As I mentioned last week, I’ve been seeking some fresh inspiration for a talk I was writing and I committed to sharing some of the goodness I was learning…
Step 1, remember to put your own oxygen mask on first, crucial in this crazy and fast paced world we are operating in. We are not machines that can be on 24/7. I was touched by the reaction to this from a young man, 5 years into his career, who took an action away from this insight last week…
“My action is to just check in and be fully human once a day”
What if we could all do this? What might happen to the health (and productivity) of the people within our organisations? What if we could challenge ourselves to take it one step further and bring a little more heart in?
Did you know they have proven our heart acts like a brain? It’s responsible for those human qualities of compassion and empathy and helps us flex the emotional intelligence muscle (now a stronger predictor of success in life and business according to Dan Goleman the EQ guru). Another super power we all need as we navigate an increasingly complex network of people and machines that we need to collaborate with…
So, my 2nd piece of goodness I’d like to share is about how to cultivate this super power, straight from ‘self compassion’ guru Kristen Neff that I spent time with 2 weeks ago (together with one of my favourite people Fleur Marks who embodies bringing more heart into her organisation). So if you are someone that is ‘keeping it together’ right now or, perhaps not connecting well with others in the workplace (and life) then we can look to Kristen for some context behind this…
“Human beings are designed to close if something is too overwhelming” literally, our nervous systems shut down. This might explain a few things if we are struggling with difficult situations or conversations at work or home.
She goes onto say “practicing self compassion is to give ourselves what we need in those moments”, to open back up.
So what is self-compassion?
According to Kristen there are three components;
Two of her practices I use religiously when I am going through lots of change or I haven’t been tuning in to what’s really going on for me emotionally.
You wouldn’t talk to a friend the way you talk to yourself
Let’s just take a moment to digest that… How often does our inner critic beat us up in those tough moments? Instead of soothing or having some compassion for ourselves we utter in our minds ‘come on, toughen up!’ Or my personal favourite ‘you’re just not good enough, you’ll make a fool of yourself’. (This was at fever pitch stepping out in front of 300 people last week at my talk!)
Imagine for a moment if you will that a good friend said this to you in this challenging moment…hard to imagine isn’t it given we would never say that to our good friends. Instead we’d say something like “Oh my god you’ll be amazing, you’ve got this!”
So how do we behave like a really good friend to ourselves? What is the language you really need to hear in those tough moments from the one person that is on hand night or day to really support you? Here are a few of my personal favourites;
Name it to tame it!
This is very similar to Russ Harris’s work from The Happiness Trap.
If you feel a strong emotion coming at you then just by observing it and labelling it, we find that it starts to loose it’s hold on us.
Think about it. When we are feeling a strong emotion like sadness, anger, frustration often we try to stop feeling or thinking about it. And then what happens? It starts to become stronger or impossible to ignore. Like the time when we are trying to stop focusing on that bar of chocolate in the fridge, it starts to call more loudly to us…ha!
So what if we could face what we need to head on instead of shutting down? To meet it with self-compassion AKA without judgement and to mindfully name it to tame it so we don’t become it…
Give it a shot and let me know how you go!
To your health and happiness,
Founder & Head Coach
P.S. Here are 3 ways we can help you personally or,
the people within your company, thrive more: