I had the pleasure of connecting with Lisa Forrest, who is speaking at the  Authentic Leadership Conference on November 30th in Sydney. 

At age 16, Lisa was the captain of the Australian swimming team at the 1980 Summer Olympics as well as winning
two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. Here is a short video where she shares her perspective on what authentic leadership means to her and what is the biggest lesson she has learnt in her career as an Olympian.

What struck me when listening to her perspective, was the importance of compassion in the workplace. Not just with our work colleagues but for ourselves.

Being so passionate about my work, I can sometimes forget the importance of having compassion on myself and relax a bit! It’s easy for me to work in the evenings and  weekends because there is “so much to do” and give myself a hard time when things don’t go to plan.

I’m now learning that to truly be compassionate with my stakeholders, I need to be compassionate to myself first. I need to remember to indulge in some “doing nothing” time during the week to truly balance out all the extra time I put in.  I need to remind myself that I’m doing the best I can and that fun time is equally important as work time. And most importantly, I need to learn from my mistakes rather than be too hard on myself for making them.

Becoming more aware of how I treat myself when the pressure is on, I’m able to better understand how hard it must be for my stakeholders to deal with the pressures they have. And as I  get better at accepting my mistakes, it helps me accept the mistakes of others and understand what they are going through.

With so much to do at work, what does it mean to be compassionate to yourself? Have you ever taken an hour off and went for a walk in the park? Do you have such high expectations of yourself that sometimes you struggle to meet them? And is your  expectations of your stakeholders based on the standards you have imposed on yourself or based on what they can do?