In my experience…(sincere) invitations change lives
I admire people who appear comfortable in any situation. They walk into a room and seem to know exactly what they’re doing by easily navigating conversations, interactions and people. I’ve never been particularly bold or adept in those situations, although I’d like to be. It’s doubtful I’m alone in that sentiment. I’ve found that the quickest way to achieve comfort in nearly any setting is through invitation.
In my experience, sincere invitations can change lives. While some are purposefully elaborate, most are very simple and understated. When you invite someone into a conversation or to an activity or to coffee or to be part of a group or to share their perspective / expertise / interests, you’ve extended a lifeline of sorts. Invitations, no matter how small, imply trust, confidence, personal value, welcome-ness and inclusion.
I’ll concede that if I’m extending an invitation to someone it’s unlikely that all of those things are running through my mind in that instant. Instead I’m likely wanting to be helpful and add value in some way, or even want to have someone else with me so I’m not doing something by myself. That’s the power of an invitation though…the person doing the inviting doesn’t always understand the impact of the invitation on the person being invited and vice versa. An invitation can change someone’s day and you may never know it.
Invitations create shared experiences. They lead to relationships, opportunities, giving, learning and presence. I was working with a university client recently on student engagement and retention. One of the key pieces of feedback from students when it comes to their engagement is the interactions they have, which includes how welcome they feel and how involved they are. Many times, that stems from personal invitations received and given.
Receiving a sincere invitation can make a profound difference to someone.
It’s the difference between simply existing and actually belonging.
It’s the difference between being alive and feeling alive.
It’s the difference between merely participating and wholeheartedly engaging.
It’s the difference between being seen and being acknowledged.
Invitations are life changing.