Dr. Andrea Hollingsworth
Hollingsworth Consulting

A few weeks ago, I missed seeing a goal my son made during a soccer game because I was looking down. What was I looking at, you ask? A Microsoft Word document titled, “The Compassion Advantage,” on my laptop.

Against my better judgment, I’d brought my computer to Bennett’s game because I was intent on finishing a section in the book I’m writing on compassionate leadership. I’d justified bringing my computer to the game by telling myself, “I’ll just putter with the document here and there while Bennett’s not on the field.”

It was the wrong call.

I’ll never forget the way my heart sank when, after the game, Bennett ran up to me with hurt and anger in his sweet face and voice. “Mom. You were looking at your computer when I scored! You totally missed it. You hurt my feelings so much!”

The irony of withholding my compassionate attention to my own son so that I could make progress on a book on compassion wasn’t lost on me. It was one of the lowest points in my ongoing quest to be an excellent (and compassionate!) mom and professional.

Why am I sharing this cringe-worthy parenting moment with you? Well, first, for all the parents out there trying to be a supermom (or dad) and a superprofessional: I get it. It’s sometimes so hard to slow down and pay uninterrupted attention when we are so pressed for time, with way too much to do.

We all need to give ourselves hefty doses of self-compassion when we try to juggle work and parenting, but fall flat on our faces. We’ve all been there.

Yet, it remains the case that the greatest gift we can give those we love and lead is our attention, and attention takes time, courage, and grit.

All of us must find the inward resolve to slow down, let other things lie, and clear out uninterrupted minutes to be fully present. As Hougaard and Carter say, “busyness kills the heart.”

When you spend your energy and minutes being present to people, it can seem like the exact opposite of productive. After all, your own to-do list doesn’t lighten just because you’re prioritizing people over tasks.

This is why it’s courageous. Rest assured, though: taking time to slow down and truly tend to those who matter to you is never the wrong call.

This is true in all spheres of life (including kids’ soccer games!).

About Andrea

Dr. Andrea Hollingsworth is Founder and CEO of Hollingsworth Consulting, author of the bestselling book The Compassion Advantage (2024), and one of today’s leading global experts on compassionate leadership. Since 2008, she has been studying, speaking, and writing about the science and spirituality of human emotions and relationships. Her articles have been published more than a dozen times in peer-reviewed journals, and she has taught at prestigious institutions like Princeton, Boston University, and Loyola University Chicago. In addition, Dr. Andrea has delivered talks to audiences at some of the top-ranked universities in the world—including Cambridge University in England and Heidelberg University in Germany.

Dr. Andrea spends most of her time inspiring leaders and teams to use The Compassion Advantage to build supercharged organizations through cultures of care— especially in times of challenge and change. Andrea lives with her family in Minnesota where she cheers hard at her son’s soccer games and relishes every opportunity to visit the north shore of Lake Superior.