Monday, May 8, 2017

The Compassionate Achiever (review)

*I received an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. This post also contains affiliate links that I may be compensated for; however, all opinions are my own.*

If you are new to my blog, I invite you to read Lucy's birth story to understand kind of the back story to why I immediately jumped on this book tour.

The Compassionate Achiever: How Helping Others Fuels Success
A powerful, practical guide for cultivating compassion—the scientifically proven foundation for personal achievement and success at work, at home, and in the community.

For decades, we’ve been told the key to prosperity is to look out for number one. But recent science shows that to achieve durable success, we need to be more than just achievers; we need to be compassionate achievers.

New research in biology, neuroscience, and economics have found that compassion—recognizing a problem or caring about another’s pain and making a commitment to help—not only improves others’ lives; it can transform our own. Based on the most recent studies from a wide range of fields, The Compassionate Achiever reveals the profound benefits of practicing compassion including more constructive relationships, improved intelligence, and increased resiliency. To help us achieve these benefits, Christopher L. Kukk, the founding Director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation, shares his unique 4-step program for cultivating compassion.

Kukk makes clear that practicing compassion isn’t about being a martyr or a paragon of virtue; it’s about rejecting rage and indifference and choosing instead to be a thoughtful, caring problem-solver. He identifies the skills every compassionate achiever should master—listening, understanding, connecting, and acting—and outlines how to develop each, with clear explanations, easy-to-implement strategies, actionable exercises, and real-world examples.

With the The Compassionate Achiever everyone wins—we can each achieve success in our own lives and create more productive workplaces, and healthier, less violent communities.

Before I had Lucy I had really struggled with people. I was that mom who volunteered at every opportunity at my kids' school, any time a friend needed help with something I immediately offered to help out. I took on far more than I should have onto my plate and there were many nights that I would stay up far later than I should have getting things done for other people. I felt tremendous guilt saying no to someone, even for minor things, because I knew what it took to ask for help so I assumed if someone was asking me it was because they really needed it. I hated to let someone down. I did this for years. I felt so unappreciated, unrecognized, unacknowledged, and frankly- abused. It got to the point where I started actually resenting the very things I used to enjoy doing. I wanted to be helpful and now I hated it. I hated being dependable. I hated being organized. I hated all of these things because now people just expected me to take care of it all. 

Then I died. And the world stopped. And crisis happened. I had no idea any of it was happening, but all around me, people rallied. They rallied small and they rallied big. People I did a lot for, people I did nothing for but who recognized that I had done a lot for others. But they rallied all around me and my family and they helped us get through a really horrific event. 

My act of dying reminded me that compassion is still out there. People still have it. It's maybe not practiced every day, or maybe we just aren't seeing it anymore, but it's still there. Somewhere in all of us compassion sits, waiting to be reached. Which is why when I saw this book I immediately jumped on it because I am absolutely convinced all of the positives that have come to my family in the aftermath of Lucy's birth don't have much to do with a greater power but more so in the fact that I am a good person. Matt and I are good people. We do good things for people as often as we can. We don't ask for repayment or recognition, we just hope that someday if we ever need help you'd be willing to help us- and it actually worked. 

As I went through this book I was pleased to find that it isn't just business speak that you read, nod your head, and then it sits on the shelf in your office totally useless. It gives you practical uses. How do you pull compassion from people? How can you turn conversations, that could easily be heated and uncivil, to calm and reasonable? How do you get each side to see each other's point of view, not necessarily to agree, but to actually listen to all points. The book talks about how compassion isn't just a great quality to have as a human being but how it actually improves a work place (or a school environment) and the quality of life in a community. I was reading this thinking this would actually make a great textbook in a humanities class in college but why wait? Why not have this as part of a high school curriculum? As part of a social studies class? I know compassion, and empathy, are things we should be teaching at home but let's face it- we're asking parents to teach something they themselves don't have. The book mentions how compassion starts to really dip in the 1990's but that we are at an all time low right now, so that means those kids of the 90's (me, for example) are now parents- no wonder it's at an all time low. We're asking people to teach and pass on something that they themselves don't have. This book gives us a four-step, totally easy, common sense program, to do that. You can do it with your kids, your friends, your co-workers, or the people you supervise. It's really such a great book to read for anyone because there are so many ways to use it in your life.

The book is available on Amazon of course, but you can also find it on the Harper Collins website, as well. If you want more information about the author, Chris Kukk, I encourage you to follow him on Twitter and on his website


Ruth said...

You are a good person. You sent me a book for my daughter because I said that it sounded like something she would like. Not a lot of people would do that. You do that kind of stuff all the time. My daughter is very compassionate and I am glad that she is. It isn't just young people either that don't seem to have it. It is pretty sad. I don't think our world will get any better without people knowing how to be kind to others just because.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Compassion and empathy are integral parts of who I am, and it can be exhausting. It can also be demoralizing when people don't behave with the same compassion and empathy I extend to them. I'm SO looking forward to reading this book and learning some of the how-to lessons you mentioned.

Thanks for being a part of the tour.