CARE; the essence of humans and our experience of life.

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Introduction

  • As humans, we are beings who have a future.
  • We have a future we want, and futures that we don’t want.
  • We have emotional responses to these futures, and the foundation of these emotional responses is ‘care’.
  • We care about our future, having positive outcomes, and not having negative outcomes.
  • But care is not just a desire or preference.
  • It connects to the depths of what resonates for us in life. It is the foundation of value, satisfaction and meaning.
  • What is crucial is that we can be connected to our care, or disconnected; clear or unclear about our care.
  • It shapes our entire relationship with action, results and life.
  • Care is also part of action.
  • We care, but we also ‘take care’.

  • Meaningful work, action and life is about taking care of what we care about.
  • Moreover, care is the essence of being human and our experience of life.
  • It is the deep emotional foundation of our relationship with our future, our choices, our meaning, value, and satisfaction.
  • It is the energy of our purpose, the music of the soundtrack of our lives, and the core of
  • our commitment.
  • The tragedy of our generation is that we are often blind and disconnected from our care, and so disconnected from our power.
  • We have misplaced our birthright and diminished the fires of our care to petty personal desires.
  • The journey of awakening and the path to power and a good life is to find your true care and choose to take care of what you care about.

Essence of care

  • Care is critical for meaning in life; if there is no care, there is no meaning.
  • Care is critical for satisfaction; you cannot be satisfied till your cares are taken care of.
  • Care is critical to designing futures that matter; if there is no care, the future will not matter. What matters is determined by what you care about.
  • Care is critical to commitment; without care, commitments cannot be trusted.
  • Care is critical for value. When you don’t care, it is not valuable.
  • Care is a source of energy. Irrespective of how tired you are, when you are taking care of something that you care for, your body is filled with energy; you are alive.
  • The reason someone is in a disempowered mood is that what they care for isn’t taken care of.
  • Care is that ‘hidden ground’ on which we stand. Only when we become aware of this hidden ground can we attempt to take care of these ‘hidden cares.
  • Care is more than just an emotion. It is more like a master emotion that has a role to play in other emotions.

Care is a fundamental dimension of all human action.

We may be connected to it or disconnected from it,

But in either case it has a fundamental role to play in shaping how it influences action, and the meaning and value of the outcomes produced.

Despite its primacy, and its importance, interestingly, this is often the missing piece in organizational conversations.

This is a common blind spot in our culture.

Many of us are action driven, and are exhilarated by taking action.

How often do we stop and ask:

  • What care is this action taking care of?
  • Does that care really matter?
  • If this action is not taking care of my cares, why am I doing what I am doing?

Please do not belittle or underestimate the power of these questions.

You may not know the answer to these questions, and that is fine.

In fact, even if you know the answer to these questions, try not to treat your answer as the final answer.

These are not everyday questions that we deal with in our lives.

By asking these questions, you may start to see the disconnect between your actions and your cares.

While we may have some existing cares, we have a choice in creating or recreating our ‘cares’.

Take time and ask yourself these questions;

  • How do I know what I care for?
  • How do I create my cares?

The one way to get a response to this is to become more present to what actions and what results add meaning to your life.

That which is meaningful to you is what you care about.

That which is not meaningful to you is what you do not care about.

For example, for some people, meaning comes from making more money, for others it may be recognition, and for some others yet it may be making a contribution to the organization’s cause.

  • You should determine/create what is meaningful for you.
  • This is a first, yet crucial step.

What may be the different domains of your cares?

It is important to create a distinction between activity and action.

Activity is movement and doing.

Action, on the other hand, is different.

It is activity that makes you take care of something that you care for.

So, if you care for the results of your future, and do activities to generate those results, you are taking action.

According to some expects;

  • Care is the fundamental context of all action. Without care, action is mere activity.
  • How action is carried out also is shaped by our cares. For example, the intensity and seriousness of our actions would depend on the intensity and seriousness of our cares.
  • Whether an outcome has meaning or value is also dependent on whether we care for that outcome.

If your cares are not backed up by action, I question your commitment to your cares.

To take care is to commit to certain desired outcomes and take actions to achieve those outcomes.

Begin to consider what may be the different domains of your cares.

For example, your family, your health, your organization’s vision, your learning and development.

Do you think you are taking care of your cares?

Relationship Between Commitment and Care.

The power of questions like;

  • What do I care about?
  • And ‘what do we care about?’.

Often it is not about creating new cares, but discovering it through the process of conversation.

To understand the importance of and the relationship between cares, commitments, actions and results, it is important to understand the Anatomy of Results.

What the underlying structure is that generates results.

Bob Dunham, founder of the Institute for Generative Leadership, USA have developed a structure called the Anatomy of Action.

The fundamental claims of this structure will help us to understand the relationship between care and commitment.

Here are some fundamental claims:

Outcomes or results are a function of actions.

  • Actions alone generate results.
  • Once you act, you get results based on the nature of your actions.
  • Without action, there are no results.
  • Often, we also ‘decide’ that no intervention or act will produce what we want, so we take the action of abiding with what is happening anyway.
  • It is an active choice.
  • The problem is that we often see it as no choice, and we give up our power to choose in the story and emotions of resignation.

Action is shaped by commitment.

  • According to the philosopher John Austin at Oxford “when we make a promise, for example, we are not describing something in the world.
  • Instead, we are making an act, and the act is one of commitment showing what the speaker is committed to for the future.
  • Our actions are shaped by commitments
  • The commitments we make or don’t make, the clarity of the commitment, and the ownership and importance of the commitment to the person, future or organization committing.

Commitments arise through conversations.

  • That action is shaped by commitment is crucial for our understanding of action in organizations.
  • However, the next question that arises is, where do these commitments come from?
  • The short answer: conversations.
  • Even commitments with ourselves arise through conversations, or can be traced back to earlier conversations.
  • Commitment is what shapes and drives action, and commitments arise from conversations.

Our care determines what commitments make meaning for us.

  • The quality, power and effectiveness of all our actions depend on our relationship with care.
  • We can bring our care and concerns to our conversations, or let our conversations turn into unfulfilling discussions of transactions and activities.
  • Our commitments have meaning when they are inside of our care.
  • Care is the energy of meaning, importance and ownership that infuses our commitments and action.
  • Action in which we care about the performance and result is very different than if we don’t care.

NOTE:

  • Remember, you do not take care of the other’s care at the cost of your own care.
  • Taking care starts with self-care.
  • To take care of the care of another is, in reality, taking care of the other. This is when you get challenged.
  • To care for another would mean to show that you care, show you share the care, take care to the extent you can, and do what you can to enable the other to take care.
  • Be connected to your own cares.

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