We all have stories of our lives. Every day, our rough drafts consist of countless events and moments. We write pages and pages for others to read but before it’s ultimately published, we edit. We revise plot points and take out details that we may not want the outside world to see. Because as attractive and exciting our stories may appear on the cover, we all have chapters we don’t read out loud.
In addition to being the author of our own stories, we also have the benefit of being the main character. So we know everything the reader knows about us, all of the external experiences and interactions. But we also know the internal thoughts and feelings that may not be apparent to others. We’re aware of every experience we’ve had and thus, we’re able to form opinions because of them. An opinion stems solely from our own minds and hearts and although external forces can sway that opinion, it ultimately comes from within. And while some more controversial than others, spanning from pop culture to politics, we all have opinions of our own.
Conflicts based on difference in opinions are prevalent in leadership. Everyone has their own vision on the end product and the “best” way to achieve that goal. Luckily, the very nature of leadership accounts for such a variety of perspectives. There’s no “right” definition of leadership. There are hundreds of leadership styles and methods. Leadership has no formula or algorithm to be successful. Because of this, people with all different opinions and perspectives are able to thrive in leadership settings.
Unfortunately, sometimes life isn’t so simple. We get so caught up arguing and debating about topics that we forget others cannot read our minds. The world only knows what they see on the outside, what you portray yourself as. They use their senses to see and hear and feel what you mean to them. Not even the best readers are able to locate the hidden plot points hidden between the lines – inside your mind. Maybe there’s a reason people are so passionate about certain issues. It may not have affected you personally, but you’re only the main character of your own story. People’s opinions stem from their experiences. Many of which you don’t know.
Have your opinions. But also have empathy for other ones. Empathy relies on an understanding of other perspectives and experiences. To have empathy is to try and walk a mile in someone’s shoes, with the understanding that you never will be able to. And that’s okay. It’s impossible to be the main character of someone else’s story. But it’s not impossible to understand that character’s development. Their background, experiences, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and perspectives. Or at least consider them before immediately judging them. .
The same chapters you’re leaving out are being left out for others as well. There are billions of opinions and perspectives in the world. Have empathy toward them. We can’t always read between the lines of every story, especially when the lines are in another mind. But we can understand that every story has a different perspective, just as unique as we all are.