Caring for Others

Ron Macklin & Michelle Mosolgo

Caring for Others

Episode 11: Caring for Others

Michelle asks Ron: What does it mean to care for others, especially in the Macklin Method?

Ron says that to care for someone else, he starts by thinking about their concerns. Whether it’s their family, their career, their body, their education, or something else. When Ron decides to care for them, he has to do it in a way that doesn’t damage him, but he finds common ground with the things he cares about as well

Michelle shares a story about her neighbor across the street. While her neighbor may care what color the paint on her house is, Michelle knows that inside, she really cares about not being alone.

Ron asks Michelle: How do you find out what someone cares about at a deeper level, not just the surface level? Michelle says that their conversation started because the neighbor knew that Michelle was a caregiver for her mother. The neighbor told Michelle that her mother was lucky to have a caregiver, and she was vulnerable by sharing with Michelle that she wouldn’t have anyone to take care of her.

Ron says that he finds that getting people to talk about what they really care about -- aging, children, parents, marriage, etc. -- is hard because people are afraid. Talking about the color of the house or other surface-level things can be a shield because other conversations can be scary.

Ron says that, at first, when he was building the Macklin Connection method, he thought other people didn’t care about the same things he cared about. But when he started talking about the things he was afraid of, he learned that other people felt the same way.

Ron says he made it his stand to really care for those people and what matters to them. Even if they don’t want to talk about them at first, they really do.

Michelle says that it took a few months in order to get her neighbor to open up and be vulnerable. And while they still talk about the color of their houses or the neighbors’ lawns, their conversations often shift to her neighbor’s future alone. Michelle can’t always give her answers, but she can sit with her while she works though some big questions.

Ron says what he wants is to have someone to talk to, someone to share fears with, and someone to share accomplishments with. Someone he can be authentically himself with.

He says that sometimes, people enter a relationship but never allow themselves to be vulnerable and talk about what they really care about. Their Scared Selves control the conversation, and Ron visualizes two people banging their shields against each other instead of getting to know each other on a deeper level.

Michelle shares another story about her neighbor. Since they live in Florida, they deal with hurricane season, and she’ll often see people closing their hurricane shutters. She noticed her neighbor needing some help, and at first, her neighbor was uncomfortable accepting the help.

After Michelle really got to know her and what she cared about, the neighbor started accepting her help much more easily.

Ron says that even he has had a hard time accepting help in the past, and he feels that it was related to his upbringing. He was afraid that accepting help meant that he was “not enough.” But eventually, he shifted the story. If he always declined help, it meant his life would be harder. And no one would accept help from him.

When he began to accept help, his perspective changed. Before, he didn’t like feeling indebted to someone else, but he learned to simply say, “Thank you. If you need something, let me know.”

Michelle acknowledges Ron for being able to accept help. She says that, in her 55 and older community, a lot of people aren’t able to offer help in the same way they were before.

What she noticed was that you can still give people space to help in different ways. When her mother had Alzheimer’s, she wasn’t able to do a lot around the house, but she didn’t want to be a burden. But they gave her space to contribute by letting her fold the family’s laundry.

Ron says he always loved hearing older peoples’ stories, and that was the way they contributed. But he always wants to create space for people to contribute.

He also asks himself: What will my stand be, when I’m 75 years old and can’t contribute in the same way I do now? And how will I accept others’ contributions?

How can this idea apply to the workplace? Michelle shares a story about how one of her old teams was working nearly 24 hours a day on a big project. Even though she wasn’t a coder, she can still contribute to her team. She made sure everyone had coffee, and she would pick up breakfast.

Ron says he noticed Michelle’s orientation toward caring for others in that story. It felt good for Michelle to help, but she was still able to contribute.

Join us to hear how understanding the idea of “self talk” — and what you can do about it — could change your relationships and life for the better.

Episode Summary

Caring for Others

Ron and Michelle discuss making connections with others by finding out what people really care about in this episode of “The Story in Your Head.”