I just went through completing over 20 different evaluations for faculty members that have taught me on rotations for the last several months. I was a little late in getting to some of these evaluations and so it had been many months since I worked with some of these physicians. That means I had to stop and think about how my experience was like with them.

How did I remember them? How will I evaluate them now?

I learned some lessons as I completed these evaluations. The first lesson is that being excellent at something doesn’t mean people will remember you or evaluate you well.

Most of these physicians were specialists in their fields and had an outstanding breadth of knowledge. They were all board certified and were good doctors by all accounts.

But being good, being knowledgeable, and being board certified isn’t impressive. That didn’t make me want to score them highly.

The second lesson I learned was that I saw the physicians who had shown me that they cared about me as a person as great physicians. It’s almost as if the fact that they touched my heart made me see them in a new and more favorable light. I saw everything about them as great.

I ended up realizing that the physicians who had impacted me the most through their caring were the ones I remembered most fondly and wanted to give great evaluations, even in areas that they might not have been as great in!

This epiphany moment was very important for me because I tend to be the kind of person who finds it easy to focus on excellence and not as easy to focus on the caring aspect of a relationship when I am working with people like doctors and other colleagues who I expect to be at the top of their game. Sure, it’s easy to focus on caring when I am working with orphans. I’ve done that for over a decade now. But I think it’s equally important to make caring for people first place and excellence second place when working with colleagues and others that are highly successful because, at the end of the day, we are all human. We are impacted by leaders who care first and then teach second.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”

Have you heard that quote before? It’s so true.

Related article: The 5 Traits of a person who cares.

My patients, resident doctors, and colleagues won’t remember me as a very competent physician and educator (even if I were) unless they first experience me as a caring friend and colleague.

Research in the social science has shown that we make decisions with our emotions and rationalize with our minds. As I was remembering and evaluating my instructors, I instantly loved and remembered very fondly the ones that impacted me emotionally through their caring attitude. I found myself wanting to rank these physicians with a ranking “Above Expectation”–which is the highest rank I could give,  in every single area.

How will people remember and evaluate you?

They will remember you by how much you cared. If you want to touch people deeply and change their world, start caring!