Archives for the month of: June, 2016

Self-compassion is one of the most important modules in The Daring Way™ intensives that I run, and also a theme that comes up time and time again in my coaching with female leaders.  Why is it that we sometimes speak to ourselves in a way that we wouldn’t dream of speaking to our friends, (let alone our enemies)?

At its simplest, self-compassion is about treating yourself in a way that you would treat a close friend. What do you do when a close friend is struggling?  You give them a hug maybe, let them know that you’re there for them, you might buy them a gift or show them some empathy.

Too often, with ourselves, we interrogate our thoughts looking for fault and blame.  We beat ourselves up for our failures and the “should” voices have a field day; ‘You should have tried harder’. ‘You shouldn’t have believed in that’. ‘You shouldn’t have trusted that person’.  I also have a tendency to isolate myself and shut myself off from the rest of the world.

Kirsten Neff is a professor at the University of Texas in Austin who has made self-compassion her career’s work.  I recently had the good fortune of attending an advanced workshop in Texas which she led.  I have to say, the work we did together blew my mind.

Often in my courses we discuss Kristen Neff and her work.  Up until now the response has been fairly ambiguous. Yes, everyone agrees that we beat ourselves up and speak to ourselves in terrible, terrible ways.  Yet everyone feels a little bit resigned to it, that it’s an impossible habit to break.  There is a limiting belief that to embrace self-compassion is to be a bit fluffy and ‘woo woo’.  To be frank, it feels a little flakey to be consciously saying ‘Oh you poor thing that must be really tough’ to ourselves, rather than ‘come on Rox snap the fuck out of it!’.  The other push back is that our own internal critic has been the driving force behind the success in our lives.

Kristen blew all of this out of the water.

Firstly, she came along with the science.  The physiological underpinnings of self-criticism is your body feeling threatened – which will produce cortisol and adrenalin.  You don’t need me to tell you quite how damaging these are in large quantities for our bodies.  The physiological response is trying to attack the problem but in actual fact these stress hormones are attacking ourselves because we make ourselves the problem.

In contrast, the physiological underpinnings of self-compassion are in the mammalian care giving system.  Physical warmth (giving a hug), gentle touch and soothing vocalisations all produce oxytocin and opiates in our system. Also when you are compassionate the reward centres of the brain light up.  Self-compassion literally gives our body the resources to be able to hold our own pain.

When we think about our success being driven by our own self-criticism and harshness, you cannot help but wonder at the cost of what.  Sure, we may be driving our external success via promotions, pay increases and getting that mortgage.  But what is the cost of that on our physical and mental health? And is it truly sustainable?  We know that women seem to be more sensitive to the stress hormone cortisol than men (as detailed in Arianna Huffington’s Thrive).  Surely it’s time for us all to start taking this a bit more seriously.

self-compassion

Take a self-compassion break (courtesy of Kristen Neff).
Every bone in my body resists putting this simple breathing exercise in the newsletter and also resists doing the breathing exercise.  Breathing and mindfulness are a continual struggle for me – and yet the science is showing me it isn’t fluffy, new age shit at all.  This is what we need to start to heal.

Close your eyes and breathe slowly in and out.  On the out breath, breathe out compassion for other people.  On the in breath, breathe in compassion for yourself.  Keep doing this for two minutes thinking about different and specific people to breathe out compassion to, and then extend the same loving kindness to yourself.

Kirsten’s website http://www.self-compassion.org is also a wonderful resource for learning more about self-compassion.

Love Rox

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THC’s view on The Great British Diversity Experiment

Emily Philp, Head of Marketing and Operations, The Hobbs Consultancy

 

the great british diversity experiment

 

I attended The Great British Diversity Experiment Report Launch on Wednesday 25th May at BBH London with over 250 fellow advertising folk. As you walked into the room, you could feel the nervous energy bubbling below the surface, what findings were in store for us… For those who don’t know what The Great British Diversity Experiment is, it’s the first diversity initiative conceived for, designed and launched by the communications industry. Over 20 teams of truly diverse individuals took part in an experiment, answering a brief from Tesco to attempt to solve problems of food wastage. The winning team received an all-expenses-paid trip to SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, and a weeklong placement at BBH London. Meanwhile the findings of the diversity experiment were collated into a report, which were presented on the evening of the report launch along with talks from industry leaders on the very specific and practical insights the experiment uncovered and a review by the winning team on their individual poignant experiences, challenges and self discoveries.

One particularly interesting, but not surprising insight for me was that the teams that performed the best in the experiment were those where the individuals could be themselves. Furthermore, it is emphasised in the report that diversity works for the creative industries because working with a diverse group of people allows individuals to show up as their authentic selves, which means you can contribute more creatively and effectively in your job.

As mentioned this isn’t a surprising insight for me as one of the main focuses of our energies and offering at The Hobbs Consultancy is to enable people to show up as their true selves in both personal and professional life.

The Hobbs Consultancy’s mission is to bring a more inclusive culture to the workplace and coaching is a core part of what we believe can deliver that mission. It is through coaching that individuals can work out who their authentic self is, understanding what makes them tick, what holds them back and what enables them to be the very best version of themselves when they enter the workplace.

Of the 5 practical actions that the report sets out for businesses to do now, the one that resonates the most for me, is ‘retrain your leaders’. It’s vital that leaders of organisations take action. Without the buy-in and demonstration that company bosses will put their money where their mouth is, without inclusive leadership, we wont have the power to transform the industry, making it one that thrives with creativity, connection and innovation, that attracts and retains the best talent and ultimately delivers game changing work for clients. Here at The Hobbs Consultancy, we offer executive coaching and Leadership Programmes, which focus on leaders doing their own internal work, recognising and then accepting responsibility for our circumstances and taking action to create a more inclusive culture.

The GBDE report also calls out that there is a huge need for more diversity training in the industry – in order to change the creative process and leadership styles. We agree and believe passionately that Diversity and Inclusivity training is key to helping companies create a more creative and innovative working environment, which is why one of our main product offerings is a Diversity 3.0 workshop which gets participants behind the business case for D&I, looks at what their unconscious biases might be and finally moves into action.

Alongside D&I training and Leadership Programmes, we offer Mentoring training, Conflict Resolution workshops and a D&I audit – this product offering has been designed to help businesses provide a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

My biggest take out of the report launch was that there is hope; to quote the founders “if every leader across the communications industry implemented the recommendations of the report, we would build a better communications industry” – I believe collectively, we are on the way to making this happen.

To read the full findings of the Great British Diversity Experiment, click here.

For more information on The Hobbs Consultancy’s products and services, email Emily@thehobbsconsultancy.com