What does empathy have to do with accessing your inner wisdom?
Like many big lessons, this one begins with a book. In his new release This is Marketing, Seth Godin makes the case that good marketing requires empathy for the people you seek to serve. I’ve been looking for a different way to show up and serve for some time now. Based the visceral “Yes!” I experienced with every concept in the book, I enrolled in The Marketing Seminar, the course on which This Is Marketing is based.
Be careful what you wish for, they say. In comparison to the course, the book is a lie-down at the beach. The Marketing Seminar a mental agility course on how you communicate about your business. It requires both introspection and endurance. Not that I’m complaining!
It’s easy to have empathy for someone who is like you. It bends the mind to have empathy for someone you perceive as an “other”.
In one of the lessons, Seth Godin asks us to exercise our empathy muscle by imagining what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. Someone who is not like us. I had a tough time choosing, so I tasked myself with writing about the first person I perceived as an “other” the next day.
I spotted him on my way to yoga the next morning. Three cafes that cater to the older men in the neighborhood line the street. The cafe patrons stand outside smoking. They take up the entire sidewalk and leave behind cigarette butts by the hundreds.
It. Makes. Me. Crazy.
When I felt the sting of revulsion rise in my throat, I knew I had found my subject. When I sat down at my computer that afternoon, I took a deep breath to quell my judgment and began to write.
Listen to the story of “Empathy for the Old Man at the Cafe”. Getting into his skin taught me that empathy isn’t just an access point to your intuition. It might be a gateway to higher perception.
What do you think? Should we embrace a practice of building our empathy muscle? I’d love to hear your thoughts on social media. (links below)
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