There’s a quote I love by Teddy Roosevelt, “People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I first heard this back when I was student teaching and it really stayed with me. People don’t want to hear about all your achievements and awards, all your accolades or list of accomplishments. They don’t necessarily care that you were the top in your class or a leader in their field. What they really want to know is how much you love them.
A few weeks I took my boyfriend’s son to the doctor, and like the territorial ‘bonus mom’ I’ve become, I found myself assessing whether the doctor’s office was ‘good enough’ for him, and whether I felt the doctor really cared. It’s funny, because although we aren’t going to the doctor for the personal aspect, as humans we often crave that connection. We want to know if this person is going to love our child or important person in our lives.
Of course we care whether our doctor(s) went to school and are certified to practice medicine, but less of the focus is on their list of achievements than who they are. We really want to know that they’re genuinely invested and interested in the well-being of the person we brought there.
Honestly, this sounds silly, but it’s such a big component of our lives. And when I was teaching I recognized this the most. I could study every single educational standard for the state, follow every new teacher guideline, and practice my lesson plans until they were nearly perfect—but all of that would be lost if my students didn’t feel that I cared.
People don’t care about how much you know; they care about whether or not you love them.
We think that by being a ‘big shot’ we’ll win people over with our charm and vigor. We think that when we impress people, they’ll want to work with or interact with us. Sure, having confidence is an important aspect of our success, but ultimately, the core of everything (work or personal) is connection.
We want to feel validated when we speak, and listened to when we pour our hearts out. We want to stand in a room with someone who makes us feel wanted, appreciated, and understood. When we open our hearts, we want to see someone else open his/hers in return. This goes for all relationships—our family, our work, and the people we love.
People aren’t looking for someone who can give them all the answers or ‘fix’ what they personally believe needs to be fixed. Instead, they’re looking for someone who will sit down with them and meet them where they are, who won’t try to do the hard work for them, but fight alongside them on the journey to themselves.
You won’t be the best at everything you do; you won’t know, sometimes, what to do or say. At times you’ll have people you love come to you with tears running down their face and you will fail to find the right words to comfort them—but the sentiment will be there. And that’s what’s important.
Along this journey you will make so many mistakes, but it was never—and will never be—about being perfect. It’s about loving people, and loving them fully with everything you have.
Featured Image Credit: Felix Rostig[