Category: Wholehearted

Global Wholeheartedness

As our focus on the principle of Wholehearted comes to a close, let’s consider actionable ways to bring LOVING understanding into our work and our worlds. Through everyday practice – making wholeheartedness a part of who we are – we tune into the needs, hopes, and dreams of our team members, providers, patients, and guests. Today’s Spark provides tangible tools and ideas on how we can continue to grow our practice of wholeheartedness and integrate it into the Experiences of those we serve.


The Empathy Museum

Would you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? Literally? At the Empathy Museum, you can do just that. Founded in 2015 by empathy expert Roman Krznaric, the Empathy Museum is a travelling collection of participatory arts projects that focus on Storytelling and dialogue. The “Mile in My Shoes” exhibit allows you to select an actual pair of shoes, walk around in them, and listen to the story accompanying them. The aim is to inspire compassion and understanding for the lives and stories of others.

While many of us can’t go visit the Empathy Museum in person, we can learn from its founder. Krznaric acknowledges that empathy is “trending” right now in the world of business, and he thinks it’s for good reason: because empathy is undeniably powerful. In this piece, he shares the Six Habits of Highly Empathic People (all habits we can easily integrate into our daily lives): cultivate curiosity about strangers, challenge prejudices and discover commonalities, try another person’s life, listen hard and open up, inspire mass action and social change, and develop an ambitious imagination. It’s also worth taking a listen to the podcast “A Mile in My Shoes” available wherever you get your podcasts.

In what ways might we encourage and facilitate active empathy in our organizations? How are we gathering the stories of our team members, providers, patients, and guests and sharing them to inspire a more global understanding of the humans that make up our Experience? Can we intentionally strive to feel what others feel for deeper knowing?

Resurrecting Compassion

In Krista Tippett’s moving TED talk, she highlights how the meaning of compassion has died due to its over-saturation in the English language. Tippett uses her talk to perform a “linguistic resurrection” of compassion. Some of her beliefs? Compassion is kind. Compassion is curious. Compassion is empathy. Compassion can change us and our civil discourse if we allow it to fully weave into our standards.

After hearing the stories that Tippett shares bringing life into the word and meaning of compassion, are their people who instantly come to mind? What team member stories? What patient stories? How might we elevate these stories in our organizations?

Exercise with Soul

It’s not just an exercise class; it’s a movement. SoulCycle has turned the concept of exercise into a way of life with Wholehearted devotees. By focusing on the entire mind-body Experience and integrating brand, atmosphere, community, and attitude, the company has created a fresh new concept in wellness. Classes take place in a candlelit studio with a coach encouraging you to be stronger tomorrow than you are today.  It’s social. Joyful. Musical. And members share a common bond of seeking a healthier life, not just sweating out calories. The company’s first integrated marketing campaign, “Find It,” talks about finding yourself and tapping into your own greatness. In other words, discover what happens when a company goes in courageously with their whole heart and you do too.

While a pandemic way of life puts constraints on Soul Cycle and other fitness based movements (Peloton, Daybreaker) it also inspires these human based brands to elevate their empathy practice in a virtual world. 

Wholehearted Teams

Wholehearted practices can extend outside of our individual selves and permeate our teams. To lead with your whole heart takes courage and a willingness to be vulnerable. This week we look at how others have extended the practice of Wholeheartedness and explore how it can unite a team in compassion and love.

Healing Power of Compassion

In this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we learn about the healing power of wholeheartedness. Dr. Kristin Neff, an expert in compassion, shares the impact that self-support has on our emotional, spiritual, professional, and physical wellbeing. Approaching all of our actions with kindness, compassion, and wholeheartedness allows us to tap into our strongest sense of health. Tied directly to mindfulness, self-compassion ensures that we can be our own best ally. When we lead with self-compassion, we decrease our Experience of anxiety, depression, stress, and illness which are scientifically tied to stress. We can truly benefit from learning how to care for ourselves as we care for others.

Compassion Connects

Practicing compassion doesn’t just make us feel good— it actually betters our professional lives too. Through compassion, we can create essential bonds with team members that have been shown to help us be more resilient and more creative – and even help us live longer. So how do we do it? The authors of this Harvard Business Review article define compassion as “a 4-part Experience of Noticing someone’s distress or pain, interpreting it as relevant and important, feeling concern for that person or group, and acting to alleviate their pain.” Through understanding, and practicing these four steps, we can bring compassion into the workplace and increase meaning in our relationships and our work. Rather than ignoring issues when we see them arise, we should acknowledge them and reach out with compassion. It will be better for us all.

How might we acknowledge suffering, confusion, or apathy with open ears, an open mind, and an open heart to allow for new possibilities?

A Million Meals

José Andrés is known for his Wholehearted actions. In his most recent endeavor, Restaurants for the People, Andres has taken on the war in the Ukraine serving more than 170 million meals. This plus countless disaster relief efforts helps in so many ways- providing fresh meals to communities in need and keeping small business restaurants open.  The concept is simply to pay out-of-work restaurants to cook meals for their neighbors in need of fresh food.  To date, $105 million has been disbursed to small restaurants feeding their community in just six months. And now Restaurants for the People is in over 400 cities across 35 states—including New York, Miami, Oakland, Houston, Atlanta, Seattle, and Chicago.  

Andrés has a history of humanitarian efforts. When Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, the chef and restaurateur didn’t just offer help from his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, he wholeheartedly jumped in. Within days Andrés began cooking meals with a local chef, built a volunteer network, coordinated the #chefsforpuertorico campaign, and quickly went from serving 1,000 to 25,000 hot meals per day. In just one month, his team had prepared and delivered one million meals. Andrés pledged that his organization would be feeding Puerto Ricans until they were able to feed themselves. “When we go to a place, we take care of that place until we feel it has the right conditions to sustain itself. That’s what a relief organization should be.” This massive relief effort isn’t surprising from the Michelin-awarded chef who arrived in this country with just $50 in his pocket. His restaurants seek to tell stories of a culture through food, and his ThinkFood Group’s mission is “changing the world through the power of food.”

How might we expand the impact of our organizations and share our expertise for difference making beyond our walls and into the community? Are we fully tapping into the wisdom of our team members to further accelerate the positive good we do?

Leading From Your Whole Heart

Being Wholehearted is an essential element of the health care Experience. We are caregivers not caretakers. This week’s Spark exemplifies how being Wholehearted in health care isn’t just a nice idea – it can lift us all to higher places. We hope you find inspiration in the work of others in the health care and research fields as they share their journeys of Leading and LOVING with a whole heart.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

MetroHealth System’s CEO, Akram Boutros, is what some would call a LIVING paradox; he’s a leader who roots all his actions, strategies, and decisions in LOVING. In his TEDxClevelandStateUniversity talk, Boutros shares why he comes first and foremost from a place of love: because he knows his organization – the team members, the providers, the patients, and their guests – is great because of the unique qualities each one brings to the table. He believes we need to come from a place of love — similar to how you would treat your family — allow people to make mistakes, give second chances, and be able to see them for who they really are. Each individual is worthy of love and capable of bringing love into their relationships every day. So what’s love got to do with it? Everything.

Think of a relationship with a team member that could use some strengthening. How might we bring our Whole Heart and a little more love to that relationship?