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Empathy

Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Not too long ago, one of my employees had to do what every employee dreads most: Call their boss to confess that they did something wrong. Prior to the event, I had told my employee not to do the exact thing that she ended up doing. Sigh.

This is where we as leaders are faced with a decision. Whether it is at home with your children or in the workplace with employees, the immediate reaction can be to pull out the shame card. We want to teach them a lesson and ensure that it never happens again, right?  But this is where I invite you to take a pause.

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Go… And Be of Service

In a mere 14 days, people around North America came together to raise over $54,000 to get a woman back home to her family. A strong and supportive team that had worked day and night to keep this woman alive transported her out of an ICU on Good Friday, 2014. This woman’s dad, the last person to talk to her before the collision and the one caring for her kids back home, was one of the first to greet her after the med-jet flight landed in Seattle.

Every single one of these people sacrificed something, whether that was time, money or services, for me.

While some of these people were ‘simply doing their job’, most of them sacrificed voluntarily. Too often we lose track of what true volunteerism means. We participate in acts “voluntarily” but only if it benefits us personally; i.e. I’m on the Board of the National Speakers Association Northwest Chapter as a volunteer. Yes I give altruistic service but of course it also benefits my career.

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