The Role of Empathy

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When it comes to motivation, our relationships can have a huge impact on our self-drive. The closer a relationship is, the more potential it has to either propel us forward or hold us back. Much of this is because we allow ourselves to become vulnerable in the face of important relationships. That vulnerability is what builds trust and creates deeper bonds between us while helping us achieve more together. However, that same vulnerability is what can also derail progress and set us up for potential disappointment through broken trust.

Empathy is what’s necessary for tempering the potential impact we can have on one another. In order to keep from doing unintentional harm to your most trusted relationships, it’s important to understand the impact that personality and different styles have on one another. Within the four dimensions of your Prism Personality may be a clue for helping you understand your specific effect on others.

For example, Power personalities like Visionaries, Instructors, and Navigators, are mission-oriented and willing to push through obstacles to reach goals. While immensely helpful for getting things done, this may come at the expense of another’s need for a softer approach. The impact of this can leave others feeling marginalized or unappreciated over time. In turn, Adaptable personalities like the Ally, Architect, and Peacemaker are relation-oriented, preferring to prioritize harmonious one-on-one interactions. This style builds deep and lasting personal bonds but can also leave mission-driven people feeling unsupported in their enthusiasm to reach goals.

There isn’t one predominant approach to building better relationships, nor is one personality type better or worse. Like puzzle pieces, each plays a role in different situations and contexts. When it comes to building resonant relationships, no matter which personality types are involved—empathy is the secret for learning how to either turn down or turn up a natural approach. For Power personalities, the ability to stop and listen, lead with inquiry, and communicate personable understanding can have a huge impact. In turn, when Adaptable personalities recognize when it’s time to push forward past the relationship and focus on the other person’s goals—the impact is equally effective.

This week, consider your relationships and the differences between you. What unique approach can you provide to others to help them be their best selves?

“ We all do better when we work together. Our differences do matter, but our common humanity matters more. ”
— Bill Clinton

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