When business results are top-of-mind, putting heart into driving success is essential. According to research conducted at the University of Nebraska “positive emotions may enhance entrepreneurial creativity, including opportunity recognition.” This means that for successful entrepreneurs, positive emotions really do go to the heart of what matters. Independent business owners can use positive emotions to drive success through the daily practice of compassion. In my book, “Fearless Living: 8 Life-Changing Values for Breakthrough Success,” I identify the reasons why compassion brings about positive feelings, which in turn bring positive business results.
Compassion is not a business skill, it’s a way of life. We behave compassionately toward one another because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s going to make us more successful. But time and again, individuals and businesses discover that conducting themselves with compassion leads to improved results. What is compassion and what is its role in business? Compassion, as defined by the dictionary, is the sympathy and concern for the sufferings and misfortunes of others. At Princess House, compassion is one of our core values – we believe there’s always time to listen and care, and we frequently take action to relieve and help others.
But how does compassion lead to success?
On the very personal side, being compassionate can reduce the risk of heart disease by boosting the function of the Vagus Nerve, which helps slow the heart rate. It has also been shown to make people more resilient to stress and strengthen the immune response. This means you are better equipped to navigate projects with multiple deadlines or the frequent changes and adjustments needed in a new business start-up.
Improving health by showing compassion is a win-win. In addition, compassion for others equates to success in business through what I call the 5 Be’s:
- Be a Better Communicator: Doing good and being able to relate to people in a heartfelt manner enhances communication skills by helping you overcome fear in new business situations especially when working under challenging circumstances such as tough negotiations. It helps remind us that strangers may also have apprehensions and have difficulty forging new business relationships.
- Be a Better Collaborator: As auto making pioneer Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success.” Compassion plays a role in all of these stages of business development. Working together, teams can make amazing things happen.
- Be a Better Leader: The best leaders are those who have compassion. Being able to relate to others inspires respect. Having compassion means understanding what makes each person unique, and what they can bring to the table and most importantly allows you to adapt your style, words and influence to connect most effectively. Leading with respect and compassion gets everyone on board in a drive for results.
- Be a Better Spouse and Parent: It’s a fact – compassionate people are more optimistic and supportive when communicating with others, whether they are business colleagues or family members. Fulfillment and happiness at home translates to your working mindset and vice versa.
- Be a Better Citizen: Perhaps the most globally important part of putting heart into everything you do is creating a better world. It can also reap benefits in creating economic opportunities for oneself and others. Don’t just empathize, allow your compassion to lead you to take meaningful action.
Princess House’s owners, Ray and Michael Chambers, founded the MCJ Amelior Foundation to provide grants to improve public health all over the world. This same sense of compassion led Ray into the direct selling industry over two decades ago. He recognized that the opportunity to acquire Princess House would provide a platform to influence many lives by providing income-earning opportunities to those who might otherwise be limited by life circumstances. Their compassion led them to seek an enterprise that would teach “others to fish” and enabled them to overcome some of life’s challenges.
The lesson for business people is to keep an open mind about opening your heart to success in business. I’ve often had to remind people compassion is not: a lack of discipline; a sign of weakness; permission to forgo process and standards; or “making yourself weak.” Being motivated by compassion to give back to others can improve health and well-being, and it can also make a positive difference for business success. It’s good business practice when applied appropriately.