Recently I served on a panel discussion on empathy, presented to healthcare marketing professionals.
My fellow panelists waxed profoundly on empathy, and (if I say so myself) I had a few good things to throw in as well. Empathy isn’t something I’m used to speaking professionally about or even thinking about outside of the Thanksgiving/Christmas/Festivus season.
But even after this panel, this idea of empathy continues to pop up for me on a daily basis—my friends; the students and professionals I speak to about suicide prevention and mental health; my loved one dealing with a grave (but curable) disease for who I’m caring; my neighbors. I can’t escape it
The official definition of empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings with others.
It’s a special ingredient that makes everything a little better like bacon—inside a chocolate chip cookie, or on a hamburger, or on… everything (cue the defibrillator paddles).
Empathy goes better with:
- Your conversations with family, loved ones, and lovers—“Why in god’s name are they acting that way… and how can I help?”
- Your marketing—“Who is my audience and how can my words make them feel better?”
- Your sales meetings—“What kind of solution can I provide to his or her problem?”
But dammit, empathy is not always easy. You’re tired. You want what you want. You have needs too.
Go easy on yourself. You’re human. Put your cape down for a few hours, take a breather, and come back to it later with a fresh mind and heart.