Recently, I’ve been reflecting on my path and its fulfillment. At times, it can feel as if there is an ongoing spiral that oscillates between clarity and not knowing. I have been learning how to live with this oscillation and learning to listen for whatever wisdom it might contain. Often, the wisdom is precisely to cultivate a comfort with the unknown.
As much as I might hope to squeeze the future into a to do list, the future that I want to be a part of is well beyond my individual agenda. In a recent conversation with John Marshall Roberts, he shares the power of personal purpose without personal agenda. We unravel this seeming paradox and find empathy key to enlightened leadership.
I love this part – “If we’re being authentic about what we’re here to do, then it’s never been done before. We’re a unique fingerprint. If we find our calling, it’s never been done and we have to communicate with people who’ve never seen this before. Empathy becomes a tool that we can use to help move them along to that next stage.”
I first encountered John in 2012 when I saw a TED talk he gave on empathy. John is a behavioral scientist and empathy researcher and has been invited to share his research by a variety of leading global for profit, non-profit and governmental organizations including the US White House, UCLA, Unilever, 3M, Sprint, Time Warner, General Mills, and a who’s who of other fortune 500 companies.
John explains how empathy works, specific ways to cultivate and teach it, and how the most inspiring leaders of our time have used empathy to create profound change. He offers an enlightened middle ground where agenda emerges and evolves through empathy and surrender.
John has opened within me a deep appreciation for the power not trying to fix the world. If you enjoy our conversation, please read his four part series on inner change and transformational leadership.