Be Productive While Finding Deeply Meaningful Success

Mental Health Brief #30
Milisa Burns, LLB & Certified Professional Coach

Be Productive While Finding Deeply Meaningful Success

I have something important to share with you that may seem counterintuitive. Many high achievers tend to think that the best way to accomplish things is to drive through, work really hard and throw in a good dose of self-criticism and judgment along the way. Sure that’s one approach, and I used to think that way too, until recently. But there are big drawbacks to it, such as burnout, insecurity, frayed relationships and so on.

But research shows that people who are more self-compassionate are more productive and more likely to reach their potential. And they are feeling better about themselves and others along the way. Doesn’t this sound like a much more enjoyable journey – one that is productive and leads to deeply meaningful success?

Much of the research I am referring to is in Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, by Kristin Neff.  

Here’s a definition of self-compassion, from Kristin Neff. It has three-core components:

  • Self-kindness – we are gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical or judgmental
  • Common humanity – we allow ourselves to feel connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering
  • Mindfulness – we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it

We must achieve and combine these three elements in order to be truly self-compassionate.  (p. 41)

In a deeply personal and very practical way, Kristin Neff walks us through these components and shows us how we can make them work for us.  

Here’s one action you could now take: try one of Kristin Neff’s free self-compassion practices. There is one called “self-compassion break” that is only five minutes long, for example. (Do also read her short tips for practice piece as well. I know that makes it two actions – consider this a sub-action!).  

The Opening Remarks mental health briefs provide Ontario lawyers with wellness tips and resources from a variety of individuals speaking in their own capacity. The briefs are not a substitute for professional care. If you are in crisis, we encourage you to urgently contact a mental health service provider.