The following is a transcription of Voice of Bold Business Radio Program 60: Compassion and Self Care

Program Notes Can be Found Here.

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Transcript of Program 60 – Compassion and Self Care

Jessica: Welcome to The Voice of Bold Business Radio. I am your host Jessica Dewell of Red Direction. You are listening to ‘Compassion and Self Care’. On this program today we’re really exploring compassion, we’re really exploring self-care, and we cover a lot of ground in the little bit of time that we have together. Yet, they’re starting points for additional discussion. They’re starting points to look at ourselves and work on ourselves. They’re starting points to be able to notice what goes on with other people in the world around us that we care about that we are interested in their genuine happiness and effortlessness to go through life and get what they need from the easy and the difficult situations.

I asked this panel today; What would you say to someone you deeply care about who is struggling with the same issue that you are? From there… we dug in. Not only did we dig in to the answers that they gave, they also talked about the actions that they take. We talked a little bit about the differences between men and women. We also talked about that first. What do we do, and how do we know when we’re not doing that anymore so that we can become more present. Before we jump in to the conversation I’m going to introduce you to each of our panel members today.

First is Donna Daniell. She is a therapist and coach serving women in transitions throughout their life.

Amanda Brazel is a Rodan & Fields Executive skincare consultant and part of a billion dollar company.

Tom Rhodes spent more than forty years in sales and store multi-unit leadership across retail storefronts.

Enjoy the show.

Announcer (amid background music): Welcome to The Voice of Bold Business, the show that provides everything smart leaders need to evaluate situations, build relationships, and create solutions. Jessica Dewell candidly talks about the skills necessary to build tenacity, and do more with less. And now, here’s Jessica:

Jessica: Hey Donna, what would you say to someone you deeply care about who is struggling with the same issue that you are?

Donna: I’m a coach for women in major midlife transition. I’ve set myself up to work with women who are experiencing a lot of the same sensations, feelings, struggles that I’ve had throughout my life. Which is one of the reasons I’m really good at what I do. I’ve had to work really hard to learn how to process and be with my own feelings in an accepting and compassionate way so that I can help other people do that. Because that’s the only way you can really heal is to bring compassion and allow your feelings to process. What I’ve learned to do is what’s called compassionate listening, because it’s really difficult to listen to somebody when they are in a lot of pain and suffering. You have what’s called resonance, and you pick up all their pain, and it goes right into you, and it’s really hard to stay with all that intensity so you immediately want to help fix them and that is not what people need. What I’ve learned to do is work with my own pain around and bringing compassion to myself so that I can notice what’s happening to me and be with that myself with compassion at the same time that I’m opening up to hearing where that other person is. So I offer space for their feelings, and I check in with myself at the same time and I try to allow them to bring some loving compassion to their own feelings. Which is the hardest part, because they’re so scared of them and they want to push them away. So it’s just this quiet sweet little nudging with compassion to give them some kindness so they can feel that so they can be with what’s going on for them.

Jessica: Tom, how would you answer this question? What would you say to someone you deeply care about who is struggling with the same issue that you are?

Tom: I think the key is listening. The worst thing you can do for someone is to try and interject your story in to their situation. Because as close as they may they are not the same, because you are not the same people. It’s really important that the first thing you do is just listen. If they invite you in to it with a question or ask how you would handle this, or that type of thing, then you might want to interject some of your experiences and how you handle those situations and kind of what helped you get through it. You want to mention self-awareness, self-care, however you want to put it. This is an internal thing. You have to tell your own story. You have to be able to adjust your story yourself. I think compassion is all ears. It’s all ears. Maybe it’s taking… depending on your relationship with the person, you may hold their hand, you may just put your hand on their shoulder, whatever the case may be. Our role is to make sure it’s not about us, it’s about them, and how do we make sure they are comfortable with that, how they can let that out. I guess if I was relating it to other things, like in my business, we have a lot of angry customers. What do you do with angry customers? You let them talk. Let them talk until they’re done. When they’re done, maybe you can find a solution. For someone that you’re listening to who’s struggling, you have to let them talk. Once they’re done, they’ve got things out or they’ve gotten to a level, then you can ask questions and you can try and nudge them towards helping themselves find a solution. Because ultimately it’s about them finding the solution, not you.

Jessica: Amanda, I want to know, what would you say to someone you deeply care about that was struggling with the same issue that you are?

Amanda: If someone were experiencing the same situation that I’m in and feeling the same way that I’m feeling, I would approach it with a suggestion and a nudge of giving themselves more self-love. I think self-love is such a key and just radical acceptance of oneself. Where they are right now in their journey is just huge. It’s just really huge. In the business that I’m in, I did a little research and heard people say that the reasons that they don’t give themselves self-compassion or self-care is because of time, money, depression, a lack of self-worth. It all kind of stems from a place of self-love and acceptance and once you can really give that to yourself and really truly love yourself for who you are, where you are, that’s when you are able to start making those changes. They may come in baby steps, not big steps, but you’re able to start making those changes. That’s what I would really kind of talk about with someone is self-love. As well as doing a lot of listening.

Jessica: Really what you guys are talking about is; How do I show up and what can I do as I’m showing up? One of the things was to listen, which both Tom and Donna talked about. Amanda, you went with this experience of; what does self-love help with?

Let’s talk about what we do. I want to know from you guys, what do you guys do to practice self-compassion and self-love?

Donna: It’s the whole concept of self-care. Taking responsibility for you and your own happiness and doing your work and figuring out what is going on with you and what you need to do to clear out whatever is there for you so that you can be more in a place of happiness and success in your life. That really means learning these tools of being with yourself when you’re in a really deep place. Self-compassion is giving yourself kindness when you are suffering.  When we are suffering, can we bring in that self-love and can we allow ourselves to be in that painful place without trying to shut it down, and if we’re hearing somebody else who is in that place without us needing to fix them. That is so uncompassionate, because then people don’t feel met. They feel shut down. So can we do that to ourselves, and how do we create that opening up our heart to ourselves and accepting whatever is happening. It really takes practice.

Tom: I think one of the challenges to all that is that you don’t let people tell you that you’re being selfish when you’re trying to take care of yourself.

Donna: Correct.

Tom: That’s hard to do sometimes, but you have to do it. You know, there have been some times that if I didn’t sit down and look myself in the mirror and say ‘hey, you’ve got to get yourself together here, and you’re worth this. You have to work on you for a while’, then things could have gone in a definitely different direction than they have. You mentioned time. I don’t know how you can’t make time to do it. You have to find time for yourself in order to be any good for anybody else. I could never be great for my children if I don’t take care of myself. I could never be great for my mom if I can’t take care of myself. Whatever the case may be. You have to believe in yourself, and love yourself, and be comfortable with the story you’re telling about yourself before you can ever help anybody else.

Jessica: What would you add to that Amanda?

Amanda: We can’t fix another person, or try to fix another person. We can be a good example. We can lead by example with our own experiences. Show people the way by being that in the world. That’s something that I really feel when it comes to self-love. For me, I’ve definitely struggled with depression, so I can relate to a lot of my clients that have mentioned that. I’m actually coming out of two years of being very unhealthy and having some hormonal issues that I needed surgery for, and I was in a very deep dark depression. Self-love was definitely gone from my life. I’m very lucky to have come out to the other side of that and feeling great, but some of the ways that I’ve taught myself to be more loving to myself is kind of… not making it so serious, and kind of joking around a little bit about it, and just relaxing… just relaxing about what’s going on. That’s really been helpful for me in creating more self-love.

Tom: Both of you work primarily with women, correct?

Amanda and Donna: Yes, primarily with women.

Tom: I don’t know how much you’ve worked with men, but do you find that for me it’s more difficult to have those conversations because it goes against the ‘manly’ thing per se? You know you’re supposed to be tough, you’re supposed to be strong. If we’re really honest about it, you know, we’re not really any tougher or stronger than anybody else, we just have to try and make it look that way. Honestly, I found that we fight the same battles. I think we internalize them more because society kind of says we’re supposed to. For me, the big thing was, I just had to sit down with myself one day and say I was worth this, and I needed to work at it.

Then, as I’ve learned to kind of get myself through… and I’ve fallen, I slide back at times too like everybody does. This type of program, for me is part of that. I try to give back whatever my experiences were. Business-wise, life-wise, whatever the case may be. It’s somewhat, for me, therapy in a way, because I’m able to talk about it, and hear other people’s ideas, and see that hey, you know what, I’m just a human like everybody else and it’s okay.

Jessica: I would like to step aside from the sameness that men and women have, and I would like to look at the differences here. Because there are physiological differences, different reactions, different societal expectations that exist. Even though we can be equal and we can do the same jobs and we have the ability to take care of families equally and show up in the workplace equally, there are still differences that when we don’t acknowledge, I think makes it harder to think about self-compassion.

Amanda:  I don’t know if you’ve heard of ‘Date with Destiny’ with Tony Robbins. I’ve been twice. The first time I went, I went alone, and was absolutely blown away. I didn’t know what I was getting myself in to. It was my first event going there, of Tony’s, and a big big huge topic was the differences between men and women, and what men’s needs were and women’s needs were. The second time I went back, I went with my husband, and it was very fascinating, because when we first got there, he was completely shut off. He didn’t want any part of this. It took him until the third or fourth day before he really started to kind of open up to the reality that he was living in a place of suffering. He wasn’t acknowledging his feelings, and he wasn’t acknowledging his masculinity, and he was trying to make me happy all the time and not fulfilling his own needs. I wasn’t fulfilling his needs as a spouse and he wasn’t fulfilling my needs as a spouse either.  What we have learned to do is really come together and meet each other at the same place and really find out more about each other and what we needed, and then give that to each other. His needs were completely different than my needs. Completely different.

I needed more presence. I needed him to look me in the eye and really give me his full presence and be there with me and feel my feelings. And he needed freedom. He needed to kind of like go off on his own and be away from it all for a while and be able to then come back and then be able to talk about it. He needed to process things. He processes it differently. I think there’s tremendous differences in what our needs are and I know there’s exceptions to every rule, so I don’t want to just make a blanket statement. I think there are many differences in our culture, in our society, and men do need something different.

Jessica: When we come back, we are going to hear from Tom. I want to take a short break and say, you are listening to The Voice of Bold Business Radio. This is the program titled ‘Compassion and Self Care’. Take it away Tom.

Tom: Okay. You know, I think that’s really interesting. I was blessed. I have a fantastic role model in my father in the way he not only showed compassion to his children, but to people in general. There’s a phrase that goes around and follow a lot… you know, you matter. My Dad, the way he treated people was like they mattered. He didn’t necessarily like everybody. Nobody likes everybody. Nobody necessarily wants to be around every single person. But when he was with a person, he was present, and he gave them respect, and he showed them that their time was important. He made them feel like they were important. So I had that as a role model as I grew up. Now, I’m 100% with you. The role models most men have right now are terrible for the most part. You see it in society all the time. How many fathers walk out of their kids’ lives? How many fathers think that power is the only way to everything. I happen to have two sisters who are very strong. Way back in the day, years ago, at the same time, they’re very compassionate with their children, and they’re very compassionate with their siblings and they very bring out that, I guess you would call it feminine side. Although, I think that we all have a mix and I think it’s just important we have to find it and what we’re comfortable with and how we’re comfortable in society.

Amanda: We both have that duality. A man has a feminine side and a masculine side, and a woman has a masculine and a feminine side. Which one’s running the show? And can you go in to them easily and back and forth and have balance with them?

Tom: I think men may fight that more than women do. I think being compassionate is more natural for a woman, it seems to me. For some reason, society has set it up that men aren’t supposed to be compassionate. They’re supposed to be strong and never cry. That’s a bunch of garbage.

Jessica: Which is interesting, because if you look at for example, I’m thinking about my Mom. She grew up in the time where she wore men’s clothes to work to fit in. So she stepped in to that masculine energy, and it changed that type of natural compassion that was portrayed. Here nor there, it doesn’t matter, looking back, I just noticed that, and I think oh, if I have to be in the place that I spend most of my time, masculine to fit in, to be heard, to be understood, to be accepted… and I come home, can I switch back and bring in more of that feminine quality. There is something to be said, I’m sure some people can do it. I don’t know what she thought about it. We’ve never had that conversation. I think about it and if we put ourselves in a situation where we have to be controlling and we have to be dominant… and I say have to… we choose. We choose these things consciously or unconsciously, that’s one of those things that I think we start to get in our own way a little bit. It’s pretty amazing, and it’s easy to look outside. This comes in to another part of our society today. It’s easy to look outside and go, ‘it’s because of my Mom. It’s because of my Dad. It’s because of this. It’s because of that.’ I think those are pretty big cop-outs. Not only do we give away our personal power, we’re giving away our happiness to somebody else.

How do you practice self-love? What are the things that can be done, that can be modeled in the actions? Like, for example, I know Amanda and I, we were talking about, when she and I were talking about would she be part of this panel, I was like, the routines that we give ourselves are so important. What is the one routine that you do that you feel more energy and more fulfilled because you spend time doing it than anything else in your day?

Amanda: I know this may sound extremely silly… but it is my skincare routine. What I love the most about my day, I have a skincare routine in the morning, and I have a skincare routine at night. I never took the time for myself to do that little bit. It doesn’t take very long, but it’s just something I do to nurture myself, take care of my skin. It’s a few moments for me to just be with myself, or be with my daughter. My daughter is now kind of coming in and saying, ‘ooh mommy what’s that? Can I use a little of that on my skin?’ Kind of modeling it. Not in a superficial kind of way but in a way that just nourishes myself. That has been one of the big routines that I’ve added in to my life that I absolutely love.

Donna: I’m in the empty nester age category, and I have a house to myself at this point, so I’ve set aside a meditation yoga room.

Amanda: Oh wow.

Donna: Every morning I walk in to my meditation yoga room and either yoga or meditation or both before I even walk my dog. Some days I have to walk her first. It’s such a pleasure to know that I have that time and space for myself. I light a candle, I do journaling. I’ve never had this time, this kind of spaciousness in my life before. It’s so luxurious for me know. I would just say that any kind of a practice that you do that’s just for you is the way you begin to build that self-love. That time that you are making for yourself, showing that you are important and it’s about you, and you’re filling yourself up with love and giving yourself what you need to go through your day and be the best that you can be.

Tom: For me it’s basically my walking and exercise routine. It gives me that time that I can work on myself physically, but it also gives me that time, especially when I walk, that I’m just thinking. I’m not necessarily a big listener to the radio or music because I think that takes me away from my ability to kind of talk to myself. It’s a stigma about talking to yourself. But I think if you don’t talk to yourself some, you’re making a big mistake, because you’re the only one with the answers, so you better ask yourself some questions.

Jessica: There are two things that I do, and they’re first thing in the morning. It is to stay in bed until my whole body breathes. Then the second thing is actually making my bed. (She laughs)  It takes like two seconds, but you know I feel so good when it’s done. It’s like, if nothing else gets done today, I have done a thing to its completion.

There are times when what I used to do, I began to multitask during this time that I had set aside for myself. I started thinking about my to-do list. I started actually doing two things at once, right, like at one point in time, it was brushing my teeth. But then I was picking out clothes while I brush my teeth and I’m like, well this isn’t fulfilling anymore, and you look back at yourself and it’s like you’re right, you’re not looking at yourself and being present with yourself as you’re brushing your teeth. Same with walking. At one point it was walking. Then I started to listen to podcasts, thinking I would get excited and it would generate these ideas. Sure enough, mm-hmm, that’s not what it did. It was ‘ooh I like that, I have to learn more about that, how cool is that?’ It was no longer about me and the thinking time. That’s how I notice. I notice when I’m not being fulfilled anymore, before I get cranky, or have an emotional state change, or show up in a different way for people, that’s how I notice. I can tell. Where I’m multitasking is usually where I have drains of energy and I won’t be as present. Is it the same of different for you guys?

Donna: You’re describing multitasking and keeping your mind continuing to process. What we call the mode of constantly autopilot. Your mind is looking out at what’s next and what’s next. Those of us in the mindfulness field that teach mindfulness, that’s a really stressful constant process. So what really is best is when you take that time for yourself that you stop and do one thing, which is be present with yourself in the moment and just notice. Notice that your mind wants to go somewhere else and just bring yourself back. Training ourselves to do that takes us out of the fight-flight constantly being doing, doing, doing, and in to a being. Which is what we really need to settle and be in our bodies and feel our hearts.

Tom: You know, I think we’ve gone through a period in society over the last I don’t know, decade or so, where we think that faster is better always. Faster is not better always. Try to get away from multitasking, away from doing more than one thing at a time. If I’m trying to do three or four things at a time and I’m not really paying attention to any of them, so I’m probably not good at any of it, so I need to focus on the one thing that I need to accomplish at that point in time. Whether it’s just listening to kids, or watching the softball game or being on a show or whatever the case may be. I just think that we’re trying to do too much. The first part of self-care is to stop trying to do so much. Find what you’re good at and work on that. But you’ve got to have a life in there someplace. If you are working so much and doing so many things that you’re not living, then you’re not taking care of yourself.

Jessica: How does this ripple out in how we’re showing up when we take time to have this presence? How does that appear at work, and how does that appear in our communities?

Donna: I have an example. When you’re at a meeting, start the meeting with a pause or a breathing break or just a way of just everybody pausing and arriving. Setting some things that you do that bring you to presence and sharing them with the group and other places where you are so that people can begin to connect with that pausing and slowing down. I think that makes everything more productive and everybody more present.

Amanda: We go to a Quaker school, my kids. One of the things that they do is they start off with what they call “settling in”. It’s shared silence. They literally start this with the kids when they’re three years old, and it goes all the way up through high school. The length of time that they’re silent extends until about 15 minutes by the time they’re in high school. As a parent with young children, you’re able to share this time with them. We even settle in before conferences, before meeting, and gosh, there’s just such a powerful thing to just share silence with someone before you embark on what your plan is for the day or that moment that you’re going to share with that person. It just brings… I just have this calmness that comes over me and a settledness. I grew up in New York. Very fast paced. I also grew up in an abusive family, in abusive situations, so I am constantly in a mode of fight or flight, fight or flight, fight or flight. I have to really center myself and really calm myself down, and just take that deep breath. So for me, it’s just taking that deep breath and sharing that silence and then I’m able to be present for whatever it is I need to be present for. I think that’s how we share that with others in our community and in our families and in the world.

Tom: Wherever I’m going and whatever I’m going to do, because I don’t ever work out of my house, so I’m always going someplace, in that timeframe, that’s the time for me to kind of get myself prepared for whatever it is I’m gonna do. Driving to pick up my daughter, or whatever the case may be, that gives me that time to say, Ok, how do I need the rest of the day to go? Or what conversation do I need to have? How do I prepare myself? I guess maybe you might call it an elevator speech in some places. I use my car instead of an elevator. I’m getting myself prepared all the time for what the next part of my day is going to be like. Always with the understanding that that could change in a heartbeat because that’s the way the world is.

Jessica: Alright, I want to know, why is it bold? Yeah, I think why is a good question here. Or what makes it… what makes it bold, if you don’t like why questions… to take time for self-care and practice compassion?

Amanda: I think it’s bold because a lot of people are just not doing it. It’s a bold thing to do because people aren’t taking care of themselves, and they have numerous excuses of why, and they’re not making the choice to take care of themselves. So that’s why I think it’s a really bold thing to do in life… self-care is bold.

Donna: I think it’s survival. I think we don’t learn how to do this… this world is too fast paced. We are destroying ourselves, we’re destroying our culture, we have to learn these tools and we have to get our heart back in to our lives and slow down. I think that’s why I teach it, that’s why I believe this is the most important thing we can do is learn how to do this for ourselves and for our relationships, for everyone.

Tom: I agree 100%. Compassion and self-care, unfortunately I think, are on the path of common decency and common sense. On the way out the door. We need to find a way to get them back in the door. Until we do that, we’re going to have trouble as a society getting along with each other and actually finding a way forward, which right now we seriously need I think.

Jessica: You will find all of the program notes at www.voiceofboldbusiness.com/p60

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Being a leader today is hard. Not only do we lead in the sense of we have businesses and business problems and things that we do at work, we also work on ourself, and that’s really what this show is about is us personally and how we show up when we step into this role this role as leader. It’s your voice, it’s what your experiences are that add to this conversation and share and develop what it means to be a leader today. Remember, start with yourself, and some self-compassion.

Announcer – Subscribe at www.voiceofboldbusiness.com and get more information, program notes, and past episodes. Bold leaders approach each situation and focus on action to achieve a higher level of leadership. Jessica Dewell, your business advocate is the host of The Voice of Bold Business Radio. Thank you for joining us.