Kind, compassionate, empathic and courageous
By NATHAN KINCH
I was recently asked to pull some content together for a community that supports people early in their career. That content will go live soon.
Interestingly, my unscripted 14 minute video ended with a simple call to action. Be kind. Be compassionate. Have empathy. And, as important as any other, be courageous.
It feels cliche to be talking about these qualities or ‘virtues’. they’ve become all the rage in some ways. But this is kind of the point. Folks realise these qualities matter. They matter more than being ‘right’. They matter more than competition. They matter more than excellence. They are all qualities we can aspire to, even if we don’t live up to them every day.
So, keeping this post pretty short and sweet, let’s cover them quickly.
Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous or considerate. Kindness feels good when it comes from us. Kindness feels good when its directed at us. Kindness is something that we implicitly value. but, in most organisational contexts, its significantly undervalued. Let’s do what we can to lift it up, bit by bit.
Compassion is the quality of sympathising with others, particularly when they are experience suffering or misfortune. Well, guess what? In some capacity that’s the story for close to 8 billion people around the world. We’re amidst an unprecedented ‘event’. Aspects of our daily lives have changed significantly. Everyone – to some extent – is experiencing suffering or misfortune. In fact, this is part of what we call existence. So, let’s take the time to consider those around us. Let’s step back and ‘feel’ for them. Perhaps more importantly, let’s show our sympathy through our actions.
Empathy sort of goes a step further. It’s the ability to share or understand the feelings of others. Well, guess what again? You guessed it, we’re all in this thing together. Our ability to put ourselves in the shoes of others – in an attempt to better understand them – is as useful as ever. After all, things are pretty effed up at times. We need to work with and for those around us to make them better.
Which brings us to the crescendo.
Courage. What can I say… It’s the ability to do something, even when it’s really hard or scary. That’s what we need to do right now. We need to get our heads out of the sand. We need to stand up and do the work to design a better future. We need to amplify the forces of progress and counter the forces that inhibit it. we need to leave the world in better shape than when we entered into it.
Everyone is going to have a different experience of this. Your courage might be different to mine. Your kindness might be different to mine. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we step up and behaviourally exhibit these qualities, in our own unique way and on a daily basis.
If we do – I speculate widely here – I reckon tomorrow will be a little brighter.