Episode 31

Practicing Self-Empathy with Whitney Hess


April 10th, 2020

30 mins 18 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guest

About this Episode

Sponsored By:


Justin Dorfman | Eric Berry | Richard Littauer


Whitney Hess
Executive Coach

Show Notes

Whitney Hess is the special guest today. She is an Executive Coach, supporting business leaders of various kinds to help them be the best version of themselves. With COVID-19 happening right now it’s affecting everyone. People are stressed, overwhelmed, emotional, anxious, and have a whole rollercoaster of emotions. Remember, we are all human and you are not alone. And, if you’ve never meditated, you will want to after listening to this episode.

01:21 Whitney clarifies what an Executive Coach is and what she does. She also explains how she differentiates from a Life Coach.

03:00 To cut to the chase, Richard wonders how COVID-19 has affected her business and how has it affected the way she helps people during this time.

05:35 On the brighter side of things, Whitney talks about how people are able to work on legacy code because their companies aren’t as in demand and they can do various things that they’ve been putting off.

06:50 Justin wants to know if maintainers would get a lot of value out of Whitney’s management coaching, especially helping FOSS Responders who are dealing with COVID-19.

12:34 “Empathy” is discussed in depth. There is a misconception about empathy and Whitney also explains self-empathy.

15:59 Eric has a question about persona, and he wonders if there is a mother and a maintainer and she’s really stressed, has to feed her kids, teach them, maintain open source and she doesn’t have time to walk away from her computer, what advice does Whitney have for that sort of person. Let’s say “meditation” is talked about, and reprioritizing and re-evaluating our values.

22:37 Richard talks about how one night he hit rock bottom emotionally and physically and what he did to make himself happy. Justin talks about how he was feeling fatigued by everything happening with work and what’s happening in the world and what he did to feel mentally separated and enjoy himself.

25:27 Whitney stresses how especially now, we need to allow ourselves moments of joy. Try to find a little bit of space to allow ourselves to be happy in that moment. She goes more into this with some very uplifting advice.


12:48 “I think a misconception about empathy is that it’s all about what we give to others, when in actuality it starts with what we give to ourselves.”

14:28 “You need to put your oxygen mask on first before you help others!”

17:17 “If you don’t have time to meditate once a day, meditate twice a day!”


Whitney Hess

Whitney Hess Twitter

Whitney Hess Blog

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