Welcome to Tales My Mother told me…
Tale Four: “Being Compassionate”
This week I would like to share with you what I’ve learnt and understood about being compassionate and how you can apply the act of compassion in life and in business.
I learnt compassion from my parents at an early age by observing what they did. Particularly with my mum, she is a compassionate woman who has done many good things for people around her. At the time I knew they always helped people whenever they could. At the time, I didn’t know what compassion meant anyway. I was only a kid.
I also recalled a situation when my mum had to make a hard decision to let two workers go. One was her nephew, which was my cousin and the other one was a top performance worker in the factory. At the time I was curious and asked my sister why cousin Jek was fighting with brother Chi and why was mum & dad had to make such a big decision to let them both go. My sister said “Don’t ask, this is grown up business. Go outside and play”. As a kid I was inquisitive and I still am… that won’t change!
As I grew older I finally asked mum about the incident. She had expressed such compassion by helping them that I couldn’t understand how they could have caused so much trouble in return, and how she could make the hard decision to terminate the employment of her own nephew and her best worker.
Here is what she said:
“My little one, it was a very hard decision for your dad and I to make at the time. We were very disappointed too. We had to let them go because both had done the wrong thing. They were always fighting with each other. Compassion is not just a concern for the welfare of others. It’s more like altruism; we all have a duty to provide something of value. Part of compassion is also to teach people from right and from wrong and also the responsibility and the consequences which come with it too. Also if you choose to help someone, do it without the recognition of giving. Don’t expect any benefits in returns. You do it because you want to and it was the right thing to do.”
So how do you act compassionately in the business world?
In life and business you may think that to be compassionate means that you need to be passive or weak and allow people to walk over you. This is not what is meant by compassion. The meaning of compassion is not a sign of weakness or being weak at all. It is the strength that shines out of seeing the true nature of suffering around you. You need to make a decision and take appropriate action too, like Mum had to let go of the two workers because they were damaging the team spirit and breaching the workplace policies.
Compassion is built from strength, which come from endurance and your business clarity. With strength, you overcome fear and it allows you to see the injustice without any hesitation. This is because you stand up for what is right for your people and for your business.
So when was the last time you have expressed compassion to someone?
What was it? And how did you feel?
Tune in next Friday for tale 5: “Find the inner calm in you..”
More Tales My Mother Told Me…