Adding Compassion to Our Professional Dreams—(Part 1 of 2)

“Compassion is unbelievably powerful. It will provide you with enormous amounts of strength in trying times. When our response to hurt (whether the negative emotion is shame, guilt, hatred, sadness or anger) is kindness, the whole environment in which we are conducting our exploration softens.”—from Undefended Love by Jett Psaris and Marlena Lyons.

In moving forward to our new and often bigger professional dreams, many of us have been inundated with tips for setting goals and taking daily consistent action steps towards achieving them.

Yet, there is a missing ingredient for many of us, whether we are pursuing new expressions of ourselves in work, or in love (as I will discuss in Part 2 of this blog next week). That very important ingredient is compassion.

In the excellent book, Undefended Love, which I have just started recommending to my clients who are in relationship transitions, the authors, both psychotherapists, define compassion as allowing our hearts to stay open in the face of our fear and pain. They advise us “to approach our deepest suffering without defending ourselves.”

In preparing my speech for next week’s presentation called “Imagining Greatness for Women Entrepreneurs,”  (men also have registered and are most welcome to attend), I have set at the forefront a very clear intention:  to create a respectful environment for open-hearted sharing, where the audience has the opportunity to feel more deeply connected to themselves and one another. We prosper more easily when we feel heard, seen, acknowledged and supported. For those reasons, it is no surprise I named my business,

Yet, if I am honest, it has only been in the past several months of pushing through many of my own fears towards my new dreams which I have shared in recent blog posts, that I have come to more fully understand the significance of embracing myself with compassion.  To truly be compassionate, we must let go of rigid standards of perfection and allow for some flexibility.  Creating new dreams sometimes requires that we explore a myriad of possibilities for how our final product or service will look, evolve or be delivered to the world.

In younger years, I simply plowed ahead, despite my fright of taking on big challenges. I thought I was brave. I have since learned many times over that it frequently takes more courage to sit with uncomfortable feelings than forge ahead. Now, increasingly, I hold my insecurities more gently, respecting how they came into my life, and make time to quietly release the angst of feeling them.  In business, I allow for longer periods of research to experiment with a few ideas to bring fresh content to my work.

For most of us, when we put ourselves on the line in new ways, we may occasionally experience some of our old fears and beliefs from early life conditioning come forth. Instead of berating ourselves for temporarily feeling more cowardly than we would like –or for continuing to hold some limiting thoughts—we can stop and forgive ourselves with love and acceptance. After all, many of our internal blocks were subconsciously hard-wired into us as young children before we had the discernment skills to toss them out—or even detect them within ourselves (which is the benefit of hiring a belief change coach or therapist, who can help you release them).

Committing to taking daily action steps towards your goals and dreams can still be a priority. Yet, maybe you can consider adding one item to your list:  do something kind and loving for yourself every day, even if one of those actions means making time to honor yourself and your life journey with compassion.


Write out the statements below long-hand a few times each day. Then, repeat out loud as frequently as you desire, but especially in the morning and at night when in restful states, the following:

1. I allow myself to embrace my fears with compassion.

2. I allow myself to courageously honor all my feelings.

3. I allow myself to continue to act on my dreams despite my fears.

4. I allow myself to be seen, heard, acknowledged and supported.

5.  I allow myself to be more flexible in how my dreams evolve.

Beth Shedd’s poignant photo of the butterfly perched upon the flowers reminds me of the gentleness with which we may hold ourselves in compassion when reaching for big dreams.


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