Inspiring Resilience: Storytelling - and Listening - with Empathy to Empower Action

You want to be there for your team right now. You want to be useful, compassionate and helpful to the people you care about the most.

As a leader – of a team, of a family, of an organization, of a company – you need to be able to communicate with empathy, and to inspire authentically, now more than ever.

You might be talking to people who are worried for their health, their jobs, their families and their bills. You might be talking to people worried for their passion projects, their careers, and their latest creative and business endeavors.

This is a look at how to use your biggest talent – storytelling – to create connection, and to give people a sense of focus and empowerment as they figure out how to make sense of things and pivot personally and professionally.

It’s a good time to give inspiration and empathy. It’s a bad time to give advice.

When people are worried about fundamentals like health and home – no one wants to hear about the time you overcame something pretty bad and now everything is fine.

UNLESS, that is, you focus on your fear. And your earnest struggle. Because, right now, people are coming from a place of fear, or resource scarcity and struggle. And that’s OK. That’s where your empathy can inform your story to make the biggest difference.

First: frame your conversation and story.

Tell them what you are doing: “I am sharing this with you because I want you to know, I have not been in your shoes exactly, but I have had to make sense of things that once felt terrifying and overwhelming. I am trying to communicate my empathy to you.”

Tell them what you are not doing: “I am not trying to give advice. Or tell you that everything happens for a reason. Or that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. Or that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”