If you’ve ever flown on an airplane you’ve heard (not really listened, but heard) the flight attendants explain important safety features of the plane before take-off. “Emergency exits are located to your left and right in the event of a water-landing your seat cushion may be used as flotation devices and should air pressure suddenly drop in the cabin put the oxygen mask on yourself before attempting to assist the person next to you.”
Much like travelers ignore the pre-flight safety instructions upon boarding a plane; many people today ignore the importance of work-life balance. There is sound reasoning behind the airline’s pre-flight instruction to put your own oxygen mask on before helping those around you. If you pass out from a lack of oxygen you can’t help anyone else.
I call it The Oxygen Mask Theory and I believe it’s an apt metaphor for leadership. If you can’t help yourself and you don’t engage in self-care you won’t be able to effectively care for or help anyone else at work or at home. So why is it healthy to be selfish? Because regardless of your role or industry; you are your most important client. When you are selfish, in the manner I suggest you are actually leading by example in a healthy and positive way.
To effectively achieve work-life balance you have to put yourself first; not your job or your customer. Be selfish, because by putting yourself first you are actually being selfless. In the quest for quality customer care many neglect the most important aspect of being able to effectively do so- quality self-care.
3 Reasons you need to remember to take care of yourself:
1. Your own health is important and you are 100% responsible for your own health. You only get one life. (More on that next week)
2. You are no help to others when you don’t take care of yourself.
3. You can be of the most service to the most people if you’re rested and renewed enough to effectively use your unique gifts and talents.
Flat is the new up in this economy and employees are expected to do more, better, faster, and with less. While this may be the case you cannot win the game if you?re sidelined with injury. In this week’s peak performance tips I’ve listed ways to use your proverbial oxygen mask emergency exits and flotation device.
Peak Performance Tips:
1. Your Oxygen Mask: Be selfish! Make an appointment with yourself on your calendar first thing each day. Invest in time to care for your body mind and spirit. Even if it is only for 10-15 minutes. Answer this question to yourself: Good self-care involves ___________________________________ every day.
2. Your Emergency Exit: Don’t be afraid to say No to certain requests. Be fiercely protective of your time by establishing and maintaining clear boundaries. If you value your time, no one else will. Answer this question to yourself: It is important for me to say No to ____________________________ today (or this week).
3. Your Flotation Device: Understand your limits and know your breaking points. Before you reach these limits, ask for help and take a break. You may just need to float along for a little while when you encounter rough pounding waters in the workplace. I know I’m approaching my limit when __________________________. I will respond by __________________________.