By Wendy Leong

We were at the doctors. Mum was displeased with the result of her eye surgery and showing it  “Do you have experience in operating on a patient with my medical condition?” She asked the doctor coldly.

Mortified, I wanted to hide.

“No” The doctor admitted.

Mum. ”In that case, I’d like to see someone who has the experience and get a second opinion.”

My heart beat a little faster. I was getting ready for a defensive response from the doctor.

To my surprise, she gently replied “Yes, most certainly. I understand how anxious you must feel. I will arrange for you to meet my boss, Associate Professor Tan.“

She leaned forward, held mum’s hand and said. ”Please don’t worry. We will be with you every step of the way until you have a full recovery.”

I felt the tension suddenly leave my mum. ”Thank you doctor. I really appreciate that.”

The Doctor’s empathetic response had won the day.

It got me thinking – what if all of us dialed up our empathy in our interactions with people. Would that change the way we listen? The way we respond? Or lead?

I think the world would be a better and kinder place.