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Empathy is Your Superpower! (Part 1)

Empathy is Your Superpower! (Part 1)

September 9, 2019
Empathy is Your Superpower! (Part 1)

While movies like The Avengers light up the big screen with heroes that have all kinds of impossible powers, you are holding on to the greatest superpower you could possibly hope for: empathy. 

 

Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another” but I would say it goes much further than that. It’s why you wince when you see someone stub their toe, cringe when someone is going through an embarrassing moment, or cry when you see videos of dogs reunited with their owners who’ve been deployed overseas (oh come on, you totally cry).

 

Why is it that you can have a visceral response to something that is not directly impacting you? Empathy is why. We are wired to connect, driven to tether ourselves to other human beings and empathy is the bonding agent the quite literally brings us together. 

 

While the literal opposite of “connect” might be “disconnect,” the opposite of “empathy” is “resistance.” Yes, I know some people lack the agent that bonds those of us who are not malignant narcissists, but the vast majority of people are driven in ways –big and small– by their empathy. Yet so many people resist in ways that undermine their own goals. 

 

When a performer, speaker, or comedian lands their material on you and it resonates deeply… making you laugh, motivating you to change, engaging you to listen intently… they are tapping into your own capacity to empathize by opening themselves up and being vulnerable, which in turn allows you to see yourself. Empathy and vulnerability go hand in hand, like Batman and Robin or Han Solo and Chewbacca. They lean into each other, reinforcing your humanness, your connectedness, crossing the threshold of the divides we often manufacture. 

 

All of this may seem obvious to you, so how then can you leverage your empathy to be better at what you do professionally? In part two of this blog, I will take you through the five things I believe you need to focus on to be a more effective leader, entrepreneur, speaker, boss, solopreneur, and citizen of the world: 

1. AWARENESS OF SELF 

Resistance comes in many forms; learn to identify it and how to combat it by being tuned in to what you feel and why you feel it. 

2. SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE

True connections can only be born from being open. Let people see you.

3. PAY ATTENTION 

Listen, observe, gather information, connect. Gain an awareness of others. 

4. BE YOU 

Nobody is better equipped to be you than you are, so be YOU! Be authentic! Take inventory of yourself and what you bring to the table in your tribe and community. 

5. ENGAGE

Your community won’t come to you. Go to it. Engage with folks and work to connect while finding out how you can offer yourself to make things better. 

 

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