Turning Hecklers Into Fans

You and I have heard the advice that we should silence the critics. Ignore what the hecklers are saying. Move onto the next great thing we’re going to do.

Recently, I had this mindset rocked.

A great big reminder was dropped into my lap letting me know that the hecklers still matter. They still count. And we can help turn the hecklers into fans.

Image by Jesus Gorriti

Image by Jesus Gorriti

This rocking of my mindset occurred at a little taco joint during a lunch break with co-workers. We’d been seated by our waiter when he mentions that I looked familiar.

He’d looked familiar to me also but I hadn’t had a chance to say anything. It turns out that he was a former student in our youth group that hadn’t been there in ages.

While he wasn’t a bad kid, per say, he wasn’t a model youth group student. In fact, he was a heckler (his own words).

He was one of the kids who was just there to be there. The ones who come to spend time with friends, to get out of the house, and to question authority.

With students, it can be hard to judge where they are in their relationship with God. With him, I wasn’t sure where he stood. But he let me know it when I ran into him.

He told me that he’d turned from a heckler to a believer, for real. He wasn’t playing games anymore and he’d committed his life.

So, how did this happen? I believe it’s because we led with these characteristics:

We cared regardless: Even when there was trouble, we felt the need to show him that we cared about his life. That it mattered.

This wasn’t always easy but we poured into his life and helped him when we could. We gave attention when we felt it was needed. And we let him know that he had a place to come to.

Time didn’t matter: Leaders often focus on getting things done here and now. We want to see the results immediately.

Contrary to popular belief, results don’t happen overnight. You don’t create a successful life in one day. You don’t build a billion dollar company in a week. You can’t change people instantly.

We planted even if we weren’t going to see the results.

As leaders, we must be willing to plant the seeds of success and change. We may be the ones to water and see those seeds sprout. Or we may not. We just need to do our jobs.

We continued to show up: It’s hard to show up day after day, week after week. However, if we want success we must be willing to show up.

Keep coming back, keep moving forward, keep showing up.

Hecklers may not be your first choice to turn into fans. They might not even be on your radar. But don’t discount the power of turning a heckler into a fan.

Question: Have you tried to turn a heckler into a fan? What happened when you tried? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.