Today we’d like to introduce you to Josh Miller.
Hi Josh, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in a small-town west of Indianapolis, Indiana where there wasn’t a lot of room for differences, and I had to strike an uncomfortable balance between showing up authentically and never revealing too much of myself. Even though my sexuality was always in question, I was tolerated so long as I denied being gay. If I could agree that being gay was “bad,” then I could exist within the margins of mainstream homophobia despite possibly being gay myself. When you’re a kid, any acceptance is better than total rejection.
Eventually, I was so indoctrinated with the scriptures of oppression that I didn’t even question whether or not I truly was “bad,” and instead focused on trying to understand the “why.” Why is being gay bad? Who says that I should be hated for who I’m attracted to? I was vulnerable and desperate to understand, and religion was introduced as the answer that offered salvation from my confusion and pain. It took me years to realize that it was the same discriminatory and oppressive rhetoric in a slightly more attractive package, and it’s taken many more years to start healing from it. I made a less than graceful exit from evangelical Christianity around the same time I began coming out.
Despite my overall experiences with organized religion, I clung to the general themes of community care and loving one another that led me to a career in mental health as a Crisis Support Specialist. Over the phone or in the community, I was able to meet humans in their most vulnerable moments and show them that someone cares. It was hard work, but incredibly rewarding. It was there that I met who would become one of my best friends and business partner, Anna Miller (obviously no relation). We had similar backgrounds and interests, and she was the strong, sassy friend that everyone needs. Fast forward to today, we co-own the Empathy Paradigm together and our family units spend more time together than apart.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I don’t know that anyone could say they’ve had a smooth road. Even the most privileged among us (including myself) would say they’ve had challenges and struggles, although some would say it’s a matter of perception.
For me, the biggest struggle has been deconstructing my beliefs about myself, others, and the world. I was taught that what I believed was true, regardless of evidence supporting the contrary – No doubts, no questions, and a lot of mental gymnastics. I’ve had to learn how to challenge my beliefs and belief systems, which hasn’t been easy, and disrupting those patterns of thought and behavior has created spaces for growth. It’s an ongoing journey, but it’s worth it.
One of my favorite quotes that I’ve turned into a mantra of sorts actually comes from the not-so-great movie Men In Black. K gently chides J’s absolute certainty by saying, “Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Empathy Paradigm?
Our brand is built on empathy; how to create it, how to use it, how to teach it. It’s the bedrock of healthy human interaction, so we use it as the foundation for all of our services.
Since we’re LGBTQIA+ owned, we specialize in a few LGBTQIA+ specific services like coming out coaching, allyship development, and LGBTQIA+ inclusivity. We also offer trainings for suicidality awareness and response, trauma-informed leadership development, and spiritual deconstruction/reconstruction… Among others.
There are plenty of coaches and leadership development organizations out there, but I think what makes us unique is our shared intersectionality of mental health crisis intervention, theology, and education. It really sets the stage for a comprehensive and inclusive service that we believe can make a difference. We also custom curate our packages to work with most budgets so that finances aren’t an issue, but if we aren’t the best fit, we’re happy to make a recommendation to another trusted service.
If you want a strong leadership team founded on mutual understanding and healthy communication, an inclusive or empathetic workplace or faith community, personal and professional development coaching with someone that understands and cares, or any number of other trainings rooted in mental health… Let’s chat!
How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?
You can find our information on our site empathyparadigm.com. Through there, you’ll be able to reach out to us directly through our contact form and find links to our social accounts. You’ll also be able to make donations and find mental health resources, so feel free to look around and let us know what you think.
We love to collaborate and have had the privilege of working with amazing organizations leading the way like Pride and Joy Foundation, Culturescape Consulting, and Steph Grant Studios that’s based right here in Dallas. Even if you’re not looking to collaborate or partner at the moment, please reach out and connect. We love celebrating others!
- Email: Josh@EmpathyParadigm.com
- Website: empathyparadigm.com
- Instagram: @EmpathyParadigm