Compassion causes a ripple effect. Jonathan Haidt at New York University calls the heightened state of well-being that happens after seeing someone helping another person "elevation." Not only are we elevated when we see compassion in action, we are more apt to act compassionately toward someone else.
For example, there is a high incidence of burnout and stress in the healthcare field, which is detrimental to patients, staff, and medical providers. A growing body of research has correlated provider burnout to a decrease in compassion for patients.
What happens when compassion levels are restored or elevated? A research study led by Emma M. Seppala, published in 2014 in the Journal of Compassionate Health Care, investigated the effectiveness of a brief session of loving-kindness meditation, practiced for just 10 minutes by medical providers. The findings reported that a brief "compassion intervention," which can be easily implemented and improves well-being and feelings of connection, increased overall job performance and satisfaction in a short period of time, even in beginner meditators.
Innate Need to Be Connected to Others
Our innate desire and need to bond with others, to be connected, is a driving biological force that motivates our actions, reactions, and decision making. It is not surprising that when the connection through compassion is threatened or taken away, we respond in emotionally undesirable ways toward others and ourselves. Our perceptions about what we are doing are skewed toward feelings of meaninglessness instead of empowerment and purpose. Restoring the connectivity at work through teaching employees, colleagues, clients, and customers to feel compassion in business increases satisfaction and loyalty.
Care and compassion cannot be faked. Kindness, especially in the form of compassion, is contagious, so when we are communicating our own connectivity, it catches on and spreads like wildfire.
Showing Compassion by Easing Someone's Tension
I was talking to Tony Wilkins, one of the premiere authorities on connecting people of influence to one another, about how kindness, compassion in particular, can be shown anywhere and everywhere.
We have all seen the person in the room who looks like he doesn't know anyone, and we have all been in that awkward predicament. Even though Tony now has a popular Internet radio show, Small Business Forum Radio, that reaches more than 200,000 business owners globally and is one of the top business shows on the network, he remembers the time when he didn't know a soul and his insecurity made him question his ambition.
It is probably because Tony has been there himself as the reason why he developed his workshops not only to educate business leaders on a better way to connect, but to offer valuable and available resources for building powerful business connections. Tony is the author of several books and is also the publisher of Small Business Forum magazine, Foodie Quarterly, and Podium magazine and speaker’s directory. In addition, he has launched a very successful booking service for authors and speakers and is the creator of the annual Small Business Empowerment Conference and the Women of Influence Summit. And even with a resumé as accomplished as his, Tony partly credits his wild success to the compassion of his friend J.P. Leddy.
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For this book, Tony wrote a heartfelt email message of appreciation for Mr. Leddy:
Every now and then you meet someone in your business life who exemplifies what it means to be kind. For me, it was meeting my buddy J.P. Leddy, who was the most recent president of the Gold Gate Business Alliance (GGBA), which is the oldest professional LGBT network in the world. I don't really remember how we met, but I'm sure it was at a networking function where I was this shy and introverted business owner, fresh off the plane from Chicago.
This was more than 20 years ago, when networking was still new to me and like anyone that's put into a new and unfamiliar situation, I was nervous and apprehensive. Back then I was still considered a B2B telemarketing consultant and wannabe author. I remember that no one that I met up until that point had any use for who I was or what I did, until they needed help with telemarketing. I'm sure (although I don't remember) that I made my way to the nearest bar at the event, holding on for dear life to my glass, occasionally making small talk with the uninterested bartender. As I said, I was racked with insecurities. Would anyone talk to me? Should I approach them? Would they reject me?
At some point, I was approached by J.P., who I'm sure graciously extended his hand and asked me numerous questions about my work and the reason for my being there and if I knew anyone at the event. He took me around and introduced me to many people at the function, making sure that I did not to leave without meeting some of the more influential members of the group. We became friends after that.
When I launched my now very successful Internet radio show in 2011, he was one of the very few people who not only encouraged me but chastised naysayers (in my presence). When I launched my three magazines and speaking practice, J.P. was the one who made sure I was someone worth meeting at events. When I launched my Small Business Spirit Awards in 2015, J.P. was one of the many recipients. In 2016, just in his 50s, J.P. Leddy died of natural causes. What I remember and will always remember was his random acts of kindness to make sure that everyone and anyone who came into his circle felt welcome. Rest in peace, my friend.
We are naturally geared for compassion, to share and bond and ease the pain and stress of others. There is room in business for compassion and you do not need to go to great lengths to begin spotting the opportunities for that type of connection.
©2017 by Jill Lublin. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, The Career Press.
1-800-CAREER-1 or (201) 848-0310. www.careerpress.com.
About the Author
Jill Lublin is an international speaker on the topics of radical influence, publicity, networking, kindness and referrals. She is the author of three best-selling books including Get Noticed...Get Referrals and co-author of Guerrilla Publicity and Networking Magic. Jill is CEO of a strategic consulting firm and has over 20 years experience working with over 100,000 people plus national and international media. She teaches Publicity Crash Courses as both live events and live webinars and consults and speaks all over the world. Visit her at JillLublin.com.