Your life and work can become a far cry from what you may be experiencing today.

By Kent Mulkey

As much as you may love your job, let’s be honest, some days it is just plain painful to drag yourself out of bed and get your sorry self over to the place where you earn a paycheck. No job or employer is perfect, and news flash – neither are you. Your motivation takes a nose dive, perspective on what we are gets clouded over like a Colorado summer thunderstorm, and sometimes the work we do each day is reduced to a list of tasks, calls, projects, emails, and meetings. Hardly soul-stirring activity.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Your life and work can become a far cry from what you may be experiencing today.

Some years ago I stumbled on a small, seemingly insignificant act that shifted the course of my life and career. Here it is:


But, most people don’t it. They walk right past our residents all day long, day after day, with hardly a glance in their direction. How have they gotten so far off course?

  • There exists an irrational pull on people to enter the “work zone” (where zombies live) at 8:00AM sharp and leave it when they pull out of the parking lot at night. Sadly, this lends itself to an unfortunate and shallow disconnect, which leaves many detached from what matters most every day – people.

  • It seems to some that if they actually slow down, stop, and talk with a resident it will take a ton of time and they won’t get their work done. This is laughable because in my company (and most others) the work is never done. The workload will always be there, screaming for my attention. But wait – what if we instead decided that connection with our residents (your customers) is the real work? We might just turn the world right side up.  

  • Here is what I see as the core issue – connecting heart to heart with another person can be pretty scary. Intimacy is like that. It means being vulnerable. “But, but, but . . . What if they start telling me a really sad story about losing a spouse or a child?” “What if they can’t hear well and it takes them a long time to process and follow what I am saying?”

Ah, welcome to the real world, the world of authenticity, joy, a stirring (and even long) story, a glimpse into the soul of another human being. Could there possibly be any experience that even comes close? Here’s how Brene Brown says it:  

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”   

The takeaway: When I take time to “get real” with an older adult who lives in the community where I work, I am awakened to the fullness of human experience and gain a reignited zeal to help people become even more of who they are to begin with.

Make your life burn bright. Do it today.

PS – Bonus from my friend Alex Fisher: “On the sales side, being face to face and present with no agenda other that connecting and learning something from a prospect is what makes my work so rewarding. If you are in the sales trenches, try to do it every day!”