For or about? It matters.

We say we care about someone. Sometimes we care for someone. There’s a difference, and it matters. When we care about someone, they’re a person for whom we have a certain regard. We probably like them, respect them, appreciate them, admire them, maybe even love them. But we might not actually know them. We can care about a charismatic leader. We can care about someone …

gljudson Empathy

A simple, fun empathy experiment

What does it mean to be empathetic? If it doesn’t come naturally for you – and according to psychological studies, it’s not natural for about 80% of the population – then the task of becoming more empathetic seems daunting at best, and impossible at worst. At least, that’s what some of my clients have said. Then I give them empathy-training …

gljudson Empathy

The three levels of empathy

Any chocolate lover will tell you there’s no such thing as just chocolate – even dark chocolate comes in multiple levels of intensity, never mind milk or white chocolate! Similarly, empathy isn’t just empathy; there are different levels and correspondingly different impacts. I’ve written elsewhere about my dislike of the phrase “I hear you.”  To summarize what I say there, I hear …

gljudson Empathy

What IS empathy, anyway?

Of all the emotional skills, empathy is possibly the hardest to define – and perhaps also the hardest to practice. Some people equate empathy with being overwhelmed by other people’s emotions. But the most sincerely empathetic people I know are also the most self-contained and clear on who they are, what they want, and where they hold their boundaries. Which …

gljudson Empathy

Empathy – now more than ever

(Note, and note well: empathy does not ever mean agreement. It merely means deep understanding – and with this depth of understanding, we have far greater capacity and power to create positive change.) I am stunned. The level of hatred and anger evident in Charlottesville on August 12th is inconceivable to me. And yet, I must conceive of it because it happened. The ripples …

gljudson Empathy

What do these four have in common?

Alan Alda. The FBI. Seth Godin. The ACLU. What do they have in common? Alan Alda is most known for his acting, especially on the long-running TV show M*A*S*H; he’s also an author, speaker, and teacher. The FBI’s Chris Voss was their lead international kidnapping negotiator; he’s now a negotiation consultant, teacher, and speaker. Seth Godin is a marketer, speaker, …

gljudson Empathy

Five common myths about empathy

What do you believe about empathy? I asked that question on my social media channels, and was fascinated by the range of responses. 1. Empathy is hard (and you’re already overworked and overwhelmed). Empathy can seem difficult because we feel vulnerable when we allow ourselves to experience it. In fact, though, empathy is a natural part of who we are …

gljudson Empathy