In the previous blog post, I introduced you to the first of the three prongs of my transformation process: humility. It consists of ego control, the golden rule (do unto others as you’d want them to do unto you), no spin truth, and lifting others up by letting their light shine. Lifting others up means acknowledging and appreciating them and their accomplishments.
The second prong is empathy. In this case, empathy is an overarching prong but also a component. There are many definitions for the term. This is my definition: to have the ability to see through the eyes, hear through the ears and feel the world as others feel it. When feeling confident and knowledgeable about something it is hard for me to do that. But that is when it must be done. I know what I know, but not what others experience from their vantage points. It is so important for leaders to hear differing thoughts and opinions. Someone could have that missing puzzle piece that helps solve a problem or create something new
Being curious, the second component is one of the best ways to enhance your ability to be more empathetic. People have the tendency to comment, even make grandiose pronouncements about issues of which they know very little. I have learned to gather enough information to develop an informed opinion. I will share my informed opinion with others knowing that with the same information they might have a different interpretation. Socrates said, “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” In other words, asking the right questions is the best way to learn why and how things are done.
The third component of my empathy prong is authenticity. Everyone wants to be authentic, but peer pressure is strong. Social media has amplified the need to be accepted by the groups of one’s choice. To state an opinion that differs from the groups could mean social isolation and condemnation and a reduction in “likes.” According to Wikipedia, “authenticity is the degree to which a person’s actions are congruent with his or her values and desires despite external pressures to social conformity“. It takes courage to be authentic and compassionate to allow others to do the same. I believe that being authentic requires us to be empathic with ourselves, self-knowledge, and self-love help. If you are authentic you will receive pushback from your peer group; the people who mean the most to you. This leads to the fourth component on this prong – resilience.
We experience stress, emotional upheaval, and setbacks. Resilience is the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back. When standing in your truth you could receive solicited and unsolicited feedback. People will use shame to get you to conform. In some cases, violence. I seek constructive feedback but sometimes receive criticism, I take what serves me and discard the rest. Then I meditate, pray and exercise to bounce back from the criticism engenders. That is the best way for me to learn and grow, ultimately it’s not what I want to hear, but what I need to hear that helps me get better. I am changing my thoughts to change my destiny. That’s transforming. “Good, better best, never let it rest, until your good becomes your better and your better becomes your best,” John Cassis.