‘Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up’

Here’s the punchline of this post: self-compassion should be part of every entrepreneur’s arsenal.

You see, I today was emailing with a friend, who has a full life: family, work, a real estate project, a new business idea to boot. Unfortunately, this friend is spending very little time on “self-nurturing,” such as exercise and sleep.

You probably know that experience all too well yourself.

I think life can very much be like this. There’s a great deal to do, and often times, we cut corners to make it all work. Sometimes, the person who receives the least investment is our own selves.

I’ve been thinking about this because I recently read an interesting book, which a friend recommended.  It is Kristin Neff’s “Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up.”  The book started slow, but I have to say, I got a lot out of it.

The crux of the book is this: we are often more kind to our enemies than we are to ourselves. How many times have you screwed up something, and a little voice inside your voice has told you how “dumb” you are?  How many times do you beat yourself up for sleeping in late, missing an appointment, or missing some details?

I have to admit, I can be very harsh on myself when things don’t go perfectly. I thought it was a great way to motivate myself.  You know, harness that good ol’ Asian ninja power.

Unfortunately, this tactic may increase short-term productivity but at the expense of long-term health. There’s a lot of stress out there, and if you stress yourself out, it just gets worse.  Also, if you cannot be compassionate with yourself, you cannot be with others. That bad energy then spreads.

Now, self-compassion does not mean that you make excuses or lower the bar. It isn’t a pity party. Instead, when imperfection inevitably happens, you learn to let it go. You don’t let it eat at you and grind you up.

I write all this because entrepreneurship is very hard, as I’ve blogged before. As a VC, you often get calls from your founders and CEOs as they encounter some mean obstacles. Creating companies is hard work. And, I think self-compassion should be part of every entrepreneur’s tool kit.

Neff’s TED Talk is below if you’re interested in learning more about this (or you can click here).

Last, L’shana tova to all.  May the new Jewish New Year be filled for you with joy, peace…and self-compassion.

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