Care-Less 2 Care-More
A worthy enquiry.
Does your personal performance and satisfaction increase when you stop caring so much?
The evidence suggests (IMO after 20 years of listening to people making their way) is that when we care less about what others think of us, we start to make better decisions for us – and them.
Doing the right thing, doing what we know to be right, tends to have a greater success rate than doing what we think others or the organisation might demand.
Air Chief Marshall Sir Brian Burridge was the Commander in Chief of RAF Strike Command. “I remember as a junior officer in a command position, vacillating about the appropriate punishment for one of my less well-disciplined airmen… he had transgressed – again. How should he be punished? What did the ‘system’ expect? Surely the system was watching my every move and what would ‘it’ think of me if I went against the grain?”
Away from base on a course, I revealed my dilemma to an experienced, but not particularly senior commander. His advice was simple but telling – “Do what you think is right!”
“I now realise that, having the moral courage to do what is in your soul, which, may go against the grain of the organisation, is fundamental to your intrinsic motivation as a leader. To go against your intuition and find that, actually, you had misjudged the system’s expectations or that it had no expectations at all, undermines the faith in your own judgement. More importantly, if the situation created by your inferior decision becomes unravelled, you will never forgive yourself.”
So having the assurity to care-less about what all the others think is a sign of confidence that builds self confidence – versus the angst and futility of trying to please everyone.
Moral courage is a force multiplier.
It determines how much those we influence can trust us to stand our ground when faced with difficult decisions. They know we won’t flip-flop to please the masses and will reliably do what we think is right and, often what we think is right is a reflection of who we are – and why those around us trust us enough to respect us in the first place!
It’s not an uncommon observation that those who have transcended that ever so tough mental regime of trying to demonstrate they care equally about everyone and equally about their opinion at any given time, are more content individuals and ironically more admired by those they impact on.
The realistic viewpoint is that if you are being honourable, it’s inevitable that some days you’ll be seen as hero and some days as a villain. Perceptions are curly not linear.
And here is the kicker, the integrity bit. When we say we care what everyone thinks equally, that at its heart is all about us. When we care about doing the right thing – it is all about them.
Nothing is guaranteed clearly, but the clients who have made the switch to…
“Right, as the custodian of the ships course, from this day on, I am going to stop being guided by will I primarily look as though I care about everyone, equally. To, if I really cared, I’ll do what I think is right and live gracefully with that intent”…
…tend to be happier and more cared for.