I once spent several hours in the company of a very successful man.

He is successful in business. Not really my thing, business, but I learnt hugely from him.

This guy started from nothing and made it big. He has 300+ employees and looks after dozens and dozens of elderly people and adults with learning disabilities.

The more I thought about our meeting, the more I realised there are lessons here for all of us who work with people. Particularly people with challenging problems. Here’s what I learned:

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6 lessons for success in the caring professions…

– Vision is key – he knew exactly what he wanted to achieve and went after it. It made me stop and re-think what it is I’m aiming for.

– Keep service users central – his driving force came from a passion to do the job well. The whole kaboosh is really about the people we help. Our clients, patients, services users. They are the raison d’etre. Yet it’s so easy to lose sight of this in all the busyness.

– Like-minded people matter – when work is challenging, we draw strength from those around us. Or not! People who share our convictions, our drive, our commitment, will strengthen us. They can motivate us when we’re waning. They can re-focus us when we’re distracted. They can encourage us when we lose heart.

– Perseverance pays off –  he never took “no” for an answer. He just asked someone else, tried a different approach. When stuff gets in the way of our plans, it’s easy to quit. A “can do” attitude asks, “What else can I do to get passed this?” or “Is there another way I can do this?”  It worked for him because he decided not to quit. Ever. Our service users deserve this from us.

– Trust is king – he focussed his attention on those he trusted. Advisers, colleagues, employees. Trust was the qualification for working together. We get more done when we think alike, when we aim at the same things – when we trust each other.

– Participation brings answers – he didn’t pretend to have all the answers. He asked others what they thought. Most importantly, he asked his clients for input. Think about it. The people using our services are often overlooked. Yet they sometimes have the greatest insights into doing things better.

So when things start to get difficult, there are things we can do to resist the urge to pack it all in. May be it’s spending time with someone who inspires us. May be it’s talking to someone we trust.

Or perhaps just reminding ourselves of why we got started in the first place…

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1.  What lessons have you learned from other sectors; lessons that have helped you care better?

2.  If you had one tip for a new colleague, what would it be?

3.  What most distracts you from the passion you had at first? What could you do to overcome it?

Please comment here

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© Jonny Matthew 2016 (2013)

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