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Self-compassion, find your strength in relaxation and renewal

coaching compassion leadership making change mindfulness Jun 17, 2020

It may feel like one hurdle after another right now – each one harder than the next.  Bushfires, funding applications, now Covid19.  The world is going through a climate, health and economic shakeup that was not on anyone’s radar 12 or even six months ago.

It is OK to feel shaken by all of this – but as leaders you may feel the pressure to show a calm face when underneath you are paddling like mad.
I wanted to let you know that we are here at Albany Lane to support you – either through a one-to-one session to sort out your thoughts in a safe, confidential space, plus some targeted resources to come.
If there is anything you think you need at this time – please reach out.  We have networks and contacts that can share their expertise and – this is important – want to help!!!  So please ask.

Developing your capacity for self-compassion is one of the single most useful ways to build your resilience, productivity and focus during the weeks ahead.  

Our work here is based on the research by Dr Kirsten Neff and includes three components:

  • Self Kindness V Self Judgement
  • Common Humanity V Isolation
  • Mindfulness V Over Identification

I began running a regular Self-Compassion online group as part of the Front and Centre leadership program, which I developed and ran with Accessible Arts NSW,  from October 2019 to March 2020.   

There were 10 women in this program, with diversity in ages, backgrounds, creative practices and access needs.  Over the 6 months we worked together, there was a  consistent theme of how self-judgment, self-criticism and negative self-talk works against developing the confidence and clarity needed to progress in practice and leadership.  

Alongside one-to-one coaching and webinars on leadership as self-expression, service and disruption – I added the option for participants of exploring how to develop our capacity for Self-Compassion. 

I have been doing this kind of practice for over 10 years, as part of my own career transition from government policy and strategy to working as a coach and facilitator with the arts, creative and community sector.

Developing self-compassion is critical for any kind of leadership AND creative work.  It balances the inner-critic, supports collaboration, allows for risk-taking and new challenges. 

For me, a practice of self-compassion creates a more reliable relationship with my Self – so that I am less concerned about outside measures of success and the opinions of others, and can focus on what gives me internal satisfaction.  

The women in the leadership program also commented that Self-Compassion was often the missing link in their professional and personal development – we simply are not socialised to be kind to ourselves.  

As one participant put it she had no understanding of self-compassion as she had never experienced it.  Asking her to practice it was like asking her to describe an apple when she had never tasted one.  

So I wanted to share the concepts and skills in developing self-compassion, as well as how it can support you practically in your life, with any sorts of challenges. 

As you can see in these vox pops many of the participants in the program spoke about the importance of self-compassion in the program.

Self Compassion is NOT self-pity – but a powerful and practical tool to support you as leaders in difficult circumstances and in rebuilding your team and organisation in the future. 

Developing your capacity for self-compassion is one of the single most useful ways to build your resilience, productivity and focus during the weeks ahead.   

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