Volume 4, Issue 3 – July 2003
One of the issues I’ve been dealing with frequently during the past several months with IWL clients has been underscoring the absolute need for creating balance in their lives and taking care of themselves.
Life these days is very demanding. It’s quite easy to put all of your attention on delivering results at work, shuttling the kids off to their sports and social activities, helping them with their homework, supporting aging parents in coping with life, meeting your obligations with organizations you lead, paying bills, cooking meals, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, etc. Where do YOU fit into this equation? How are YOUR needs getting met?
Often I hear, “There’s no time left over for me.” Well, have you heard the old financial adage, ‘Pay yourself first?’ I’m proposing that you, ‘Nurture yourself first.’ After all, if you crash from exhaustion, get seriously ill (or worse), who will take care of all the things that you are now doing? Somehow, everyone will manage. Why not get them to manage it while you can still enjoy it?
Start now! Make a list of 25 things you like to do that bring you joy, relax you or create a sense of contentment. The list might include things like getting a massage, walking in nature, listening to a certain type of music, singing, painting, meditating, driving in the country or along the coast, reading inspiring literature, attending a play, musical, symphony, movie, dance performance, gardening, or getting a pedicure. Share the list with a close friend or two and get their ideas as well. Add the ones from their list that you like to your list. Commit right now to doing at least one of the things on your list each week. Schedule it. Put it in your calendar. Hold that time sacred.
It might necessitate negotiating with your family to take over some of the daily living chores from you or becoming a more effective delegating at work. Be prepared to tell the people around you the benefits they will receive of you taking time to nurture yourself. Let them know how they can help you be a happier parent, spouse, sibling, employee, and/or boss. Be prepared to ‘Just Say No’ or negotiate with people for a solution that works better for you. It’s amazing how resilient people are and how able they are to come up with alternatives to depending on you for everything.
To get in touch with the value of valuing yourself, imagine how you’ll feel after you’ve launched this ‘Taking Care of Me!’ project. Imagine the peace you’re experiencing. Imagine the impact of on those around you of dealing with a serene, joyful, and satisfied you. Use the ‘Creating the Value Proposition’ model from WLC to expand your thinking along these lines.Ask yourself the following questions:
What will valuing me allow for? (for me individually, for my team, for my family, for my organization, for my organization’s customers, for their customers, for my community, etc.)?
What will this result make possible? (for me individually, for my team, for my family, for my organization, for my organization’s customers, for their customers, for my community, etc.)
What future results could be generated? (for me individually, for my team, for my family, for my organization, for my organization’s customers, for their customers, for my community, etc.)
What will you (your team, family, organization, customers, community, etc) be able to do better or more easily?
What will this enable my organization/family to do differently?
Who will benefit? How will they benefit?
How will this contribute to the job performance/quality of life of others?
What will my organization/family/community be able to do now?
Really take the time to envision the impact of nurturing yourself in this way. I’ve found in my conversations with clients, that doing this process reveals a plethora of benefits far beyond what they originally thought - projects completed early and under budget, children whose early self-sufficiency better prepare them for college, customers who are grateful and loyal, revenue streams that are substantially increased. Tailor this process to your specific situation. Recognizing the value it will be for others will help you eliminate the feeling of selfishness that may have kept you from embarking on a self-nurturing plan sooner.
It is your life. You are the only one who can really have it turn out according to the vision you have for yourself. What kind of life do you want? The choice is yours – every day, every moment. Carpe diem!
About the author:
A seasoned corporate executive, Loretta Booker has over 25 years of experience working in human resources, information systems, commercial lending and market research.
Now an HR consultant and executive coach, she draws on this range of experience to help clients clarify values, focus on what is truly important, ignite passion, achieve lofty goals—and simultaneously celebrate life.
At the Institute for Women in Leadership, Loretta’s commitment
is to help all individuals and organizations express their highest destiny
and fulfill their visions by 2030. She keeps her sanity by meditating