An Ode to Compassion (and 3 Ways It Can Help Your Biz)
By Baeth Davis, Your Prosperity Purpose Mentor
Baeth showing off the body paint work of the artist, Amir,
Venice, California, Dec. 2011
“Put your hands up.” In ancient palmistry lore, when someone shows you their hands, they have nothing to hide. What you see is what you see. It was also thought to be an offering of compassion from a spiritual leader to his or her community. (I was not thinking about any of this when the picture was being taken. I was thinking about how cool those Hebrew letters looked on my hand and chest.)
Compassion for myself is a strong aspect of my Life Lesson — emotional authenticity.Compassion for others is fairly easy (except when it’s not); I can see people struggling daily to find health, wealth and happiness as well as their passion, their purpose and their own peace of mind.
“Passion” means to suffer for what you love, “compassion” means to recognize that suffering in another.
While attending a dance workshop in Australia with my beloved teacher, Jo Cobbett, she asked the students to write about compassion. I share what I wrote with you today and then some ideas about how compassion might factor into your business.
“Compassion… is a lost wax method, requiring the hollowing out of the SELF to be filled with the sense, the implication, the knowledge of another, to have one’s outer shell chipped away, melted and reformed into something stronger, shinier, grander than what was.
Humility comes close sister to her brother, Compassion, which means “with passion.”
Compassion is not sycophantic nor is it always sweetness; compassion is the force of feeling – of wax melting away into liquid metal, the alchemical elixir of the Gods and Goddesses.
Compassion is the greatest of all healers, having total understanding for the depth of someone else’s unknown, as deep as my own, maybe much much much deeper.
So much that can’t be solved with words. More often, through the dance, wordless form moving through space, such love, such feeling, such force of gentleness. I see myself in another. And feel the other – unconditionally. And know that, for a moment, at least, there is the unity of energy matching energy, finding an even level, harmonizing. Delicious, exquisite one-ness. Known. With compassion.”
If you consider turning toward yourself and your business with compassion, what arises in you? Are you allowed to say “easy does it” and take a break? Have some fun? Remember the moment?
1. Compassion for … Change.
Perhaps what once worked no longer works. Every industry is changing due to a revolving door of technological innovation, staff restlessness and advances by competitors. (According toFast Company, three mobile phone companies dominated in 2005. Just six years later, those companies are out of play and the mobile phone industry is led by Samsung and Apple.)
Your business model doesn’t work. Then you find one that works. For a while. Until it doesn’t. And then you need to find another model, and another and another. This is the world we now live in. The industrial age bowed to efficiency but abhorred flexibility. Today you must be quick and nimble. Have compassion for yourself if you find all this change dizzying.
I suggest writing down the three things you are great at. And then ask how you might use technology to share your greatness with others. Brainstorm with a few business associates. Take it further.
2. Compassion for … Your Client.
Have you climbed inside the mind of your client? What is keeping them up at night? Money worries? Stress-related health issues? A chronic illness? An ailing parent? A challenging marriage? A special-needs child? A desire for something new, exciting and transforming to transcend the boredom that has overcome their life?
Choose ONE issue that many of your clients struggle with. How could you combine your three great talents, technology and their need for a novel solution?
Can you feel love and respect for your clients? Or do they wear you out? Do you always speak of them with esteem and regard? Do you strive to give them what they need – while still remembering yourself? Find out what they need – or even better - what they don’t even know they need but they truly want - and provide it to them!
3. Compassion for … Your Competition.
There is so much hype everywhere, who knows what to believe? And if you are struggling with finding your business model or giving your clients what they most desire, you may feel you are somehow flawed, stupid, slow, damaged, or just not getting it. And then you may feel pressured – ‘if I don’t adapt quickly enough, I’ll be left in the dust.’ (Remember, self-compassion first and always!)
Here are my thoughts on ‘competition.’ First of all, I do agree with Doreen Virtue: “There is no competition for your life purpose.” Only you can be you. There is only one of you. As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” The awareness of your fleeting magical presence on Earth ought to provide you with some relief. “Do You” to your best ability and call it good. If you didn’t do your best, well, do better tomorrow.
As for competition in the marketplace, it is real, it complicated and it can come and go. Sometimes, one business dominates an industry - Apple is having their run right now. Even if they last as long as the Roman Empire, it’s unlikely they will last ‘forever.’ Nothing does.
You may open your pond to too many fishermen and get fished out, being too generous granting access to anyone and everyone who requests your help. (Do you remember compassion to yourself first?!) If so, shore up your banking, and invite in new fish that you can feed with care and love. “Protecting your pond” is just smart business. If you do decide to let others in to fish, ask yourself:
1) is this opportunity good for my clients?;
2) is this opportunity good for my business?
If you don’t get a ‘yes’ to both, pass on the opportunity.
Most of all, remember yourself in all you do and have compassion for the person you are and are becoming. In this community of healers, artists, spiritual teachers and service-minded entrepreneurs, we are notorious (and not in a good way) for putting everyone – our partner, kids, friends, clients – in front of our own needs. The entrepreneurs I see flourishing have a much easier time saying the following:
“This is, ultimately, MY business. I will design this business first to suit my personality, values, and lifestyle preferences. I will deliver client experiences through my products, programs and services that delight me and leave the client feeling good, even ecstatic about their interaction with my company. I make sure that I ways do what is best for my own well being first, so I can serve others well. My company is profitable in a way that serves me, others and then the world.”
Your Purpose Mentor’s Challenge: Journal about your degree of compassion toward yourself first. Pick three areas in your life you feel ashamed of and ask what compassion could do to turn around your attitude. Then journal about how change, competition and your clients are affecting you, positively and negatively. What would compassion, mixed in with some curiosity, courage and creativity, do for your business today?