We are all hard on ourselves. We make mistakes and get critical of everything we do. Perhaps it’s just human nature that we do this, but sometimes it can get too much. That critical feeling we have for ourselves can make us lose our way. We need to find a healthier mindset. To help find that mindset take a look at three different examples of CEOs who practice the art of self-compassion.
What is Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion is when you take the compassion that you have for others and you turn it inward. You use compassion on yourself. This isn’t a lesson in thinking more for yourself, but rather reminding you that mistakes happen and that you can move on.
Rather than be cold and judgmental with yourself over mistakes, errors, and failures, use support and love to reassert yourself. Failure is our greatest teacher and learning from mistakes helps you learn and grow as a person.
Our first self-compassion example is Jeff Weiner, who is the CEO of LinkedIn, an online job posting site. Weiner had given a graduation speech and stated that compassion was the most important skill he had learned. He had read about the teachings of the Dalai Lama in the book The Art of Happiness. From that, he made himself more compassionate. He did it because it builds a better team and a better company.
Now, this does not have anything to do with self-compassion. However, Weiner himself can use the teachings he read and apply them to himself. Part of the book said that compassion is empathy plus action and that changed him profoundly. If you empathize with others and you take action to help them, why not for yourself?
Another example of self-compassion is none other than Kristin Neff who is the co-founder of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. She is also the author of two books on self-compassion because she is a self-compassion expert. Even she admits that it can be hard to put the idea to practice.
She states that to help you with self-compassion you need to have mindfulness. It goes hand in hand with self-compassion because it tells us to recognize our thoughts and feelings and to accept them with no prejudice. Nett says, “You can’t be self-compassionate without mindfulness,” Neff says. Otherwise, we fall into our typical human habits of avoiding and overlooking difficult emotions. “You need mindfulness to say, ‘Oh, you’re really having a hard time, what can I do to help?’”
Finally, our last self-compassion example is Daniel Lubetzky who is the CEO and founder of KIND, a healthy snack company. Founded in 2004, Lubetzky put forth his mission for consumers to do the right thing. That meant doing the right thing for your body by giving it healthy foods.
He has started four businesses and has helped places around the world in need of food. This is because he understands empathy. Lubetzky knows that it’s not just about understanding people and it’s not about making money. It’s about making the world a better place because of the position he is in. People look toward people like that.
He says, “For me, empathy is an existential question – it’s about the survival of the human race. That is, it’s imperative for us to overcome the challenges we face. Unless we can join forces and recognize each other’s humanity, how can we do business together, let alone make progress on the increasingly complex and difficult problems in society?”
Again, what does this have to do with self-compassion? Lubetzky is someone who understands his place in the world and the power he has to help those in need. As stated, he is on his fourth business. How much self-compassion do you think he committed to himself to get to that position?
Truthfully, there is next-to-nothing about leaders who practice self-compassion. But that does not mean that they don’t use it. Perhaps it’s a vanity thing or something that no one really acknowledges. But the thing is that it is super important to recognize your thoughts and feelings. Recognize how you feel over the blunders you made. Use that to your advantage to help yourself in the future.
If we can be honest with others, why can’t we be honest with ourselves? There is no weakness in it. In fact, more would look on you kindly if you admit your mistakes and own up to them. Teaching yourself to give yourself the love you need to go on is what the world needs. If and when you are a CEO, utilize that. The best way to go about it is to start now.