Our 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 how we think about things 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.

The thirteen areas of permanent human concerns are: body/health, family, play, sociability, work, education, career, money, membership, the world, dignity, situation, and spirituality. If you would like more specifics on the thirteen areas, let me know and I will forward you Mikel Vanry’s article.

We all have different ways of taking care of these areas of 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. 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 might really care about. They need to be successful. They could be concerned for their job and looking good to their boss. They must get the best possible value.

Coworkers could have a concern for membership. The community they work in needs to feel welcome and be supportive of their efforts. They could have health or family issues you are unaware of.

If you are not sure what your client and coworkers are concerned about, ask.

For yourself, I suggest you take a long look at the list. Make a declaration about your goals. Maybe you have been neglecting your body or your children. 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 these 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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