Finding Common Ground

by Patrick McNerthney—Creative Director, Outcasting

“…because it’s good for you.”

If you have children, there’s a 99% chance (I haven’t done a study, but I’m confident in this number) you utter this phrase, likely in reference to eating vegetables.

(I still don’t like vegetables, including the cauliflower pizza crust my wife makes. Don’t tell her.) 

Photo of cauliflower crust pizza

(Not delicious)


If you don’t have children, there’s a 100% chance you heard this from your parents at some point. 

Either way, and despite good intentions, “…because it’s good for you” is not a good enough reason for someone to let you help them. At least, not anyone over the age of 18. 

And therein lies the truth – to generously help someone, we need their enrollment, because changing someone’s mind is tough business.   

Photo of signs pointing to multiple destinationsEnrollment is about where the bus is going – travelers heading to Los Angeles don’t get on a bus with “Orlando” on the marquee. 

But that’s the hard part – people don’t just tell you where they want to go. This is because they’re unsure, frightened, confused…and thus hiding in order to feel safe. 

It turns out the only way to figure this out is through empathy.

Empathy is the key to unlocking where people want to go. Once you know where they want to go, you can figure out the right way to get them there.  

There are three kinds of empathy:

Cognitive empathy – I see your point of view!

Emotional empathy – I literally feel with you!

Compassionate empathy – I’m going to take action and help you!

They’re worth a look. Identify where you use them in your life (we all do), think about moments when empathy changed how you see someone, then remember what happened as a result. Something happened, and it was great. Guaranteed.  

This exercise helps make empathy a practice, a habit.

Once it’s a habit, the door to enrollment, and positive change, is not far behind. 

Although I’m still pretty wary of cauliflower.

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