Have you ever heard these phrases at work?
- I had no choice.
- You left me no option.
- Have you had a chance to review the email I sent?
- You made me angry.
- I have to move our appointment.
- If it’s not too much trouble.
- What do we want to do next?
Have you ever heard these phrases at work?
Never underestimate the power of inhibitions. How many times in your life have you been told “Don’t,” “You shouldn’t,” or “You can’t?” Did it start early in your life with a parent, caregiver, teacher, or coach? Do you remember how you felt? Did you internalize these messages? How much have those limitations inhibited you throughout your life?
I’m genuinely sorry this happened to you. It’s unfortunate that people who cared about you and wanted to protect you said these things. This is tragic.
Because you were meant to thrive. And fly. And make a ruckus.
A colleague brought my attention to a recent Dear Abby post from September 22, 2019, titled “Veteran Appreciates Action More than Words.”
This veteran had a negative reaction when someone says, “Thank you for your service.” His struggle was that given all he had experienced and suffered, that phrase rang hollow.
It’s been the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. A time when leadership really matters.
In May 2019 we launched The Compassion Mindset at the Association for Talent Development International Conference and Expo in D.C. We’re going all in with TCM. We are bringing every ounce of knowledge, experience, faith, grit, and optimism we have to this thing. We have high hopes of breaking into the biggest markets in the world and are passionate about the impact we believe TCM can make in the world. It has been like starting a whole new company from scratch. Exhilarating. And scary as hell.
ATD was awesome! After four years exhibiting at this conference, this year was the best. Clearer message, more interest, stronger leads, better networking.
Cloud nine, baby!
Returning from D.C. we diligently and enthusiastically began our follow-up and sales work. We faithfully executed our go to market strategy for TCM.
May evaporated. June came and went. What even happened to July? Only a small trickle of newly booked business. Nowhere near our projections.
What have we done? When will it take off? How long can we hold out? Why isn’t our plan working? This summer was supposed to be the best ever!
These questions started to dominate the conversations. Anxiety began to creep in, along with forecasts of gloom and doom.
Thank goodness for leadership. This time it didn’t come from inside our company. It didn’t come from me, the CEO who is suppose to have it all under control. It came from Stephan Mardyks of SMCOV, the consultant we hired to help us build and launch TCM. Here’s how Stephan is helping us carry our vision and ourselves through the ups and downs. It has nothing to do with his immense knowledge and expertise, and everything to do with great leadership.
Stephan believes in us and encourages us, even when we doubt our dream and our own abilities.
Stephan genuinely respects each of us, including our unique backgrounds, personalities and skills.
Stephan is not just positive by nature, he has cultivated a discipline of optimism that embodies a growth mindset.
It’s easy to lose focus when things aren’t going great. It’s tempting to grab at straws for anything that might get a quick result. Stephan helps us distinguish what matters from what is noise.
Stephan sees the big picture. He shows us how each activity, each day, contributes to the long-game.
Stephan reminds us that great things take time and there are no magic bullets.
No matter what we say or do, Stephan is fully with us. No judgment, no criticism, just validation of our experience.
Stephan doesn’t mince words and he doesn’t sugar coat things. He gives us helpful and honest feedback without attack.
Stephan is generous with his time, energy, and wisdom. Every time we finish a phone call with Stephan or pay a bill, we feel grateful and blessed. How is that even possible?!
Turns out Stephan is much more than a consultant. He is a leader and a partner in our success.
My guess is that any leader could be ten times more effective if they added these qualities to their resume. It’s certainly something I want to emulate.
This past weekend our team gathered in Colorado for a company retreat with the goal of stepping back, regrouping, filling our tanks, and re-aligning ourselves with our purpose.
We are going to be OK. We are going to change the world. Thank you Stephan.
Harvard social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, says people quickly size you up by answering two questions when they meet you.
Can I trust you?
Can I respect you?
Is one of these more important than the other?
Empathy fatigue is a phrase coined by Mark Stebnicki, a professor in the Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation at East Carolina University. He explains that, “empathy fatigue results from a state of psychological, emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and occupational exhaustion that occurs as the counselors’ own wounds are continually revisited by their clients’ life stories of chronic illness, disability, trauma, grief and loss.”
Empathy fatigue is especially common in high-touch professions where empathy, care, concern, and emotional support are job duties. Although first recognized in the counseling field, empathy fatigue is gaining more recognition in corporate settings, especially in companies promoting a customer-centric and people-focused culture.
Symptoms of Empathy fatigue are described in Lynne Shallcross’ article, “Who’s taking care of Superman.”
Empathy fatigue is caused by the relentless pursuit to serve the customer coupled with a distorted understanding of compassion.
On the way to perfecting our customer-first strategy we’ve forgotten that the customer is an agent in the equation. We have accepted that we are responsible for making everything better, so we listen more, care more, empathize more, and suffer more.; so that they will have a pleasant experience, stay engaged, and buy more.
Most people believe that compassion is synonymous with empathy, altruism and kindness. That’s wrong.
The obvious answer is self-care. It’s a good step, but it’s not the full solution. The solution is to practice compassion in its fullest sense. Compassion means “to struggle with,” not “to struggle instead of.” Here’s how compassion can help you solve empathy fatigue.
Don’t shut down your heart. People are hard-wired to care about each other. And, don’t forget to also protect your heart. Bleeding-hearts don’t last very long.
Stop solving problems for people. Get them involved to take ownership over the solution. Customers are much more loyal and engaged when they take an active role in the solution. When you are doing all the emotional (and physical) work, you are undermining their capability and dignity and creating dependence.
Protect your soul by knowing your boundaries and investing in you. Without it, your tank will always be on empty. What keeps you healthy and balanced? Do it. What gives you joy? Do it. Recognize when saying “yes” means you are saying no to what keeps you healthy. You are worth as much as the person you are trying to help. When you are fatigued you aren’t helpful.
Solving empathy fatigue requires difficult conversations with yourself and with others. It’s not easy, and we have a solution.
Start your journey towards more energy and better relationships today with The Compassion Mindset course, offered regularly in a two-hour webinar format.
Compassion has been in a box for too long. It’s time to release it to be more and do more.
I’m not against these things. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t show kindness and care for the others, or if our hearts didn’t feel some of the pain and suffering of those in need.
It’s absolutely critical that organizations hire for diversity. But diversity is not enough. Inclusion is where the real work comes in. Inclusion is about “deliberate efforts to foster cohesive workforces that understand and embrace diverse individuals,” says Zoe Mackey in her article, Why Diversity is Not Enough, Inclusion Equals Equality.
The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) states that, “Creating a culture where people are respected and appreciated requires another level of effort that may not be getting the investment it needs.” Indeed, most diversity efforts fail because they don’t emphasize inclusion alongside diversity.
“Once people experience it, they love it and it changes lives. Why aren’t we selling millions?”
In mid-2018 we found ourselves asking this question more urgently. Next Element was founded in 2008 and we have been successful by most measures. Our clients experience success with the Process Communication Model® and Leading Out of Drama®. They rave about the impact they’ve experienced, and are extremely loyal. So why aren’t things blowing up?