Things often don't go the way we would like them to. Whether at work or in our personal lives, people say and do things that we find irritating, frustrating or even hurtful. When this happens we may experience varying degrees of psychological, emotional and even physical pain. While pain is a given in life, suffering doesn't have to be. Suffering is the layer of resistance we create in reaction to this pain and discomfort. It typically takes the form of anger, frustration, confusion and despair. While it may sound lofty or overly spiritual, compassion is actually an empowering leadership skill and powerful antidote to this type of suffering.
Step 1: Get Curious
Ask yourself the following:
- Why is this person doing what they are doing? What needs are they trying to meet?
- Do they appear skillful or unskillful at getting their need(s) met? Do they seem peaceful or stressed?
- Can I remember a time when I was trying to meet those same needs?
- Can I remember a time when I was being unskillful at meeting this same needs? If so, how did it feel for me? Sensations? Thoughts? Emotions?
Step 2: Be The Change
Slow down and consciously choose to be compassionate. Empower yourself to be THE ONE to bring understanding and compassion to the situation. Do so unilaterally; don't wait for others to begin. Do so because compassion will free YOU from negativity, confusion and drama. Also, realize that just because you take the high road and respond with compassion doesn't mean that you can't assert yourself to get what you want in the situation. Coming from a place of strength