Really stepping into someone’s shoes isn’t a half-hearted venture. It requires a kind of mindset that isn’t common, and requires even more work to be able to maintain.

To be able to step into a customer’s, coworker’s, or a friend’s place and truly see from their perspective and consider their situation as they would takes considerable effort. What you know for a fact off-hand might be esoteric knowledge to the person you’re trying to build that awareness with. It doesn’t just surround technical knowledge or educational pursuits, it involves information as a whole. Your partner not knowing what you want for dinner isn’t their fault, and your customer not knowing about a feature doesn’t immediately make it either your fault or theirs.

The tough part isn’t always getting into their shoes, it’s contrasting what the knowledge gaps are between you and what can be done to make that gap smaller. The magic happens in the places where understanding overlaps.

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