The New Year is here and with it comes the opportunity to reflect, refresh, reboot, and resolve. Recurrent resolutions include exercising more, quitting a bad habit, or eliminating a crutch stifling personal growth. Research suggests only 9-12% of New Year’s goals are ever complete. A 9% success rate at any place of work would call for termination. What if I told you there was something you could do this year and have a 100% success rate? Well, great news: this blog series holds the answer! Read on to learn the importance of supporting yourself FIRST to successfully reach your goals and optimize your support to others.
Some people may read the title of this blog and think I am being selfish. Some may think I am not a team player or am unable to cooperate with others. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and my colleagues would echo that sentiment. “Seeing me,” means putting an end to the persistent thought that you need to get it all done no matter the cost. The feeling that if you just help this one last person with an “emergency,” happiness and contentment will follow. The fact is, if you continue to work through life this way, you will (or already do) find yourself burned out. This does not translate into permission to avoid helping people. As servant leaders, giving liberally to fulfill the goals and aspirations of bigger things is essential. But, if you take a few steps back and focus on supporting yourself first, then you might find you have an even greater capacity to help others around you. Leaning into this approach causes beneficial changes to naturally occur. Your health will improve, and your stress level will decrease. Your sense of pride in accomplishment will be more meaningful than simply checking off a box to say that a task has been completed. You can, and will, see a lasting effect on those around you as you become a better version of the greatness you already are.
So, how do you do that? How can you increase the focus on what matters most(you) while maintaining productivity? Below are some simple guidelines to help you become a better, more successful you.
Learn that “no” isn’t always negative.
Simply saying “no” to someone is usually considered a rude way to answer. However, sometimes you need to do something important that has a higher priority than their request. When this situation arises, why not try something such as, “I am sorry, I can’t complete that task right now, but I do have time tomorrow afternoon to address your concern. Will that work for you?” By simply rephrasing your “no” into a more meaningful response, you are showing others that you do care about their issue, but you have to focus on something else at the moment. Start practicing this simple trick today and you will unlock more time for yourself to get things done that matter most to you.
Let the shock wear off.
If you have the reputation for being the ‘go-to’ person, people might be taken aback when they hear you say, “No”. It is only fair to reset expectations. Let your team members know you are going to be focusing on your priorities which means you will not be as available as you have been in the past. Communication is key. The greatest challenge is to hold to the reasonable boundaries defining the new “you”. As your team members see you focusing your energy on your priorities, they will soon take your boundaries as seriously as you do. You can still be the “go-to” person, but your team may have to be a bit more patient as well.
Be nice to yourself.
Remember, you chose to start taking time for yourself. Be mindful of any negative thoughts and doubts. Understand that people will have questions and wonder why the sudden change. Remind yourself that when you are relaxed and able to practice self-care, you can then turn around and be more focused on harder tasks and execute at a far better scale than you ever could before.
What helps you relax? Is it that mani-pedi you have been aching to get? Could you see yourself out on the golf course once a month instead of once a quarter? How about simply sitting by a cozy fire as you dive into that fictional world of espionage and world travel? It doesn’t matter what your self-indulgence is. The important thing is that you indulge! Quit saying “no” to yourself and making excuses. Schedule time on your calendar for yourself. Even if it’s just an hour a week, block off time and go do something for yourself. When was the last time you were able to really focus on yourself and forget about everything around you? Self-care may be the most important of all these tips and the one that will have the most impact on refreshing your mind and spirit moving forward.
That’s it! Four simple steps to help you become a better you! It’s nothing new, but it is important that you follow these steps and get them into your repertoire sooner rather than later. Write the steps down and post them somewhere you will see them every day to serve as a reminder along the way. By doing so, you will soon be able to handle the daily grind of life at a better and more consistent pace, feel less burned out doing so, and still manage to meet your deadlines. We wish you the best of luck on this journey and hope you continue your greatness throughout the year.
*This is part 1 of 3 of a mini-blog series. Be on the lookout for parts 2 and 3 titled, “I See You,” and “I See Us,” as we explore ways to better ourselves and those around us.
Author – Craig Andrews, InteraWorks Facilitator
InteraWorks is a global learning company on a mission to elevate the human experience at work. Specializing in professional development and performance enablement, we offer top-rated learning programs based on four defined conditions that must exist for individuals, teams including Effective Edge, Best Year Yet, and the Essentials series. Our integrated learning framework and online tools generate immediate and sustainable breakthroughs in performance. Through decades of working at all levels in enterprise companies across many industries, we’ve built a reputation for helping people and organizations harness their focus, mindset, talent and energy to produce results that matter most.
We’ve defined four conditions that must exist for an individual, team or organization to be effective within the arena of performance and development; Accountability, Focus, Alignment, and Integrity. We’ll continue to explore these and more in our blog and look forward to your engagement and interaction with us. Stay tuned as we engage the edges.