That is the question we were left with after my last blog. Business or personal, we are humans interacting and wanting the best for those closest to us. So what does it look like?
I have said it, you have, we all have. We tell people we do something or want something because we ‘care’. Very few are ever forced to define what that means. As a father in a legal separation I consider how my sons understand my care when they do not see me every day. When I look at my own aging father I wonder what care looks like to him from his children. We all have our own situations and personal equations of needing care and giving care which help us define it and understand what it means.
One thing we can agree on is that care is something that begins from the inside and grows into a visible manifestation.
If I do not care about something, I do not exhibit care externally; in word or action. And when I try, some will most likely ‘read between the lines’ and know that it is not necessarily from the heart. But we also know that sometimes we need to show we care before we even start to understand why.
My personal little acronym, CARE, I devised for groups and teams I hope will help you in your chosen setting, to recall and consider in moments where caring is not your first response.
This is the attitude going into situations, not just the activity. I often equate this with ‘welcome’, and how you make space for the needs and priorities of the ‘other’ in your midst. The attitude of intentionally seeking others out and making space for them, sets the rest of your actions in motion.
What does your shared experience look like? Whether it be the actual making of space or intentionally finding ways to show the attitude you are working on, it is a shared experience. You cannot selflessly serve someone one moment and watch them fail in the next. Your action feeds into the attitude you hope to espouse, and the cycle continues.
How do you respond now that there is a platform of trust established? When we develop an attitude of caring, and take the necessary action needed to foster it, we open the door to the ‘other’ to share how they are being cared for. Or, they may desire to care back. It might be their association with your brand, input into the values of your family, or maybe feedback on how you respond to them as a neighbour. Every area of your life, or at least where you choose to show how you care, becomes a conversation, not just a statement.
How do you help people care? You listen. By actively learning to listen we learn how we care, and we learn how we have cared. We often ask or even demand hopelessly, as I did last week on this blog, that individuals and businesses show that they care. The problem is we rarely model or teach what this looks like. When we learn to care, speaking into the needs and unique context we are in, we open the door to show others how. Not as a demand, but as an encouragement to transform the world around you.
So have a happy holidays, and maybe use the season as a good excuse to develop a culture of care! Not sure where to start? Then let’s connect in the New Year and talk options for you or your group: