Just Do It: Self-Compassion and Performance

True or false: Pushing is a core strategy in your personal success formula.

When I ask this question to business leaders, the responses are nearly 100% True. A little over half are in the ‘absolutely’ camp, proud to be seen as the ‘just do it’ business athlete of their field. Ready for the daily marathon and noting that they haven’t stretched, slept or needed any hydration. And then there is about a third who answer the question, and quickly shift into a hushed confessional tone to tell me about the little breakdowns that seem to be signaling that the ‘push’ strategy may not be working as well as it’s supposed to.

For the third of you who know that something is amiss with ‘do more with less’ as the constant battle cry, you are on to something. Pushing through is very often accompanied by the familiar voice of your self-critic.

In this TedTalk, researcher Kristin Neff tells us the reason we embrace self-criticism so widely is because of a commonly held cultural belief related to self-esteem: if we aren’t critical of ourselves, we will become self-indulgent and lazy. She also shows us that, ironically, the opposite is true. When the self-critic is given unfettered reign of our inner world, it actually lowers our motivation, and our performance. If allowed to continue, eventually ‘the body will shut itself down’ so we are left with an undesired depleted condition, like burnout or depression. From there, she gives us the radically obvious case for self-compassion.

You can take the self-assessment here, and then begin to consider the impact your score is having on the results you’re getting at work.

 

Which important relationship do you have [to someone, a project, a result] that would benefit from you having more compassion with yourself?

 

 


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