How to Develop Empathy...

This weekend I was down at my alma mater, James Madison University, to share the importance of resilience, being, and empathy with their executive MBA students as they build their careers and lives.

Down there, the simple act of "holding the door open" for each other is part of Madison's culture. It's a gesture of kindness and acknowledgment. It communicates that I see you. It's also an opening for empathy and a chance to spark a conversation and connection.

Empathy, like intentionality, mindfulness, and vulnerability, is commonly referenced as something you should have, but how do you develop it?

Here's a snippet of what I shared with the students:

  1. Be Curious: Aim to balance your desire to have the right answer by asking a better question.

  2. Be Present: When needed, grab a P.B.R. (Pause, Breathe, and Reflect).

  3. Be a Listener: Listen hard with your ears, eyes, heart, and soul.

  4. Be Open: Challenge your worldview, biases (we all have them), and likelihood to be influenced.

I shared another way with the class. It's a story about how my most nerve-racking convention helped me become a more empathic leader, and it's the focus of this week's video.

This week (April 7th) is National Volunteer's Week. Thank you to everyone who gives away their most precious resource and builds an empathic peloton. On April 9th I will be taking over the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s (HBA) social media and sharing my volunteer experiences with them.

Until next week, have fun storming the castle!

p.s., The members of our Pace Line Leadership Academy are diving into Mindfulness this month. Last week we had a special expert engagement with Sara Best. Sara is a mindful eating guru and her free, 5-day challenge starts this week. You may not know what mindful eating is all about, but if you find yourself eating in your car, too fast, at your desk, or mindlessly binging when you Netflix and chill, it may be valuable to you. You can click Challenge to sign up. I did it last year and it was very valuable.