I am a huge fan of Tudor England. Who knew a bunch of stinky, violent, and paranoid 500 year old wanna-be royals could be so compelling? And yet they hold a secret for manifestation and leadership.

It's in the rawness of the stories we find some fundamental truths.

King Henry VIII divorced his first wife of 20 years, Catharine of Aragon, for failing to deliver a son. He had the second one, Anne Boleyn, beheaded for similar reasons. The third one, Jane Seymour, died in childbirth with the long-awaited heir. The fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, lasted six-months before Henry annulled the marriage, calling her "the Flanders mare". The fifth wife, Catharine Howard, was beheaded for extra-marital affairs. She was a vivacious twenty year old married to an obese 53 year-old with a rotting, stinking leg. His sixth and last wife, Catharine Parr, outlived him, barely - as she was also edging close to the chopping block.

In Henry's misadventures with marriage we discover how values can be twisted to supersede all other considerations - including the sanctity of life. A peaceful succession through a male heir was the one and driving force in Henry's relentless pursuit of a son, and many lives were sacrificed along its path.

I cried the most for Catharine Howard, wife #5. She was a pretty young thing offered as a pawn in the game of gaining royal favour. She was vivacious and passionate. She loved life and had a healthy appetite for all its pleasures. She was married to an overweight, moody, and lame older man she was coerced into marriage with. Her indiscretions in the arms of a lover cost her her life, and those of three others.

I cried because I felt the full weight of how humanity can upend its deepest most important virtue - compassion.

Compassion is the vibration of love. It is the one emotion that uplifts and offers hope. It creates a space for forgiveness and transmutation of past wrongs and woes. It allows the manifestation of something new - it is the fertile ground in which dreams of a new beginning can be planted.

Henry is not the only example of mono-focused leadership with a cyclops perspective based on the perceived 'rightness' of values and priorities. Think Hitler, think apartheid, think terrorism.

Imagine however if Henry VIII had led with compassion instead of fear and tyranny. His first wife might not have died alone and bereft with thirteen miscarriages and one remaining daughter; she might have indeed have had a son without the pressure and judgment. Far fewer people would have died from beheading, hanging, and disembowelment. Religious tolerance and acceptance would have come decades earlier than it did eventually under his daughter Elizabeth.

If there had been compassion, there would have been no Hitler. No apartheid. No terrorism.

But a culture of compassion starts much closer to home than with some distant militant regime.

A symphony and a culture of compassion starts with one single note - played over and over - by YOU.

How much compassion do you feel each day - for yourself?

We are often the hardest critic of ourselves. And when we fail to show ourselves compassion, we are unable to show it in a genuine way for others. This is how we unwittingly contribute to the compromise of values that leads to cultural disasters.

Coach's Challenge
How can you show yourself more compassion? Maybe you could be more mindful of how you talk to yourself. Maybe it's time to let go of your past wrong-doings and learn from them instead of feeling guilty. Maybe you could practise suspending judgment - of yourself and others. I would love to hear how you practise compassion - with yourself and others.

Author's Bio: 

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Author Zoe Routh works with women in business to enhance their personal effectiveness and leadership capacity for global effect. For free tips on how to become a more effective leader that will save you time, money, energy, and stress, go to http://www.innercompass.com.au