John Stange is wonderful member of one of the Elite Mastermind groups within Total Life Freedom. John joined TLF in March, almost at the same exact time as the Corona Virus was taking hold. We had a great talk before he joined, and we had so much in common except for our choice of football teams to root for. I wasn’t thrilled to have yet another Philadelphia Eagles fan inside of TLF. Being a Steeler fan, we found common ground in us both despising the Dallas Cowboys.
Ever since his first call, Stange has been a steady, impressive example and leader within the community. He rarely gets worked up or flustered. He shows up weekly with questions on how to improve, has ideas for growth and shares sound advice for others in the mastermind.His example is one that gets others to follow along rather easily. Stange is a devoted family man- him and his wife Andrea are on the tail end of raising four outstanding young adults. He is the pastor of a local church, has written more than twenty books and his next is being published by the largest publishing house in the world, Penguin- Random House. In addition, he produces three podcasts- one which has more than three million downloads and runs an online community as well.
On our weekly call a few weeks ago, I jokingly asked Stange if he ever gets flustered or upset. He laughed loudly and explaining a different side to him that we don’t see often. He began to explain his life as a pastor, where he leads a church in the Philadelphia area.
“I am not as nice when I deal with people who take advantage of other
people,” Stange responded.
That led into a conversation about curiosity. I talk often about the need to be more curious. So many people we run into simply are focused on one thing- their wants and needs. If we know curiosity is a key component to success, how do we balance being curious with others without being taken advantage of by the selfish ones?
It’s a challenge that any honorable person is going to face.
I admittedly get frustrated with people. And the more I know, the more I get frustrated with certain types of people. I am a naturally curious person. I want to know what is going on with others, I want to learn about what they are working on and possibly struggling with. I absolutely love asking questions.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you,” Dale Carnegie famously said.
Apparently, not everyone got that memo. I spoke at a conference a few years ago, and in between speakers, I would strike up conversations with some of the attendees. After the third time of the same thing happening, I saw what Carnegie was talking about. I simply asked one question to each of the three people- all who were having a hard time growing their business.
“So what are you struggling with?” I asked.
Twenty minutes later, the third person finished talking only when the MC announced the next speaker. They didn’t ask one question. Not for advice, or about myself or anyone else at the table. This happened in an almost identical fashion with three separate people. I left not being surprised by the struggles they endlessly described.
But the last person left me with a parting gift, which I had to chuckle at.
“You are so easy to talk to,” she said.
“I bet,” I thought, as I prepared for my speech. “All I did was let you talk about yourself.”
John Stange experiences the same. He is generous, caring and curious. And as a pastor is easy prey to be taken advantage of. There is no shortage of people that are looking for advice or an ear to bend without the interest in being thoughtful and curious of others. And it’s those people who might seem to gain more in the short term- either through advice, time or resources- that get shunned and left behind in the end.
Why? Because after their hand is played, the wise ones catch onto the game. We are all for generosity, but when the generosity leads to enabling those who are only interested in getting, you will see the generous ones finally say that they have had enough. The takers, we will call them, are cunning. They will find another generous soul to suck from. But once you see the game, it’s easier to point out who to associate yourself with and who to avoid.
And as we talked about on the call, we aren’t talking about us wanting anything from these types of people. But it’s a dead end street to be in a
relationship that only goes one way. It’s draining on your energy and your soul. And that time is much better spent pouring into people that are as interested in you as you are in them.