A successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, naturalist, author, and mountaineer, Bo Parfet has earned his stars through hard work, dedication, and developing the courage to take calculated risks. Having grown up facing many personal challenges, including overcoming a learning disability, and having taken non-traditional paths throughout his professional career, Parfet is no stranger to criticism.
Often, when people are criticized, whether for things within or outside of their control, they shut down, often becoming anxious and self-conscious. They might lose a small part of themselves and their drive for success, opting for the path of ease and comfortability. That’s not what Bo Parfet did.
Parfet is a man of strong will and determination. He takes risks, and he succeeds. He attributes much of his success to the positive mindset he has tirelessly worked to cultivate and to the people with whom he surrounds himself. While he is an advocate of holistic health–healthy mind, healthy body, healthy spirit–Parfet shares that the most important thing one can do to ensure success and health is treating one’s self with kindness.
Being kind to yourself is a critical component in building an adaptive attitude towards both challenge and failure. Self-compassion allows for better recovery from unexpected inevitable setbacks and disasters life throws in the way. Bo Parfet has worked hard to build his physical and mental health, and he shares three questions that we can ask ourselves to become more self-compassionate.
What is the problem, and how am I feeling?
It’s often tempting to push aside feelings of resentment and negativity, thinking that they reflect weakness. In fact, the only way that we can truly move forward and succeed is by learning from our mistakes. What is it that led to this setback, and how does it make me feel? Taking time to grieve in our misery allows us to understand what makes us tick and how to move forward.
Remember that we are human beings and that making mistakes is not only inevitable but is an important key to fostering self-compassion. Do not ignore the negativity, but embrace it and move ahead.
How would I advise a friend or colleague in this situation?
Many times, it is easier for us to give advice to others than to heed our own advice. As challenges arise, we can help ourselves grow by looking at the situation from the outside. Take in knowledge, lead with your head over your heart, and understand why things turned out as they did. Give advice to yourself, and show yourself compassion, as you would to a respected colleague or good friend.
What have I learned from this?
Every challenge presents an opportunity to learn, grow, and build. Learn what soothes you and strive to understand how you can improve your reactions in the future, rather than the situations themselves. Give yourself time to heal from the negativity and remember how you’ve moved forward after past disappointment.
Give yourself time to plan for various challenges and situations that might arise and lead to negative feelings. Identify different scenarios and willfully plan out how you will react in a way that shows yourself kindness and compassion.
About Bo Parfet
Bo Parfet is the CEO and co-founder, alongside his wife, Meredith, of Denali Venture Philanthropy (Denali). Denali is an impact investment organization that seeks out investment opportunities focused on positive social impact, fostering social, economic, and environmental change in communities around the world.
Parfet grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and holds an MBA from Northwestern University, a Master of Arts in Applied Economics from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science in economics from Colorado State University.
In addition to his work at Denali, Parfet is the current managing director at DLP Real Estate Capital. His career in finance began as a research fellow at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), and he then joined J.P. Morgan as a financial analyst on Wall Street. In 2007, he founded Iconic Development, which earned the Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Companies distinction that same year.
Parfet is an avid mountaineer and naturalist, claiming recognition as one of about 85 people to conquer all Seven Summits. He is an author, philanthropist, and community activist. He received the esteemed Presidential Volunteer Service Award for completing more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service worldwide.
Parfet is a member of both the Explorer’s Club and Young Professionals Organization, two organizations known for their commitment to building a better future. He is an advisory board member for the nonprofit Adventure Scientists and sits on the board of his family’s legacy, the Gilmore Car Museum.
Parfet lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two children, where they enjoy exploring the great outdoors and making memories together.