The Compassion Mindset

For Leaders, Every Day Is Election Day

Nearly 160 million people voted in the 2020 United States presidential election. That’s 20 million more than four years ago. 66.4% of eligible voters turned out, which is the highest since 1900. We showed up!

  • We are passionate.
  • The issues we are facing are significant and impact us personally.
  • Those seeking election worked their tails off to earn our vote.

I’m proud of my country for this. (more…)

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Compassion Is More Than A Feeling

Some people think that empathy and compassion are synonymous. They aren’t, because compassion is more than a feeling.

You have to actually do something to be compassionate. So others have suggested that compassion is “empathy in action.”

“Empathy in action” definition limits compassion

  • It makes compassion dependent on empathy.
  • It relies on a shared emotional experience.
  • It precludes other motivators of compassion.

What motivates you to show compassion?

While empathy is a great motivator for compassionate behavior, it’s not the only one.

Feelings?

The practice of compassion can be motivated by emotions, e.g. “I feel for her. I’ve been through something similar so I can relate.” This is what most people view as empathy, an emotional experience that connects people. In this case, compassion indeed is empathy in action.

Logic?

It can be motivated by logical analysis, e.g. “I have skills that could help. By serving on the Habitat for Humanity board, I could use those skills to help a family have a home.” This would redefine compassion as thoughts in action.

Values?

It can be motivated by principles and values, e.g. “I believe that every child deserves a stable adult role-model, so I will volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters.” Now compassion is equated with values in action.

Guilt?

It can be motivated by guilt, e.g. “I feel so badly that I have more than enough to eat while others are starving.” Here, compassion is simply a form of making things right.

Compassion without emotions?

“But how can you really be compassionate without an emotional component?” you might ask.

You can’t. Compassion isn’t possible without Openness, which means emotional transparency; valuing the emotional experience of our selves and others. Empathy is only one of three ways to do this.

Two more ways to be open

Validation, which is the act of affirming and valuing another person’s emotional motives and experiences. e.g. “Your feelings matter. It’s OK to be upset. I’m listening.”

Validation is not empathy. It does not rely on shared emotional experiences, although it needs to be sincere.

The third way to practice openness is disclosure, which is the act of sharing your own emotional motives and experiences, e.g. “I’m angry about what happened last night,” or “I want to feel safe in this relationship.” Disclosure is a self-ful act that also connects people. The vulnerability of disclosure sends the message that you care enough about yourself to let others know and ask for what you want, and it sends the message to others that it’s safe to share emotions. Disclosure in not empathy because it’s not about the other person.

Compassion can be motivated by more than empathy, so don’t limit it with the definition of “empathy in action”. Once motivated, compassion can be activated by Empathy, Validation, and Disclosure. Any of these can get the ball rolling for practicing real compassion.

Compassion is the practice of demonstrating that people are valuable, capable, and responsible in every interaction.

We are on a mission to bring more compassion to every workplace in the world. It starts with recognizing that compassion is accessible to anyone and it can be learned and practiced in every interaction.


Learn more about The Compassion Mindset, our enterprise program for bringing more compassion to your workplace.

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How Compassion Cures Viruses

Viruses are invisible, but the impact isn’t. A friend of mine who had Coronavirus said that after the initial headaches and body aches subsided, the most distressing symptoms were loss of taste and tingling in various parts of her body. I’m grateful that she has recovered and is doing fine now. Some aren’t so lucky.

Then there are the relationship and cultural symptoms. Fear, denial, blaming, grief, discord within communities and agencies trying to determine the best next steps. Each of us is struggling with our own strategy for dealing with this invisible virus, and how to have conversations with other about those decisions.

My daughter is getting married in less than two weeks. I’m sure you can imagine the conversations we’ve been having!

How do we reconcile the raw human side of this with our personal and collective responsibility to each other in community? How do we honor the fear while helping empower? How do we maintain our boundaries when someone else has a different standard? How do we keep channels of communication open with people who have vastly different views about what’s going on?

I’m grateful for Compassionate Accountability and the tools we’ve developed at Next Element for just these types of situations. Jamie Remsberg wrote a terrific personal account of using our Compassion formula to engage our clients around tricky boundaries. I encourage you to take a look.

We will have a vaccine before long. And while that might cure the Coronavirus, it won’t cure drama. It won’t change the challenge of having productive, healthy conflict. It won’t change the fact that leaders must facilitate safe spaces where employees can come together and solve the biggest problems for the future.


We built The Compassion Mindset and Leading Out of Drama just for this. Give us a call to upgrade your compassion skills and cure the drama virus today!

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Personality And Compassion

How compassionate are you? What are your compassion strengths and weaknesses? How does your personality impact your ability to practice compassion?

If you’ve ever completed a personality or strengths assessment, now’s the time to fetch your results and identify your signature strengths (and weaknesses).

Compassion requires three skills; openness, resourcefulness, and persistence. Openness creates a safe space where the real issues can be surfaced. Resourcefulness creates a curious space where creative problem-solving can happen. Persistence creates a consistent space where boundaries and principles are honored.

Each skill if necessary but not sufficient for full compassion. Our Compassion Cycle shows how these three skills work together, in order, to practice full compassion.

Here’s a list of typical personality-based strengths that correspond to each compassion skill.

Openness

  • Sensitive
  • Warm
  • Reflective
  • Calm
  • Spontaneous
  • Playful

Resourcefulness

  • Creative
  • Organized
  • Logical
  • Observant
  • Adaptable
  • Charming
  • Imaginative

Persistence

  • Dedicated
  • Conscientious
  • Responsible
  • Persuasive

Comparing results from your own assessment, where is the most alignment? Where is the least alignment? What areas do you need to develop to practice fuller compassion?

The good news is that any personality type can start somewhere with their strengths. The bad news is that no personality type is singularly equipped for full compassion. So we all need to stretch ourselves and learn new skills if we want to grow in compassion.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020

Start building out your compassion skills with The Compassion Mindset online course.

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What Are You Doing With The Energy of Conflict?

Conflict is a gap between what you want and what you are experiencing.

That gap contains a lot of energy. How you use that energy is your choice. Here are four options.

You could AVOID the gap, hoping it will go away. But the energy is still there. Without intention, that energy will infect your life through rumination, sleepless nights, mental drain, and even physical symptoms. This is wasteful energy management. (more…)

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Why Drama Is Your Greatest Threat During Crisis And How To Respond With Compassion

With the Coronavirus outbreak, the world is on high alert. People are anxious and afraid. It’s difficult to separate fact from fear and plain talk from politics. Drama is at an all-time high.

The real impact of this crisis on you your business depends on many factors that we can’t control. But the big question is whether our response will make us part of the problem or part of the solution.

Your response to crisis either makes you part of the problem, or part of the solution.

Here are three drama-based responses to uncertainty and crisis that only make things worse, and compassionate alternatives that help you be part of the solution.

Giving In

Do you shut down, believing you are helpless and avoid reality because you don’t want to face your feelings of anxiety or fear? This type of drama only magnifies irrational paranoia.

Compassionate Alternative

  • Get vulnerable with your own feelings. Let others know you are human too.
  • Empathize with others. People want to know they aren’t alone.
  • Validate other people’s feelings. People want to know it’s safe to talk about it.

Giving Unsolicited Advice

Do you swoop in trying to help everyone and masquerade as the expert? Do you feel more in control when you have advice and answers? This type of drama only creates resentment because it invites others to feel even less in control of their own destiny.

Compassionate Alternative

  • Get curious and ask permission before you offer help or information. People want to be included.
  • Ask people for ideas on creative solutions. People want to feel involved.
  • Leverage current opportunities and assets to adapt with purpose. People want to feel empowered.

Giving Ultimatums

Do broad generalizations, threats, and black or white statements help you feel powerful? When you blame and attack everyone else, do you feel more confident? Sadly, this type of drama only pushes people away, the very people whom you need most to find a way through the crisis.

Compassionate Alternative

  • Clarity the most important priorities, such as relationships, commitments, and safety. People want to know what to expect.
  • Focus on what you can control, especially your integrity and trustworthiness. People want to know they can count on you.
  • Apologize and make it right when you make a mistake or realize you need to adjust course. People want to know you will take responsibility.

By using compassion, humanity can overcome the negative pull of drama and rise to our best selves, especially in times of uncertainty and crisis.

Want help applying our compassion template to your crisis communication strategy? Call us for a free 30 minute consultation. +1 316 283 4200, email info@next-element.com 


Next Element offers Virtual Training for Leading Out of Drama and implementing The Compassion Mindset. In just a couple of hours and without leaving their offices, your leaders can get training on new communication, compassion and constructive conflict tools.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020
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Diversity Is A Fact. Inclusion Is A Choice.

In a recent presentation to the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, Karen Carter shared a story of standing in the upgrade line at the airport. An airline service agent approached her and told her she was in the wrong line. Karen was the only black person in the line. If you’ve been in a similar situation, how did you interpret what happened? What did you say or do next?

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Drained or Tired?

Would you rather be drained or tired?

I’ve worked with hundreds of leaders who are heading towards burnout because they are drained so much of the time. Unlike being tired, being drained doesn’t go away with rest and refueling.

Being drained is perpetuated by three myths.

Be Nice

The Myth: Don’t make waves, don’t speak up, and avoid conflict because silence is a small price to pay to keep people happy.

The Drain: Energy wasted on things you can’t control while neglecting your own boundaries and needs.

The Compassionate Solution: Be Open. Share your real feelings without blaming anyone. It’s OK to own your stuff because you are worth it. You will be tired, but you will have self-respect.

Be Smart

The Myth: Give advice, fix problems, and show your expertise because we need to save people from their struggles.

The Drain: Energy is wasted on non-consensual helping which invites dependence and resentment, so you end up doing other people’s work for them. It’s a vicious cycle.

The Compassionate Solution: Be Resourceful. Get curious and meet people there they are at. Ask permission to help and treat people like they are capable. You will be tired from resisting your urge to help, and your people will begin solving their own problems.

Be Tough

The Myth: It’s okay to be the bad guy. Strength equals respect. Strong arm people if necessary because it’s your duty to get things done no matter what.

The Drain: Everything becomes a battle and collateral damage is the norm.

The Compassionate Solution: Be Persistent. Communicate what’s important. Be a role-model and ask people to step up. Follow through on commitments and consequences with dignity and respect. You will be tired and you will experience more ownership and loyalty.

Drained leaders spin their wheels and never recover. Tired leaders get results and sleep great. When you replace the drain of myths with compassion, it hurts so good.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020
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