Empathic Humor

“I want to kill him,”
she said,
her heads down,
referring to her co-founder.

“Tell me how you’d do it.”
I asked,

“What?”
she looked up
puzzled.

“I want to hear your plan.”
I responded.

“Ha ha ha!”
she laughed out loud.

I smiled,
noticing her shoulders relax
and tension release.

Not About Me

When someone does something
we dislike
we tend to become
self-absorbed.

They hurt
“me.”
They disrespected
“me.”
They don’t appreciate
“me.”

Me.
Me.
Me.

When we realize empathy,
we often see
that the behavior we considered
to be about
“me”
had less to do with
“me”
and more to do with
them
feeling unsupported.

Withness

“When
did you start losing
trust
in the CTO?” I asked
the CEO.

“Our 3rd co-founder
was underperforming.
He came to us one day
to explain
that his underperformance
was due
to his father’s
illness.”
he answered.

“After he left,
the CTO told me in private
that he believed
that
was just an excuse.”
he continued.

“Sure,
it may have been
an excuse.
But the 3 of us
had been friends
for 10 years
before founding
the company.
I could easily see
how the CTO
would judge me the same way
if I were in a pinch.

I no longer felt
she was with me.”
he concluded.

To Become One

To become one
is not
to be
the same.

No two “things”
can ever be
the same.

Especially so
if you consider
their locations.

To become one
can be
to become one
of a new kind.

Just as two rings
can become
one chain.

What vs How

“I don’t know how
to persuade him” said the founder.

“What
do you want to have happen?”
I asked.

“I want to persuade him.”
she responded.

“No.
What do you want to have happen
by persuading him?”
I asked again.

“…”

“I want you
to move your focus away from the how
to what it is you really want.” I remarked,
breaking the silence.

“What do you want?”
I asked again.

“I want…

I want to feel supported.” she answered,
after much thought.

“When’s the last time
you felt supported by him?”
I asked.

“I’ve never felt supported by him.”
she answered.

“Then what makes you so sure
that persuading him
is the way to feel supported?”
I asked.

Neglect

The person
whose love,
validation,
and respect we need
is often also the person
whose need for love,
validation,
and respect
we neglect
to appreciate
or understand fully.