Lesson #8 in an Eleven-part series based on Aspire by Kevin Hall
Kevin’s word-smith friend Arthur helps us better understand our word for this week. The word is Empathy. Here is how Arthur puts it:
“Empathy is another word that springs from the soil. ‘Pathy’ comes from path, and ‘em’ is in. Empathy is walking the path of another.” If you don’t get on another’s path, if you don’t go where he or she has gone, you can’t truly understand what that person is experiencing.”
Empathy! What a beautiful mix of the strong and the tender.
It is strong in the sense that empathy is a strong action. When you show empathy you move from where you are to a position of support. Support is all about strength.
You are giving someone a measure of your strength.
It is tender in the sense of being able to understanding another person on a deeper level. Understanding is a soft skill. It is less about the words said and more about what the heart hears and feels and understands.
When we demonstrate ‘empathy’ it is a form of communicating. “Communication” comes from the Latin ‘communicare’, which means to share in common. To share in common requires coming together on common ground.”
Top sales people have an amazing ability to anticipate the needs of others. They learn the art of being able to talk about benefits - what the product or service can do for the customer. The old sales training adage is “speak in terms of your customer’s wants and needs”. That is empathy.
I love what Stephen R. Covey teaches. “Nothing is more validating and affirming than feeling understood.” He goes on to say “Empathy is to the heart what air is to the body.”
We all want and need to be understood. It is a fundamental wish of every human heart. Understand means to stand among. It doesn’t mean to stand beneath or below. It means to stand with.
How many individuals in our daily path need a good demonstration of empathy from us?
Let’s spread a bit of “understanding” this week.
P Michael Biggs
One Word at a Time