Maybe in the last few years, I had been just lucky… many of my speaking proposals had been accepted for major and local conferences. I am going to be a bit vulnerable here and admit that four of my proposals to major conferences in the past month and a half have been declined. Now, maybe it is my negativity bias kicking in (see last 2022 blog post for other types of bias) weighing in negative events more than positive ones. Whatever it is, it is my choice on how to respond.
This leads me to our blog topic of Leadership and Love. Now, we are not talking about the romantic type of love in this leadership blog (I’d suggest keeping that type out of the workplace!). Instead, we will be looking at leaders who practice self-love and self-compassion.
Self-love is defined as “regard for one's own well-being and happiness.” Leaders that exhibit self-love are able to bounce back from setbacks, stay motivated and display confidence. Because they are confident in themselves, they are also able to take time to listen to others and gain different perspectives. This can build a healthy culture of respect and empathy within an organization.
Self-compassion means being forgiving of your errors and not feeling the need to be defensive when you are wrong. Studies from Harvard Business Review and other sources have shown that leaders with self-compassion have increased well-being, optimism and happiness, and less anxiety and depression. Leaders with self-compassion make great role models for others.
So what can you (and I) do to practice self-love and self-compassion?
1. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and see them as opportunities to learn
2. Reward yourself for “small wins” or little accomplishments along the way to keep your motivation high
3. Practice positive self-talk – speak to yourself like you would a friend
4. Set balanced healthy boundaries around yourself and your priorities
I believe in practicing these principles. Even when things seem not to be going your way, there are always lessons to be learned – and ways to adapt.
After writing a draft of this blog post, I received great news. I was accepted to speak at the Iowa Association of Community Providers (IACP) conference. I have taken what I learned from being rejected and really tried to tailor proposals to what audiences need and want in a speaker – it worked.
Reflection Question – How can I model self-love and self-compassion and learn from the rejection I have faced?
Next Topic: Destructive versus Constructive Conflict