Friday 5: 5 Ways to Live Compassionately

What does it mean to have compassion?

In very simple terms, it means to seek to compassionblog-post-imageunderstand the life of another person. Whether the person be in your life for years or just a moment, the interaction they have with you is one in which they are valued, heard, and appreciated. Why is compassion important? Because everyone suffers. Everyone. Not everyone’s suffering is the same but regardless of the cause of that suffering, we can all relate to that feeling of pain. When we see that in each other, our hearts are opened to the possibility that we are a lot more alike than we are different.

How then do we live compassionately? Here are a few thoughts…

Withhold judgement. It is easy to see the “perfect” family picture on Instagram and quickly craft a story about that person’s experience, thinking that their life is perfect and they don’t face any trials. It is just as simple to have an interaction with a co-worker who seems agitated and jump to conclusions about them as a person. Don’t craft the story in your head, let the story unfold as the other person wants to share it.
Serve without the expectation of getting anything in return. Let’s be honest, deep down we are all a little selfish and often want to do things because of what we get in return. Put those feelings aside and as you see a need and serve. Don’t boast about it. Don’t expect anything in return. And then when it is over, think about the time you spent serving and what it meant for those you were with.
Be vulnerable. Being with someone as they face a challenge in life is difficult and it can trigger emotions that we would rather not recognize. When a friend gets expelled from school because of academic failure and you are with them when they tell their parents, it requires you to be present and be in the moment with them. Don’t back away from the opportunity to share your emotions, feelings, and experiences. Doing so can create a space for others to do the same. It can show others that no matter what hurt or hang-up they have, they are important to you.
Wish others well. When a car cuts you off in traffic, the first thought in your mind may not be one of good wishes. But what if it was? And not in a sarcastic way – but one of true thoughtfulness. As we go through our days, we interact with many people that we know nothing about. From the cashier at the movie theater to the telemarketer that calls every single week to ask us to change our cable service, they each have a story. What if my reaction was first one of well wishes before one of frustration? It can change the way you see people because your first thought is one of positivity and not frustration.
Practice Self-Compassion. All of the concepts above can be applied to you as well. We are often our own worst critics and, when the world around is also judging us, there can be little escape. So be kind to yourself. See the goodness that you bring to the lives of others. Take time to heal the hurts of your own life.

How will you practice compassion in the coming days? Tell us in the comments!

Kristen Young serves as Senior Vice President at LeaderShape. She is a lifer at LeaderShape! Her first experience with LeaderShape was as a participant and she hasn’t left since!  Outside of work, Kristen is a wife and mother who tries every day to live a life lead by her values and embracing the joy that can come from the ordinary. 

A Few Words from Paul: Renewal

shutterstock_145220275I’m not a big fan of Spring.

For some reason, I always think of this season as muddy, rainy, unsettled, and overall sort of depressing. By far, my least favorite season. Yep, very aware that I am odd at times. This more or less proves it.

What makes it even harder to understand for me is that I love baseball and spring training. Hated rain outs even though I did play in Arizona while in college so it didn’t happen often. Even more odd, right? I can be hard to figure out. Ask the staff (smile).

As I struggle through the season, I’ve been thinking a lot about my outlook toward spring asking what can I appreciate about it. Such a novel approach, I know. So, somewhat reluctantly, I’ve been focusing on this concept of renewal as it relates to spring and to my life. I do think that I have personally gone through a period of renewal. Not sure that I can recall one as vividly as this one.

I’ve been really happy lately. Like nauseatingly happy.

For the past five years, I really felt that my life was going to be LeaderShape and my kids (not necessarily in that order) and that would be it. Pretty much reserved myself to this path. Then it happened. I stopped thinking that. In a moment. I just did.

Finding someone to share your life with is amazing. Not necessary to be happy, but it doesn’t hurt either. Though she had to ask me out over 30 times (I think it was more like 15), I decided to change. Decided to stop beating myself up. I took a chance. To live.

Damn, that was scary.

What if it doesn’t work out? What if my kids hate her? What if her kids hate me? What if I do something wrong? All very inspiring questions. Then it hit me. Those moments we face are exactly what renewal is all about. Having another opportunity. A chance to start again. An opportunity to develop a new perspective. The moment to make a different decision about my life. A time to brush off the cobwebs, the mud, the weather, and begin again. This time with a little more bounce in my step. With a little more wisdom. Another perspective.

We all need renewal. The time and space to reflect, think, apply the lessons we have learned. Come out of the dark places with the intent to try again. Call it resilience, perseverance, determination, etc. It is about knowing that we have another chance. They call it a mulligan in golf or a short memory in baseball. Give it another shot.

That is the essence of renewal. Possibility.

The possibility to be happier than you were yesterday. Over the top happy. Even if you do have a rainout every now and then. Even in Arizona.

Enjoy your season of renewal and don’t forget to bring an umbrella.

Just in case.

Paul

Paul is the President of LeaderShape and pinches himself everyday for that opportunity. He is a father, son, soon-to-be-husband, athlete, avid reader, eternal optimist, and sucker for the underdog. 

 

Resilience: FAQs

LeaderShape’s Resilience program is a 1-day eye-opener based on the research of Dr. Amit Sood that explores resilient leadership and how it builds strong, flexible relationships and communities.LS-Resilience_color-on.white

Resilience is more than just managing stress, it’s learning the skills to take life events in stride and to grow and learn from our experiences.

Healing and strengthening, Resilience offers participants the space and time to begin to focus on how their lives impact their ability to lead, and identify tools to strengthen their awareness day to day.

Who is Resilience for?
The program was created with professionals in mind. Resilience is ideal for groups looking to invest in the personal well being of their organization as well as their colleagues. The skills learned during Resilience allow professionals to approach their daily work with increased focus and build more intentional relationships with co-workers, colleagues, and clients. Most importantly, doing this personal work will role model the importance of taking care of oneself and how essential that is to being an effective community member regardless of one’s occupation.

Why a program for professionals?
For thirty years, LeaderShape programmatic focus has been on young adults. As our organization has grown and as our graduates have grown up, we recognized a need for a program that provides the opportunity for people to come together to think more deeply about the direction of their life and how they can continue to grow and develop.

How will you spend your time during Resilience?
The day begins by talking about the science of the brain. With this as the foundation, the day is spent in small group conversations and in personal reflection developing competency in 7 areas that will help participants incorporate the concepts of resiliency into their daily lives. Those areas are: compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, acceptance, meaning, celebration, and reflection.

The Bigger Picture
LeaderShape is working towards creating a more just, caring, and thriving world. Being resilient helps individuals continue to grow as they face the challenges of life. By growing in the areas of resilience, people become better equipped to engage in making a difference in their own lives, in their communities, and in the world.