Pregnant women are asked to call the hospital to talk to a midwife when they think they’re going into labour. Midwifes are well-trained to listen to pregnant women who feel that they’re about to give birth.
The midwife that you’re talking to on the phone at 3.00 am when your waters break is not with you in the room, and the questions she’s asking might sound quite irrelevant, taking into account the situation, but she’s hearing you beyond your words.
She’s listening to how you’re breathing, to whether you can talk between contractions, to your tone of voice.
The midwife you’re talking to is asking the right questions to find out whether you should go straight to hospital or wait a bit longer at home.
Like a midwife, your work might be to assess your customer’s pain and their situation, how urgent it is and how much help they want or might need.
Like you, the experienced midwife asking questions at 3.00 am is assessing how close you are to giving birth.
Sometimes, truly caring about your customers might mean not just learning about their pain points but also understanding the implications of being close to introducing something new.
If you have the privilege of working with people to bring new products and services alive, your primary role may not be alleviating their suffering but rather helping them to breathe, suggesting when to push and when to stop, making sure that the product, the business all the people are both fine at the end of the process.
Sometimes we tend to forget that pain is also part of the process.