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Empathy is a Skill: Transformative Practices Behind Connecting With Others

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Empathy is a key ingredient in developing fulfilling relationships in your life. According to one study, relationship satisfaction was predicted by the perceived empathy of the other person. That means if your partner believes that you empathize with them, your partner is more likely to be satisfied with your relationship. Fortunately, empathy is a skill that can be developed and used in every area of your life. Here are some key practices that you can use to strengthen your ability to empathize with others.

Reading nonverbal communication

In a world where Zoom calls have taken over, more than ever, facial expressions make a big difference in how you communicate. When it comes to empathy development, being attuned to facial expressions and behavior is vital. Learning to read these cues allows you to understand or tap into how someone may be feeling without verbally communicating. Training yourself to pay attention to other people’s faces and body language will help increase your awareness of the situation and your relationships. However, keep in mind that reading these cues isn’t an invitation to make assumptions about what the other person is feeling. They simply give you the opportunity to open a dialog about what the other person could be experiencing.

For example, if you’re at work and you see a colleague talking fast, staring at their screen without moving, or notice their fingers twitching, there’s a good chance that they’re experiencing some kind of stress. Recognizing this allows you to step in and help in some way. 

Another great example is asking kids how their day went when they’ve finished school. If you don’t look at their nonverbal communication and only listen to what they say, then you can miss the opportunity for a real conversation. Whether a child has a good day or a bad day, they’re likely to tell you everything was fine or okay. By paying attention to their nonverbal communication, you can ask yourself how to best support them and learn more about what’s going on in their lives to deepen your bond with them. For example, are they looking down at the ground when they are talking to you and you can sense that they aren’t feeling great about something? This idea also applies to significant others. 

To implement this into your life, make a habit of looking at the faces of the people you’re talking to and reading their body language. Practice reading a room when you walk into it. The more you stay present with whomever you’re interacting with, the more your empathetic skills will develop. This will help you in all areas of your life, including first time interactions with people. 

“Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of you’re not alone.” – Brene Brown

Exchanging nonverbal communication

Recognizing nonverbal communication is vital. It’s just as important to intentionally communicate your empathy for others nonverbally. The look on your face, the way you nod your head, and the way you reach out to touch someone all convey whether you’re understanding them or not. To be clear, these ways of non-verbally communicating all need to be done with genuine interest or concern. This matters in all aspects of your life. 

The primary way to practice this form of empathy is to be present with the people around you. When you’re in conversation with someone, pay attention to them instead of trying to split your focus between screens and tasks. If you cannot give the other person the attention they need, let them know that you’ll speak with them later so that you can be fully present for the conversation. Here’s why that’s important. 

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you were being vulnerable and all of a sudden they started laughing or got a surprised face that didn’t align with what you were saying? Then when you asked what their face was about, the answer was that they got a message or saw something on their phone. The message communicated in that exchange is that their distraction was more important than your emotion or what you needed to communicate. If you’re already being vulnerable, that can be hurtful. It’s important to make an effort to put your phone down where it won’t be a distraction.

When you’re more present for conversations, you’re able to spot problems and solutions faster, you bring more connectedness to the relationship, and you build more trust with others. This also helps you to become someone that other people respect and follow, while helping you de-escalate problems before they get out of hand. 

Empathizing through stories

Studies have shown that reading fiction makes people more attuned to the emotions of others. This is likely because when you read, it activates your imagination and emotions at the same time. You experience an imaginary world with all of your senses, which gives you the opportunity to step into the emotions of the characters. This is great practice for tapping deeper into a dialogue that people have with you, especially since people tell all kinds of stories about their lives. Whether someone is trying to entertain you with a funny story from their past, connect with you by sharing a vulnerable truth, or trying to teach you something important using analogies, being able to connect with what someone is telling you helps to strengthen your capacity for empathy.

“Empathy is the ability to step outside of your own bubble and into the bubbles of other people.” – C. Joybell

Staying present fosters empathy and connection

Sometimes, applying mindfulness breathing exercises before you walk into a situation can help you to be completely present and deepen your ability to empathize. Focusing on your breath enables you to be here and now. It is a great way to transition from one activity to another especially walking into important conversations or meetings. Fostering your ability to relate on a deeper level can become your most valuable skill in connecting, bridging and actualizing in your relationships with people.

Kellee Marlow is an Impact Entrepreneur, Business Strategist, Empowerment Accelerator, and Motivational Speaker. She built her career by embracing disruption and identifying innovative concepts and technologies that challenged companies and people to think differently. After 20+ years of business experience in different roles and industries, Kellee has created a catalyst mindset that is science-proven, focused on empowerment, innovation, and inspiration that guides people to successfully realize their entrepreneurial or personal goals. She is the founder and host of Spark, on KXSF.FM and 8+ online platforms that stream world-wide. Kellee created the Spark platform to inform, inspire, and ignite her audience by pinpointing the underlying value of the expertise from change-makers in psychology, wellness, business, and innovation. She tackles topics including the future impact of artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency; career reinvention and self-empowerment tools like empathy, gratitude, and social fluency.

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How Your Friends Determine Whether You Succeed or Not

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Can anyone do without having friends? We all have our friends, we share ideas with them, talk together, have fun, and fight. Yes, that’s the baseline of friendship. But, do you know that aside from you, your friends can determine whether you achieve success or not?

There are two things in friendship which are the ability to ”love” and the ability to “influence”. This means you are loved and you are influenced. How do your friends affect your success in life? How are they one of the biggest deciding factors of your success? Let’s find out.

What type of friends do you keep? 

First, what type of friends do you keep? Who do you call your best friend? There are two different kinds of friends, good friends, and bad ones. A lot of people have lost their pathway to success and some have also found their road to success all because of the friends they keep, the people they mingle with. 

Who is your best friend? Answer carefully. Having a best friend means you find each other compatible and understanding. Analyze who your best friend is. If your best friend has not motivated you to do something positive, if who you call your bestie has never given you positive advice, lastly if your best friend has never informed and advised you on your shortcomings, then you don’t have a best friend.

This quote tells us “birds of the same feather flock together”. Countless people have changed from their good nature into a bad one all because of friends. One thing to note is, “negative people move with negative aura”. If your best friend is filled with negativity inside-out then you will surely be affected by his/her negative aura.

They influence your success with positivity or negativity 

The friends you keep can either influence you with positivity or negativity because your friends have the power to change your kind of person completely. 

This is how your friends influence you:

  1. They influence you indirectly with what they do
  2. They influence you directly by teaching and giving you advice 

Yes, that is how they influence you. For instance, you watch a movie and you like the way the actor walks. The question is if you truly like the way the actor walks, won’t you try to imitate the actor? Of course, you will.

Just the way you imitate the actor is the same way your friends can influence you with their character. However, the funny part is, they don’t have to teach you to do things like them. You just find yourself imitating and copying them gradually.

An important question to ask is, are you imitating a good friend or a bad one? If you imitate a good friend then you will be good, but if you imitate a bad person, you will surely become a bad person.

Everyone wants to succeed, a good friend will always teach, enlighten, and motivate you for success. A bad friend will only motivate you to do evil things (smoking, drinking, fight, envy,).

And you should know that things like that are a great enemy of success and even of God. So, if you have these bad elements in your life, how will you achieve success? There is no way!

And also, they can teach and advise you directly. But, what do your friends teach you? When you ask them for advice do they inspire you positively or teach you the bad stuff.? A lot of people have regretted lifelong decisions just by listening to the advice of friends. 

The company you keep has the power to influence and change you. Never forget that a positive influence will teach, motivate, and brush you up for success. While a negative influence will inspire you to become a bad person, change your good nature, and leave you with regrets in the end.

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The 3 Step Process to Building a Profitable Pitch

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As a communication coach, one of the top questions entrepreneurs ask me is how to deliver a winning pitch to potential investors. They want to know if there’s a magic formula to get an investor to say yes and buy into their dream and their business. (more…)

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The 4 Pillars of Wealth and Abundance

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Have you ever wondered what the formula for a wealthy and abundant life is? Many people have. Lots has been written about the subject of wealth creation and living an abundant life. It was a breaking point in my journey and pursuit of success when I found out that there is a clear path to achieve success in life. Thanks to those who have shared their journey, we can clearly see and follow the principles of prosperity. (more…)

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Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show

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why you should have a podcast
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Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.

What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.

1. Perceived Expertise

When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.

They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.

2. Global Acknowledgement

One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.

The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Backed By Numbers

One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.

The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

4. Effective Communication

While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.

Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!

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