Compassion

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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Empathy Blockers

Empathy is in high demand right now. Leaders who cultivate their empathy skills have more cohesive teams and engaged employees. Whether you fancy yourself an empathy expert, or need to develop your empathy skills, here are some fantastic tips on what NOT to do from the International Listening Association.

What Empathy is NOT

Quizzing   

“Did you do what I told you to do?”

“Did you take the medicine when you were supposed to?

Judging or Guilting

“Why did you do that?”

“That doesn’t seem worth worrying about.”

Well, that was a dumb thing to do.

“I can’t believe you did that!”

“I told you this is what would happen.”

Advising or Fixing

“You shouldn’t have said that.”

“You should have taken the medicine like you were supposed to.

“Maybe you should . . .”

Placating 

“Oh, well, tomorrow is a new day.”

“That’s not so bad.”

Denying or Discounting 

“I can’t believe you’re upset about that.”

“That’s nothing!”

“Shouldn’t you just be glad that you have a job?”

One-upping or Kidnapping the Empathy

“If you think that’s bad . . .”

“You should hear what happened to me!”

Educating

“There’s a good book you should read about that.”

“I’ve got some resources that will help.”

Analyzing

“This seems to happen to you a lot.”

“That probably means you….”

Consoling

“That’s too bad.  I’m sure tomorrow things will go better.”

“It could be worse. Imagine if…”


Compassion (I added this one)

It’s true, empathy is not the same as compassion. Here’s the scoop.

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What Does The Dalai Lama Know About Compassionate Leadership?

Daniel Goleman has spent the last 30 years researching and developing the science of Emotional Intelligence, and is a friend of the Dalai Lama. Recently he was asked to write a book about the Dalai Lama’s compassionate approach to addressing the world’s most intractable problems. Just published in June 2020, Force for Good, is both an exploration of the science and the power of compassion and a call to action. (more…)

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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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Nine Self-Permissions To Stay Healthy During Crisis

“We are in this together” seems to be the anthem of Covid-19. But what does it really mean? Here are nine self-permissions to help you fully experience the gift of compassion during crisis and beyond.

  • Your feelings matter. They are an important sign of how you are doing.
  • Showing vulnerability doesn’t mean you are weak. It means you deserve to be supported.
  • How someone responds to you doesn’t define you. You are valuable and your experiences are valid.
  • Your contribution matters. It’s OK to share your ideas and get creative.
  • It’s OK to ask for help. We don’t need superheros, we need partners. 
  • It’s OK to fail forward. Learning curves are everywhere. Now is the time to fail often and fail forward.
  • Your boundaries matter. The tighter we live and work, the more important this is.
  • It’s OK to say NO. That’s how you respect your own boundaries.
  • You deserve forgiveness. You will mess up under stress. Give yourself grace.

Once you get comfortable giving yourself these permissions, try giving them to others too.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020

Want to learn more about compassionate leadership during disruption and change? Attend our free drama-resilience webinar.

 

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What Is Your Relationship With Time?

What is your relationship with time? Are you a spender, a buyer, or a filler?

Spenders see time as a resource to be managed. They feel better when they can be productive with their time. They are possessive of time even though they can’t control it. They view lack of productivity as a waste of time. Time can easily become their master. I’m a spender, so it’s no surprise that I still haven’t experienced the “slowing down” that everyone predicted with sheltering in place during Covid-19.

Buyers see time as something that’s always getting away from them; they never have enough. They wish for more, even though they can’t control it. They are usually worried about the future and can’t enjoy the moment because time is running out.

Fillers have little respect for the value of time. They see it as something to tolerate while waiting for whatever is next. Time is a thorn in their side. Fillers are bored a lot and miss interesting opportunities right in front of them.

There is another relationship with time that brings joy and satisfaction without the downsides. Presence. When we are present with ourselves and each other, when we stop worrying about how it’s being spent, where it’s going, or what’s next, we can experience that magical moment where time stands still. Or it flies.

Either way, presence transcends the boundaries of time.

Today, make time to be present with yourself or someone else in your life. It’s a moment you won’t regret.


Register today for our FREE Drama-Resilience Compassionate Self-Care Course.

Give yourself the gift of greater presence during this time of disruption and change.

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Human Doing vs. Human Being

In the new Covid-19 world everyone is going virtual. In my part of that world it’s about virtual training. I get multiple emails every day either promoting a new virtual training, giving me a free course to get up to speed, or offering to help promote my own virtual stuff. It’s hard not to make comparisons between what we are doing and what they are doing. Inevitably, I feel inadequate. Is everyone else ahead of us? Will we get on the virtual train before it leaves the station? What are we missing? I easily get overwhelmed when I let myself go there.

Back when I was a therapist, patients would often share with me their desire to fit in and their struggle with low self-esteem because what they were doing wasn’t enough compared to others. I would often encourage them with this,

You aren’t a human doing. You are a human being.

My intention was to affirm that we are unconditionally valuable because we exist, not because of our actions.

These days I could use a dose of my own therapy!

Yet in a heavily achievement-oriented society that measures worth by what we DO instead of who we are, it’s easy to feel inadequate.

Then along comes Covid-19.

Doing, as we know it, is over for now

  • No more showing off your latest brand of shoes at school.
  • No more competing for that spot on the track team.
  • No more heading to the office for a successful day’s work.
  • No more running all those errands to feel productive.
  • No more closing that big sale in record time.
  • No more go, go, go.

Younger people may have the hardest time with this since they lack perspective and they’ve grown up experiencing and expecting quick fixes to most problems. I wonder if younger countries, like America, might also struggle more with this. We (Americans) are accustomed to winning the war, defeating the enemy, innovating a solution in record time, blasting through the rubble unscathed like every Marvel movie. Although we’ve suffered plenty in our short lifetime, our perspective is relatively limited compared to many.

Being is the next frontier

Human Doings spend so much time taking action that they haven’t cultivated their skills of Being.

  • Reflection
  • Silence
  • Stillness
  • Presence
  • Mindfulness
  • Connection
  • Acceptance
  • Wisdom

I am in no way suggesting that we should back off on our efforts to contain and cure the CoronaVirus. I am suggesting that this challenge may also be a golden opportunity to rediscover what it means to be a human being.

My wife, Julie said it best;

“We need to adapt, learn and re-imagine our approach to help our clients at a time when training is not what they need, but compassion is.”

How has this crisis challenged your DOING way of life? What are you discovering about BEING a human? Will you share your comments?

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020


Are you drained by the stress and strain of the COVID-19 pandemic? Attend our FREE Compassionate Self-care webinar and get tips to keep those energy vampires at bay!

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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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How To Communicate with Compassion During Crisis

I travel quite a bit, so I’ve been paying attention to how the airlines are responding to the coronavirus crisis. I’ve gotten emails from the three airlines I use most, Delta, American, and United. Crisis communication requires compassion, which was notably absent in these messages.

All of the notifications conveyed two basic messages;

  1. We know safety is important so here’s what we are doing about it. (Information)
  2. Here’s why you can still trust us. (Commitments)

Here are the opening and closing paragraphs for each email I received. I’ve left out the parts listing the specific actions each airline is taking since they are essentially identical. Information parts are coded Blue, and Commitments are in Purple.

Delta (Ed Bastain, CEO)

As a valued member of the Delta family, I appreciate the trust you place in us and our people worldwide when you travel.

In the current environment, it’s important for all of us to travel smarter and more consciously. That’s why I want to personally update you on the situation with COVID-19 (the coronavirus) and the steps we are taking to ensure your health and safety in your travels.

(Here they list all the steps they are taking)

I believe Delta’s mission of connecting the world and creating opportunities is never more important than at times like this.

Thank you for your continued trust in Delta, and I look forward to seeing you in my own travels throughout the year.

American (Kurt Stache, SVP, Customer Experience)

Your safety and well-being is always our top priority at American Airlines, but particularly in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Providing you with up-to-date information on what we are doing to respond to the issue is a critical step in giving you peace of mind when you travel. Here are a few highlights of our efforts:

(Here they list all the steps they are taking)

We are confident that our incredible team of more than 130,000 will care for you in the best possible way during your journey with us.

United (Oscar Munoz)

I consider you part of our United family and your safety remains our highest priority.

We are in the business of serving people and in the midst of this coronavirus outbreak it’s important that we give you as much flexibility as possible when planning your next trip. But it’s also important that we give you as much information as possible about the procedures we follow to clean our aircraft and maintain a sanitary environment once we’re in the air.

(Here they list all the steps they are taking)

I want you to know that you can continue to rely on us. So, the next time we have the privilege of welcoming you aboard our aircraft, you can know our commitment to you remains as steadfast as ever.

Lack of Compassion in Crisis Communication

What’s consistently missing in these crisis communication emails is openness, the foundation for compassion. None of these top leaders make an emotional connection with their constituents. There is no empathy for the feelings of anxiety and fear and no acknowledgment of the vulnerability we all feel. United and Delta make a broad statement about “family” but show no effort to connect at a personal level.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Compassionate communication requires transparent information exchange, and solid commitments to behavior, but first and foremost is an emotional connection that acknowledges the human connection we all have. Why? Because it is this connection that get us through the crisis together instead of falling apart.

The Compassion Cycle provides a framework for communicating during crisis while including all aspects of compassion.

Openness: Make an emotional connection. Most importantly during crisis is to name the anxiety and fear and connect personally with it so that people get the message, “You aren’t alone and you feelings matter.”

Resourcefulness: Active, informed problem-solving. All three airlines did a great job of this. Even better, give us travelers things we can do to lower our risk and partner with you in the solution. This helps us feel more in control during times of uncertainty.

Persistence: Be trustworthy. Be trustworthy. Be trustworthy. Be honest, be dependable, and be consistent. We all need to know what to expect from you.

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 

Ideal compassionate communication from any airline would have read like this;

I can imagine that you are anxious and afraid about travel safety in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. This is perfectly normal and we are in this together. Our loved ones are also traveling. We are here for you because you are part of our family.

Here is the most up-to-date information we know, and these are the steps we are taking to ensure your continued safety and comfort.

Our mission is ___________. Our commitment to you is__________. You can count on us to uphold these values during this crisis.

I appreciate how difficult it is to communicate effectively in times of crisis and uncertainty. If you are struggling to find the right approach, use ORP (Open-Resourceful-Persistent) to do it with compassion. We are committed to teaching you effective communicating strategies so you can feel more confident during turbulent times.

If you need help, give us a call.

Mr. Munoz, Mr. Bastain, and Mr. Stache, the first consultation is on me!

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

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020

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