Bridge building is an art! I realised over the years how much of life is about building bridges, which we all have to do constantly. If it’s the first meeting or one from a deeper relationship it’s still needs the ongoing art of bridge building.
I was trained as builder, a building surveyor, RICS was the professional qualifications we aimed for to achieve our skill. I was trained to have a grasp of many elements within the building industry, it was not about mastering one particular discipline, but being the coordinating point for many trades and professions within the industry. I learned topography, out in cold and sunny days working a theodolite, walking across the landscape. I studied quantities, working out the quantities and costs of erecting a structure. I designed buildings architecturally, drew plans , drafted contracts, compiled specification, run multi-million pound construction contracts. Even designed watery dams, and BRIDGES, working the stresses and strains, the forces that bridges have to carry. Calculating the engineering of building concrete or steel even wooden bridges. Building bridges, the stresses and strains, the art involved in building these life long structures.
The stresses and strains of the art of bridge building I have realised is a picture of ongoing life, that my life is involved in this complex engineer of bridge building with lives and relationships continuously. We daily build these bridge or weaken them. I recall being advised that I better make sure that the bridge of my relationship with others is strong enough to carry the load I wish to transport across it before I take the load up with people. It’s of no use to end up saying “…well its the way I am, blunt…”, which might be true, when the bridge of relationship cannot any longer carry any kind of load. Its better to take several trips across the bridge of this relationship with a lesser loads until you get it all across than rushing at it while smiling and looking back having got across only to realise when you get across that the bridge is so fragile now nothing can be carried across it!
The art of bridge building we have to learn to negotiate life and people as well as in our own lives.
I am not setting myself up as an expert, far from it, just a simple commentator on life and its challenges, I am learning, I hope to negotiate and being a bridge builder, perhaps a Biblical peace maker?
So we agree in the importance of connecting with those we work, live, partner with in life, ministry, vocation, profession, work with and meet in everyday life, particularly in this culture where new relationships can be intimidating, and 15-minute lunches are common. The following are some thoughts on how to best build a connecting bridge of partnership between yourself and another person
- Love people until they ask “why?” what about getting to the place that the actions of you loving people speaks so loudly that people “ultimately demand an explanation for why you do what you do.
- Ask more questions than others do. Discover that asking questions is much more strategic than giving answers
- Spend lots of time listening. “Once you’ve asked a great question, listen. And listen more. And listen more,” O boy do we need help, O boy do I need help.
- Find points of connection and shared interests, Be intentional! Make a point to discover the person’s interests, hobbies, and what truly motivates them. Then build on shared interests.
- Follow-up. How Important this is, as you never heard from some one will not mean thy have cut or are disinterested they are like you busy. Come on be bigger and lest grow up. Try this take the first step and reach out, then once you have done that, do it again. I sadly heard a comment recently “…I tried contacting them, they did not come back so I forget about it, let it go…” Let us build a bridge and try, try again, again!
The art of bridge building, we could build the longest, the highest, the most scenic, most significant bridge in regard to relationship that people have ever seen, let’s do it let’ s have a go, don’t give up build it. I think a film several years ago called ‘Field of Dreams’ coined a phrase once “…if you build it they will come…” Build a Bridge.