Caring is a key to leading a tribe and loving your work. No matter what you do in life, a key to getting ahead, a key to “success,” a key to building a tribe, organization, or following is to care. And when you really care, you’ll find that people respond. It all leads to more fulfillment and joy in what you do.
The other night I had the opportunity to see and hear in person one of my favorite authors, Jon Acuff. He was speaking about his book, Do Over (which I highly recommend). He drove this point home at the very beginning of his speech.
Jon is a career expert, encouraging people to do things that matter, things they love, things that make a difference. The first point he made was that, no matter our job or vocation, we need to care. He said, “Care about what the people you care about care about.” That’s not a typo or a redundancy.
It breaks down like this:
- Care. It seems obvious, but first you have to care. It’s up to you to care. No one can care for you. People can figure it out pretty quickly if you don’t care. It shows on your face. It comes through in your actions. Set your mind to caring, even if, at this very moment, you don’t feel like it. When you intentionally care, it will change your disposition and bring about a positive attitude to even the worst situations.
- The People You Care About. Whom do you serve in your daily life? It could be your family, your co-workers, your customers, or your parishioners. Some you naturally care about. For others it may take a bit of extra effort. When you identify whom it is that you serve, find ways to show that you care. Be intentional about it. Demonstrate it through phone calls, emails, compliments, handwritten notes, or a literal pat on the back.
- What Do the People You Care About Care About? When you naturally (or even intentionally) find yourself caring for people, you know them: their likes and dislikes, their thoughts and passions, their needs and problems, their problems and joys. To better serve them, take some time to actually think about and write down the things the people you care about care about. Keep that list in front of you: on your computer, your bathroom mirror, or your refrigerator door.
“Care about what the people you care about care about.”
Now that you know what that is, and have written it down, figure out ways that you can meet the needs, fix the problems, enhance the joys, and improve the lives of those you care about. Jon Acuff has figured out that the people he cares about want to improve their careers and enjoy Sundays without dreading Mondays. So he has found a way to provide blogs, videos, books, and even personal interaction to show that he cares, knows what his audience cares about, and provides helpful practical solutions.
When you follow these steps, you, too, will find fascinating ways to serve, and maybe even a surprising following. Care. Really care. Care about what the people you care about care about.
It’s good advice that might even change your attitude and fill your life with surprises.
What do the people you care about care about?