Empathy is a superpower
Today I found myself vulnerably reaching out to a professional for assistance for my son. It did not go well and I was left feeling I was not given the attention of the expert and worse,that my problem was not validated. It felt like crap. At first I was angry (and admittedly I had to struggle not to give this lady an earful, which doesn’t make me proud). But then I got off the call, took a deep breath and stepped back.
I understood that is how some of my clients must feel when they think about dealing with a lawyer. It was this moment I realised what a superpower empathy really is.
Over the 19 years I have been a lawyer I have seen a lot of heartache, a sprinkle of drama and too much conflict for me to bear thinking about. These days I try to steer free of dispute matters and focus on helping people work differently by growing their solo business or growing their remote team. Even though conflict is not a part of my day to day now, I still need to show up with empathy for my clients every day. This empathy is understanding that my clients don’t understand legal jargon. That they don’t care so much about what is in their legal documents but they trust me to put the right things in to protect them and break the content down bit by bit so they understand the important parts and feel reassured their affairs are in order.
I am a good lawyer and I do this. But the technical bits of my job, while important, are not what distinguishes me. What makes me really valuable to the people I help is that I can speak their language and explain things in ways that resonate. Caring also goes a long way.
Back to my experience today. I admit I am feeling raw and emotional at present. Last week my son was diagnosed with dyspraxia and we are now left overwhelmed and navigating a huge list of experts to engage for therapy and treatment. This call came on the back of me leaving 3 messages for this lady to call me and her beginning the call defensively saying she did not have capacity for in-school visits and asking if we needed them.
The thing was, I didn’t know if we needed in-school visits. You see, that would all depend on her assessment but I was being palmed off before we got to that part. Before she could let me trust her and her abilities. Ultimately I asked this lady for a referral to another person because I could see we weren’t a good fit. No doubt this will hopefully lead us to someone else amazing and all will be well. But in the meantime, it made me truly see and appreciate the trust that clients place in me as a professional every day. It showed me how I can better communicate with clients openly and in a way which makes them feel that I am invested in them and their business.
The beauty of my work with the Remote Expert is that I have been a remote employee. My book, “the Tracksuit Economy” chronicles that journey. Now I am looking at it from the other angle - as a #ladyboss who hires remote team members and understands the challenges of life as a solopreneur.
Finally, a blog post on empathy wouldn’t be complete with a “fangirl moment over Brene’ Brown and the way she looks at empathy here.
Have a great day and remember, when someone gets you down, it may be they just don’t get you. Find someone who does!