Amy J. Wilson: How to Heal from Burnout to Embrace Empathy

Burnout is one of our biggest workplace challenges. Turnover and lost productivity due to burnout cost businesses $322B globally. Voluntary turnover costs 15+% of a company’s payroll annually. Most employees will seek out workplaces that support mental health in the future, showing the importance of these benefits in employee retention.

Today, I chat with Amy J. Wilson. We talk about how burnout is the biggest obstacle blocking us from empathy, what burnout is and its symptoms, where it comes from, and how it is especially a challenge in traditional care professions but can impact any of us in any organization. We discuss the difference between compassion fatigue and empathic distress. Amy also shares the Four Rs framework for healing from and preventing burnout.


To access the episode transcript, please click on the episode title at 

Key Takeaways:

  • Burnout is preventing people from feeling empathy. It applies blinders that keep people from connecting with those around them. 
  • Modeling is more effective than telling. You can model empathic behavior even in the face of adversity. 
  • Curiosity is the first step in empathy. Burnout stops us from making that connection with someone else’s and their story.


“People think of burnout as a mental health condition, but it isn’t defined as a mental health condition as currently in the DSM. I think it has an origin in our own personal abilities and conditioned responses,  but at the same time, it is a product of the system around us that often prioritizes profit over people.” —  Amy J. Wilson


Episode References: 

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About Amy J Wilson, Founder and Guide, Healing for Work

Amy J. Wilson believes in the power within each of us to shape the future we want to have—a future with more awareness, compassion, connection, and love. They specialize in building and sustaining compassionate cultures that can hold change so that individuals and the organization can thrive. They have challenged the status quo and redesigned systems centered on empathy and equity in action at more than a dozen organizations with thousands of people within the private and public sectors. Amy is the bestselling author of Empathy for Change: How to Build a More Understanding World with language and frameworks to evolve individuals and organizations to meet the realities of today and reimagine a better way forward.

Amy founded Healing for Work, a community and program rooted in scientifically-proven ways for individuals to overcome burnout and improve workplace well-being. Through the Empathy Action Lab, they work with ambitious, purpose-driven organizations or entrepreneurs to design communities & movements with more empathy, to tell powerful stories, and to advance collective action.

Connect with Amy J. Wilson:  

Empathy for Change | Healing for Work: 



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