Walk a Mile in Their Flip Flops

In my presentations I often ask attendees what they would do differently if they won millions in the lottery. The answers are all over the board, but a few share the answer I would give. I would create a foundation and use the money to make other people’s lives better.


If we’re being honest (and why not, right) then we must admit that many (most) people are self-absorbed. The world revolves around them. They believe it is better to receive then give. They believe in scarcity and they need to get theirs before (or if) you can have yours. They act without thinking . . . about you. I can go on, but you know what I mean. I know a guy who used to always brag about his accomplishments and minimize mine. I later figured out he believed if one of us was a success the other had to be a failure. No matter what I did, he did it better (and gave an example). Years later he finally gave me my due and acknowledged we were both successful at the same thing.


People can change. Jim Rohn said, “Teach what you need to learn.” My big change for 2022 is to be more empathetic (and compassionate—which is empathy in action). Southwest Airlines stated, “If there is one thing you can’t teach, it’s caring and compassion.” They believe you hire for the smile and train the skills. I think empathy can be enhanced. Can we take a person with zero empathy and take it to eleven? Probably not. But someone who just needs a push or reminder, that’s possible.


My late friend Sunshine Blake said when I pressed her at the end of her life what piece of advice she wanted me to pass on in my book about her life and she said, “Tell people that in life and business success and happiness comes from being able to walk in other people’s moccasins.” I wrote it down, but I don’t think I fully embraced the concept until now.


So many pieces of good advice (including business) involve empathy. “Treat others how you would want to be treated.” “Figure out what’s in it for the customer and focus on those benefits.” “You can have anything in life you want if you will just help others get what they want.” So why don’t we make seeing things from other people’s perspective a priority? Good question, and one I plan to answer from now on.


To be continued . . .