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create change in and through trust and empathy

Just one of my oxymorons in my life…

I am a user of counters. Yep, I believe that flat spaces can exist with organized and way unorganized piles of stuff and that those piles actually help me to not forget things and to give me clarity, especially when I’m in a creative season. This is to the dismay of my husband Chad, who grew up with and loves clear counters.

On the other hand, I am a clean inbox person. Like, I prefer it at less than ten messages if possible. I will get through my inbox during and within my healthy work boundaries, even if that means scheduling out messages and prioritizing. A cluttered inbox leads to anxiety for me. Whereas Chad’s inbox requires multiple scrolls on the screen, and he still seems to live and function with as little anxiety as possible (every freaking day).

First, may we remember that we often do not end up with people who are just like us (thank God). And, we must do the work to make sure that we are complmenting one another and not working against each other…this is at home and at work.

Second, and the real point of my story, is that different things work for different people. What works for one may not work for another.

When we coach and train and try to help others in the way we talk to ourselves or help ourselves, we can often miss the key ingredients to creating change: empathy, compassion, and courage. To meet people where they are, to help them find their words to ask for what they want and need, to stay curious, to challenge, question, and suggest for change from and in a trusting relationship so that together we can find what works best for each and every one of our highest and best goods.

Are you a fellow counter user?
What about that inbox?
Most importantly, are you trying to create change in and through trust and empathy?


Justine is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 25 years of experience in traditional mental health and personal and professional development. Justine has been certified in the work of Dr. Brené Brown for ten years. Justine is the author of eleven books, including five Amazon bestsellers covering subjects such as infertility, faith, and grief. She has been honored to do two TEDx Talks, The Permission of the And and The Donut Effect. She travels nationally and presents virtually to global audiences delivering keynotes, workshops, retreats, and trainings on topics such as leadership, courage, resilience, mental health, preventing and coping with burnout, and courageous and curious conversation, especially in creating cultures of belonging and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justine lives in St. Louis with her husband Chad, their three dogs, and for four months of the year hundreds of monarch and swallowtail butterflies.

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