However little or much it may seem, be grateful for it. All of it.

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