10 Personal Leadership Tips on How to Be Unconditionally Compassionate

personal leadership compassion


“One of those blessings was each day, I had the opportunity to get better and better at being unconditionally compassionate.’

I’ve learned, when the purpose and meaningfulness are large enough – our compassion doesn’t need boundaries of a clock – nor of personal energy tank levels.  When the meaningfulness and love are there; empathy and compassion flows freely.

I used to believe it was very difficult to attempt to give empathy if my self-empathy was low or depleted and while there is still truth in that statement, what I also believe is that unconditional compassion is possible when you are “filled with love”.  I have found that LOVE topped my empathy tank instantly, and my level of personal presence soared.

Even in the face of what previously might have been overwhelmingly unfaceable stuff, I now believe it’s possible to be compassionate without limits.

Here are 10 tips to help you leverage love to get better at being unconditionally compassionate:

  1. Listen to Love and Express with Love.   The voice of love is a calm and soothing voice.  It’s not the hurtful things people might when they are hurting.  It’s not the judgements or criticisms that may come towards you.   Key – is to validate your wholeness rather than looking outside yourself for validation of the magnificent being you are. When you express with Love, you say everything that needs to be said from Love.  People need to hear your love – feeling it is one thing – expressing it is equally important.  And I found they just might need to hear what you have to say.  Even if it’s something simple as “It’s OK to go, Dad, we’ll be OK”.
  2. Allow instead of control.  When you allow options and choices to flow with ease, things flow.  “Love going with the flow”. It leaves you in the most flexible position to be able to respond to what you witness.
  3. Self-manage.   Feel your emotions and at the same time you do it for yourself you have the opportunity to help the other to self-manage too.  The better the energy of the emotions can flow – the more intimacy and authenticity gets to be present between you and another.
  4. Jettison any judgements you may find yourself collecting.  Judgement is just another way of separating yourself from Awareness and Truth.  Remember we are ONE.
  5. Pity nothing.  Pitying puts you on a different level than the one you are serving.  Learn to love seeing yourself as one with them.
  6. Serve instead of manage.  Serving takes into account the wishes, hopes, capacity and needs of the other.  Managing implies you need to control behaviours to reach an intended outcome.   Sometimes being in service is the gift you give.
  7. Have a cause yet don’t get crippled by it.  When a loved cause becomes a burden – compassion suffers.  It takes a light connection to a cause to be able to embrace it fully & continually.
  8. Forgive.  Forgive them and yourself.  Everyone does the very best they can with what resourcefulness they have at any given moment. See them with LOVE.
  9. Laugh lots. Laughter helps keep things light.  Even the densest of situations can be lightened up with a little congruent laughter.
  10. Stay in the present moment.  Letting your mind drift to the past or to what might be coming next can either get you lost in stories or worry.   Remember fear can’t live in the present moment.


This article was a result of my time giving at-home-complex-palliative care for my 82-year-old father who had end-stage bone cancer.

Dad had a terrible time of it – and while that was true, it was also true there were many blessings and a legacy of love that came from sharing this experience with him.

Note:Dad I’ve written these 10 tips in the context of caregiving – yet believe they can be universally useful.   Test them out.   Identify a scenario where you feel you could be better at being unconditionally compassionate – and see if you feel these tips are helpful.

Have additional tips? Leave a comment to share.

Looking for another perspective of compassion?  Have a listen in on Joan Hyatt’s TED talk on compassion and empathy – It is moving and so accurate a description: http://www.ted.com/talks/joan_halifax.html

Self Awareness Leadership – 7 Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Self awareness leadership is about identifying where you would like to do better.  One place to focus, is on how to be a better listener.  Great listening is often a precursor to great leading.

Be a Better ListenerA key component of self awareness in leadership is recognizing when you are able to hear the nuances of an other’s communication.  When you understand better – you are able to serve better.

Understanding someone’s underlying needs and values,  and then being able to best meet those needs in servant leadership – can be one of those great gifts we can give to another.

Yet, it’s not just about listening more and talking less.

Here are 7 tips on how to be a better listener:

1. Listen to yourself first.   Is there something you need to clear or take care of so that you can be a great listener? If you are exhausted or have your own stuff going on; sometimes the best form of self management is to admit it’s not the best time for you to listen. Take the time to clear things for yourself first, so that you can be an empty vessel for the other person’s expression.

If your vessel is already full;  it’s really hard to give empathy to another when you haven’t yet given it to yourself.

2. Be really present.  If you find you are crafting your response “BEFORE” the other person is finished speaking; it’s a sign that you are not being 100% present with them.   It’s easy to forget that we can think a lot faster than we can talk.  Realizing we still have plenty of time to create a response “after” they have completed their expression, is key.

Being 100% in your personal presence also allows you to listen more from non-judgmental awareness. You can then understand the other person rather than to achieve either agreement from or change in that person.

3. Use Verbal cues to demonstrate you are listening.  The words and the vocal tone you use to express yourself, can show the other with a verbal acknowledgement you are both hearing and understanding their communication.   It’s very common for some folks to have a “need” to be heard.

Demonstrating that you do indeed hear them – can be a wonderful gift.  You can use such verbal cues such as expressing empathy, re-stating the essence of what you heard, or helping the other person  to expand their own thinking.

4. Use non-verbal cues to demonstrate you are listening. Subtle body language like “leaning in” can be very soothing to the person you are listening to.  This kind of body geography also gives you greater access to your own feeling senses as well.

5. Listen to more than just the words.  Listen for meaning , values and needs.  When you get to really understand the intention for their communication as well as their possible desires for fulfilment – it then gives you lots of opportunity to recognize how you can be of service.

When you understand what is truly important to someone – it’s a lot easier to serve with effectiveness and compassion.

6. Support the others’ self expression. The best way to support an other’s self expression is to listen as if you where in their shoes.  When you take an empathetic stance– you gain a desire to follow their path instead of projecting your own feelings and ideas onto the other person.  It allows you to be open and non protective, so that you can more easily focus on the other person.

It also provides the opportunity to imagine the perspectives and experiences of the other person; rather than just assuming they are the same as your own.

7. Use silence effectively. Allowing someone to vent or clear with their expression can often give the other the space to move forward with greater certainty  faster than if you had filled the space with words.  Using exercises, like a mindful listening exercise is a great way to practice silence while listening to different levels of communication.

Listen for people to say to you, “I loved our conversation”  when you become a better listener.

What additional tips do you have to help someone learn how to listen better?

Here is a link a great exercise from Kevin Eikenberry from http://blog.kevineikenberry.com   on how to take a listening tour