Self-esteem is always in the foreground of success studies. We have all been told and taught repeatedly that, in order to triumph over our day to day undertakings, we must possess a healthy level of self esteem — a sense of self assuredness and self-worth.

We have all subscribed to this way of thinking. However, many of us have been oblivious to its drawbacks.

As ironic as it may sound, our constant and consistent drive to achieve a functional degree of self-esteem has oftentimes led people to a series of disappointments, or worst, compromised self-image.

The problem with this notion is that the pursuit of self-esteem has often been associated with personal achievement. This is a misnomer and fuels debate on our leadership and management courses. Truth of the matter is, no matter how hard we strive to be our optimal selves — smarter, stronger, fitter, and so on — we will always come across another person, who can easily outdo our perceived personal and key achievements.

Being cognisant to the fact that we will seldom be the best, whatever the word best equates to, the pursuit of becoming the best, at anything, can sometimes trigger strain, stress, and pressure for the sake of becoming that better, bigger, brighter version. This mindset is far from healthy.


Opt for self-compassion instead

Self-compassion, much like self-esteem, is a self-improvement paradigm. Unlike modern day concepts of self-esteem though, self-compassion does not require us to be other than who we are, or be better than the person standing next to us.

In simplest terms, self-compassion is an act of giving ourselves a breather, a leeway, a chance to do away with all unnecessary stressors and baggage triggered by that desire to be perfect in a way that is consistent to our society’s standards for perfection.

Self-compassion works under three core concepts and beginning with the self is a crucial step in leadership skills development.


Compassion doesn't need to come from others.
Compassion doesn’t need to come from others.


1. Kindness

Instead of being too critical of our missteps or imperfections, we have to acknowledge that this life is an ongoing journey and it is never too late to learn and renew. By providing ourselves with enough kindness and understanding, we can remain grounded, level headed, and open to novel and constructive insights.


2. Humanity

We are not alone. The humanity we have been gifted with is something we share to the rest of humankind. The happiness and fulfilment that our triumphs bring us are the same ones other people strive for, the same way that our defeats are the kinds that have already been encountered and experienced throughout history. This sense of connectedness allows us to realise that we should not blindly strive to outdo others but instead, aspire to be one with them.


3. Mindfulness

We feel pain because it exists. Nevertheless, just because it exists does not mean we should magnify it. On the other hand, it will not do us good to ignore or deny our pain. The key is to strike a balance between feeling and acceptance.


Self-compassion is not concerned with fitting into specific ideals, or becoming unique, or above the status quo. It mainly focuses on self-acceptance without far-fetched conditions, or outlandish notions. Self-compassion is caring enough for ourselves to know we can, even if we remain our wonderfully flawed version.


Develop your self-compassion today. To learn more:



Nicholas Hill
Nicholas Hill

Nicholas C. Hill is Managing Director and Principal Trainer for The Hill Consultancy Ltd, London, specialising in UK-wide public training courses in leadership and management development. Become a highly productive manager and influential leader today. Claim £100 off the list price on any two-day course. Promotional code: PASSION0213. Visit the website or call now to find out more or request a FREE consultation. T: 020 7993 9955 W:




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