Power of Caring

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”   These words by Maya Angelou, a renowned poet and civil rights activist, demonstrate the lasting impact we can have on others especially when attached to emotions whether good or bad.

When I was a sales director, I used to do personal development coaching sessions with my managers, not just work-related ones.   One year our development sessions were focused on 6 characteristics of individuals on a high performing team.  Each manager picked one of the 6 attributes and our one on ones focused on personal development against their selected attribute.  One of the managers, when she was leaving the organization, gave me a t-shirt with this saying on it because she wanted me to know the impact I had on her career and life.   I will never forget that t-shirt and the feelings I had knowing that she had experienced personal transformation during our work together.   The word she had been focusing on was CARE.

Understanding the Power of Emotions

Maya Angelou’s quote reminds us that our words and actions may fade from memory, but the emotions we evoke in others endure. Emotions have a profound impact on our relationships and the way we are remembered. When we make others feel valued, supported, or loved, we create lasting impressions that transcend time.

Think about a time you have felt valued, supported or loved.  What were the circumstances that brought that feeling?  How did you feel?  How might you implement an action today to bring these feelings to someone else?

Cultivating Empathy and Compassion

To apply Maya Angelou’s wisdom in our own lives, we must cultivate empathy and compassion.  By putting ourselves in others’ shoes and seeking to understand their experiences, we can respond with kindness and empathy. This allows us to create a safe and supportive environment where people feel heard and validated.

Think about a time when you felt misunderstood.  What were the circumstances that brought that feeling?   How did you feel?  Is there anyone you don’t see eye to eye with?  What actions could you take to better understand their perspective?

Active Listening and Presence

One way to make others feel truly seen and heard is through active listening. By giving our full attention, maintaining eye contact, and showing genuine interest, we create a space for meaningful connections. Being present in conversations allows us to respond thoughtfully and empathetically, leaving a lasting impression on those we interact with.

Think about a time when you had something really important to share or discuss and the other person was not paying attention (perhaps on their phone).  What were the circumstances that brought that feeling?  How did you feel?  Do you have anyone in your life that needs, wants, craves your attention?  What actions could you take to show them you are present and listening?

Acts of Kindness and Service

Small acts of kindness can have a profound impact on how others feel. Whether it’s a simple gesture like a smile, a kind word, or a helping hand, these acts of service can brighten someone’s day and create a positive memory. By actively seeking opportunities to uplift and support others, we contribute to a more compassionate and connected world.

Think about a time when someone did a small act or showed kindness.  What were the circumstances that brought that feeling?  How did you feel?   What actions could you take today to pay it forward to others?

Authenticity and Genuine Connection

Authenticity is key to making others feel genuinely seen and understood. When we show up as our true selves, we create an environment where others feel comfortable doing the same. By fostering genuine connections and embracing vulnerability, we leave a lasting impact on those we encounter.

Is there someone in your life incredibly important to you?  Think through all the above examples with this person in mind.   Is there at least one thing that stands out that you can do today for or with that person?

Maya Angelou’s quote serves as a powerful reminder of the impact we can have on others through our words, actions, and the emotions we evoke. By cultivating empathy, compassion, active listening, acts of kindness, and authenticity, we can apply this wisdom in our own lives. Let us strive to leave a positive and lasting impression on others, making them feel valued, appreciated, and loved. In doing so, we contribute to a world where the power of human connection and empathy can truly transform lives.

5-Minute Cup Filler Exercise

Here is a 5-minute daily exercise to develop your skills around being more caring to improve your daily outcomes.

Choose to be a better version of yourself every day.

Think back over the last 24 hours.  Pick one of the 5 traits above for showing you care.

BECOME AWARE:  Identify one opportunity you missed to show you care and what the impact was or could be.

BE GRATEFUL: Rephrase your original action into the choice you can be grateful for.  What is the “better version of you” you choose instead?

I am grateful for __(insert what you became aware of)___ because it gives me a chance to __(insert what you will do differently)___ .

Example:  I am grateful for becoming aware of the limited time I have with my kids because it reminds me to give them my undivided and active attention.

TAKE ACTION: What is one choice (when faced with it again) you can make to manage your reaction and improve the outcome?
Name an additional action you choose to take throughout the day to reinforce.

Choose to commit to repeat daily until it becomes natural!

Jen Weis

The publisher of Morning Cup.