The poet Maya Angelou famously said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
A friend of mine referred to this as our Ministry of Availability. The moments in life when the best thing we can do is dive down into the abyss with someone who is struggling and just “be” with them. Not in words, but in true presence. Your focus, attention, and heart is with them in that moment.
Moments of availability arise with our spouse, our kids, our friends, our co-workers, our clients, and even the strangers we pass on the street, in the grocery store, or sit next to on the airplane. We never fully know the baggage that people are carrying in their lives. We never fully know what is weighing heavy on their heart and occupying their mind.
But, it is amazing what a small act of wordless compassion can have on us all. When we commit to cultivating authentic, caring relationships in our households, friendships, teams, and organizations — the cultures around us are transformed. Each small act impacts the world. (see prior post about Flipping Our View On Leadership)
And oh, by the way, we also are better at whatever work weʼre trying to accomplish. Weʼre better at being the person we want to be in the world. Our team, organization, and world is strengthened by our commitment to each other. Some of the most compelling (and successful) team cultures I have witnessed live these traits. How will you practice your Ministry of Availability?
Today needs our best leadership. I just hope the kind of leadership we can give is through availability and true presence to those around us. The best leaders I know are intentional about what gets their eyes and focus every day. Remember, Where You Look Is Where You Go!
Our words are powerful. So are our actions. But, how we make people feel may just be the lasting impact we leave along the path of all we achieve.
Jason Barger is a globally celebrated author, keynote speaker, and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.
Follow on Twitter @JasonVBarger and learn more at JasonVBarger.com