Compassion

CYA Culture is Killing Competitiveness, Progress, and Engagement in Corporate America

Have you ever wondered how you could create ripples of change in the current corporate paradigm?

Facts:

  • People are sick of corporate initiatives with catchphrases that amount to nothing actually changing for the better.
  • There is a fundamental lack of trust in corporate leadership.
  • The resistance to change stifles progress and much-needed evolution. Some people have their invincibility cloak on, deflecting all change that might make their “baby” obsolete.
  • As more and more ideas get shut down, creativity is discouraged and stops.
  • High performance in many companies is a perception based on who earns the most praise, works on the most visible projects, receives the most pats on the back, and seems to be doing better than the next person, which suppresses willingness to bring awareness to the issues that need to be resolved.
  • In some companies, the default behavior is to insist everything is great, or else other departments will use your weakness to their advantage and make you the scapegoat for performance failures. This creates/reinforces silos! It breeds the attitude: “Let’s deal with this problem among ourselves vs. let’s get the best knowledge in the company working on this bottleneck” and stifles growth and productivity.
  • Even in a company that is fantastic about professional development and helping people get to the next level, the lack of space to be real about breakdowns prevents breakthroughs.

Then you have highly promoted leaders who have not adequately worked through their stuff to become more self-aware and emotionally intelligent. These leaders are motivated to make decisions that protect their status over doing the right thing.

This motivation is dangerous for everyone – it’s especially dangerous for the company! It opens up huge risk factors in terms of compliance while also damaging engagement, morale, and retention of true high performers who value making a real contribution toward progress and solutions.

In cases like this, true high performers may then be conditioned to believe that they’re so lucky to be part of a big picture where there is a lot of incentive to grow professionally. Meanwhile, unconscious leaders decide not to be authentic about issues (including personal issues that impact productivity) and look for scapegoats to deflect any potential negative attention.

A leader can only be as empathetic as they are aware.

Few people have had the experience of being able to be honest with their boss about why they lose motivation – if they are even aware of why themselves. Often, people suffer silently with these issues. They may recover and it may seem as though it was just a temporary slump, but the reasons for that slump don’t go away. Those reasons can manifest in other ways, influence decisions to act or not act, and keep people in a loop that they never escape in order to grow to the next level consciously, even if they still grow professionally.

It seems for the sake of job security and professional growth, as well as financial growth, whole workforces are willing to accept these conditions as business [politics] as usual.

And you know what…

There’s no sense trying to get buy-in from people who have been duped before.

Corporate America needs a complete overhaul, and it won’t happen overnight.

  1. Integrity has to be restored in a meaningful, authentic way.
  2. Individuals need enhanced self-awareness to know from what emotion and mental state they are making decisions.
  3. We need leaders who are willing to show their imperfections, build trust and rapport, and create the space that allows others to show their imperfections as well, promoting progress over perfection.

Companies who perpetuate the CYA culture are not as stable as they appear; they are covering up cracks all over the infrastructure that they are afraid to reveal. They are not providing anyone with genuine job security.

Have you overheard or even had these conversations?

“Why didn’t they listen to me?! We wouldn’t be in this mess if they had.”

Or…

“The executives are so out of touch with our customers’/front lines’ reality. They keep making decisions in a vacuum, and we all suffer because of it.”

Or…

“Everyone’s so busy covering their a**, I don’t know if or how anything is actually getting done.”

Do you want to know what usually happens next? These employees contact someone like me to help them find and nurture greener pastures… and they find them, though there simply are not enough of them for everyone.

It always bothered me to know that as I help these brilliant corporate climbers escape their situations, they were leaving casualties behind. Some of these companies are supposedly out to do big, important things in this world, and you’d think their standards of leadership would be higher.

While it may seem logical that the mass exodus from corporate America may be halted due to COVID-19, what we’ve seen in the previous national crisis of 9/11 is that people quit their jobs in record numbers because they realize what really matters – health, family, and being able to look at yourself in the mirror for the rest of your life.

Leaders right now are scared about their own job security. They’re also concerned about the productivity of their teams and losing talent.

What can you do about it?

Most people think there’s nothing they can do.

There is a dominant atmosphere of resignation that corporate politics and bureaucracy just goes along with being a corporate drone.

This feeling of resignation is dangerous. Right now, it is more evident than any other time in our human history that resignation enables the powers that stifle progress. Ego, self-preservation, and idle busyness keep us from working toward what CAN be achieved and what few have achieved.

“Let those who love peace be as organized as those who love war.”  – MLK, Jr.

What we need are pioneers willing to learn, apply, and teach a better way to lead – a corporate conscious leadership blueprint, if you will. We’ve got it! Our corporate leadership program has been 3 years in the making.

We need people who are starting to see clearly that correcting the course serves their kids more than complying with it for the sake of job security.

Where are you, my good leaders? Who is willing to work from the inside up and out to create ripples of change in the current corporate paradigm?

For those concerned about your job and your financial security – this is a valid concern.

That’s why there is a safety net built into this program.

You will likely find that your attempts to create ripples of consciousness at your job is met by resistance. In our program, you will be taught how to gracefully disarm this resistance. It will absolutely work magically in many situations, but not all.

You are up against some formidable, powerful systems that will feel threatened by any attempts of change. We will teach you how to implement a support team well before you take on these systems, and you will have a community of people in this program who will have your back!

Still, this is a long-game. If you find that where you are is just not the best place to spread your new conscious leadership wings, we’ll put you on a transition track. At any time, you can switch tracks so that we can professionally brand you and set up an efficient, highly effective career campaign that will put you not only on more stable ground financially in a company that is willing to invest in real solutions vs. Band-Aids, but you will also be blazing a much better trail for our youth to follow and replicate. Maybe, by the time they reach the corporate ladder, they’ll find that the heights of the top rungs are a less precarious place to be with a view worth climbing toward.

Message me at karen@epiccareering.com, or tag someone below in the comments section who has the courage to be a beacon of change and is an example for others to follow.

Miley Cyrus – The Climb (Official Music Video) (HQ)

The Climb is the brand new hit single from Miley Cyrus available on Hannah Montana: The Movie Soundtrack in stores March 24! Hannah Montana: The Movie only i…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

New Questions for Workplaces in 2020

We saw some tough headlines in the last 10 years force companies to do some deep evaluation of their culture and policies. A few companies emerged as trailblazers, applying breakthroughs in research, technology, and science. They spotted trends before the rest, and started their own trends for the rest to follow (or not).

All the things that we can measure have exploded. We are now drowning in so much data that the next big feat looks to be figuring out what is actually meaningful and consequential to sustainable growth.

As much shade and slack that millennials are thrown from the other workforce generations, they certainly drove many changes. We’ve seen a transition to mobile-focused marketing and an intuitive user experience, along with greater focus on employee rewards.

Now that we’re wrapping up this decade and a new generation is entering the workforce, what do we see on the horizon that will prove influential in the evolution of careering, hiring, and leadership?

Without knowing who will become president, it’s hard to predict what will happen with healthcare, student debt, and consumer debt. Certainly, if healthcare becomes universal, many companies will be forced to completely reinvent how they plan on attracting and retaining employees who were working mostly for benefits. In my 20 years working with job seekers and job changers, I have known many who, if it weren’t for the need for medical benefits, would have opted for self-employment.

Employee benefits

Here are some statistics that can help show just how influential benefits have been in recruitment and retention strategies:

  • 49% of the US workforce currently receives healthcare benefits from their employer.
  • 78% of workers would likely remain with their employer because of the benefits it offers, up from 72% in 2016. (WTW)
  • More than 50% of employees said they have left jobs after hearing the siren calls of better benefits elsewhere. (Randstad)
  • 55% of employees would be somewhat likely to accept a job with lower compensation but a more robust benefits package. (Aflac)
  • 56% of U.S. adults with employer-sponsored health benefits said that whether or not they like their health coverage is a key factor in deciding to stay at their current job. (SHRM)
  • 46% said health insurance was either the deciding factor or a positive influence in choosing their current job. (SHRM)

Keep in mind there are many companies with employees dedicated to helping employers manage health care plan enrollment and administration. Will companies let these employees go or retrain them for other roles within the company?

Employee wellness

A Limeade study found that when employees feel their employer cares about their well-being, there is a significant boost in engagement, retention, workplace reviews, and “extra mile” efforts while hostility is reduced by ten times. Larger companies offer more benefits than any other size companies, and yet they have the lowest engagement. So, we can surmise that offering good healthcare benefits is not enough to make employees feel cared for and/or that offering employer-sponsored healthcare does not correlate to engagement at all, though it does correlate to candidate attraction and retention.

Wellness programs have become wildly popular as well. However, as more companies implemented costly wellness programs, most struggled with adoption and recouping the investment. (We’ve covered why in a 2-part article this year.)

We saw some influential leaders emerge as authors, as well, shedding light on issues like gender gaps in pay and opportunity, sexual harassment, workplace bullying, cyber security, engagement, and physical security.

  • Shawn Achor taught us that being happy at work DOES indeed lead to better engagement.
  • Studies on meditation at work increased exponentially, with new benefits emerging all the time. Companies like Google, Aetna and higher learning institutions like Brown, NYU and Harvard are weaving mindfulness and meditation into core cultural and education initiatives.
  • Ariana Huffington highlighted the need for creative minds to rest.
  • Travis Bradberry has been educating Fortune 500 companies on the implications of Emotional Intelligence.
  • Cy Wakeman has smartly asserted and demonstrated that engagement efforts without accountability breed entitlement.
  • Sheryl Sandberg encouraged women to lean in, own their seat at the table and find a sponsor, not another mentor.

With the rise of school and workplace shootings, we remain to see whether gun control becomes a major area of change or not. Mental health is another key issue. While people are shining a light on how mental illness has become an epidemic, sufferers are crying out to end the stigma.

Just a couple weeks ago Philadelphia Eagles offensive linemen Brandon Brooks left the field in the first quarter due to a debilitating anxiety attack that caused extreme nausea. He stated he was not ashamed nor embarrassed about the event. In the last decade, more and more celebrities came clean about their struggles with anxiety and depression. Others lost their battles before we even knew they were suffering. It’s clear no one is impervious to mental illness. The conversation about how to best treat and support those suffering is just starting, let alone how to address it in the workplace.

Being “woke” is going out of vogue as spiritual elitists fail to be influential in inspiring change. Authenticity, accessibility, and being vulnerable are proving to be much more effective.

Keeping all of this in mind, there are new questions we should be asking in the workplace.

In 2020 and beyond, companies should be able to answer these questions:

How do you address mental health in your workplace?

Are clear protocols in place for employees experiencing hardships?

Are there HR policies in place to protect employees who wish to get help for mental illness?

What is the company policy for determining if an employee needs urgent or professional care for mental illness?

What does the company do to support mental wellness?

How aware are employees of these outlets?

What might stop employees from taking advantage of mental health resources?

What misconceptions do they have?

Here is what I hope to see happening in 2020:

Mindfulness everywhere! It’s not only important for sustainable corporate and individual success, it’s imperative to people and the planet, that we develop self-awareness, emotional intelligence and consciousness at a faster pace than technology evolves.

My Epic Careering Personal Branding tools get funded, built, and adopted on a worldwide scale to put the power of career management back in the hands of the workers. This enables more people to have résumé and LinkedIn content that helps them be identified by employer’s AI as having the potential to succeed in their open and upcoming roles. It also easily communicates the cultural viability of a candidate.

Though I’d prefer people be self-aware and empowered to pursue professional opportunities that align with their innate strengths, joy, and best chance at thriving, employers have to play their part, too. Employers need to be more proactive in helping talent grow up, or even out, from a skills standpoint, a maturity standpoint, and a consciousness standpoint. Leaders must be better coaches. Give people more of a chance to be forthright about their aspirations. Don’t try to retain employees that are better off somewhere else, or who have demonstrated an unwillingness to be coachable and accountable. A person’s best chance at making a meaningful contribution and being fulfilled by it is being in the right job at the right company, as Jim Collins shares in Good to Great.

While technology will surely continue to be tried and applied, and the automated branding journey and content builders will certainly bridge the gap between high-quality talent and the companies who need them, job seekers everywhere are crying out for more HUMAN involvement. Certain applications for technology are not allowing exceptions to rules to get the attention of people who can interpret unconventional strengths as major potential. Let’s let humans do what humans do best – connect with each other and perceive potential.

Personally, I’d like to see one-sided video interviews die. I don’t trust facial recognition AI, nor people, to be free from bias. We’re just not there yet. Two-way (or more) video conferences are a great way to have both candidate and employer feel each other out without the cost and time of travel.

I hope that industries in need of disruption are not sustained just because they employ a lot of people and make a lot of money. Someone needs to step in and make sure that when a faster, better way of healing people, feeding people, housing people, shopping, etc. comes along, there are affordable and accessible programs available to retrain people to get even better jobs.

I hope internet connectivity reaches all corners of the planet and new, profitable opportunities are available to poor and oppressed countries, or even parts of our country.

I hope as more heroes emerge with human limits and behavior, we stop vilifying each other for our weaknesses and mistakes. Certainly, serious offenders will need consequences, but we can’t set the bar so high for leaders that they need to be perfect. This only leads to cover-ups and corruption. I hope we value accountability, honesty, and forgiveness more than we value perfection so more worthy leaders can emerge.

If healthcare was universal, it would no longer be a major driving decision of where a person works. This would absolutely force companies who want to compete for talent to pay closer attention to offering what actually engages people: opportunities for learning, growth and expansion. Plus, a salary that not only pays the bills, but funds a desirable lifestyle now and as we age.

What are your hopes for 2020?

https://youtu.be/THnabGK7mPs

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

A Day in the Life of You, Average 2019 American Worker / By Karen Huller / Labor Day 2019

 

This morning, after a long weekend,

You fight traffic

Dodging rushing drivers

To not get docked or dinged

For being late or seeming like

You can’t be reliable.

 

Another disgruntled shooter

Showed up at work this weekend.

You wonder about the people

You were relieved to see go.

Are they really gone?

Not from your mind.

 

Living paycheck to paycheck,

Hoping no emergencies occur.

Ignoring the pain, but

Is it a serious symptom?

How long do you have?

You know you don’t know.

 

Your boss believes you’ll rest

At home, on the weekends.

Though you get emails and texts

While you shuffle kids around,

Tending to their needs,

Warding off tantrums (sometimes),

And solving household mysteries.

 

30 minutes on hold with

insurance companies.

Sorting mail, doing laundry,

Scrubbing toilets, washing cars,

Mowing lawns, grocery shopping.

Other to-dos that don’t.

 

Not even sleep is restful.

Vacations are never long enough.

You rush to tie loose ends.

You return to catch-up work.

Lunches are rushed.

Even windows stay shut.

 

Dinging notifications,

Relentless robocallers,

Merciless collectors,

Technical difficulties,

Imaginary or possible conflicts

Disrupt peace and creativity.

 

You feel pressure to perform,

To keep up, stay skilled.

More money would help,

But more effort seems impossible.

Your plate overflows.

You don’t feel like enough.

 

When can you reflect, dream,

Make plans for the future?

How can you innovate,

Keep up, let alone get ahead?

What more could you be?

How long can this go on?

 

If you stay, are you a fool?

If you go, will it be worse?

Can you pull it off?

Will you have regrets?

Change isn’t worth the trouble.

 

And we wonder…

Why mental health declines,

Why chronic diseases flourish,

Why engagement is elusive,

Why drugs seduce,

Why suicides and shootings abound.

 

This model’s not sustainable.

Your wellbeing is critical.

The future needs you.

Your loved ones need you.

Companies need consciousness.

You need to demand it.

 

I’ve heard you.

I’ve been there.

I’m reaching out my hand.

A better tomorrow awaits,

Though I am not waiting.

I am FIGHTING!

 

Science is in our favor.

Stress can be managed.

Health can be restored.

Consumers have power to

Protect people and the planet.

Your talent is power – USE IT!

Working Class Hero – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

John Lennon Signature Box contains 9 Albums, all the singles, a disc of rarities & a book from Yoko, Julian & Sean. Available on Amazon: http://bit.ly/JLbox & iTunes http://bit.ly/JLboxi Video from Lennon Legend DVD: http://bit.ly/lenleg JL Videos on iTunes: http://apple.co/2hIilCu Notes from Lennon Legend DVD: A new video, directed by Simon Hilton, filmed in Liverpool.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

We Are In Big Trouble If Leaders Don’t Start Doing This

Reflections

How do we shift from a world where rampant mental illness pushes people to the limits of their humanity to a world where we take good care of one another?

Could it be as simple as breathing??

Letting go?

Healing?

Processing?

Allowing?

Surrendering?

Choosing happiness?

Self-reflection may be simple, but it’s not easy.

I cherish my time for self-reflection. Without it, I tend to stay in a stressful loop. In a moment I might start to go down a rabbit hole, thinking about an interaction that I had or have to have. Without time to process these thoughts fully, they just stay in a loop.

There is something I am supposed to get from these repeating thoughts, which is why my brain keeps showing me it. I need to reveal it’s meaning, process my emotions about it, and then put it behind me as completed. If not, my energy gets sapped. I find it hard to focus and all tasks take longer. I may even procrastinate or escape into TV or social media. Still that thought loops.

It’s like when you are running late for something and you keep going back to your house for different things you forgot and it just gets later and later. Ever do that? Be in such a rush that you forget important things and it causes you to be even later?

I notice that if tasks and obligations, including my cherished kids and clients, keep me from giving these thoughts my full attention for a while, I start to resent them. I get short tempered. I set up boundaries to protect myself. I have more freedom to do so because I am self-employed. Still, when I accept work, I make a commitment and that commitment has to be fulfilled. I don’t always see a busy time coming and I get stuck

However, companies need to adopt a self-care culture to allow their people to grow and develop not just skill wise, but in their consciousness. Our planet actually depends on it!

Otherwise, we get unconscious producers in power, focused only on producing hard results without consideration of consequences. This explains situational greed, a neuroscience concept I introduced in a previous blog in which the brain starts to rewire itself to pursue more power and/and possessions, sometimes even becoming addicted to the dopamine release of acquiring more power and/or possessions. Without being able to regularly take time, which becomes even harder as you take on more responsibility and authority, this can go unchecked and lead to a host of toxic conditions and detrimental consequences.

Without that time, I could not have written this!

A balance, however elusive, appears to be the more accurate place from which to make critical decisions that impact many.

Not work-life balance, but production and reflection balance. An employer can’t assume its employees are doing this at home.

This is a generalization, but often those at the top of the income chain employ the assistance of others to take care of admin/housekeeping, even child rearing. But do they use the time that is freed from those tasks for reflection? Or, do they use that time to produce or feed ego?

Most other people, including top producers, are going home and attacking a busy kid activity and homework schedule plus a home care task list. Then they zone out consuming media because they are mentally and emotionally exhausted – another generalization, I realize.

Still, I think it’s fair to say the general workforce is not in the habit of making time for self-reflection, and if they are, they doing it incompletely and getting stuck in the loop I described above.

The loops below are a much better model for conscious growth, whether you are a leader or a producer:

Achieving Conscious Leadership

 

  1. Consumption – Make plans based on new insights, illuminations, teachings
  2. Reflection – Consider how people and planet will be impacted directly and indirectly
  3. Production – Set goals and intentions and execute
  4. Reflection – Examine direct and indirect impacts, as well as own performance relative to higher self

The key is self-intimacy (into-me-I-see). Not just asking how was it, evaluating in terms of results, profits, etc., but asking how was I. Sometimes the answers aren’t good, and the ego doesn’t like them.

But the higher self, the one who wants to continually evolve into a better and better person, a better leader and a more positive influence on the people around them, needs them.

Coincidentally, I came across this warning signs list this morning. I thought someone might need this more than music, so I’m sharing it.

https://www.higherperspectives.com/warning-signs-nervous-breakdown-2610845741.html

“Can You Teach an Adult Compassion?”

 

This was a question posed by a friend on mine on Facebook. Some were under the impression that you can’t.

My answer:

“You can develop emotional intelligence through mindfulness techniques, but that would have to be voluntary.

‘I tried to find a video I saw (I thought it was Samantha Bee) where they brought global warming deniers through a kind of fun house type of experience where they experience the devastating effects of climate change for themselves. The fear inspired by the special effects changed ~60% of their minds. [I still can’t find this, but I will continue to try. Maybe it was Tosh.O or Sarah Silverman.]

‘There are experiments going on right now with virtual reality. I believe this was either Jane McGonigal or her sister who did a VR experiment on compassion and conservation. [It was Jane who mentioned it, but it was not her experiment– here is the video.] Apparently, participants who cut down a sequoia tree in virtual reality were [more likely to recycle.] Fascinating! There is so much tremendous research going on right now and breakthroughs on the way.”

I also added a fun fact to the thread:

“Did you know under normal circumstances the part of our brain responsible for emotional intelligence doesn’t start to develop until our third decade of life?” [Correction: it doesn’t become fully functional until our 3rd decade of life.]

The insula and anterior cingulate are the parts associated with self-awareness and social awareness. You can absolutely accelerate development of these parts of your brain and the neural circuits through mindfulness techniques. [Cited from Neurowisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness, and Success by Mark Waldman and Chris Manning, PhD]

I should also point out that development of this part of the brain can also be inhibited. Those who grow up bullied, overly criticized, abused, neglected, etc. are likely to become the ones whose self-talk is overly critical.

Being overly self-critical increases your tendency to find error in everything and everyone. Adjusting your self-talk to be more compassionate stimulates neural circuits associated with empathy. [Also cited from Neurowisdom.] Just like building muscle through repetitive motion and skill through practice, the more you use these neural circuits, the more you will develop compassion for yourself, and others as a byproduct.

So, to follow that further, the people who are most critical of others are the ones who are hardest on themselves.

It seems quite hypocritical to vilify people who are not demonstrating compassion. Science tells us what they need is to love and accept themselves more. This is what I imagine Ghandi meant when he said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It’s also why believers in the Law of Attraction advise you to “give what you are seeking” to shift your abundance.

If you want people to be more compassionate, show them more compassion. Show yourself more compassion!

That’s a big one! It’s why the fabulous Brené Brown’s research and teachings have been so embraced. We all crave and need more self-compassion.

There are also experiences, apps, virtual reality games, and exercises that have proven to help accelerate self-compassion as well as outward compassion. New studies are being done all the time. It’s important to note that not only can increases in neural activity associated with compassion be measured, but the neural activity DOES impact behavior.

Here are just a few options:

The Compassion Experience transports people into someone less fortunate’s life. It also is backed by research. It is created by a Christian organization and the events are held at churches over a several-day period. I found four in my local area over the summer, including one at my cousin’s church. It is intended to enhance gratitude and compassion in children and to inspire parents to donate to less fortunate children in different parts of the world. The events are free (at least the ones that I saw, but this could be church-specific.)

Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian prayer said to heal and release. There are four simple lines: I love you; I’m sorry; I forgive you; Thank you. That’s it. It’s the simplest prayer ever. It can be said over and over like a chant, or you can say it every time you look in a mirror. You can say it in the morning as you wake, or at night before you sleep, or both. You can say it out loud or in your head. You can say it with your eyes closed or open. You can say it as though you are talking to yourself, or someone else. It’s not really something you can do wrong.

Mindfulness has many different connotations, and not all of them are clinical or accurate. In fact, the word has been misapplied to mean being positive or meditating. There is no particular breathing technique that you have to learn – just NOTICE your breath. Then notice your thoughts. Notice your emotions. Notice your body. Notice the tiny details of things around you. Notice the vibrancy of colors. Notice the beauty of nature or people. That’s it! That’s all there is to mindfulness. It’s an important step toward accepting and allowing what is, including you, without judgment.

Maybe you think this is for someone else less compassionate than yourself. Well, statistically, people believe they are more compassionate than they are, so it stands to reason that anyone might as well become more compassionate.

Let me know if you have tried any of these methods. Let me know if you would like extra assistance with compassion for yourself or others.

Give a Little Bit Singer/Songwriter Roger Hodgson of Supertramp, with Orchestra

“Give a Little Bit has a wonderful message that makes people light up and I get them to sing with me. It really has a message that is very eternal and is needed even more today than it was when I wrote it when I was 19.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a career management firm specializing in the income-optimizing power of social media and personal branding, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify new trends in hiring and personal marketing. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.