Empathy has been a hot topic. Wherever you go in the learning space—from preschool to the boardroom—teachers and leaders are stressing the importance of empathy. The growing number of millennials in the workforce have changed the emotional make up of our corporate world. They are, rightfully, pushing for greater authenticity, meaning, and transparency from the companies they work with. This renewed focus on empathy, however, falls short of its optimistic intentions.
I just finished reading Option B, a book that Sheryl Sandberg wrote with psychologist Adam Grant after the heartbreaking death of her husband, Dave. Together with Adam, Sheryl tells her personal story of loss and grief, offers stories from the lives of others, and shares advice on how to build resilience. The book’s title is inspired by something a family friend said to her in the aftermath of Dave’s death. In a particularly poignant passage, Sheryl shares the story of how she needed someone to fill in for Dave at a father-child activity. She cried, “But, I want Dave.” Her friend held her and said, “Option A is not available, so let’s kick the sh*t out of Option B.”