“Kimray is the kind of place people want to root for.”
That’s what someone said to me during a lunch meeting the other day. I was struck by that statement. I wrote it in my book. I have thought about it a lot since.
I like to watch movies with my kids. We often focus on a genre or a topic for a time and watch several movies in short succession. We were on a Formula 1 kick for a bit but ran out of decent films and have moved to movies focused on driving. We have watched rock operas, James Bond, Alfred Hitchcock and too many other groupings to count.
In stories, there is almost always a character that you end up pulling for. Why?
We relate to these characters because in some way we empathize with them. Empathy is when you can imagine yourself in someone else’s situation and have a sense of what they are feeling. A good movie helps you along and gets you interested in the character they want you to root for. They set you up to empathize with them. They make it easy.
When we practice empathy, we get better at it. The more opportunities we have to put ourselves in someone else’s place, the easier it becomes to do. It’s simple really, it’s just realy hard.
One of the things that I love about art is that it gives us an opportunity to see the world through someone else’s vision. I say vision, because in the visual arts we are “seeing” the other person’s response to the world, not just what they see with their eyes. We are seeing their emotional response, their bias, their viewpoints and experiences and personality. In a small way and for a moment we can choose to be them and experience something the way they did. That’s a kind of empathy.
I think people want to root for Kimray because they want us to make it. They want a place to exist where people are valued and cared for. They want a place to exist where work has meaning, and the effort expended results in lives changed. They want a place to exist where it is safe to be vulnerable and honest. They want Kimray to exist because it gives them hope.
Part of our vision is that the way we do things will attract attention because people want what we have, and we will then be able to help them have it too. That is happening all the time. Each of you is an emissary for the Kimray Way, and you share the hope we have with people every day whether you realize it or not.
The problems we are facing as a society will not be solved with money or laws or protests. The problems we face today will be solved through empathy and relationships. Look around you and ask yourself what it would be like to be the other people you see around you, your teammate, the person serving you at a restaurant, the person begging on the street corner. Take time to think about how your actions and attitudes and words would feel to that person. Once you have done that, you will know how to make a real difference in someone’s life.