Empathy Can Help You Wake Up Wealthier

Empathy Can Help You Wake Up Wealthier image DATE: May 24, 2022

Headlines everywhere are claiming that empathy is an important LEADERSHIP skill. But that’s not quite right. It’s a necessary SUCCESS skill. If we choose to change our mindset regarding empathy, it might just be the catalyst for a more successful future for you!

I am on a sold-out mission to show the world – to show you – the undeniable power of empathy and how it can transform your personal and professional success.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in get rich quick schemes. Instead, over my lifetime, I’ve discovered that empathy can help you lead better, sell more, connect deeper, and ultimately, quite literally, wake up wealthier every single day.

Whether we’re talking about navigating conflict, building a stronger team, selling more products and services, shifting a culture, improving communication, making better decisions, becoming more innovative, mending a broken relationship, earning trust and respect, etc., I’ve discovered that a simple choice to start with empathy can transform the outcome in the best way. In today’s blog, I’ll give you a brief example or two of just how a simple choice can help you wake up wealthier!

Three Types of Wealth

There are three ways I believe we can measure wealth.

RELATIONSHIPS

Your first thought might be money. And yes, that’s one way to measure wealth. However, it’s not the most meaningful way.

I believe the most meaningful way to measure wealth in this life is in the quality of the relationships we build with other people. If you talk to anyone who has lived a long, fulfilling life and asked them what the key to their happiness and contentment is – their overwhelming answer would be the deep connections they’ve built with the people they did life with at work or home, with their friends, family, and their community. If you want to have a rich life, you must invest in your relationships.

IMPACT

The second way to measure wealth in your life is in the impact you make either now or for the future. If you leave this world a better place for others, you might just find that is exactly what fills your soul and fulfills your purpose.

FINANCES

The third, most common way to measure wealth is from a financial perspective. Whether you’re trying to influence someone to buy more, to stay longer, or perform better…your ability to perform well can have a direct effect on just how financially wealthy you become.

Whether you measure your wealth in terms of the quality of your relationships, the level of impact you make, the number in your bank account, or a combination of all three — if you want to wake up wealthier every day, hands down, start with empathy.

How to Make Empathy Work for Everyone

When most people think of empathy, they think of kindness and compassion. Not me. And from this point forward, I hope you don’t either. 

The benefits of compassion and kindness can sometimes only be one-sided. However, choosing empathy from the beginning, allows you to create better results for everyone involved.

The value of empathy is rooted in uncovering prioritized needs and being able to think like someone else. If you can learn to uncover the most important needs of someone else and think like them, then you give yourself the opportunity to create a unique roadmap to a more impactful result for both parties.

Empathy is a top success skill. It must be developed. When you can think like someone else and choose to meet their needs first, then you can lead better, sell more, and connect deeper. All of which lead to better outcomes for all involved.

Servant Heart vs. Empathetic Mind

I told you I’d give you an example of how empathy can help you become wealthier. Here’s one example from an “impact” perspective. Here you’ll see that empathy was not used first, and the maximum impact was not realized in the end.

Servant leadership became mainstream in the 1970s and is now widely accepted and practiced today. Leading with a servant’s heart is important, however, leading with an empathetic mind is critical for maximum impact. 

Leading with a “Servant’s Heart” is important, however, leading with an “Empathetic Mind” is critical.

-Alyson Van Hooser

An F4 tornado ripped through my community at about 10:00 pm several months ago. Before the sun had risen, semi-trucks full of bottled water were headed our way. Standing on my back porch, I could see a local church parking lot filling with pallets of bottled water for the next several days. So many kind, generous people from literally across the world wanted to help, to make a positive difference. They knew people were struggling here in Kentucky and had lost everything. They know that water is essential. So, with a servant’s heart, people gave their own time and resources to help. All who witnessed the generosity or was a beneficiary of it are still so deeply grateful, including me. 

Several days passed after the tornado hit and a disconnect became obvious to me. This was a familiar situation…one where we had incredibly compassionate, kind, servant leaders who were exhausting their resources to help and serve people by giving clean water. However, the donors weren’t making the positive impact they’d hoped for. Even months after the natural disaster, buildings were filled with donated goods and community leaders struggled to freely give it all away. Through social media and word of mouth, most of the appreciation and satisfaction that many expected to hear from the recipients of their generosity, was instead drowned out by the droves of people that desperately needed different resources such as heaters, baby formula, bottles, shoes, furniture, and shelter. There were important needs that were unmet. Because of that, the impact that was intended was not realized.

Oftentimes leaders are doing good work, but they’re not meeting the real need of their people. When that happens, leaders are often confused when they don’t get the response they thought they would from their people. I would suggest that what we have here is a lack of empathy. If we start with empathy, we save time, money, and maximize our return.

If you want to connect deeper, lead better, sell more, make a bigger impact, make sure you’re actually serving the real need your people have. Don’t assume you know the need. You might have a bias you don’t even realize or be comparing their experience to your own — which may be totally different in reality. Get to know their story. Uncover their need. Serve their need first, then work better together going forward. You’ll see results so much faster if you start with empathy before you take action!

The Transformational Power of Empathy

If you want to improve your success from a relationship, impact, or financial perspective, focus on people’s needs. Maybe someone needs to feel as though they belong, as though you care, as though they’re respected, maybe they need a warm meal, a listening ear, etc. Start there, with empathy.

From a leadership perspective, one example may be that if an employee is struggling to get out of bed in the morning because they’re depressed, and yet you’re offering free pizza and hybrid work options to boost morale and performance, you might be wasting your resources. Start with empathy. Get to know your people on a very real level. Uncover their unmet need that will lead to a transformational outcome. Make a decision that meets their need first. When you do that, you’ll eliminate a barrier to an authentic connection which will give you permission to move forward toward the win-win outcome you crave.

If you look at this from a sales perspective, one example may be that Before you try to sell something, uncover the needs of your future customer. Maybe they need to know you’re honest, or that you’re not going to take advantage of them. It’s possible they need to talk to you at a certain time or to talk fast…or maybe slow down. Start with empathy. When you do that, you uncover exactly how you need to move forward so they will be more likely to buy from you.

The transformational power of empathy lies in your ability to correctly uncover the most important needs people have and allows you to think like someone else. Empathy is a skill. It must be developed. When you’ve highly developed your ability to effectively empathize – to accurately uncover needs and think like someone else – THAT is how and when you begin to create your unique, extremely specific roadmap to success….ensuring every single day that either from a relationship, impact, or financial perspective, you can wake up wealthier.

How are you making sure your skill of empathy is the best it can be?

Alyson Van Hooser

About The Author:

Alyson Van Hooser, Leadership Keynote Speaker, Trainer on Millennials, Gen Z & Women in Business With the grit that only comes from tough experiences, Alyson has learned a thing or two about personal and professional success. From her management experience with Walmart, as an elected city council member, bank manager — all before the age of 30 — Alyson has wisdom well beyond her years! Her podcast, Stake: The Leadership Podcast, offers a fresh perspective on leadership and helps multiple generations successfully work together! Connect with Alyson on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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