Why You Should Be Selfish

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Things have gotten a little out of whack recently. In addition to seeing in-person clients and running my Virtual Closet Makeover Program, I’ve also traveled out of state five times to teach for The Life Coach School and meet with my business mastermind group. In my very little spare time I have tried to focus my remaining energy into connecting with my family, and my self care has gone out the window. As the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” and so I’ve invited leadership coach and trainer, Mimi Gordon, to share her best tips on self care and why it matters. Take it away, Mimi!

Sharing the best tips on self-care and why it matters

From Mimi:

There’s a thought I’ve seen multiple places that strikes me as so true that I’ve repeated it to anyone and everyone who will listen . . . that the greatest gift we can give others is our own happiness — that being selfish is a radically selfless act.

Using the classic metaphor, imagine helping someone put on an oxygen mask if you hadn’t put yours on first — struggling to breathe, and starting to panic, you’d be pretty useless, and ultimately, terrible at the job of helping someone else. Similarly, search and rescue professionals are taught personal preparedness as a foundational component of emergency response. No matter the stakes, double-checking their own equipment and supplies is more important than racing out the door. Before you save someone else, you need water, sunscreen, and a headlamp.

So why do we so often consider it selfish to prioritize what we need to show up as our best every day? Why is getting enough sleep, or drawing clear boundaries about work hours, or planning alone time, not seen as selflessness — personal prioritization that allow us to be our best in the roles that we choose or are given?

Incorporate selfless selfishness into your life.

To do this takes courage, and often, takes changing the way we think. A few ideas about how to incorporate this selfless selfishness into your life:

Decide What Makes You Your Best Self.

What gives you the mental clarity, physical stamina, and emotional resilience needed to show up as your best? Is it getting enough sleep? Drawing clear boundaries about work hours? Carving out alone time? Exercising?

Make A Plan For Doing It.

Once you have this list, make a plan. This can look like blocking time on your calendar, or practicing thoughts that will help you build this prioritization into your brain — ”an hour of my best self is better than three of my exhausted self.”

Never Do For Others At The Expense Of What’s Most Important To You.

That list of what’s most important? Commit to it. Don’t sacrifice anything on it in favor of giving. When you do, you do two powerfully detrimental things:

  • You reinforce in your own mind that you come 2nd.

  • You increase the likelihood of creating resentment towards the recipients of your giving.

What if we reclaimed prioritizing ourselves? What if we practiced so much that it became second nature? What if every time we showed up for others, it was more likely to be at our best? What if we knew that our oxygen was already flowing, that we had the right shoes on, and that we had a backup water bottle? You with me? Let’s practice.

Improving your self care regimen.

Thank you, Mimi! Such an important reminder to improve our self-care regimen so that we can show up more fully for others.

Want to learn more? Mimi is a leadership coach and trainer with 20 years of experience working in social-purpose organizations. She works with high-performing individuals and organizations looking to lead productive, values-driven lives and companies. For more great content and to learn more about Mimi, visit her website right here.

Images: Vivian Johnson Photography

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