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10/10/10 Thriving Careers: Compassion, Oxygen for Life.

10/10/10 Thriving Careers: Compassion, Oxygen for Life.

“Compassion is the most profitable business skill” – Marie Forleo, Entrepreneur.

Key advice about the importance of compassion in life is given moments before a flight takes off. Specifically, it’s hidden in the instructions during the safety demonstration on how to deal with loss of cabin pressure. We’re instructed to apply our own oxygen mask before tending to others. To ensure our own well-being and to ensure that we can be in a position to assist others.

Here’s a question to consider: How good are we at following the logic behind the sequence of applying oxygen masks in everyday life? Research would suggest, we can be a lot better. The following statistics were put to us attendees at a recent mindfulness self-compassion workshop I attended:

·         78% of people are more compassionate to others than they are to themselves;

·         11% of people are as compassionate to others as they are to themselves;

·         11% of people are more compassionate to themselves than they are to others.

Applying the oxygen mask analogy, 78% are better at helping others with their own oxygen mask than they are at tending to their own in everyday life. A mere 11% are better at tending to their own oxygen mask than others in life.

A good question to ponder is: Who are the best compassion givers of the three groups? In my experience, the group who tend to their own oxygen mask first in life are the best compassion givers. One may have felt it would be those in the largest group identified by the research. Here’s why I propose that’s not the case.

The group who are best at showing compassion for themselves are very attuned to their own needs. They’ve also become very efficient at administering ‘compassion breaks’. It may be simply a touch of a palm with the other hand (barely noticeable in the busiest work setting), a walk around the office block, or making sure to meet that good friend or loved one for lunch in the midst of a busy schedule.

These regular ‘compassion breaks’ allow them to consistently be able to give quality care and attention. To clients, colleagues, friends, family, loved ones etc.

In the case of the largest group identified by the research above, a lot of their focus is placed on the needs of others (albeit, not necessarily more focus than the group who are best at applying self-compassion). This group, however, can struggle to tend to their own needs as well as they should. That is the key difference. Energy levels can suffer over time. As, consequently, does the quality of attention and care they are able to give to key people at work, and outside of work.

The people I see thriving in their career have learned to tend to their own oxygen mask in life with discipline.

Consider this question: What ‘compassion breaks’ work best for me? See if you can incorporate them in your day over the next week, when needed.

They provide the oxygen to thrive in work and everyday life.

You can contact me directly at john@inspo.ie for further information on Inspo.

(P.s. Music for today provided by French band, Air.)