Permanent Human Concerns

The new year always prompts me to think about what is really important. What do I really care about? What do I want to accomplish? While speculating on the future, I remembered something I was introduced to by Mikel Vanry, permanent areas of human concerns. Everyone shares certain concerns for their life. This structure of concerns makes up our view of the world and the actions we take. We have the opportunity to reflect on these areas and how we feel about them and to consider how they affect others. What do you and the people around you care about? From there you can take actions to address those concerns.

Mikel outlines thirteen areas of permanent human concerns. In no particular order, they are: body, play, sociability, family, work, education, career, money, membership, the world, dignity, situation and spirituality.

We all have different ways of taking care of these concerns. We bring our unique histories and view of the future to each of these areas of our lives. These concerns are present in business as well as our personal lives.

Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that our clients and coworkers have the same concerns we do. They also care about their career and being successful. This can be especially important to consider when working with people you do not see eye to eye. Their work contribution needs to be seen as significant. When we help them be successful, they can become our greatest advocate.

When you find yourself with an unhappy client, consider what they really care about. They might be concerned for their jobs. They must get the best possible value. They could also have a concern for membership. If you are not sure what a client is concerned about, ask.

For yourself, take a long look at the list. Make a declaration about your goals. Maybe you have been neglecting your body or your spouse. Consider holding a neighborhood block party or finishing that college degree you started. Whatever your personal concerns are, we all have them. They seem to ebb and flow. You may be thinking that personal concerns should not affect work. I believe that while they seldom occupy the surface conversations, all of them are present in the background, not far from the surface.



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