Category Archives: Personal development

Compassion: For yourself and others

Helping others

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

Ian Maclaren

Practicing compassion is a powerful way to help others, and is more sustainable than being empathic.

Whilst empathy is a wonderful trait, having too much can leave you feeling drained, because you absorb other people’s pain and distress into yourself. Whereas, by showing compassion, you remain sufficiently detached to show both care and a degree of resourcefulness that enables you to help people.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Dalai Lama

Compassion is the cognitive understanding of how another person is feeling. It’s better for our own wellbeing and that of others. Buddhism calls it ‘Karuna’, meaning you have concern about another, not by sharing their suffering, but by feeling FOR them not WITH them.

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I have recently completed an eight-week course on mindfulness, and I learnt a lot that I believe will benefit leaders – for yourself personally and professionally.

This article is to share my personal reflections, experiences, and some of the key things I was taught that might be useful to you. Much of the content is based on course materials prepared by the teacher, Claire Garthwaite.

Let’s start by defining mindfulness:

Mindfulness is a quality of awareness that comes from paying attention to ourselves, others and the world around us in a certain way: with focused attention, in the present and without judgement.

Paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.

(The latter definition is by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed an 8-week course that’s followed by many mindfulness teachers, including mine.)

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How mastermind groups can help with personal growth

What is masterminding?

The concept was created by Napoleon Hill (not the Bonaparte one!).  It was first published in his 1925 book Law of Success, with more detail given in his book Think and Grow Rich.

Hill defines masterminding as:

Coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work towards a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony. No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.

In other words, the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

A mastermind group should feel like a safe place to go for support and development. In essence, you’ll receive feedback from your peers who will ask you good questions; give you space to think; help you brainstorm ideas and options; challenge you to commit to the next steps – and then hold you accountable.

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Showing gratitude: Why it’s good for you and others

Definition of gratitude

Gratitude is defined as:

“The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”.

True gratitude is deep, meaningful and long lasting. It goes far beyond the appreciation you may feel for a new car or handbag that quickly stops being new so you soon stop appreciating it.

Most religions, including Buddhism, advocate being grateful for your lot.

People who are high achievers often focus on what they are aiming for, achieve it, feel good momentarily, then immediately set off towards their next goal. They are never satisfied and always aiming for something that hasn’t yet happened: if you identify with that, I hope you’ll find these ideas particularly helpful.

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Are you at risk of burnout?

Having a strong desire to achieve can help you be very successful; but if it’s not balanced it could put you at risk of burnout.

I see clients who are incredibly hard-working. They push themselves to be successful in their career and their life, but some don’t notice (or ignore it) when they feel tired and unwell, and end up functioning less than their best. This article looks at what you can do to recognise the warning signs, and maintain optimal health and performance.

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Why you should celebrate your failures

Whatever you are trying to achieve, making progress naturally includes making mistakes. So it’s important to celebrate ‘failure’, and reframe it as ‘learning’ and a healthy part of living a full life.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas A. Edison

This article builds on last month’s article How your mindset can enable or limit you.

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Why it’s okay to show emotion in the workplace

I recently attended a training course about neuroscience, and learnt more about what happens in the brain and how it impacts performance at work. I also keep coming across research and articles on this subject so it feels topical – this issue therefore summarises some of the fundamentals of the structure of the brain and its effect on our emotions and behaviour.

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How (and why) to collaborate effectively

More than ever before, collaboration is encouraged to ensure the best thinking comes through and that organisations create an environment that enables people to fulfil their potential. That’s why this month’s issue looks at how to collaborate effectively in the workplace, giving you both theory and practical suggestions for you to apply.

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