Sunday, August 10, 2014

My embarrassing one on one with baseball celeb Louis Gonzales proves my blog is already successful!

This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I do not understand sports. Not even a little. When other guys stand around talking about how many touchdowns the Cowboys got last week, I'm the guy that's like, "Touchdowns, that's football right?" I'm not even exaggerating. It's that bad.

So obviously I wouldn't be familiar with any sports celebrities like, oh say, Luis Gonzalez, who (from what I'm told) hit a game winning single that broke 2-2 tie with the New York Yankees and won the World Series for the Diamondbacks in 2001. That's a pretty amazing fact, and one I wish I was antiquated with before I met him.

I don't know anything!
While I was in college, I had an opportunity to intern at one of Phoenix's larger churches. As part of my internship, I regularly played bass guitar with the church's praise team. One Sunday, after the end of a service, I walked down the stairs at the front of the stage to head to my car. And I was stopped by a very tall, sort of rugged looking man. He stuck his hand out to shake mine and with a big smile said, "Hi, I'm Luis Gonzalez."

I smiled back and thought Hey, we're doing last names now. That's kinda weird, but I'm in. I grabbed his hand and shook it, confidently declaring "Well, I'm Tim Swanson!"

He went on to tell me that he really appreciated my bass playing, which made my day, even though I had no idea who he was. We chatted for a minute, I thanked him again for the compliment, and we went our separate ways.

As I continued on my way out of the church, I passed the rest of the praise team, who seemed to be huddled together and looking at me. The band leader said, "Dude, do you know who that guy was?"

I dubiously responded, "Yeah, he told me his name. It's Louis Gonzalez. Nice guy." He shook his head and explained who I had just been talking to. My mouth slowly dropped open as he went through the story, until finally I said, "So... we weren't just doing last names?"

That was sort of embarrassing, but as I reflected on that story recently, I realized it perfectly outlines the reason is already successful. And the reason is this:

Popularity isn't necessarily useful in being really helpful to people.

I had no idea who Luis Gonzalez was when I met him. When he talked to me, his fame didn't matter a lick. It was his initiative to walk up to me, and his authentic compliment that made my day.

My ignorance pays off big.
When I started this blog, I had stars in my eyes. I wanted to be like some of the famous bloggers I look up to (Michael Hyatt, Jon Acuff, and Carlos Whittaker to name a few). At first I started making plans to pursue their kind of fame so that I could have the same kind of great impact on others that they have.

Then one day, I got a call from my wife. I had written a blog post about my struggle with sex and porn as a church leader. In response, a woman who read the post messaged my wife to open up about her husband's sex addiction. She said she had never been able to talk to anyone about it before. And my blog paved the road for her to finally feel safe enough to send that message to Allison.

Since then, my blog has impacted bunches of people's lives. 3 or 4 more women have messaged Allison to look for some guidance with the sexual struggles in their marriages. And I've had the opportunity to talk to a bunch of guys who struggle the same way I used to. I've also gotten to mentor a few young church leaders, who just want to be better at what they do. And in that way, the blog has given Allison and I the chance to impact bunches of people that otherwise I would have never come in contact with. I thought I had to be famous to have the kind of impact I get to have today.

What's funny is that in the world of blogging, I am arguably a nobody. There are pest control websites with more traffic than mine. But I'm realizing that that doesn't matter. The whole reason I started writing is because I wanted to see what kind of value I could add to other people's lives. I've discovered that I can add value to people's lives in a million ways I could never imagine.

Now that's a reason to write.

If you could say one thing to your favorite celebrity, who would it be and what would you say? Please leave your comment in the space below.


  1. This reminds me of the time you called us from Glen Campbell's house. But maybe you don't want to share that story.