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Exploring Self-Compassion, with Véronique Péron
Episode 714th June 2022 • I'm Back! • Serena Savini
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Serena talks with Véronique Péron, Coach, Leadership Trainer, Founder & Host of Explore and Sense, about the importance of self-compassion, the role of leaders in welcoming back employees and the challenge of coming back to work every day.

You can find more about Véronique here:

Transcripts

Verorique:

So for me, for example, I started to be aware of that.

Verorique:

And when I start off, I'm saying this to myself, this is not nice.

Verorique:

I wouldn't treat myself.

Verorique:

I wouldn't say that to a friend.

Verorique:

So I noted, I accept that this has happened.

Verorique:

And then I decided, okay, what do I Do differently rather than just

Verorique:

brewed about it and think, oh my God, again, I've been so harsh with myself.

Verorique:

So I think self-compassion is really a key.

Verorique:

And it's something we have to cultivate and repeat over and

Verorique:

over to make that something a bit more natural with ourselves.

Serena:

Today we have Veronique Peron coach leadership trainer.

Serena:

Founder and the host of Explore & Sense, a project that is exploring the

Serena:

importance of emotional intelligence for leaders in our conversation.

Serena:

We are exploring again, the importance of self-compassion the role of the

Serena:

leader in welcoming back employees , how can we use our emotional intelligence?

Serena:

And now can we come back to work every day in the best way possible.

Serena:

Thank you so much for Veronique for being here.

Serena:

We are going to discuss today about coming back to work after

Serena:

a life-changing experience.

Serena:

Why do you think it's so hard?

Verorique:

think it's hard because I think usually coming back you've changed.

Verorique:

think whether you've come back after a sabbatical, you lived abroad.

Verorique:

You've had some different experiences or you've had a big illness.

Verorique:

You've lost someone dear or you uh, yeah, whatever experience it

Verorique:

is that makes you, makes that you were gone from work for a while.

Verorique:

I think when you come back, you've changed.

Verorique:

And I think that's what makes it hard is you've changed, but you don't.

Verorique:

And probably the environment that you're rejoining has changed as

Verorique:

well, but maybe not at the same pace or in the same way as have.

Verorique:

And maybe it's hard because you don't know whether you're going

Verorique:

to fit in again, whether we, you going to find the same values.

Verorique:

Yeah.

Verorique:

Will you find your own place?

Verorique:

I think for all those reasons, it's hard to come back.

Serena:

It's really true.

Serena:

And how can you adapt to a workplace that is not, that has not changed like you

Serena:

are and where you can feel like an alien

Verorique:

I think in order to fit in, you need to, somehow you need

Verorique:

to find a way for your values to fit with the values of the environment

Verorique:

you're in or the team you're with.

Verorique:

So maybe you might be joining a company where you may not fit in

Verorique:

exactly where the company value, but the team in which you rejoin has a

Verorique:

manager that's Leads in a certain way.

Verorique:

And you find that there's something that much is there.

Verorique:

Ultimately I think if, if the gap is so different, I think you're going

Verorique:

to struggle to come back and maybe it's not so good and not healthy for

Verorique:

you to come back in that environment.

Verorique:

Also.

Verorique:

I think why it's hard to come back is because when we've changed,

Verorique:

I think you, I think through the life-changing experience, Come

Verorique:

some awareness about ourselves.

Verorique:

So maybe before we, the experience happened, maybe then we were inline

Verorique:

with the values of the workplace, but then all of a sudden we realized

Verorique:

that this is not us anymore.

Verorique:

And therefore yeah, this there's a disalignment.

Serena:

I can feel that.

Serena:

And what do you think about the importance of sharing?

Verorique:

For me, I think it's crucial because when you share you you enable the

Verorique:

other person to understand where you come from and the other person who shares,

Verorique:

enables you to come from where they come from to understand where they come from.

Verorique:

Equally sharing about a life-changing experience is tricky.

Verorique:

And I think this is why the whole thing about coming back to work after

Verorique:

life changing experience is tricky.

Verorique:

If it's after an event, which is, let's say for example, you've had a baby.

Verorique:

So that changing experience, that's probably one of the easiest, even

Verorique:

though it's not easy, but it's one of the easiest coming back to work.

Verorique:

Or if you broke your leg, you went skiing, you broke your leg.

Verorique:

It took a lot longer.

Verorique:

You just come back while you still the same.

Verorique:

And it was just a physical, a simple physical injury.

Verorique:

But I think when it comes to you, come back after uh, mental health,

Verorique:

for example or critical illness.

Verorique:

That's really changed you.

Verorique:

It's hard to talk about it because I think there's a lot of discomfort.

Verorique:

I think a lot of people, whether it's you as a person or whether

Verorique:

it's your manager or the people you work with, I think there's a lot

Verorique:

of people who are not comfortable with talking about some topics like.

Verorique:

Am I comfortable to talk about cancer?

Verorique:

Am I comfortable to talk about losing someone dear?

Verorique:

Am I comfortable to talk about mental illness?

Verorique:

If it happens?

Verorique:

If it happened to me, am I comfortable talking about it?

Verorique:

If it happened to one of my team member, am I comfortable to talk about it?

Verorique:

I think it's not easy and it's quite tricky because it talks

Verorique:

about our own vulnerability.

Verorique:

I might not want to share.

Verorique:

My vulnerability.

Verorique:

I'm not, I might not be ready.

Verorique:

And my manager might think that it would be good to share an I might open

Verorique:

up some spaces to talk, but if I'm not ready, I'm not going to talk about it.

Verorique:

So it's a, I think it's really tricky, even though I'm convinced that's one

Verorique:

of the keys being able to share about.

Serena:

On the leadership manuals.

Serena:

I always talking about the importance of vulnerability and

Serena:

be aware of our own emotions.

Serena:

It's easier said than done.

Serena:

And at the same time I feel that emotions are still a taboo in a lot of workplaces.

Serena:

What do you think?

Verorique:

I think what I encounter is that people seem to.

Verorique:

Bad reputation about emotion or they're not comfortable with it because

Verorique:

either they think that it makes them do or say or things that they don't

Verorique:

want to like it might make them cry.

Verorique:

It might make them raise their voice, say things in a certain way.

Verorique:

And that's not the way they want to be seen because it opens up a

Verorique:

little crack oil, open up something.

Verorique:

Emotions in a workplace.

Verorique:

It's still a very, a sensitive topic, I think.

Verorique:

, If a manager and a leader is more comfortable with their own emotion,

Verorique:

I believe that they can create an environment where the employee will feel

Verorique:

more comfortable to show the vulnerability because they will know that it's safe.

Verorique:

'cause I think that's where it's hard as what to share about stem thing

Verorique:

and in the workplace, if you don't feel safe, if you don't know what

Verorique:

is going to be done about it, what your manager is going to do about it.

Verorique:

For example, if you break down because too hard, you came back

Verorique:

from a life-changing experience.

Verorique:

You maybe you've come back.

Verorique:

Too early.

Verorique:

And actually you struggling, if you dare to go and talk to your manager

Verorique:

about it, you might stop crying.

Verorique:

And , uh, a healthy manager will welcome that and we'll help you UK.

Verorique:

Okay.

Verorique:

With it.

Verorique:

And we'll say it's okay.

Verorique:

But unfortunately, there are also some managers who potentially could use that

Verorique:

against you and think, oh and so she's come back, she's actually not ready yet.

Verorique:

She's quite weak.

Verorique:

And I think that's all of these things that makes people not dare to share

Verorique:

their emotion and their vulnerability.

Verorique:

And I think this is why the leader has a key position key job because we modeling

Verorique:

as a leader, we modeling something.

Verorique:

So we creating the environment or we contributing to the environment.

Verorique:

That we are offering to the employees.

Verorique:

As a leader, if I'm showing my vulnerability, if I'm okay to talk

Verorique:

about my emotions openly in the workplace and talking about my emotions.

Verorique:

It doesn't mean I have to talk about every details in my life.

Verorique:

I could just say, I'm struggling.

Verorique:

I'm struggling to come back.

Verorique:

I'm struggling to come back because I'm trying to focus because for

Verorique:

six or nine months I had chemo.

Verorique:

And yes, my thinking process is a lot slower at the moment.

Verorique:

And and I thought I wanted to be back and I wanted to be fit and

Verorique:

performing and I can see it and I'm not performing as well as before.

Verorique:

And I'm disappointed with myself.

Verorique:

And if I can put words to all of those processes, that's going on in my own

Verorique:

head, whether it's me as a manager or me as a an employee, I think that's helpful.

Serena:

And it's really hard when performance is in the mix because all of

Serena:

us wants to perform well to be successful, to meet all the KPIs, to demonstrate that

Serena:

we are actually back better than before, but it's It's like a veil and that is

Serena:

hiding something that is behind this veil.

Serena:

We all know that emotions and emotional intelligence are huge contributors

Serena:

of high-performing team, but at the same time, it's linked to a long-term.

Serena:

Process not short term.

Serena:

So it's really difficult to work on to show that if I'm working like

Serena:

at 70% today is because I can work in six months a lot more better.

Serena:

how can we work on this dichotomy between performance and the need of.

Serena:

Time-space will their ability emotions.

Verorique:

I think the leader and the managers have a key role there.

Verorique:

I think it's their job to remind the person who comes back that it's

Verorique:

okay to not be at a hundred percent.

Verorique:

I'm not.

Verorique:

So I think a manager has to tell the person, look, I'm not

Verorique:

expecting you to be a hundred.

Verorique:

And I don't want you to be a hundred percent I'm, it's okay to to be at 70%.

Verorique:

I'm not expecting any more, and I think it's yeah, it's the job of the manager

Verorique:

to give that permission over and over again to say, okay, for the first six

Verorique:

months, for the first whatever months you've come back, the main thing is you

Verorique:

come back step by step and it's okay.

Verorique:

And it's, you got the permission to.

Verorique:

To not be at the full performance.

Verorique:

I'm not expecting you to be at the full performance.

Verorique:

That's not what I want.

Verorique:

That's not what I expect because otherwise if you don't say that as a leader,

Verorique:

obviously the person who comes back will probably want to to show, to prove to

Verorique:

themselves, Hey, I'm back and step out of the team and I'm contributing as much.

Verorique:

So I think.

Verorique:

It's also important for the manager and the leader explains

Verorique:

to the rest of the team and communicate to the rest of the team.

Verorique:

The fact that it's okay.

Verorique:

And so is back.

Verorique:

And for a certain amount of time, the time it will take it's

Verorique:

okay for me as a manager, that person is not a hundred percent.

Verorique:

I'm not expecting them to be a hundred percent.

Verorique:

The problem is that Companies environment nowadays, everything goes

Verorique:

so fast . And it's all about results, concrete, results, and performance.

Verorique:

And unfortunately there isn't often there's not enough space for everybody

Verorique:

at their own pace at their own with them.

Verorique:

And we all have to be full on.

Verorique:

But coming back to work you broke your leg and that's it you've had a full recovery,

Verorique:

but even sometimes for recovery means that you still need to restart slowly.

Verorique:

full on, it's not.

Verorique:

healthy You're not going to go and run straight away after you've broke your leg.

Verorique:

So it's the same thing, but I think the hard thing with a non-visible

Verorique:

illness or injury or loss, anything which is not visible We'll be

Verorique:

harder and more easily be forgotten.

Verorique:

That's it.

Verorique:

You back off where we expect you to be just, okay we've

Verorique:

given you a week after week.

Verorique:

Everything's back to normal, but that's not the reality though.

Verorique:

And so I think leaders need to be aware of that and they need

Verorique:

to make that team aware of that.

Verorique:

And they need to make the person who come back aware of that and they need

Verorique:

to give permission over and over.

Serena:

You've permission.

Serena:

It's really powerful for me because it's also really challenging

Serena:

to give ourselves permission.

Serena:

Any advice on how to do that?

Verorique:

Cultivating self-compassion.

Verorique:

I think it's a blessing.

Verorique:

It's not a given me, for example, I know people I care about, they will say to

Verorique:

me, Vero you very compassionate, but they don't hear the way I talk to myself.

Verorique:

And the way I talk to myself, it's not compassionate at all.

Verorique:

I am I am harsh with myself.

Verorique:

I will never ever treat even a person I don't like in a workplace.

Verorique:

I would never say to them, the things that I say to myself.

Verorique:

So I think the trick would be to be aware of that.

Verorique:

Once you start to be aware of that, to accept.

Verorique:

So for me, for example, I started to be aware of that.

Verorique:

And when I start off, I'm saying this to myself, this is not nice.

Verorique:

I wouldn't treat myself.

Verorique:

I wouldn't say that to a friend.

Verorique:

So I noted, I accept that this has happened.

Verorique:

And then I decided, okay, what do I do differently rather than just

Verorique:

brewed about it and think, oh my God, again, I've been so harsh with myself.

Verorique:

So I think self-compassion is really a key.

Verorique:

And it's something we have to cultivate and repeat over and

Verorique:

over to make that something a bit more natural with ourselves.

Serena:

And do you have any advice on how can we become more self aware of our

Serena:

limits or our struggles, maybe using some tools coming from emotional intelligence.

Verorique:

I think self-awareness is important.

Verorique:

And so self-awareness means one having the courage and curiosity to go and look at.

Verorique:

Okay.

Verorique:

What's the emotion.

Verorique:

Going through me right now and having the courage to open the door to all

Verorique:

of the emotions, especially the ones which are uncomfortable because often.

Verorique:

Tend to only want to feel the comfortable emotion, but it turns

Verorique:

out that it's often the uncomfortable one that will give us clues or signs

Verorique:

for which, from which we can grow.

Verorique:

The growth will come from the uncomfortable emotion.

Verorique:

So I think developing curiosity towards all of our emotion, having the courage,

Verorique:

to feel all of our emotion, even, and especially the ones which are uncommitted.

Verorique:

And to just feel it.

Verorique:

And and then having the compassion to silky and having self compassion,

Verorique:

developing self compassion in order to then say, okay, I felt this

Verorique:

emotion, this was signaling me.

Verorique:

For example, I, this morning I realized that it was feeling sadness and in

Verorique:

the past I would just push that away.

Verorique:

What does the stomach okay.

Verorique:

What's.

Verorique:

Okay.

Verorique:

It's sadness.

Verorique:

Okay.

Verorique:

And I just noted.

Verorique:

Okay.

Verorique:

I feel sadness.

Verorique:

And then I realized, okay, there's been a couple of days in a row now that

Verorique:

I've been feeling sadness and it's been there and it's, what is it signaling me?

Verorique:

What is it telling me?

Verorique:

And cause your emotion is signaling a need that is not satisfied.

Verorique:

And for me, sadness was just signaling that I needed to.

Verorique:

Take the time to just find comfort about something that I went through, but in

Verorique:

the past, I would have not taken the time for that and to go through that way.

Verorique:

That's one example.

Verorique:

I don't know whether that's helpful, Serina

Serena:

really helpful in all your work.

Serena:

There is a key word that is exploration.

Serena:

The idea to explore.

Serena:

It's really something that I'm interested about.

Serena:

Do you think we can explore and be curious also about coming back to work,

Serena:

coming back to life, let's say about our own healing, about our own recovery?

Verorique:

Definitely.

Verorique:

And I think by developing a curious eye, a non-judgemental curious eye.

Verorique:

To ourselves or to others.

Verorique:

I think that's a key.

Verorique:

So I say, I think as a manager, for example, I may be uncomfortable

Verorique:

with people's vulnerability or peoples a certain situation.

Verorique:

I could just go and be curious and go, and maybe have a chat with some

Verorique:

people who I know have come back from some serious injuries or some.

Verorique:

Big events that meant that they they had a life changing experience.

Verorique:

And if I go and ask them question from a place of curiosity yeah.

Verorique:

I just want to know in order to understand better, like you explore new territories

Verorique:

without a churchman without comparing, but just in order to understand better.

Verorique:

And I think.

Verorique:

If we were able to do that, of course, it depends on whether the person wants to

Verorique:

share and that's, we have to respect that whether the other person wants to share.

Verorique:

But I think if we're able to, if I, if I go and talk with some people, for

Verorique:

example, who've had Uber suffered from cancer and who've come back to work.

Verorique:

If I explore on, if I'm curious, I'm going to find out how they are,

Verorique:

how they feel, what they struggle, and then I'll be able to find.

Verorique:

Ways for me to behave or two strategies that I can put in place that can

Verorique:

help them, that could help me.

Verorique:

But I can't do that if I haven't explored.

Verorique:

Same with, if someone has lost someone, a deer and is coming back, if I go

Verorique:

and explore the difficulty, and if I come from a place of respect K.

Verorique:

And authentic care.

Verorique:

I think we've got to learn a lot to learn then providing the other

Verorique:

person is ready to share and providing I'm prepared as well.

Verorique:

And I'm ready to receive because sometimes some stories might impact me a lot.

Verorique:

The other day I had a manager who's sharing to me a story about he'd lost

Verorique:

He'd lost his wife and he had a young child and then he came back to work

Verorique:

and everything went back to normal because that's the way he wanted.

Verorique:

And so I was touched just for two days.

Verorique:

I was just he stabilized, I think but equally I was curious to know

Verorique:

too curious and respectful and he didn't want to, to share anything

Verorique:

more to the rest of his teams.

Verorique:

That's his right.

Verorique:

But having explored the fact that he shared a bit, then he gave me

Verorique:

some clues as to why some people sometimes don't want to share.

Verorique:

And it's okay as well that they don't want to share.

Verorique:

But as a manager, I can also say to that person.

Verorique:

What if one day you want to share more?

Verorique:

I'm here.

Verorique:

I'm here to listen.

Serena:

And I can, if I can add something more.

Serena:

Of course here we are talking about coming back to work after a

Serena:

life-changing experience, but actually we are coming back to work every day,

Serena:

after little things, little struggles, little challenges, some sadness

Serena:

for something that is happening.

Serena:

So I'm wondering if we can train ourselves to have.

Serena:

A good way to come back to work every day to show up every day with self-compassion

Serena:

with understanding real curiosity.

Verorique:

I agree with you.

Verorique:

I think if already every day we are we create space to, for people to

Verorique:

share something a little something.

Verorique:

It doesn't have to be all the details of the life, but at least.

Verorique:

What sort of how are they arriving?

Verorique:

What's their internal weather already.

Verorique:

That is a big step, I think.

Verorique:

Because I, you started that, you don't know what the person's gone through.

Verorique:

Maybe the person, I don't know, they've just I dunno, they'd been stopped by

Verorique:

the police and they had a big fine and not gets them really angry and they

Verorique:

ride in a museum and all it's a very angry person and you just start the

Verorique:

thing that it's all about you or the work has got nothing to do with that.

Verorique:

I often invite people to share their.

Verorique:

The personal weather without going into the details of their personal life, but

Verorique:

just a person of weather, the same way as you update your iOS on your phone

Verorique:

and then you've got the latest version.

Verorique:

So if I saw you yesterday, I'm still on the yesterday version and there's lots of

Verorique:

things that's happened between yesterday and this morning when you come to work.

Verorique:

I just need a quick update to see how you are.

Verorique:

And so I'm on the same page as you.

Verorique:

And if I know that you've had a struggle last night, and this is why maybe

Verorique:

you're struggling to focus today, what I know, and then I can adjust my behavior

Verorique:

with you and we can address things.

Verorique:

And I think we can be more fluid and more healthy for everybody.

Serena:

This is science fiction.

Serena:

That can be a reality in our work

Verorique:

environments.

Verorique:

I want it to be reality.

Verorique:

I want it to be reality and I want to contribute to that, but I know

Verorique:

that again different people go at different pace, different rhythm.

Verorique:

So some people will be ready for it.

Verorique:

Some environment will be ready for it.

Verorique:

Some others are not going to be some places.

Verorique:

It just takes.

Verorique:

Leaders to try and dare to do things differently bit by bit

Verorique:

for the whole system to change.

Verorique:

And some other system is too different.

Verorique:

So I don't think a science-fiction I really think that people need

Verorique:

a better quality of relationships and link some I really think

Verorique:

that will make the difference.

Verorique:

I think it makes a difference in a team and in an organization that what's

Verorique:

better is the quality of the relationship and the quality of a relationship goes

Verorique:

through what we've just talked about.

Verorique:

So I don't want it to be science fiction.

Verorique:

I want to be the future and I want to contribute to that.

Verorique:

It might take time, but I think we can, all, we can all contribute to that.

Verorique:

I think.

Serena:

Do you want to share something else to our list?

Verorique:

Maybe just I think if we all want to have a more human

Verorique:

environment in work, we all need to take our own share of responsibility.

Verorique:

We don't need to just be the leader changing it.

Verorique:

Obviously, if the leader changed something it's more impactful, it's

Verorique:

got yeah it will work through the organization, but still at my own

Verorique:

level, as a manager, I can decide to.

Verorique:

To lead in a different way as a, as an employee, I can decide

Verorique:

to be differently an already.

Verorique:

So I think we can all adapt level, do our own step, pick our own chair.

Serena:

Thank you so much Vero

Verorique:

thanks.

Verorique:

Serena it was a pleasure to be with you.

Verorique:

And thanks again.

Serena:

Thank you so much for listening to this conversation, please share it

Serena:

with friends that needs to hear that.

Serena:

You can find more information in the description or on the website.

Serena:

Both the.link/welcome back.

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