Going All In On (someone else's) Success
Written by Whitney Lacey
Header image by: Vonecia Carswell
Empathy is getting a lot of buzz these days. And really, it darn well should. Lately, I’ve had several conversations about empathy. For us, in all of those conversations, empathy came down to humans connecting and being understanding of other humans, even if they haven’t had the exact same experience.
Great! The end.
Just kidding. There’s more!
While I don’t have the stats to back up this claim, I do feel confident that the vast majority of people are great empathizers towards the folks they choose to be around. When your best friend of more-than-a-decade calls to tell you about their long-term relationship, even though you’ve only dated casually - you empathize. It comes naturally.
Cultivating empathy in the workplace can take more effort. And I do have several data points to back me up when I say that being empathetic in the workplace leads to efficiency. I know. I know. You may have read that sentence and thought, “Wow. Are you sure you’re not a robot? Who takes human connection and relates it to workplace efficiency?” Hand up. It’s me. But hear me out.
Early in my career I worked with people whose personalities were so vastly different than mine that I felt challenged by their day-to-day approach. I would spend a lot of the time I needed to think (about projects, friends, family, love, when the best time to meditate is) really delving deep into why they couldn’t just change and ways they SHOULD approach their work life differently. That. Is. So. Rude. And a phenomenally negative waste of time.
As you can imagine, I started feeling pretty gross about myself. Being so deep in that spiral definitely did not lend itself to clear thinking or kindness - two things that are crucial to creativity and efficiency. I challenged myself to be better. Specifically to identify every great characteristic they had and remind myself of it every time I felt a twinge of negativity creep in. I was learning to fully support their success.
So, what does that mean?
It means I literally started sitting across from people that challenged me and made a practice of repeating this in my head, “I want to see you succeed. I want this project to succeed because of the hard work you put in.” By taking myself out of the equation, trying to experience the world through their eyes, and really investing time in their success, everything felt easier. It also felt like there were more hours in the day and collaboration became a necessity rather than a chore.
Whitney is a Content Designer, currently writing and creating in Austin, TX. She’s been in the tech and entertainment industry since 2015, and is always looking for ways to create delightful user experiences.
When she’s not in front of a screen, she’s probably trying to engage you in a conversation about your favorite pizza or the benefits of owning a chihuahua.