My mentor John Maxwell says “no one cares how much you know unless they know how much you care”. The question I ask myself when I think of this statement is “How do I show how much I care?”. I go through a series of steps to answer this question.
Identify the situation
How urgent is my involvement
Do I need to reach out to others for help
What’s the outcome anticipated
I apply these to any situation that comes my way and it helps me to prioritize my involvement based on the urgency. The situation could be as simple as my friend’s birthday party. It could be as sad a death in someone’s family. It could be as complicated as producing an event for one of my clients or as satisfying as gathering my whole family for a special occasion. Sometimes I just need to show up and give a hug or a word of encouragement.
I recently learned of a situation my friend Alejandra Cano is going through.
Alejandra came to the U.S. when she was 1.5 years old with her parents who were political asylees from Chile. In her teens, after a confusing and alienating childhood, Alejandra began self-medicating, resulting in anti-social behavior and subsequent run-ins with the law. I met Alejandra five years ago, at a time when she made a decision to begin a life of recovery, which remains solid to this day. She rebuilt her life, has a job and lovingly supports her two U.S. citizen children ages 20 and 15. But in addition, Alejandra has had a great desire to give back to society. She became a vocal advocate to and for the recovery community and an inspiration to many people hoping to follow her example.
Alejandra had lawful permanent resident status when she traveled to Chile earlier this year to visit family. Upon her return, she was detained by CBP. She was required to check in for “secondary inspection” on November 14 this year and through the assistance of several organizations and lots of support from friends and family, she was able to present a strong case to defend against deportation and detention. She was given another appointment on December 19 to review additional documentation about her case.
She’s been adamant about sharing her story in the hope she can help others – both to show people in the recovery process that it’s possible to overcome, and to bring attention to the need to reform certain immigration laws. Since this situation happened she’s been a guest speaker in several radio stations, on the front pages of national newspapers, she’s been interviewed by many TV channels and even spoke at Capital Hill in Washington where Congressman Chuy Garcia presented the “New Way Forward” Bill in hopes to create a new vision by limiting deportation for convictions that result from enforcement that disproportionately targets communities of color. This bill will allow immigration judges to consider a person’s individual circumstances during deportation proceedings, and allowing more people to remain with their families and move forward with their lives without fear that an old conviction could lead to deportation
Alejandra continues to fight her deportation case with a new appointment on March 16, 2020. In her case, due to the deadlines and the time I found out, I needed to be involved immediately, this was certainly an urgent matter and I reached out for help to support the rallys during her appointments as well as my contacts in the media to spread the word. Most importantly, I simply showed up to hug her and offer a word of encouragement.
I’m honored to have been part of several milestones in her life since I met her. Things that others may take for granted like getting a State ID, completing a resume, finding job opportunities, buying a car, getting her own apartment, traveling, restoring family relationships, reuniting with her children. All these are great memories but I’ll never forget the urgency on her voice reaching out for help in the summer of 2014. Her answer when I asked “how can I help you?” during our first meeting was key to my involvement. “I need God in my life” she said with the certainty that only miracles could help her accomplished the impossible. In the last 5 years I’ve seen a transformation in Alejandra that impresses me.
She’s now a responsible mother, a hard working employee, a loving daughter, a loyal friend and a hopeful human being relying on more and more miracles from God to inspire others and be a difference maker in this world.
How do you show people you care about them? Practice these 4 steps and experience living a life of significance!