Compassion : Roll of an Eye or a Vital Skill

Recently, I came across a talk by Jeff Weiner - CEO of Linkedin who is known for his leadership style. He talks about leading with compassion and wisdom. When asked by the interviewer, if he is comfortable talking words like wisdom and compassion in a public setting and a business environment, there was a spark in his eye of the deep wisdom learned and acquired over the years working with ambitious, sometimes ruthless and other times highly compassionate people. He answered that compassion should not be seen with a roll of an eye or as a soft skill. It should rather be considered a vital skill like Math, verbal. Compassion is a way of being.

Can compassion and wisdom be taught ? How relevant are these terms in business setting ? Why is it important to lead with heart ? How can these qualities help you attract abundance,happiness and create an impact on other’s life. In this conversation, we will explore the importance of compassion in our life and how we can practice it.

Be Compassionate to Yourself

There is a saying by Dalai Lama “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Being compassionate to yourself is the first step you can take towards spreading compassion. What does it mean to be compassionate to yourself ? Compassion is loving yourself unconditionally. Emotions like anger, frustration, guilt, jealousy contracts your heart and takes you away from loving yourself. Judging yourself on being right or wrong, beating yourself up if things don’t go the way you planned, comparing yourself to others, takes you away from being compassionate to yourself. When you get into the realm of these destructive emotions and beliefs, you start seeing them in others. If you are more compassionate towards yourself, you spread compassion and it becomes a contagious chain.

Living Without Titles

Imagine getting into a conversation with a co-worker, manager or even in your personal life with your spouse, child with a belief of being superior, know it all attitude or feeling more smarter, knowledgable, experienced or accomplished. You are wearing a tall hat and whatever you say or do the tall hat gets the attention. Your words are not heard, what is heard is your voice and the superiority and the fear that comes with it. This attitude counters compassion because it is fear based way of getting things done and drifts you away from expressing compassionately or with the best intention of other’s in heart. There is a popular saying..People will forget what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel. 

Letting go of “What About Me” attitude

Have you come across a behavior when someone is hesitant sharing their skills or knowledge, always thinking about what is it for me or comparing themselves to others. If we look deep, these thoughts often arise when we start to think “What about Me? “    

Though, if we serve others without focusing on how will it help us or the rewards, we tend to give unconditionally and to the best of our potential. We start attracting success, abundance, hone our skills and feel the inner contentment. Think about a time, when you helped a dear friend, spent hours training a co-worker, or helped a stranger without expecting anything in return. How did it make you feel ? What is stopping us to feel like this everyday ?

Seeing Good in Everyone

There is a saying that Everyone’s a teacher, everyone’s a student. We all have a story to tell, an experience to share and a quality to admire. When connecting to people, connect to those qualities, those stories, those experiences that have defined the person. Focus on Who the person is vs their title, education, profession or background. The qualities that we admire in others are an integral part of who we are well. That is where we make a deep connection as we can feel and live their stories. People open up to those who they trust. If people trust you, you will see their true nature, their true potential and in the process spread the message of living compassionately.

As you read this blog, some experiences, faces, thoughts may cross your mind. Pause and reflect on the thought. Think about what does compassion means to you ? How will it affect your relationships with yourself and others ?What is the smallest step you can take today to be compassionate ?

 

 

 

The Art of Listening with your Heart

We often polish our skills on how to deliver a speech, a presentation, how to frame our thoughts into funky powerpoint slides with an intention of expressing ourselves, our knowledge, our learnings. We learn these skills in school, work and keep on polishing them as we grow our career. Though, how often have we been taught to listen ? Listening is a skill that we all assume we have..But do we ? When was the last time we heard a coworker, a friend, our spouse with no agenda and were fully present in the moment. In this conversation, I would like to share my awareness about different type of listening we often indulge in. As you read through each levels, pause and introspect on how this shows up for you, how it affects your personal and professional relationships, how it affects your energy levels.

Level 1 : Listening with a Sword

This is the lowest and most toxic level of listening often with an intention to win a battle, to prove a point or to satisfy our ego. When we are in this mode of listening our ability to connect to what the other person has to offer fades away. We are in this firefighter and survival mode where we do whatever we can to defend ourselves and in the process loose the WHY or the purpose of the conversation. Our mind is processing hard;  looking for the clues, for words, for logic to build up our next argument and the next and the next until we win or get exhausted. The question to ponder is Do We Actually Win ? In this type of listening, we drift away from our true self and loose the power of self expression and ability to connect to others beyond words.

Level 2 : Listening with a Mask ON

In this level of listening, the intention is to impress, to come across as intelligent, knowledgable and master in our field. There is a predefined agenda in our mind irrespective of what the other person has to offer. In this one sided conversation, we want the other person to know how brilliantly awesome we are. This type of listening is more about US than anyone else. We tend to put a mask on and do all the efforts to look good. As a result, we overshadow our true gifts and talents and pretend to be someone who we are not.

Level 3 : Listening with a Baggage

In this level of listening, we are slaves to our mind, to the stories we have about the person who we are listening to or about ourselves. We are judgmental, our vision is narrowed, our mind is clogged with our own perception and beliefs. We listen with a filter, a filter that supports the stories in our head. As the other person talks, we dig our baggage to find evidences to support our story. The more we practice, the heavier our baggage becomes, the stronger our stories and the blurrier our vision. This type of listening takes us away from our true potential, constricts the opportunities and drains our energy.

Level 4 : Listening with an Expanded Heart

This is the most authentic and effortless level of listening. Listening with our heart, listening with no agenda, listening to serve the other person. This kind of listening is with the intention of the greater good and shows up in form of compassion and wisdom. It is like walking a mile in other person’s shoes and looking them in their eyes and connecting to their deepest fears, their unspoken dreams and feeling their words. This type of listening is looking for the best in the other person and in the process expanding your heart, being close to your true potential, your authentic self and the higher wisdom that lies within you.

As you read and connect to this conversation, remember listening is a skill just like public speaking that can be acquired and polished. The first step is self awareness and simply observing yourself. You need to listen to your heart and reflect on the triggers for the lower levels of listening. Once you know the triggers, dig a level deeper and understand what the triggers are trying to tell you. All the answers and the wisdom lies with you.   

 

Counterproductive Beliefs in your Career

Beliefs are the thoughts that are ingrained in us and are driven by our assumptions about the world around us, the interpretations about the events that shapes us and the lens with which we see ourselves and others in our life. Beliefs can either shape our career and help us operate at our top potential or they can force us to live below our abilities. Below are some of the disempowering beliefs that stops us from sharing our gifts and shining in our professional journey.

I Am Not Good Enough

Have you ever been in a situation where you are constantly battling to wear a mask and creating a perception of someone who you are not. You feel fearful, gripped with self doubts and victim to situations. You are not able to express yourself freely as fear of rejection clog your mind. Discussions and brainstorming sessions can trigger self defense and you feel being personally attacked. You feel difficult to convince others or lead. This belief is the most toxic in your career as you drive yourself with fear and exhibit lack of confidence. You don’t have FAITH in your abilities and are indecisive. You operate below your skill levels as are constantly battling to prove yourself  and in the process forget about your real talents and gifts.

I Always Win. A tooth for a tooth.

With this belief, you feel superior to others and winning is important to you. Conflicts and arguments are part of your day. You tend to focus on the negativity and what’s not working and can get into blame game easily.The anger and conflict can easily propagate in your personal life as well. No matter how technical savvy you are, this mindset can turn off your co-workers and either they are too fearful to work with you or become highly unproductive. 

I Want to Fix You

You are confident about your silks and have a deep concern for others to succeed, though with this belief you tend to fix others based on your own experience. If thing’s don’t work your way then you can easily slip into the blame game and often find yourself judging the actions and behaviors of your co-workers. This belief system can limit your vision of seeing opportunities and creativity in others as you tend to be control freak and set high expectations from others as well as yourself. If those expectations are not met, you tend to beat yourself up.

It is either Black or White

Black or white, right or wrong thinking prompts you to see people and situations with a lens that is driven by your past experience and beliefs and you cease to recognize the differences.  You are not accepting of different thoughts and perspectives and go far and beyond to prove your point of view. This limiting belief can come in your way to understand the complete story and see the big picture. You tend to work with people who share the same thinking as you and can be condescending to those who share a different point of view. 

Acknowledging that the above beliefs, are coming in the way of pursuing a successful career is the first step in overcoming them. Understanding how the existing beliefs play a role in your career, affects your energy levels, affects your relationships, drains your energy and takes you away from tapping your capabilities, creates a need for changing them. Activities like journalling, self reflection, visioning, understanding your values can help to bring a change in the belief system.

 

6 Ways to be Authentic Every Day

We often hear the words authenticity, true self, living without a mask. What importance does these words hold in your life and how can you live these words every day. Here are some tips to help you be your true self.

1. Live your values

Values define what matters most to us and are the driving forces behind what we want in our life. Though this seems very intuitive, a lot of us don't know what our values are. When our values are not honored we feel unhappy. Values can be accomplishment, respect, commitment, fun, trust, health, freedom, success, family, love. Create your own list of values. Think of it as top four qualities that you would like to exhibit and live by. Live these values in every situation, conversation, meeting, decision making. The more aligned you are to your values, the more happy and authentic you will feel. 

2. Stop craving for external validation

Who doesn't like praises, applauds, appreciation and rewards. Though, praises and applauds become an issue when you do actions just to impress others and create a reputation which is not reflective of your personality. What others think about me, fear of rejection, do they think I am smart enough, are some of the toxic thoughts that limit your potential and force you not to take challenges in life and be fearful. Instead of comparing yourself to others or craving for external validation, build your self esteem by just being who you are.

3. Show off your strengths

We all have our unique gifts and talents. Some of us have great analytical skills, others may have natural ability to lead and inspire and some of us may be good listeners.  Introspect and write some of the strengths that have been woven deep in you. Do not confuse this to what is expected from you in your professional or personal roles. Build your life around your strengths and use them every day to bolster them more and excel.

4. Listen, listen & listen !

Listening is a skill that builds on you. When you listen you are totally engaged, and connected to the other person as well as yourself. You are not preparing to answer what’s next or to prove your prowess in a certain area. When you listen, you make genuine connections, learn more and have conversations that are meaningful and bring the best in you.

5. Broaden your lens

Having an open mind and not taking things personally helps you to be authentic. When you start seeing situations and people with an unfiltered lens, you become conscious and self aware of your own emotions and reactions. You tend to be less self defensive, your ideas and thoughts flow more freely and you tap into your inner wisdom.

6. Love yourself

Love yourself inside out. Don’t compare your life or achievements to others. It is okay to make mistakes. Treat yourself like the best person you have ever treated. Recognize your emotions, be aware of what upsets you. And follow this mantra everyday : Be Authentic | Be Passionate | Be you !!