Sonder – the realisation that everyone has a story

I intensely understand and believe in how unique and rich every human being is. This has generated a tremendous curiosity in me to understand every person I meet a little more deeply. I have therefore chosen to do work where I regularly meet a lot of new people in large groups when I run #business #leadership development programs, as also in deep personal conversations, through my #consulting and #coaching practice. I love understanding and working with the emotions which create human behaviour and action.

And then last week, I was introduced to the word “Sonder” by a dear friend and reader Anil Reddy. He said that the picture in my previous post reminded him of the word. So this post is dedicated to all of you, who have out of curiosity and interest come to read it.

In the process of exploring this new word, I hit a really rich vein, I had not been aware of before. The work of #Koenig, who has spent a couple of decades giving new names to emotions that currently lack words.

The word Sonder was created by John Koenig, to describe the realization that “each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness.”

“An epic story that continues invisibly around us like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that we’ll never know existed, in which we might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.”

As we return from work every evening, we go through the peak hour traffic – and in every bike, car and bus are other human beings experiencing life deeply. Do we notice? Do we realise that? Do we spend a moment wondering about their story?


To understand Sonder. To feel it. It could be part of our #EI journey

Emotional intelligence begins with being aware of our emotions and feelings and being able to name them.

At a personal level – naming the emotion is important because it helps us manage our emotions, navigate our relationships at work and home and achieve positive results.

At the organizational level, it is one of the fundamental skills of being an effective leader. It is the most critical component of building a positive company culture and leading a global, diverse workforce. Being aware of our own emotions. Being equally aware of other people’s experiences and emotions. Knowing that they are the central character in their own story, as much as we believe we are the central character in our world.

This kind of awareness and understanding helps us generate and tap into the enthusiasm, confidence, optimism, cooperation and trust of people we work with. It encourages us to be agile in our decision making.

In these times of disruptive change, we need to be intentional about upping our emotional intelligence. Identify and name those emotions swirling inside and around us. Sonder – understanding that every human being around us leads a rich and vivid life.

Feel free to call, message or whatsapp me on 91-8197291755 if you want to work on your #EI












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