I often say “You can’t be your best for others if you are not your best for your self first.” I truly believe this. It does not mean if you are not your best self, you aren’t giving greatness to others. What it does mean, is that you could likely be giving a better you to others.
Years ago, I read a book where the author spoke about the fact that the greatest gift she could give to her children was the gift of being alive for them, to live life with them. This meant she sacrificed time with them each day to take care of herself. She took time away from her kids in small chunks of 1 hour per day, in order to give back a LOT of time with them in the future, by extending her life by years.
I often refer to the oxygen mask theory when speaking to clients. You are asked to put your own oxygen mask on in a plane, before helping others in an emergency. This is what being your best self is all about. When you take care of you and your stuff, you can actually give more to your “people”. Whether those “people” are defined to you as the team you employ, your family, your friends, or all of the above!
How do you “Be Your Best Self”?
In order to energize, you need to evaluate your choices. You can’t impact what you don’t measure and evaluate. Energizing is simple, but it is not always easy. This is likely the hardest step. Why? Because you have to prioritize yourself over others, in order to be given back the additional energy you will eventually receive. You are energizing by putting yourself first!
Eat Better– look at food as fuel. Spend time nourishing your body with food that will give back to you. This will help you feel better, and ultimately give you more energy and less crashes. Sitting in a mid- afternoon meeting and yawning as your employee talks to you about what is important to them is not the best way to demonstrate you care. By fueling your body with healthy food you will limit those crashes.
Sleep More– I don’t really think that I need to say too much on this point. However, sleep is your best form of stress management and recovery. In order to manage your emotions, your energy and your time, giving yourself enough time sleep each night, will actually give you back time in your days. It is the best stress relief you can ask for and you will find that your mind is more productive and efficient without stimulants like coffee.
Move Daily- Please note I did not say exercise daily. I said move daily. This could mean taking a 5 minute walk every couple of hours to re-energize. This could mean dancing. This could mean bicycling with your kids. It may also mean participating in moderate to vigorous exercise. All of the benefits, will help you feel better and have more to give back. Whether you do a little or a lot, you will see results emotionally, physically and mentally. However, when you do commit to consistent moderate to vigorous activity daily, you could gain 33 more hours of productivity in your week. What could you do with that additional productive time?
How you spend your time is critical. We have so many options of things that could occupy our time.
Spend your time on your energizers- You need to make sure that you are prioritizing your time on the things that you love. It is easy to fall into a routine of just doing. Routine daily life takes over and you don’t stop to evaluate what you actually WANT to spend your time on. Each week make an active and conscious decision to spend time on things that bring you joy. When you focus on spending time on things that energize you, you will find you can actually do more things. You will have more energy to give back to those around you. You will ultimately do more, and feel like you are doing less.
Focus on one thing at a time- In the past I have written a lot about guilt. Guilt is a nasty feeling that we feel too often. One of the best ways to manage guilt in your life is to focus the time you are spending on one area at a time and committing yourself fully to that time. Too often we try and fit so much in through multi tasking that we actually decrease our efficiency. When you are at work, be at work 100%. When you are at home, be at home 100%. Set boundaries and boxes around your time the best way you can to eliminate the guilt that comes from not feeling focused on the task at hand. Prioritizing your time in this way will help the time you have feel more accomplished and successful in the end.
Optimizing means; you are being the most effective in any situation. This is the result you are looking for, you are trying to optimize you! Once you optimize yourself you will be giving your best self to others. You will be sharper, clearer, and more effective and efficient. You will feel in control of your hours, you will feel in control of your results, you will feel accomplished and successful.
When you are in an optimized state you are in the best position to evaluate and adjust the plan when necessary. You will be able to evaluate if you are accomplishing what you intended and call the audible when needed. You will be able to notice if you are not feeling at your best, and be able to step back and identify why, sooner then the person who is just running through life on routine.
For more strategies on being your best self and helping to increase your own personal success and the success of those around you visit https://melissamaloney.ca/about/