Countdown to Compassion and Self-Care

In February, we hosted a #LeaderShapeChat with the theme “to lead, live compassionately.” Members of the LeaderShape community shared some insightful thoughts about what it means to listen compassionately, how to foster compassion in others, and some tools, behaviours, and resources that act as reminders to be compassionate.

Let’s continue this conversation.

Now more than ever, if we want to create a just, caring and thriving world, we need to practice empathy, active listening, and kindness. Effective leadership takes place in the context of community…and perhaps the same thing can be said about compassion. Compassion creates a community that is stronger than anything – conflict, fear, hate – that tries to divide it.

Let’s reflect on what it means to serve through a compassionate lens. Many struggle with balancing servant leadership with self-compassion. But the truth is, the two concepts are not mutually exclusive. One of the ways we serve ourselves is through self-care – and there is nothing selfish about it.

To lead, look after your physical and mental well-being. To lead, remind your friends, family, colleagues, and teammates to make self-care a priority. To lead, listen. To lead, have the courage to be vulnerable and open up when you may be struggling and need support. As Simon Sinek said, “A leader, first and foremost, is human. Only when we have the strength to show our vulnerability can we truly lead.”

Ready to lead and live compassionately? Below, we have a “countdown” list to kick-start your commitment! This list features some bookmark-worthy articles, videos, and lessons from LeaderShapers!

Kick-start Your Commitment To Compassion and Self-Care

FIVE –  5 Self Care Tips for Activists 

“So if you’re the activist, organizer, or community member who tends to do social justice work all day, every day, but is also exhausted all the time (and potentially unhealthy), this one’s for you.”

FOUR – 4 LeaderShapers share some lessons they have learned about compassion:

“Despite the risks involved, I still hold that employing compassion is central to high-quality leadership. “Lofty” endeavors can be realized when people sense genuine compassion from leaders and facilitators.” – Suzie Day

“One of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned is that you must care for yourself before you can help others. Self-care takes effort, it’s hard to put yourself first. However, I find that I am a much stronger leader when I am taking care of myself. Helping others is the icing on the cake for me. I know that when I help others, I am making a positive change in the world.” – Erica Henkin

“I’ve learned that as leaders, we tend to care for others before ourselves. It seems like the right thing to do as leaders. But, when we practice self-care we enable ourselves to do more for others. We feel refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to care for others. It’s critical to practice self-care and to display that self-care for other people in our lives. Leaders lead busy lives and though it is tough at times, we must take care of ourselves to better serve others.” – Blake Shepheard

“I used to find ways to escape life as I thought that was “self care.” It wasn’t until I began taking care of myself from inside out that I began to truly understand that taking care of myself isn’t about escaping life, but to embrace and celebrate all that is part of my life. Similarly, taking care of others in my life is a choice I make every day. I decide to what extent and whose measures (mine).” – Saba Rafiq

THREE –  3 Things You Should Know About Intersectionality and Self-Care

“It’s a great gift that balance, healthy lifestyles, and stress management are becoming common imperatives, rather than written off as selfish, unnecessary, or unproductive. But, does everyone have equal access to the tenets and practices of self-care? And, is the way we define self-care inclusive of all people — those with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and identities?

TWO – Two TEDx Talks

  1. “The balancing act of compassion” – Jackie Tabnick

“You have to, of course, be aware of the needs of others, but you have to be aware in such a way that you can carry on with your life and be of help to people. So part of compassion has to be an understanding of what makes people tick. And, of course, you can’t do that unless you understand yourself a bit more.”

2. “A self-care revolution” – Megan McCormick (a LeaderShaper!)

“If you’ve ever been on a plane this is in your seatback pocket and it’s a woman using oxygen mask before she goes the child next to her. When I was younger, I saw this picture and I said “Why isn’t she helping the child first? He’s in need.” As I got older, I realized that the oxygen mask is a lot like self-care – we all have parents, friends, family members that we want to be empathetic towards. But if we don’t take care of ourselves, if we don’t put on the oxygen mask first, we don’t have the capacity to help those people that we care so much about.”


ONE – One quote to leave with you…

Lanterns float upwards into a dark sky

An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows it to shine vibrantly, lighting the way for others.” –Project Happiness

If you’re ready to be a more compassionate leader, let us know an act of self care that you will commit to practicing in the comments below!

A list of tips for #LeaderShapeChat

The 4 Minute Guide to #LeaderShapeChat

Here at LeaderShape, we want to live in possibility and then by doing so, lead others to do the same. To lead, live. Our monthly Twitter chats are rooted in this belief. In September 2016, we hosted #LeaderShapeChat – our first Twitter chat! Through #LeaderShapeChat, we invite you to interact with other LeaderShapers and reflect deeper on what “to lead, live” means.

What is a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter chat is a one-hour conversation focused on a particular subject or theme. A question is tweeted every 10 minutes from the LeaderShape Twitter account and there are usually 5 questions in total. Joining the conversation is easy! All you have to do is respond to questions and other participant’s responses using the specific chat hashtag #LeaderShapeChat in your tweets.

A Sneak Peek: What To Expect

We host #LeaderShapeChat once a month and each month has a different theme. Some of the past themes include:

  • “To lead, live courageously.”
  • “To lead, live authentically.”
  • “To lead, give.”
  • “To lead, live in possibility.”

Whether you have participated in our Catalyst program, served as a cluster facilitator at the Institute, or just want to know more about LeaderShape, everyone is welcome to join #LeaderShapeChat! It’s a unique opportunity to engage with individuals who lead with integrity and have a healthy disregard for the impossible.

Helpful Tips for #LeaderShapeChat

  • Make sure you’re following @LeaderShape on Twitter.
  • Add an upcoming #LeaderShapeChat to your calendar as soon as it’s announced.
  • Questions come from the @LeaderShape Twitter account in the format Q1, Q2, etc. Use A1, A2, etc for your answers.
  • Don’t forget to include the hashtag #LeaderShapeChat in your tweets!
  • Join in when you can and it’s okay if you don’t contribute an answer to every question.
  • Engage with other LeaderShapers by replying, liking or retweeting their answers.
  • Consider using Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or Tweetchat to keep an eye on the conversation.

Missed a #LeaderShapeChat?

After each #LeaderShapeChat, we post a Storify that recaps the questions and responses. What’s a Storify? Head over to our Storify page to see an example of a summary of December’s #LeaderShapeChat.

Be sure to follow LeaderShape on Storify so that even if you miss a #LeaderShapeChat, you never miss a story!


We hope you found this guide helpful. We can’t wait to see you at our next #LeaderShapeChat!

To lead, live compassionately #LeaderShapeChat Feb 18 2017

#Day7: Staying in Action

Here at LeaderShape we get excited about people staying in action. We get excited about LeaderShapers (and anyone, really!) who are living out their vision and doing their part to create “a just, caring, and thriving world where all lead with integrity and a healthy disregard for the impossible.” We talk about staying in action in all of our programs. We talk about it with our community. Many of you, especially our Institute graduates, understand that when we mention #Day7 that we are talking about staying in action.#Day7

Although every day is #Day7 – a chance to keep learning and moving forward – we love how the seventh of each month can serve as an opportunity to reflect on our LeaderShape experiences, connect with one another, and take action toward our vision. You can find us writing, thinking, and posting about all things staying in action. But it’s not a #Day7 without our community! You can join in by responding to our prompts, asking questions, sharing posts, and taking time to reflect on your LeaderShape experience. And if you have big news on your vision or anything about your #Day7, email us at community@leadershape.org.