Gaining Empathy

I was visiting recently with an exceptional person who has allowed me the honor to be a mentor during a transitional period of life. Highly effective in their chosen profession, both as a Practitioner AND Leader, a change in senior level administration of their organization with a different vision sort of forced a decision to retire.

This abrupt change causes, for many individuals, a sense of loss of identity and purpose. In effect, it is the need to re-orient “who” they are, mostly in their own mind. Having helped in some small way with this “re-centering”, I was delighted to hear the “old voice” of confidence and excitement return. The discussion of this next chapter and the ability to once again “see” a way to help others, while regaining a sense of purpose, was a delight.
We discussed what was gained by going through the experience and agreed it created a greater sense of empathy as a new career in people development begins. There are lots of sayings that mirror the concept of empathy. Ones such as being able to “walk in a person’s footsteps”, or to truthfully say that you “have been on the path they are now following”, and many others come to mind.
In my admittedly befuddled old brain, it seems to me that we serve others best as resources in handling changes in Life when our own Life has been challenged in similar ways. Maybe, just maybe once we have “been there, done that, and got the T-Shirt that says it” we can be a brighter light in supporting others find their way. But then again, this might just be the mixed-up brain waves created by downing a few too many tamales for lunch today??? Who can be sure!
For: SLJ