Compassion is powerful. We all think we have it. And then we see something that makes us uncomfortable and we forget how to show it.
I’ve been paralyzed by this too. I had to work on how to feel, then demonstrate compassion when I had little of it for myself during a difficult divorce.
Lack of compassion shows up when someone close to you is grieving and you don’t know what to say or do so you avoid, when someone is suffering and you start wondering if their situation might happen to you, when you start comparing their situation to yours, when you’re frustrated that you can’t fix their situation, and when you’re so spent you don’t have anything left to give.
In all of these instances we make someone else’s suffering about us. Yes. We’re in our own heads and not their pain.
At work and in life this can look like detachment, cold, unfeeling, self-consumed, and ambition driven.
Compassion is an...
Every leader should be required to read this book I read on a recent trip to Greece. Spiritual and political power are not mutually exclusive. Imagine if business schools taught that the more compassionate you are the more effective leader you are.
Or the power of The Five Spiritual Powers: 1) FAITH (better translated as confidence and trust); 2) DILIGENCE to practice not watering the seeds of anger, fear, hate, despair but to replace and water seeds of joy, peace and happiness; 3) MINDFULNESS to recognize things as they are without projecting bias so emotion can pass; 4) CONCENTRATION on the reality that nothing is permanent so value this moment, unhappiness is born from discrimination between self and others, and that everyone is interconnected; 5) INSIGHT where we realize that all of our suffering can be avoided by living the previous four powers.
As you cultivate these FIVE POWERS you naturally acquire the power of leadership because people flock to you for advice...
Yes, we want to help our loved ones and friends who are suffering. But, how do we help someone ‘get through it?' How do we help them move on and resume their lives as they were before crisis or tragedy. How do we help them usher in something new that they may never have experienced before - something that might be interesting and/or rewarding.
For a long time we thought we were showing strength to suck it up and just move on. The military bred this concept into the armed forces until they realized it wasn’t helpful and actually was quite damaging. When we deny our feelings and try to push past them they get further buried only to resurface with triggers - triggers that keep coming more frequently. Triggers, such as a painful memory, sound or situation, place us right back in thick of the emotion that we never reconciled.
People who are hurting don’t need you to fix them. They just want to know you care and are there. Just be with them. Often their discomfort makes...
I have a client who is struggling with the impending death of her father. Watching someone you love suffer and decline is excruciatingly painful. You want to help but you can’t. You want to escape the struggle with your own mortality but you can’t. And family members commence friction with each other that was never there before.
There is no textbook on how to deal with a dying parent but one book I recommend made a big difference for me in shepherding my children through the death of their father. It’s called The Four Things That Matter Most.
We can’t change the fact that we all will die someday. None of us are getting out of this alive. But we can be alongside someone who is dying. It is enough. We need not fill the silence with chatter. We need not feel inadequate because we can’t fix things or afraid of the human process. Embrace acceptance. Death is part of life. Being there is enough. “I can’t change this for you but may I...
Recently I had the honor of attending a mindfulness presentation and meditation session by Buddhist Monk Dr. Barry Karzin, physician for The Dalai Lama, sponsored by UPMC in celebration of Nurses Week.
He reminded us that one of the kindest things we can do for someone we are serving, no matter what the industry, is to ask them, “What’s the most important thing I can do for you today?”
There is no word in the Tibetan language or in Buddhism for “guilt” because when we have healthy confidence no one is ever condescended to. There is no putting down - especially of one’s self - only compassion. Compassion is the desire and action to alleviate suffering. Loving others, especially when their behavior makes it difficult, helps us to be compassionate.
We all want to be happy. No one wants to hurt.
P.S. Money replenishes itself. Time does not. Click here to request a call with me and let's talk about your...
Recently I was not feeling well and missed an event where I had hoped to extend my deepest appreciation to several hundred volunteers at St. Margaret Hospital. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t be there to thank these outstanding stewards of our patients who struggle with the biggest challenges of their lives. The next day I received this note from the two directors of the event - simply run off on their printer that said:
Thinking of You -
Hope you’re feeling much better
and hope you’re remembering, too
The many warm thoughts and good wishes
that always are right there with you.
If you think personal notes (talking hard copy here and not email) are a thing of the past you are wrong. This totally captured my attention, warmed my heart, made me smile and immediately inspired me to reach out and thank them.
I keep a drawer full of informal note cards for this very thing - from personalized Crane to Kate Spade to convenience store birthday cards. And I...
Feedback is crucial to performance improvement because it enables us to look at situations and ourselves from a third-party perspective. It unlocks self-reflection and growth, and opens the door to opportunity. “You are doing a great job” or “You have to do better,” does not give the employee the needed tools to improve or the intrinsic fulfillment to make him want to stay with the company and grow.
Effective feedback has three mindful components. It is 1) Strategic, 2) Developmental and 3) Aligned with the values of the organization. These require us to be aware of our restrictive biases.
Strategic Feedback: The employee can most benefit from feedback that answers this question: “What should this employee do more or less of to be maximally effective?” If you aren’t sure of the answer, ask the employee. Once you have the answer, you can work with her to clear distractions from her workload and position her to do the most meaningful and...