What makes a great leader? Daily actions can play a huge role in your growth personally and professionally. Too often though, a leader gets caught up in fear, doubt, and criticism when facing critical business decisions that will have a major impact on lives and livelihoods.
The truth is what is actually needed is the exact opposite to move forward. You need to be caring, have gratitude, show compassion, forgiveness, and authentic leadership to have the ability to move forward and provide clarity. It is our responsibility to make work a place of love rather than a place for war.
To be where you need to get you also need self-compassion.
Self-compassion is pivotal to because it allows us to be okay with being ourselves.
Plus, part of being a truly outstanding leader is having compassion – for others and for yourself. By changing your negative self-talk and addressing your downfalls with compassion instead of self-criticism, you’ll notice an obvious shift towards positivity.
Self-compassion builds resilience, it increases productivity, and it decreases negative rumination.
Dr. Kristin Neff, a researcher who has taken on the study of self-compassion, explains self-compassion. She says, “instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings.”
Self-compassion also gives us the ability to communicate authentically.
Let’s explore the qualities of self-compassion:
Self-kindness. When you misstep on your leadership journey, be grateful for an opportunity to practice self-compassion by changing your self-talk.
- Changing your self-talk is a process. It begins by observing when you’re being critical. And then you replace those critical thoughts with self-loving thoughts. Eventually, this process will become automatic.
- Choose your attitude each moment, to choose your own way.
- Follow these steps to have self-compassion as a leader :
- Be aware. Notice your self-talk when you’re in a negative headspace after making a mistake.
- Observe the negative feeling. If you find yourself repeating negative phrases to yourself, take a moment to bring your awareness to that line of thinking.
- Change your thought. Try writing down one of those negative thoughts. Next to it, write down an opposite and true positive phrase that you can repeat to yourself instead.
Common humanity. We may say something we regret or suggest a bad idea. Feeling negative about ourselves can often be isolating. A key part of self-compassion is recognising the common humanity that runs through all humans.
- It’s not what happens in life, it’s what we do with it. We all the power to choose to respond, not react.
- When you make a mistake, or something doesn’t go as planned, see what it’s like to feel a sense of connection with all who have felt the way you do. Our imperfections connect us to others as we are able to allow others to also be imperfect, versus judging them for their imperfections.
- Practicing this over time leads to more compassion for others, and you’ll be more forgiving and less blaming.
- If you hate a person, they don’t suffer — you do. Consider what pain you are causing yourself, and then choose differently.
Mindfulness. Mindfulness is another major factor in self-compassion. When you approach a situation with mindfulness, you’ll find that you won’t feel so wrapped up in the situation.
You can use mindfulness when you’re having a whirlwind of negative self-talk.
- Instead of letting your thoughts sweep you away into a black hole of self-doubt, try coming into a mindful awareness of your thoughts.
- This will help you put things into perspective and take a step back.
Self-Compassion Exercises Try these techniques to increase your self-compassion:
There are simple exercises that you can do in order to make self-compassion a part of your regular thought processes. You can set aside time, or you can integrate self-compassion into your daily life.
- Do something special for YOU. Take yourself out for your favourite food, buy yourself your favourite flowers, do something you love but never have time to do. As you do what you love, keep the thought in your mind that you’re doing it because you love yourself. During your meal, repeat self-loving phrases. Try to go the whole meal just saying nice things to yourself.
- If you have a hard time coming up with nice things to say about yourself on the spot, try writing yourself a short note or letter stating objective facts, such as “I have potential. I am capable. I am a hard worker.”
- You can also refer to this note during times of stress or feelings of failure.
- Start a meditation practice. Starting a meditation practice, as we’ve already learned, has many benefits. One of them is an increase in self-compassion.
- During your meditation practice, try repeating a positive mantra to yourself. It should be simple, believable, and easy to remember. You can bring this mantra with you and think of it throughout the day.
- Remind yourself how great you are. A great way to remember to pause for self-compassion is by setting reminders on your phone to go off a few times a day. When you hear your phone ding, you can use that small interruption to say some kind phrases to yourself.
You’re not the only one who will feel better as a result of self-compassion. Those you lead will reap the benefits as well. You may even notice that your ability to be kind to yourself inspires others to do the same.
It’s a common misconception that beating ourselves up leads to less mistakes in the future. Unfortunately, there will always be mistakes in the future. Always. That’s part of life. This is where having a self-compassion practice comes in handy.
By starting a self-compassion practice now, you’ll handle future hurdles with ease.
Being compassionate with ourselves will impacts your happiness, well-being, resilience and overall health. You will also give others the benefit of the doubt. Self-compassion allows us to move on from that moment and on to the next. It provides the courage needed to take risks and communicate.
If you would like to know more about how Merinda can assist you in your leadership journey contact her today