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Relationships are what I care about most. I believe relationships are most profoundly influenced by your level of care. It’s how others experience you.

I talk to Francois (our son) quite often about his reputation, and his trail. How do people experience you? What do they remember about you? What is your story to the world? What people experience from you is the foundation of your relationship with them.

Every aspect of life, from the way you live at home to the way you operate in business and in social settings is affected by the way you treat people.

At home, I take the time to put my things away, keep the kitchen and bathroom tidy and so on. I am deliberate about it. We share cleaning duties, for sure, but I always take time to clean up after myself and not leave a trail. Why? Because I respect my wife and value our relationship enough to do so. It matters.

Though many would disagree, I believe that the way we conduct ourselves at home is more important than how we conduct ourselves in business or social environments. Home is where we create the habits that represent the foundation of every other aspect of life. If my home is untidy, most of the rest of my life is too. And so on.

Leaving a trail of selfishness behind me at home just tells my family that I don’t care enough about them to even clean up after myself. I’m outrageously busy, but I make time because it’s important. I’ve made a habit out of it. And that habit says, “I care”. That’s important, in all aspects of life.

I treat business relationships the same way. Steve Jobs was one of the greatest innovators and artists of our lifetime. But he left a wake of broken relationships and crushed coworkers along the way. That’s cheap, lazy and selfish. And it represents a distorted value system. That’s disappointing.

Things don’t always work out, but I handle relationships with grace and respect no matter the circumstances or outcomes. I don’t burn bridges and I always show respect, no matter if it’s the CEO or the delivery guy. I value them the same.

So what does your trail look like? Is it full of respectful, meaningful relationships? Is it tidy or messy? Are you proud of your trail? Is it something you would use as an example to your children, friends, employees or colleges and feel good about? If you are in leadership of any kind, you are leading by example whether you intend to or not.

Your trail is your most telling reflection. It’s the story of who you truly are, not just who you say you are or pretend to be. Take time to be deliberate about it. If you’re not proud of your trail, change it. Start now.

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.
{Maya Angelou}

Click here for the full Steve Jobs article in Wired that was the impetus for this post.

6 Comments

  1. Joseph Lalonde on August 2, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    It’s so sad to see someone so successful be so unsuccessful. We miss the greater picture of life by pursuing the fleeting rather than the lasting.

  2. Sutton Parks on August 5, 2012 at 2:46 AM

    Your blog always challenges me to think and often take some positive action. I haven’t read the Wired article yet but I have read and listened to the book, Steve Jobs. In the end he left a wife and 3 children who he loved dearly and they loved him. Also, he had a few close long term friends, like Jonny I’ve and many colleges and fans who loved him. He may have had some extra manure on the trail but he rode the horse of life pretty hard.

    It has been said that one third of the people should love you, one third should hate you and one third sholdn’t care. Steve Jobs’s ratio may be different but he had some great relationships and left the world a better place. Of course, what else could I say since I’m writing this on my Ipad. (haha!).

    I love the trail anonlogy and will have to get off Steve’s trail now and ponder my own. Thank you for the thought provoking writing and congratulations on your new book!

  3. Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight on August 13, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Such great words of wisdom & truth.
    ‘Ouch’ for many, conviction for some, confirmation for a few. But too many folks will disregard or even disdain what you say here:
    “I believe that the way we conduct ourselves at home is more important than how we conduct ourselves in business or social environments. Home is where we create the habits that represent the foundation of every other aspect of life. If my home is untidy, most of the rest of my life is too. And so on.

    Leaving a trail of selfishness behind me at home just tells my family that I don’t care enough about them to even clean up after myself. I’m outrageously busy, but I make time because it’s important. I’ve made a habit out of it. And that habit says, “I care”. That’s important, in all aspects of life.”

    It’s also easy to nod in agreement…but then do nothing about it. What you are talking about here is a part of CHARACTER. And yet, so often, like you write, character first develops out of HABITS. Daily, small, moment-by-moment choices…that become our CHARACTER.

    Jared, another incredibly convicting & powerful post.
    Thanks for that.

    • Jared Angaza on August 14, 2012 at 12:25 AM

      Thanks! It’s certainly not easy, but it’s always worth the effort. I never look back and say, “man, I wish I hadn’t spent all that time caring, creating deep relationships…” and so on. It’s always a better investment of my time than anything else I could do. And I will always refuse the idea that I could do more to make the world a better place if I’d be willing to sacrifice family and relationships. That IS part of making the world a better place. And raising a happy loving family is likely the most profoundly positive impact I will ever make in this world. That’s why I treat it as such.

      • francois on August 19, 2012 at 3:40 PM

        the trail is not good culture its something can destroy you relationship in your family because it does not show respect you i think understand how people will treat you, like lazy person someone who don’t care anything may you are in that way and you always give hope yourself you are becoming good man or woman no! no way avoid your trail its something i learned from my father Jared Angaza i have been learning that lesson about 8monthe up to now am keeping practice its something you have to care more Angara is good teacher he Explained more on his blog thanks for that umusaza!

        • Jared Angaza on August 22, 2012 at 2:38 PM

          Wabikoze neza muhungu wanje. Uri kwiga kabisa. Nadashimye cyane.

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