It really bothers me when I hear people say, “there’s nothing I can do.” Really nothing?
We as school leaders are faced with many decisions each day. Some are easy, and some have great challenges. To me when someone says “there’s nothing I can do,” they’re giving up way too easy, or they might just be missing some of the magical parts that make up empathy.
Think of the last time this happened to you and you heard those words? How did it make you feel? Helpless, empty, unfulfilled? Because the real answer is there’s always something you can do!
Here are just a few examples:
– I’ll try one more time.
– I’m really sorry this happened and I’ll continue to brainstorm for a
– I’m sorry we ran out and I’ll call you as soon as more come back in.
– I’m really sorry this happened and I will definitely work harder next
time to make this happen/that you can participate, etc.
“There’s nothing I can do” is so fixed and so closed. Even if there really is nothing you can do, you can always have or show empathy for the situation. Whether it’s a kid not making honors, a kid being suspended from a class trip, or a student-athlete being cut from the team, there are ways to talk to people when they are frustrated, and “there’s nothing I can do” should never be in those conversations. Yes, the answer still may be no, yet I leave those words out of the conversation. Those words are not empathetic, and while you may have to end the conversation or the situation, maybe try “I’m really sorry,” “I can give it one more try,” “I can make one more call,” or “I’ll reflect on it one more night.”
Phrases like that provide HOPE. Did you know the word H.O.P.E. is an acronym: hold on possibilities exist. Now I’m not saying to give people false hope, and when there really are no more options you can chime in with “I’m sorry of the outcome, and I wish you the best.” Those words are empathetic and uplifting in a negative scenario versus “there’s nothing more I can do.” Those words provide closure in a cold and fixed manner. #LeadWithEmpathy
I hope you’re enjoying these blogs. If you have a topic that you would like me to touch on or a story you’d like to tell, please don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter at @andrewmarotta21 or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to connect with you! Thanks for the work you do in your schools and in your leadership positions!
Quote: “You can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!” – Anne Frank