We realize empathy, when we suddenly empathize with a different perspective, through an unexpected realization.
One that often make us go “Ah ha!” “Oh...” or “Ha ha ha!” concerning something we either did not or had incorrectly assumed to have understood or appreciated enough.
Realizing empathy may not be easy.
Yet, it is by realizing empathy in the face of tension that we mature as leaders and human beings.
Empathizing points to B. an experience, where we’re feeling as if we’re connected as one with an “other,” as opposed to A. disconnected or at odds with them.
Hyper-Empathizing points to B′. an experience, where we’re feeling as if there is no or cannot be any distance, distinction, or boundary between ourselves and an “other.”
Empathy is a word invented to explain our potential to move from A. to B. or B′.
About the Director
Executive Performance Coach to Founder-CEOs
seung chan lim (slim)
As a CEO performance coach, Slim guides Founders of high-growth tech startups to become the CEO their organization needs to reach the next level of growth. He guides them to achieve this without compromising on their values or their sanity and humanity.
Slim is also the author of the book Realizing Empathy, which has won a number of awards including the National Indie Excellence® Book Awards: New Non-Fiction for content and the Communication Arts Typography Annual Award of Excellence for design. Slim has shared the message of this book with people across North America, Europe, and Asia.
Slim envisions a world, where compassionate leaders can have the impact they intend. A world where they have access to the connections and support they deserve for the important work they’re doing. A world where they’re appreciated and rewarded for the effort they put in to align their intention with their impact. A world where their day-to-day no longer has to feel synonymous with self-sacrifice.
Over the past 24 years, Slim has guided the growth & innovation process at organizations of various scales ranging from large organizations like the Department of Defense, General Electric, and Eaton, to small startups with less than 1,000 or even 100 employee
What he has realized from this experience is that the good intentions embodied by compassionate leaders often prevent them from seeing and understanding themselves or their key stakeholders with clarity.
Slim has witnessed time and time again how such blindspots and lack of insight can lead to:
- The decline in the leader's own mental health,
- The leader getting in the way of their own desired impact,
- A failure to foster alignment and cooperation among key stakeholders, and, in serious cases,
- The unintended promotion of employee resentment and turnover as well as a decline in relationship quality with their spouse and children.
In fact, Slim was such a leader, himself, which is how he noticed this at first. But he then saw the same pattern repeat with his consulting clients who were leaders at Government and Fortune 500 companies. Finally, he saw this yet again while conducting a 4-year-long ethnographic research at the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University.
After writing about this phenomena and its related solution in his book Realizing Empathy: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Making, Slim was invited to work with compassionate Startup Founders who were experiencing the same challenges.
With invitation from Singularity University, Techstars, and Google for Startups, Slim has spent the last 11 years coaching over 200 compassionate Startup Founders to not only see themselves and their stakeholders more clearly, but also to leverage such insight to become the best CEO they can become.
11 min 21 sec.
8 min 44 sec.
11 min 21 sec.
8 min 44 sec.