The Powerful Impact of Self Compassion
We are actively building out our learning programs at Revenue Collective (now Pavilion) — in fact, we’ll be announcing up to eight new “Schools” over the next few months, all included in Membership at no extra price. Both Rising Executives and CRO School begin with a Framing your Career Workshop and, as part of that workshop, we talk a little about mindset and self compassion. I wrote about some of the concepts I’ve discovered over the past two years that I credit with helping shift my mindset and propel me forward in a positive direction on LinkedIn.
As I wrote, one of my discoveries, particularly over this most recent part of my career, is what a powerful impact mindset has had on my life and my results. For me, mindset begins with the narrative inside my head. That voice that sits on top of my perception and applies commentary and critique to everything happening in my life.
For so many years, that voice was not a very pleasant person to be around. I’ve discussed on recent podcasts how I have a longstanding Google Doc filled with goals and resolutions. And reading through it, one gets the distinct sense that I don’t like myself very much. The commentary is like a really tough athletic coach or a disapproving parent that is never happy with anything and has a problem with every accomplishment. Why wasn’t it better? Why wasn’t it more?
I remember going on a run with a close friend down the West Side Highway in New York City and describing some of my dissatisfaction with my career. He asked the simple question, “Does it help?”
“Does what help?” I asked.
“Being such an asshole to yourself all the time?”
It was such a good and insightful question. The answer, of course, is no. It doesn’t help. Carrying around burden and expectations and a feeling of inadequacy doesn’t create the right framework or energy to help create new opportunities and, perhaps just as importantly, it doesn’t make other people want to be around you very much.
Over the Winter of 2019, I finally had the epiphany, sitting on the rooftop of a hotel in Miami (admittedly an odd place to have epiphanies of any kind) that what I needed wasn’t more strenuous goals or more monastic discipline. What I needed, and of course speaking only for myself personally, was actually less of all that and more care, compassion, and, yes, love for myself.
I needed to be nicer to myself. I needed to be the kind of person I would actually want to spend time with as a friend.
A whole litany of things flowed from that realization and perhaps we can cover those another time. But the simplest, most effective, and most direct, was invoking my inner Stuart Smalley, telling myself directly, both out loud and in writing, that I loved myself.
Now over a year later, part of my daily practice is journaling, and not just journaling gratitude or thanks, but directly speaking to myself with compassion and care and saying “I love you, Sam”.
Of course, I’m self-conscious sharing it. In some ways, it feels sort of silly. But in other more meaningful ways, it’s exactly what I need to hear, and over the weeks and months that I’ve made it part of my practice, it’s also, thankfully, become true.
Give it a shot.
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