I just returned from a trip to Dharamsala, India as part of a Compassion 2020 Delegation, led by Washington State Lt. Governor, Cyrus Habib. It was a trip of a lifetime to travel with other leaders in business, community and education, and to learn about the Tibetan culture and way of life, where putting other people first and leading with compassion and kindness is valued above all else.
The Dalai Lama said that compassion and affection are human values independent of religion.
In our meeting, the Dalai Lama talked about how our schools should do a better job at teaching compassion, kindness, empathy. He talked about selfishness leading to loneliness and unhappiness, and being focused on helping others leads to a rich life and happiness.
I learned that to create a culture of compassion, it needs to be focused on and prioritized always, not just during annual planning or a team offsite. It needs to be demonstrated by leaders as a way of life. Leaders must be others focused, evaluating their own success by hitting their performance metrics while helping people up, versus being focused only on business results, or viewing people as a means to an end.
In summary, people matter. When we truly believe this, when we practice this, we approach human interactions empathetically.
For more about the Compassion 2020 Delegation, here are some of the Lt. Governor’s words about the trip and what it meant for our state:
We recognize that this past decade has not been a particularly compassionate one. We also know that to address some of our most pressing global issues — climate change, inequality, social divisiveness, etc. — we need the leaders of the future to be informed by a pragmatic sense of empathy and compassion.
To invigorate a statewide conversation on this topic, and to cultivate compassionate leadership in young people in our state, we partnered with the Association of Washington Generals in the Compassion 2020 program.
Through this program, we brought a distinguished group of community leaders, as well as 6 talented high school students from Washington state, to Dharamsala, India for a cultural tour and a 90-minute conversation with the Dalai Lama. All Washingtonians were invited to take part in the dialogue by submitting their questions and watching the livestream video. We are delighted that 6 official Watch Parties took place throughout our state, organized by universities, colleges, and community centers.
Want to learn more?