It’s fun (and challenging) when people get to know and trust us outside of the area of original introduction and familiarity. A few months ago, someone who knows me based on my role in finance reached out to me to help with a recommendation letter. Although not the original contact, he was aware I also write. I wasn’t sure why he’d reach out to me. He had written many recommendation letters and other correspondence in his roles throughout the community. Yet he expressed this letter was especially important to him.
Of course, I was willing to help.
Editing is tricky to me. It’s not a cold process, a simple fix of punctuation and sentence structure. It requires assuming another person’s perspective and voice in order to represent and express them well. Most times, the style is different than my own, and it takes a few minutes to get into the flow. But I could feel the heartbeat of the letter. And I found myself invested and honored to be part of the process.
I let him know I was done and asked him to feel no pressure in accepting the changes. After all, he needed to feel full ownership. I must have been focused on the process, because I didn’t realize he’d been in the shared doc watching me edit most of the time. He found it intriguing. It didn’t bother me that he watched the process, but I’m certainly glad I didn’t realize it at the time!
I enjoy when worlds collide, when I learn more about people I know in a context and they learn about me. I enjoy finding common ground with people as well as being stretched to learn new things. The exposure invites authenticity and accountability, as well as opportunities to serve in surprising ways.