Preparing to Care

In my workshops, we video participants sharing stories about peak experiences — the birth of a child or a conversation where they forgave someone or a brush with death — so they can see how powerful they are when they talk about what really matters.

Someone invariably asks:  But what if you have to present something you don’t care about to people you don’t respect?  And I ask:  Why would you do that?  And they say:  Because I have to; it’s my job.

Talking about things that don’t matter is the practice of despair. Before we speak, lead a meeting or give a presentation, we must find a reason to care.

Power comes from caring:  Caring pulls your thoughts together, sharpens your attention, attunes you to clues, fires rapid learning.  Caring gives courage, makes risk worth taking, inspires bold improvisation  — and so caring makes you smarter and more compelling, makes people lean in and think with you.

If you don’t care, you can’t be powerful, not in that sense.

Find a reason to care.  Find a basis for respect. This is the most vital part of your preparation.

It’s how you learn what to say.