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June Flight Path: The courage of compassion

Newsletter, June 2023


This month’s Flight path takes inspiration from a book I recently read, The Courage of Compassion: A Journey from Judgment to Connection by Robin Steinberg.


I discovered Steinberg when she was interview by Simon Sinek’s on his A bit of Optimism podcast, which lead me to buy her book. I have been deeply reflecting on how to challenge my own preconceptions and actively contribute to dismantling social barriers.


In this edition, we delve into the insights of "The Courage of Compassion" and explore how we can apply it to leadership. 

Compassion derives from the Latin term "compati," which directly translates to "to suffer with." It surpasses mere empathy and care, encompassing a deep yearning to alleviate the suffering of others and provide solace. Compassion reflects the profound desire to assist those in distress and offer them relief from their anguish.

The Courage of compassion

How would you like to be judged for the rest of your life by the worst thing you’ve ever done?

We all think we are compassionate but true compassion is not innate according to Robin Steinberg. Compassion for others, especially those that we don’t know or understand, must be learned. The Courage of Compassion is beautifully written and explores the power of empathy and compassion in overcoming prejudice and fostering genuine human connection.


Drawing from her personal experiences and extensive work as a social justice advocate, Steinberg presents a compelling narrative that challenges us to confront our own biases and judgments.


The book is thought-provoking, delving into the complexities of human relationships and the impact of systemic inequality. Steinberg shares powerful stories of individuals who have experienced discrimination and injustice, emphasising the importance of understanding their unique perspectives. Through these stories, she highlights the transformative potential of compassion in bridging divides and building a more inclusive society.


Steinberg also offers practical strategies for cultivating compassion in everyday life which also applies to leadership such as self-reflection, suspending judgment, examining our own biases, and developing a deeper understanding of the experiences of others.


As leaders, we have a role to play in our collective efforts to create a world where empathy is the driving force behind social change and where connections are built on a foundation of understanding and respect. By cultivating compassion, leaders can inspire trust, build strong relationships, and create a sense of belonging within their teams.


The most underrated leadership skill

Otto Scharmer said the most underrated leadership skill today is listening. In a world filled with noise and distractions, leaders who truly listen stand out and make a profound impact.


To become a more compassionate and connected leader, we must move from listening from the centre of our own prism (what I already know) to listen with an open mind (factual listening), open heart (empathic listening or from the place where there other person is speaking from) and open will (generative listening, the highest level of listening and connecting to the source of who we want to be). This is based on Scharmer’s 4 levels of listening. You can learn more in this short video.



Generative listening, the highest level of listening according to Scharmer, transcends the present moment and taps into a future possibility. It involves connecting with the source of inspiration and creativity, listening for emerging ideas, and envisioning a shared purpose.


Generative listening enables leaders to tap into their intuition to become facilitators of dialogue and catalysts for genuine connection and growth. it is about embodying the practice of holding space for others, creating an environment where diverse perspectives can be heard, valued, and integrated. You can learn more about generative listening in this short video.


What I am listening to 🎧

A bit of Optimism with Simon Sinek: The Courage of Compassion with Robin Steinberg. If finding time to read The Courage of Compassion is challenging, you can also listen to it on Audible or gain valuable insights from this engaging conversation with Simon Sinek in Episode 79


What I am reading 📖

This is a thought provoking journal article ‘Liminality: Change Starts Within’ authored by my colleague Vivianna Rodriguez Carreon Ph.D from the Australia IDG Hub explores the concept of liminal space and its profound impact on personal and collective transformation.


While our natural inclination as humans is to avoid discomfort and the unknown, it is necessary for leaders striving to foster greater connectivity and compassion to embrace liminality. The article emphasises the need for a collective inner shift towards human evolution in wisdom to address the complex challenges faced by societies.


Quote I'm pondering 💬

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Albert Einstein


I hope this was helpful and sparked some insights. I would love to hear your thoughts! 


If you've been enjoying these emails, please forward this to a friend and encourage them to sign up for my monthly newsletter here. Thanks so much!


Warmly, 

Cherry


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