It was Christmas Eve. Bobby and his family were on the way from a Church Service. They were feeling very festive. They had just spent the last 45 minutes catching up with friends they had not seen for over a year. Then he remembered that he needed to get to the shop before it closed at 9 pm. It was 8:45 pm.
The car engine spluttered and came to a halt. The father tried to start it again. He tried a couple of times. With no luck. “I think we have run out of petrol”, said the mother. Luckily, they had stopped in a country town and were 500 metres away from a petrol station.
There is a difference between someone who is sympathetic towards you. And someone who starts with empathy. “I really want to solve your problem. I can help you.” This is what sympathy sounds like. The person may mean well, but it is about them.
This week I started work with a new client. I was being introduced at the morning toolbox meeting.
My introduction was very short, “Rob starts today as our Accountant”
“Welcome Rob. I hope you are creative.”