The GIVES framework: How to test your growth?


Having context and empathy for others is an essential aspect of personal growth. When we understand the context in which other people are operating, we can better appreciate their struggles, strengths, and perspectives. This understanding can help us develop empathy for them, which can ultimately lead to personal growth. 

Empathy enables us to connect with others in a meaningful way. When we put ourselves in another person's shoes and consider their thoughts and feelings, we can gain a deeper understanding of the world around us. By developing empathy, we can cultivate compassion and understanding for others, which can help us become more caring and compassionate individuals. 

Building context and empathy for others is vital for personal growth. It enables us to gain a deeper understanding of the world and develop compassion and understanding for others. 

While it feels slow to do this, we create stronger relationships, communicate more effectively, and foster personal growth. All of which ensures we'll lead further, faster, and longer.

Test 1

When you hear a question, do you assume you know the context, and what they mean by their questions? If you answered yes to this, as you go forward after reading this book, when someone asks you a question, stop and think about it for a second or two.  Do you know that you understand what they’re asking? Is it appropriate to ask them a question to build more context? In most cases, yes and you should frame it that way. Answering a question with a question can be off-putting or perceived as passive aggressive. However, pausing, thinking, framing a question in the form of additional context to help address their question, is considered building the relationship.

Test 2

When you go to your place of worship, are there people in your place of worship that you wonder about? you question why are they there? Maybe you question something going on in their life. When you question in your mind. Are you being judgmental or are you setting up a foundation to learn with them, to walk beside them, and to build empathy? Pick a couple of people who you might have some concerns about, or you’re interested in knowing more about, and be empathetic. Be open to hear about their life, their strengths or weaknesses, their struggles, or their accomplishments. If you do this, you will achieve empathy, which will move you down your Growth path to a Stretch mindset.

Test 3

When you’re commuting, whether it be by foot, by train, by car, or by bike, we all encounter other people who may be perceived as impatient and aggressive. During these situations our ability to build context and express Empathy is greatly tested. We don’t know these people, nor may they know that they’ve done something that offends us.

In that situation it’s necessary to breathe. Take several seconds to think, like when someone asks you a question, attempt to fill the gap of context and empathy with something neutral. Example, a person is likely efficient versus excluding patience because they may be going to their first day on the job and they are anxious. Example 2, this person may be ambitious, not aggressive, because they are going to an important meeting that impacts people globally and they’re focused on that. In both these examples, I challenge you to think of something you consider neutral.

We control what happens around us as choose to respond to the people who are perceived as impatient and aggressive. Our response will define how the rest of our day may go, when these things happen, take a neutral-positive spin on things and where possible, learn about the other person's situation by building context and using empathy.


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