If you’re like me, you can get overwhelmed with all the recommendations that come your way or land in the chatter of the communities of which you are a part. Podcasts, books, YouTube videos, courses, workshops, songs, memes, TikToks, Medium articles (cough) — there’s some very magical stuff in there….but just because the message landed for someone else doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s meant for me too. Someone recently shared with me a podcast episode — very sweet! Before listening to it though, I asked what takeaways had been especially impactful for her so that I could listen for it and/or what specifically in the podcast had made her think of me. I wondered why it mattered enough to me that I would even ask her, and what came to mind was the analogy of a greeting card. All of these great things out there — these packaged gems — are like aisles of greeting cards. A “card” caught someone’s eye and they “bought” it and gifted it to me in the form of a recommendation. Now I’m staring at a greeting card with a sweet — but hardly personal — message. If I’m wanting to spend my time consciously, I may not know whether to invest my time in listening to yet another podcast or not.
I’ve had this show up the other way too. In a group chat when a friend shares a link to an article, prefacing it with a few sentences on how it shifted her perspective on something or what it added to her life, I am definitely more motivated to invest my time in her recommendation. Additionally, instead of being low-grade resentful of yet something else being added to my “should-do” list, I am very grateful for her having taken the time to share.
This extra touch is like signing the greeting card and adding a personalized message — the person receiving it feels touched with your gift. Forget blanket recommendations that don’t reveal your big-hearted mushiness or your vulnerability or your capability for change. I think we are all being called to wade a little deeper into relationship with others— and this is just one concrete way to do that.