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Are You A Passionate, Compassionate & Self-Compassionate Leader? – GAMA LAMP Conference March 11-14, 2018, Nashville, TN

Simon Reilly | January 31, 2018 | Filed: Compassion

Passionate Leader

In advance of exhibiting and speaking at the GAMA LAMP Conference in March, I’m writing a series of articles that segue into the speaking presentation that I am delivering;
Becoming a Compassionate, Inspirational Leader and Manager.
Is Your Vocation To Bring Spiritual Consciousness Into The Business World Of Insurance And Money?

Are You A Passionate, Compassionate & Self-Compassionate Leader?

We all know the passionate leader: they make their points and beliefs known; they are willing to fight for a cause, or for something they truly believe in; and they often show a single-mindedness in achieving their goals, or the goals of their company. Many is the successful company that is headed up by a bright, fiery leader who inspires us so much, that we are equally inspired to follow him or her.

I have often been slightly (or more than slightly) in awe of some of these leaders, and their ability to face massive challenges, or implement creative and business ideas to bring about real change, or grow a successful business.

Personally, when I am tapped into, and acting on my own passions, I feel a sense of being on the right course, and am excited and energized by the success I see in the clients we work with every day. It feeds my soul.

But I also know that the best leaders don’t just create followers: they create a sense of shared ownership and leadership, often through their ability to lead, not only with passion, but with COMPASSION – and not just for others, but with compassion for themselves as well.

Let me explain: Compassion grows within each of us, and can best be described as putting others’ needs before your own, or at least seeing and being sympathetic to their needs. Their pain moves you and suffering (the word compassion literally means to “suffer with”) and you feel a desire to help in some way.

In the business world, that suffering in others may not involve struggling through a major life crisis, but may be as simple as making a mistake, or struggling to find the best way to present an issue at a staff meeting. As a compassionate leader, you may also realize that they, like you, may be struggling through feelings of doubt and unworthiness, when faced with these workday challenges, and you can “put yourself in their shoes.” Rather than demand that they ignore these feelings, you provide an environment where they feel safe and validated as they work to solve their struggles.

How can a leader deliver compassion in a business setting?

One of the ways is set your team up for success. Ask them to prepare for the meeting by providing them with the following questions in advance. Ask them reflect on the questions and email their response in advance of the meeting.

  • What have you accomplished since our last meeting?
  • What didn’t get done, but intend to?
  • What challenges and problems are you facing right now?
  • What opportunities are available to you?
  • What help do you need?
  • What actions are you committed to taking?

Now, if you are surrounded by results-driven people in an environment where rational thought, facts and numbers trump a compassionate heart, you may feel isolated as a compassionate leader. That is why it is equally important to have a healthy amount of SELF-COMPASSION.

Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. Sounds easy, right? Well, of course you know the amygdala is going to have something to say about this.

If we didn’t have an amygdala as our constant companion, it may be easier to treat ourselves gently and compassionately when we are going through a difficult time, when we fail, or notice something we don’t like about ourselves. We would perhaps find it easier to pause, and look for ways to comfort and care for ourselves in those moments, and practice these three elements of self-compassion:

  1. Self-kindness vs. self-judgment: being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain, or allowing the amygdala to clobber us with self-criticism.
  2. Common humanity vs. isolation: We often believe we are the only person suffering or making mistakes, and our amygdala would have us believe it is because we are worthless.  But the very definition of being “human” means that one is mortal, vulnerable and “perfectly imperfect.” We all share that human experience.
  3. Mindfulness vs. over-identification. Mindfulness requires that we not be “over-identified” with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and swept away by negative reactivity. Our amygdala would love for us to get swept away by that negativity. Instead, we need to take a balanced approach to our negative emotions, so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated, and observe our negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity.

For many of us, having that sense of self-compassion is much more difficult than having compassion for others. Sometimes, I wonder if we even need to show compassion to our amygdala, allowing that voice to say its part, and then, gently and with love, let those words and thoughts of unworthiness go, saying a silent “thank you” to our amygdala for reminding us of what we are NOT, and feel (and own) our strength each time we stand up to those feelings of unworthiness.

Having compassion for yourself means that you honor and accept your humanness, mistakes, blunders, limitations and yes, our amygdalas – something we all share. So imagine, the person sitting across from you is facing the very same kinds of internal struggles you face, and has their amygdala working away in their heads, telling them they are unworthy. If you imagine that scenario with all your human interactions, you have already mastered one of the trickiest aspects of leading with compassion AND self-compassion.

Current turbulent economic and social times call out for a different style of leader—one that exhibits passion, compassion and perhaps most importantly self-compassion.

Kris Carroll | Leading Advisor
December, 2017
Kris Carroll
Carroll Financial
Charlotte NC

The Leading Advisor coaching program has had an immediate impact on my attitude. I was not expecting to work on my past to improve my present, but I have learned from each session and understand that when your attitude is better everything else falls into place.



About Simon Reilly

Simon Reilly Simon Reilly is a Financial Advisor Coach, Professional Speaker and Author who has provided training for financial advisors for over 20 years.

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Simon Reilly has written 2522 posts on his blog.


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