Compassion at Work Matters

Are you hard on yourself?

I know I am.

Here is a story from my new book Bring Gratitude to prove it.

I made a huge mistake.

I thought I could finish the project by the end of the week. I was so wrong.

I didn’t realize how many people I had to depend on to get the project done. I stayed late. I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, asking for answers so I could keep moving forward. I brought in a couple other people to help at the last minute, but it wasn’t enough.

I missed the deadline. The next window to get this project finished wouldn’t be for another three weeks because of the dependency on other teams. We would potentially lose thousands, maybe even millions, of dollars.

I cried. I called out sick. Just didn’t want to be anywhere near work.

And I blamed myself.

I called a friend from work and complained about my situation. He asked me a question:

“Was anyone else willing to take on this project?”

“No.”

“That’s right,” he said. “You were the only one willing to stick your neck out there trying to get this project done. Instead of beating yourself up, you should be congratulating yourself for trying so hard. Just because it didn’t work out the way you hoped, it doesn’t mean it’s a failure.”

Then he asked me another great question.

“What did you learn from this experience?”

I laughed and said, “Nothing,” which I knew wasn’t true.

As I thought about it, I realized that if I’d been more compassionate with myself, I would have known that I couldn’t do it all by myself. I should’ve brought in other people to help me sooner. It’s funny how not that long ago, I could see how my coworker needed to ask for help when she was in a similar situation, yet here I was, unwilling to admit I needed help. I realized that this was a skill I needed to work on to improve my happiness and my career.

In retrospect, I was so glad I got caught in this situation. It showed me that I had a lot of internal work to do. I resolved to focus on asking for help sooner. I knew that practicing this in everyday situations would help me build up my strength to do it when I needed help the most, so I didn’t get caught in a similar situation in the future.

If you are interested in bringing more compassion into work then I suggest starting with gratitude. You can get the “Become 31% More Productive” one sheet that helps you bring more gratitude and compassion into your life.

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